Bayes-Optimal Effort Allocation in Crowdsourcing: Bounds and Index Policies


Weici Hu, Peter Frazier ;
Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 51:324-332, 2016.


We consider effort allocation in crowdsourcing, where we wish to assign labeling tasks to imperfect homogeneous crowd workers to maximize overall accuracy in a continuous-time Bayesian setting, subject to budget and time constraints. The Bayes-optimal policy for this problem is the solution to a partially observable Markov decision process, but the curse of dimensionality renders the computation infeasible. Following a similar approach to the Lagrangian Relaxation technique in Adelman and Mersereau (2008), we provide a computationally tractable instance-specific upper bound on the value of this Bayes-optimal policy, which can in turn be used to bound the optimality gap of any other sub-optimal policy. In an approach similar in spirit to the Whittle index for restless multi-armed bandits, we provide an index policy for effort allocation in crowdsourcing and demonstrate numerically that it outperforms other state-of-the-art policies and performs close to optimal.

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