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# Accelerated Spectral Ranking

*Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 80:70-79, 2018.

#### Abstract

The problem of rank aggregation from pairwise and multiway comparisons has a wide range of implications, ranging from recommendation systems to sports rankings to social choice. Some of the most popular algorithms for this problem come from the class of spectral ranking algorithms; these include the rank centrality (RC) algorithm for pairwise comparisons, which returns consistent estimates under the Bradley-Terry-Luce (BTL) model for pairwise comparisons (Negahban et al., 2017), and its generalization, the Luce spectral ranking (LSR) algorithm, which returns consistent estimates under the more general multinomial logit (MNL) model for multiway comparisons (Maystre & Grossglauser, 2015). In this paper, we design a provably faster spectral ranking algorithm, which we call accelerated spectral ranking (ASR), that is also consistent under the MNL/BTL models. Our accelerated algorithm is achieved by designing a random walk that has a faster mixing time than the random walks associated with previous algorithms. In addition to a faster algorithm, our results yield improved sample complexity bounds for recovery of the MNL/BTL parameters: to the best of our knowledge, we give the first general sample complexity bounds for recovering the parameters of the MNL model from multiway comparisons under any (connected) comparison graph (and improve significantly over previous bounds for the BTL model for pairwise comparisons). We also give a message-passing interpretation of our algorithm, which suggests a decentralized distributed implementation. Our experiments on several real-world and synthetic datasets confirm that our new ASR algorithm is indeed orders of magnitude faster than existing algorithms.