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CIS Seminar: “Rater Equivalence: An Interpretable Measure of Classifier Accuracy Against Human Labels”

October 20, 2022 at 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

In many classification tasks, the ground truth is either noisy or subjective. Examples of noisy ground truth include: does this radiology image show a cancerous growth? does this radar data portend an imminent tornado? Examples of subjective ground truth include: which of two alternative paper titles is better? is this comment toxic? what is the political leaning of this news article? We refer to tasks where human labels are the only indication of ground truth available at the time that decisions must be made as survey settings. In these settings, measures of classifier accuracy against human labels, such as precision, recall, and cross-entropy, confound the quality of the classifier with the level of agreement among human raters. Thus, they have no meaningful interpretation on their own. We describe a procedure that, given a dataset with predictions from a classifier and K labels per item, rescales any underlying accuracy measure into one that has an intuitive interpretation. The K raters are divided into a source panel and a target panel. The source panel’s labels for an item are combined to produce a predicted label for another rater. Both the source panel predictions and classifier predictions are scored against the same target panel’s labels. The rater equivalence of any classifier is the minimum number of source raters needed to produce the same expected score as that found for the classifier. We explore the stability of the rater equivalence measure as the target panel size varies and find one underlying measure, determinant mutual information, for which it is invariant.

Paul Resnick

Professor of Information and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, University of Michigan School of Information

Paul Resnick is the Michael D. Cohen Collegiate Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs at the University of Michigan School of Information. He previously worked as a researcher at AT&T Labs and AT&T Bell Labs, and as an Assistant Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He received the master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan.

Professor Resnick’s research focuses on Socio Technical Capital, productive social relations that are enabled by the ongoing use of information and communication technology. His current projects include nudging people toward politically balanced news consumption and health behavior change, and crowdsourcing rumor tracking and fact-correction on the Internet.

Resnick was a pioneer in the field of recommender systems (sometimes called collaborative filtering). Recommender systems guide people to interesting materials based on recommendations from other people.  The GroupLens system he helped develop was awarded the 2010 ACM Software Systems Award. His articles have appeared in Scientific American, Wired, Communications of the ACM, The American Economic Review, Management Science, and many other venues.  His 2012 MIT Press book (co-authored with Robert Kraut), was titled “Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-based Social Design”.


October 20, 2022
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Event Tags:


Computer and Information Science
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Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall
3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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