Semi-Crowdsourced Clustering: Generalizing Crowd Labeling by Robust Distance Metric Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Jinfeng Yi, Rong Jin, Shaili Jain, Tianbao Yang, Anil Jain


One of the main challenges in data clustering is to define an appropriate similarity measure between two objects. Crowdclustering addresses this challenge by defining the pairwise similarity based on the manual annotations obtained through crowdsourcing. Despite its encouraging results, a key limitation of crowdclustering is that it can only cluster objects when their manual annotations are available. To address this limitation, we propose a new approach for clustering, called \textit{semi-crowdsourced clustering} that effectively combines the low-level features of objects with the manual annotations of a subset of the objects obtained via crowdsourcing. The key idea is to learn an appropriate similarity measure, based on the low-level features of objects, from the manual annotations of only a small portion of the data to be clustered. One difficulty in learning the pairwise similarity measure is that there is a significant amount of noise and inter-worker variations in the manual annotations obtained via crowdsourcing. We address this difficulty by developing a metric learning algorithm based on the matrix completion method. Our empirical study with two real-world image data sets shows that the proposed algorithm outperforms state-of-the-art distance metric learning algorithms in both clustering accuracy and computational efficiency.