Label Ranking with Partial Abstention based on Thresholded Probabilistic Models

Neural Information Processing Systems

Several machine learning methods allow for abstaining from uncertain predictions. While being common for settings like conventional classification, abstention has been studied much less in learning to rank. We address abstention for the label ranking setting, allowing the learner to declare certain pairs of labels as being incomparable and, thus, to predict partial instead of total orders. In our method, such predictions are produced via thresholding the probabilities of pairwise preferences between labels, as induced by a predicted probability distribution on the set of all rankings. We formally analyze this approach for the Mallows and the Plackett-Luce model, showing that it produces proper partial orders as predictions and characterizing the expressiveness of the induced class of partial orders. These theoretical results are complemented by experiments demonstrating the practical usefulness of the approach.


A Margin-based MLE for Crowdsourced Partial Ranking

arXiv.org Machine Learning

A preference order or ranking aggregated from pairwise comparison data is commonly understood as a strict total order. However, in real-world scenarios, some items are intrinsically ambiguous in comparisons, which may very well be an inherent uncertainty of the data. In this case, the conventional total order ranking can not capture such uncertainty with mere global ranking or utility scores. In this paper, we are specifically interested in the recent surge in crowdsourcing applications to predict partial but more accurate (i.e., making less incorrect statements) orders rather than complete ones. To do so, we propose a novel framework to learn some probabilistic models of partial orders as a \emph{margin-based Maximum Likelihood Estimate} (MLE) method. We prove that the induced MLE is a joint convex optimization problem with respect to all the parameters, including the global ranking scores and margin parameter. Moreover, three kinds of generalized linear models are studied, including the basic uniform model, Bradley-Terry model, and Thurstone-Mosteller model, equipped with some theoretical analysis on FDR and Power control for the proposed methods. The validity of these models are supported by experiments with both simulated and real-world datasets, which shows that the proposed models exhibit improvements compared with traditional state-of-the-art algorithms.


Representing and Reasoning with Qualitative Preferences for Compositional Systems

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Many applications, e.g., Web service composition, complex system design, team formation, etc., rely on methods for identifying collections of objects or entities satisfying some functional requirement. Among the collections that satisfy the functional requirement, it is often necessary to identify one or more collections that are optimal with respect to user preferences over a set of attributes that describe the non-functional properties of the collection. We develop a formalism that lets users express the relative importance among attributes and qualitative preferences over the valuations of each attribute. We define a dominance relation that allows us to compare collections of objects in terms of preferences over attributes of the objects that make up the collection. We establish some key properties of the dominance relation.


Representing and Reasoning with Qualitative Preferences for Compositional Systems

AAAI Conferences

Many applications, e.g., Web service composition, complex system design, team formation, etc., rely on methods for identifying collections of objects or entities satisfying some functional requirement. Among the collections that satisfy the functional requirement, it is often necessary to identify one or more collections that are optimal with respect to user preferences over a set of attributes that describe the nonfunctional properties of the collection. We develop a formalism that lets users express the relative importance among attributes and qualitative preferences over the valuations of each attribute. We define a dominance relation that allows us to compare collections of objects in terms of preferences over attributes of the objects that make up the collection. We establish some key properties of the dominance relation.


Representing and Reasoning with Qualitative Preferences for Compositional Systems

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Many applications, e.g., Web service composition, complex system design, team formation, etc., rely on methods for identifying collections of objects or entities satisfying some functional requirement. Among the collections that satisfy the functional requirement, it is often necessary to identify one or more collections that are optimal with respect to user preferences over a set of attributes that describe the non-functional properties of the collection. We develop a formalism that lets users express the relative importance among attributes and qualitative preferences over the valuations of each attribute. We define a dominance relation that allows us to compare collections of objects in terms of preferences over attributes of the objects that make up the collection. We establish some key properties of the dominance relation. In particular, we show that the dominance relation is a strict partial order when the intra-attribute preference relations are strict partial orders and the relative importance preference relation is an interval order. We provide algorithms that use this dominance relation to identify the set of most preferred collections. We show that under certain conditions, the algorithms are guaranteed to return only (sound), all (complete), or at least one (weakly complete) of the most preferred collections. We present results of simulation experiments comparing the proposed algorithms with respect to (a) the quality of solutions (number of most preferred solutions) produced by the algorithms, and (b) their performance and efficiency. We also explore some interesting conjectures suggested by the results of our experiments that relate the properties of the user preferences, the dominance relation, and the algorithms.