Gradient Descent for Sparse Rank-One Matrix Completion for Crowd-Sourced Aggregation of Sparsely Interacting Workers


Yao Ma, Alexander Olshevsky, Csaba Szepesvari, Venkatesh Saligrama ;
Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 80:3335-3344, 2018.


We consider worker skill estimation for the single coin Dawid-Skene crowdsourcing model. In practice skill-estimation is challenging because worker assignments are sparse and irregular due to the arbitrary, and uncontrolled availability of workers. We formulate skill estimation as a rank-one correlation-matrix completion problem, where the observed components correspond to observed label correlation between workers. We show that the correlation matrix can be successfully recovered and skills identifiable if and only if the sampling matrix (observed components) is irreducible and aperiodic. We then propose an efficient gradient descent scheme and show that skill estimates converges to the desired global optima for such sampling matrices. Our proof is original and the results are surprising in light of the fact that even the weighted rank-one matrix factorization problem is NP hard in general. Next we derive sample complexity bounds for the noisy case in terms of spectral properties of the signless Laplacian of the sampling matrix. Our proposed scheme achieves state-of-art performance on a number of real-world datasets.

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