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Consensus ranking under the exponential model

by   Marina Meila, et al.

We analyze the generalized Mallows model, a popular exponential model over rankings. Estimating the central (or consensus) ranking from data is NP-hard. We obtain the following new results: (1) We show that search methods can estimate both the central ranking pi0 and the model parameters theta exactly. The search is n! in the worst case, but is tractable when the true distribution is concentrated around its mode; (2) We show that the generalized Mallows model is jointly exponential in (pi0; theta), and introduce the conjugate prior for this model class; (3) The sufficient statistics are the pairwise marginal probabilities that item i is preferred to item j. Preliminary experiments confirm the theoretical predictions and compare the new algorithm and existing heuristics.


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