A Collaborative Mechanism for Crowdsourcing Prediction Problems

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24 (NIPS 2011)

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Jacob D. Abernethy, Rafael Frongillo


Machine Learning competitions such as the Netflix Prize have proven reasonably successful as a method of “crowdsourcing” prediction tasks. But these compe- titions have a number of weaknesses, particularly in the incentive structure they create for the participants. We propose a new approach, called a Crowdsourced Learning Mechanism, in which participants collaboratively “learn” a hypothesis for a given prediction task. The approach draws heavily from the concept of a prediction market, where traders bet on the likelihood of a future event. In our framework, the mechanism continues to publish the current hypothesis, and par- ticipants can modify this hypothesis by wagering on an update. The critical in- centive property is that a participant will profit an amount that scales according to how much her update improves performance on a released test set.