Unifying Framework for Crowd-sourcing via Graphon Estimation

C.E. Lee, D. Shah
arXiv preprint arXiv:1703.08085

We consider the question of inferring true answers associated with tasks based on potentially noisy answers obtained through a micro-task crowd-sourcing platform such as Amazon Mechanical Turk. We propose a generic, non-parametric model for this setting: for a given task i1iT, the response of worker j1jW for this task is correct with probability Fij, where matrix F=[Fij]iT,jW may satisfy one of a collection of regularity conditions including low rank, which can express the popular Dawid-Skene model; piecewise constant, which occurs when there is finitely many worker and task types; monotonic under permutation, when there is some ordering of worker skills and task difficulties; or Lipschitz with respect to an associated latent non-parametric function. This model, contains most, if not all, of the previously proposed models to the best of our knowledge.
We show that the question of estimating the true answers to tasks can be reduced to solving the Graphon estimation problem, for which there has been much recent progress. By leveraging these techniques, we provide a crowdsourcing inference algorithm along with theoretical bounds on the fraction of incorrectly estimated tasks. Subsequently, we have a solution for inferring the true answers for tasks using noisy answers collected from crowd-sourcing platform under a significantly larger class of models. Concretely, we establish that if the (i,j)th element of FFij, is equal to a Lipschitz continuous function over latent features associated with the task i and worker j for all i,j, then all task answers can be inferred correctly with high probability by soliciting Õ (ln(T)3/2) responses per task even without any knowledge of the Lipschitz function, task and worker features, or the matrix F.