AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Dynamically Switching between Synergistic Workflows for Crowdsourcing
Christopher H. Lin, Mausam Mausam, Daniel S. Weld

Last modified: 2012-07-12

Abstract


To ensure quality results from unreliable crowdsourced workers, task designers often construct complex workflows and aggregate worker responses from redundant runs. Frequently, they experiment with several alternative workflows to accomplish the task, and eventually deploy the one that achieves the best performance during early trials. Surprisingly, this seemingly natural design paradigm does not achieve the full potential of crowdsourcing. In particular, using a single workflow (even the best) to accomplish a task is suboptimal. We show that alternative workflows can compose synergistically to yield much higher quality output. We formalize the insight with a novel probabilistic graphical model. Based on this model, we design and implement AGENTHUNT, a POMDP-based controller that dynamically switches between these workflows to achieve higher returns on investment. Additionally, we design offline and online methods for learning model parameters. Live experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk demonstrate the superiority of AGENTHUNT for the task of generating NLP training data, yielding up to 50% error reduction and greater net utility compared to previous methods.

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