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Learning Populations of Preferences via Pairwise Comparison Queries

Gokcan Tatli · Yi Chen · Ramya Korlakai Vinayak

MR1 & MR2 - Number 49
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Thu 2 May 8 a.m. PDT — 8:30 a.m. PDT


Ideal point based preference learning using pairwise comparisons of type "Do you prefer a or b?" has emerged as a powerful tool for understanding how we make preferences. Existing preference learning approaches assume homogeneity and focus on learning preference on average over the population or require a large number of queries per individual to localize individual preferences. However, in practical scenarios with heterogeneous preferences and limited availability of responses, these approaches are impractical. Therefore, we introduce the problem of learning the distribution of preferences over a population via pairwise comparisons using only one response per individual. Due to binary answers from comparison queries, we focus on learning the mass of the underlying distribution in the regions created by the intersection of bisecting hyperplanes between queried item pairs. We investigate this fundamental question in both 1-D and higher dimensional settings with noiseless response to comparison queries. We show that the problem is identifiable in 1-D setting and provide recovery guarantees. We show that the problem is not identifiable for higher dimensional settings in general and establish sufficient condition for identifiability. We propose using a regularized recovery, and provide guarantees on the total variation distance between the true mass and the learned distribution. We validate our findings through simulations and experiments on real datasets. We also introduce a new dataset for this task collected on a real crowdsourcing platform.

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