Truthful Data Acquisition via Peer Prediction

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Yiling Chen, Yiheng Shen, Shuran Zheng


<p>We consider the problem of purchasing data for machine learning or statistical estimation. The data analyst has a budget to purchase datasets from multiple data providers. She does not have any test data that can be used to evaluate the collected data and can assign payments to data providers solely based on the collected datasets. We consider the problem in the standard Bayesian paradigm and in two settings: (1) data are only collected once; (2) data are collected repeatedly and each day's data are drawn independently from the same distribution. For both settings, our mechanisms guarantee that truthfully reporting one's dataset is always an equilibrium by adopting techniques from peer prediction: pay each provider the mutual information between his reported data and other providers' reported data. Depending on the data distribution, the mechanisms can also discourage misreports that would lead to inaccurate predictions. Our mechanisms also guarantee individual rationality and budget feasibility for certain underlying distributions in the first setting and for all distributions in the second setting. </p>