On the identifiability of mixtures of ranking models

01/31/2022
by   Xiaomin Zhang, et al.
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Mixtures of ranking models are standard tools for ranking problems. However, even the fundamental question of parameter identifiability is not fully understood: the identifiability of a mixture model with two Bradley-Terry-Luce (BTL) components has remained open. In this work, we show that popular mixtures of ranking models with two components (Plackett-Luce, multinomial logistic model with slates of size 3, or BTL) are generically identifiable, i.e., the ground-truth parameters can be identified except when they are from a pathological subset of measure zero. We provide a framework for verifying the number of solutions in a general family of polynomial systems using algebraic geometry, and apply it to these mixtures of ranking models. The framework can be applied more broadly to other learning models and may be of independent interest.

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