Clustering and Inference From Pairwise Comparisons [article]

Rui Wu, Jiaming Xu, R. Srikant, Laurent Massoulié, Marc Lelarge, Bruce Hajek
2015 arXiv   pre-print
Given a set of pairwise comparisons, the classical ranking problem computes a single ranking that best represents the preferences of all users. In this paper, we study the problem of inferring individual preferences, arising in the context of making personalized recommendations. In particular, we assume that there are n users of r types; users of the same type provide similar pairwise comparisons for m items according to the Bradley-Terry model. We propose an efficient algorithm that accurately
more » ... estimates the individual preferences for almost all users, if there are r {m, n} m ^2 n pairwise comparisons per type, which is near optimal in sample complexity when r only grows logarithmically with m or n. Our algorithm has three steps: first, for each user, compute the net-win vector which is a projection of its m2-dimensional vector of pairwise comparisons onto an m-dimensional linear subspace; second, cluster the users based on the net-win vectors; third, estimate a single preference for each cluster separately. The net-win vectors are much less noisy than the high dimensional vectors of pairwise comparisons and clustering is more accurate after the projection as confirmed by numerical experiments. Moreover, we show that, when a cluster is only approximately correct, the maximum likelihood estimation for the Bradley-Terry model is still close to the true preference.
arXiv:1502.04631v2 fatcat:gl23lvhyybbyngqk5ssma6myhi