Collaborating Authors

Inferring the ground truth through crowdsourcing Machine Learning

Universally valid ground truth is almost impossible to obtain or would come at a very high cost. For supervised learning without universally valid ground truth, a recommended approach is applying crowdsourcing: Gathering a large data set annotated by multiple individuals of varying possibly expertise levels and inferring the ground truth data to be used as labels to train the classifier. Nevertheless, due to the sensitivity of the problem at hand (e.g. mitosis detection in breast cancer histology images), the obtained data needs verification and proper assessment before being used for classifier training. Even in the context of organic computing systems, an indisputable ground truth might not always exist. Therefore, it should be inferred through the aggregation and verification of the local knowledge of each autonomous agent.

Designing Evaluations of Machine Learning Models for Subjective Inference: The Case of Sentence Toxicity Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) is increasingly applied in real-life scenarios, raising concerns about bias in automatic decision making. We focus on bias as a notion of opinion exclusion, that stems from the direct application of traditional ML pipelines to infer subjective properties. We argue that such ML systems should be evaluated with subjectivity and bias in mind. Considering the lack of evaluation standards yet to create evaluation benchmarks, we propose an initial list of specifications to define prior to creating evaluation datasets, in order to later accurately evaluate the biases. With the example of a sentence toxicity inference system, we illustrate how the specifications support the analysis of biases related to subjectivity. We highlight difficulties in instantiating these specifications and list future work for the crowdsourcing community to help the creation of appropriate evaluation datasets.

Efficient crowdsourcing of crowd-generated microtasks Machine Learning

Allowing members of the crowd to propose novel microtasks for one another is an effective way to combine the efficiencies of traditional microtask work with the inventiveness and hypothesis generation potential of human workers. However, microtask proposal leads to a growing set of tasks that may overwhelm limited crowdsourcer resources. Crowdsourcers can employ methods to utilize their resources efficiently, but algorithmic approaches to efficient crowdsourcing generally require a fixed task set of known size. In this paper, we introduce *cost forecasting* as a means for a crowdsourcer to use efficient crowdsourcing algorithms with a growing set of microtasks. Cost forecasting allows the crowdsourcer to decide between eliciting new tasks from the crowd or receiving responses to existing tasks based on whether or not new tasks will cost less to complete than existing tasks, efficiently balancing resources as crowdsourcing occurs. Experiments with real and synthetic crowdsourcing data show that cost forecasting leads to improved accuracy. Accuracy and efficiency gains for crowd-generated microtasks hold the promise to further leverage the creativity and wisdom of the crowd, with applications such as generating more informative and diverse training data for machine learning applications and improving the performance of user-generated content and question-answering platforms.

Dynamic Task Allocation for Crowdsourcing Settings Machine Learning

We consider the problem of optimal budget allocation for crowdsourcing problems, allocating users to tasks to maximize our final confidence in the crowdsourced answers. Such an optimized worker assignment method allows us to boost the efficacy of any popular crowdsourcing estimation algorithm. We consider a mutual information interpretation of the crowdsourcing problem, which leads to a stochastic subset selection problem with a submodular objective function. We present experimental simulation results which demonstrate the effectiveness of our dynamic task allocation method for achieving higher accuracy, possibly requiring fewer labels, as well as improving upon a previous method which is sensitive to the proportion of users to questions.

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