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# Don’t Label Twice: Quantity Beats Quality when Comparing Binary Classifiers on a Budget

*Proceedings of the 41st International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 235:11544-11572, 2024.

#### Abstract

We study how to best spend a budget of noisy labels to compare the accuracy of two binary classifiers. It’s common practice to collect and aggregate multiple noisy labels for a given data point into a less noisy label via a majority vote. We prove a theorem that runs counter to conventional wisdom. If the goal is to identify the better of two classifiers, we show it’s best to spend the budget on collecting a single label for more samples. Our result follows from a non-trivial application of Cramér’s theorem, a staple in the theory of large deviations. We discuss the implications of our work for the design of machine learning benchmarks, where they overturn some time-honored recommendations. In addition, our results provide sample size bounds superior to what follows from Hoeffding’s bound.