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# Top-k Selection based on Adaptive Sampling of Noisy Preferences

*Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 28(3):1094-1102, 2013.

#### Abstract

We consider the problem of reliably selecting an optimal subset of fixed size from a given set of choice alternatives, based on noisy information about the quality of these alternatives. Problems of similar kind have been tackled by means of adaptive sampling schemes called racing algorithms. However, in contrast to existing approaches, we do not assume that each alternative is characterized by a real-valued random variable, and that samples are taken from the corresponding distributions. Instead, we only assume that alternatives can be compared in terms of pairwise preferences. We propose and formally analyze a general preference-based racing algorithm that we instantiate with three specific ranking procedures and corresponding sampling schemes. Experiments with real and synthetic data are presented to show the efficiency of our approach.