A General Framework for Robust Interactive Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Ehsan Emamjomeh-Zadeh, David Kempe


We propose a general framework for interactively learning models, such as (binary or non-binary) classifiers, orderings/rankings of items, or clusterings of data points. Our framework is based on a generalization of Angluin's equivalence query model and Littlestone's online learning model: in each iteration, the algorithm proposes a model, and the user either accepts it or reveals a specific mistake in the proposal. The feedback is correct only with probability p > 1/2 (and adversarially incorrect with probability 1 - p), i.e., the algorithm must be able to learn in the presence of arbitrary noise. The algorithm's goal is to learn the ground truth model using few iterations. Our general framework is based on a graph representation of the models and user feedback. To be able to learn efficiently, it is sufficient that there be a graph G whose nodes are the models, and (weighted) edges capture the user feedback, with the property that if s, s* are the proposed and target models, respectively, then any (correct) user feedback s' must lie on a shortest s-s* path in G. Under this one assumption, there is a natural algorithm, reminiscent of the Multiplicative Weights Update algorithm, which will efficiently learn s* even in the presence of noise in the user's feedback. From this general result, we rederive with barely any extra effort classic results on learning of classifiers and a recent result on interactive clustering; in addition, we easily obtain new interactive learning algorithms for ordering/ranking.