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Double or Nothing: Multiplicative Incentive Mechanisms for Crowdsourcing

Nihar B. Shah, Dengyong Zhou; 17(165):1−52, 2016.


Crowdsourcing has gained immense popularity in machine learning applications for obtaining large amounts of labeled data. Crowdsourcing is cheap and fast, but suffers from the problem of low-quality data. To address this fundamental challenge in crowdsourcing, we propose a simple payment mechanism to incentivize workers to answer only the questions that they are sure of and skip the rest. We show that surprisingly, under a mild and natural no-free-lunch requirement, this mechanism is the one and only incentive-compatible payment mechanism possible. We also show that among all possible incentive- compatible mechanisms (that may or may not satisfy no-free- lunch), our mechanism makes the smallest possible payment to spammers. We further extend our results to a more general setting in which workers are required to provide a quantized confidence for each question. Interestingly, this unique mechanism takes a multiplicative form. The simplicity of the mechanism is an added benefit. In preliminary experiments involving over 900 worker-task pairs, we observe a significant drop in the error rates under this unique mechanism for the same or lower monetary expenditure.

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