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Time-Sensitive Bayesian Information Aggregation for Crowdsourcing Systems

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Many aspects of the design of efficient crowdsourcing processes, such as defining workers bonuses, fair prices and time limits of the tasks, involve knowledge of the likely duration of the task at hand. In this work we introduce a new timesensitive Bayesian aggregation method that simultaneously estimates a tasks duration and obtains reliable aggregations of crowdsourced judgments. Our method, called BCCTime, uses latent variables to represent the uncertainty about the workers completion time, the tasks duration and the workers accuracy. To relate the quality of a judgment to the time a worker spends on a task, our model assumes that each task is completed within a latent time window within which all workers with a propensity to genuinely attempt the labelling task (i.e., no spammers) are expected to submit their judgments. In contrast, workers with a lower propensity to valid labelling, such as spammers, bots or lazy labellers, are assumed to perform tasks considerably faster or slower than the time required by normal workers. Specifically, we use efficient message-passing Bayesian inference to learn approximate posterior probabilities of (i) the confusion matrix of each worker, (ii) the propensity to valid labelling of each worker, (iii) the unbiased duration of each task and (iv) the true label of each task. Using two real- world public datasets for entity linking tasks, we show that BCCTime produces up to 11% more accurate classifications and up to 100% more informative estimates of a tasks duration compared to stateoftheart methods.


Sentiment Analysis via Deep Hybrid Textual-Crowd Learning Model

AAAI Conferences

Crowdsourcing technique provides an efficient platform to employ human skills in sentiment analysis, which is a difficult task for automatic language models due to the large variations in context, writing style, view point and so on. However, the standard crowdsourcing aggregation models are incompetent when the number of crowd labels per worker is not sufficient to train parameters, or when it is not feasible to collect labels for each sample in a large dataset. In this paper, we propose a novel hybrid model to exploit both crowd and text data for sentiment analysis, consisting of a generative crowdsourcing aggregation model and a deep sentimental autoencoder. Combination of these two sub-models is obtained based on a probabilistic framework rather than a heuristic way. We introduce a unified objective function to incorporate the objectives of both sub-models, and derive an efficient optimization algorithm to jointly solve the corresponding problem. Experimental results indicate that our model achieves superior results in comparison with the state-of-the-art models, especially when the crowd labels are scarce.


A Technical Survey on Statistical Modelling and Design Methods for Crowdsourcing Quality Control

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Online crowdsourcing provides a scalable and inexpensive means to collect knowledge (e.g. labels) about various types of data items (e.g. text, audio, video). However, it is also known to result in large variance in the quality of recorded responses which often cannot be directly used for training machine learning systems. To resolve this issue, a lot of work has been conducted to control the response quality such that low-quality responses cannot adversely affect the performance of the machine learning systems. Such work is referred to as the quality control for crowdsourcing. Past quality control research can be divided into two major branches: quality control mechanism design and statistical models. The first branch focuses on designing measures, thresholds, interfaces and workflows for payment, gamification, question assignment and other mechanisms that influence workers' behaviour. The second branch focuses on developing statistical models to perform effective aggregation of responses to infer correct responses. The two branches are connected as statistical models (i) provide parameter estimates to support the measure and threshold calculation, and (ii) encode modelling assumptions used to derive (theoretical) performance guarantees for the mechanisms. There are surveys regarding each branch but they lack technical details about the other branch. Our survey is the first to bridge the two branches by providing technical details on how they work together under frameworks that systematically unify crowdsourcing aspects modelled by both of them to determine the response quality. We are also the first to provide taxonomies of quality control papers based on the proposed frameworks. Finally, we specify the current limitations and the corresponding future directions for the quality control research.


Reputation-based Worker Filtering in Crowdsourcing

Neural Information Processing Systems

In this paper, we study the problem of aggregating noisy labels from crowd workers to infer the underlying true labels of binary tasks. Unlike most prior work which has examined this problem under the random worker paradigm, we consider a much broader class of {\em adversarial} workers with no specific assumptions on their labeling strategy. Our key contribution is the design of a computationally efficient reputation algorithm to identify and filter out these adversarial workers in crowdsourcing systems. Our algorithm uses the concept of optimal semi-matchings in conjunction with worker penalties based on label disagreements, to assign a reputation score for every worker. We provide strong theoretical guarantees for deterministic adversarial strategies as well as the extreme case of {\em sophisticated} adversaries where we analyze the worst-case behavior of our algorithm. Finally, we show that our reputation algorithm can significantly improve the accuracy of existing label aggregation algorithms in real-world crowdsourcing datasets.


Truth Inference at Scale: A Bayesian Model for Adjudicating Highly Redundant Crowd Annotations

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Crowd-sourcing is a cheap and popular means of creating training and evaluation datasets for machine learning, however it poses the problem of `truth inference', as individual workers cannot be wholly trusted to provide reliable annotations. Research into models of annotation aggregation attempts to infer a latent `true' annotation, which has been shown to improve the utility of crowd-sourced data. However, existing techniques beat simple baselines only in low redundancy settings, where the number of annotations per instance is low ($\le 3$), or in situations where workers are unreliable and produce low quality annotations (e.g., through spamming, random, or adversarial behaviours.) As we show, datasets produced by crowd-sourcing are often not of this type: the data is highly redundantly annotated ($\ge 5$ annotations per instance), and the vast majority of workers produce high quality outputs. In these settings, the majority vote heuristic performs very well, and most truth inference models underperform this simple baseline. We propose a novel technique, based on a Bayesian graphical model with conjugate priors, and simple iterative expectation-maximisation inference. Our technique produces competitive performance to the state-of-the-art benchmark methods, and is the only method that significantly outperforms the majority vote heuristic at one-sided level 0.025, shown by significance tests. Moreover, our technique is simple, is implemented in only 50 lines of code, and trains in seconds.