Optimal Bayesian Recommendation Sets and Myopically Optimal Choice Query Sets

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Paolo Viappiani, Craig Boutilier


Bayesian approaches to utility elicitation typically adopt (myopic) expected value of information (EVOI) as a natural criterion for selecting queries. However, EVOI-optimization is usually computationally prohibitive. In this paper, we examine EVOI optimization using \emph{choice queries}, queries in which a user is ask to select her most preferred product from a set. We show that, under very general assumptions, the optimal choice query w.r.t.\ EVOI coincides with \emph{optimal recommendation set}, that is, a set maximizing expected utility of the user selection. Since recommendation set optimization is a simpler, submodular problem, this can greatly reduce the complexity of both exact and approximate (greedy) computation of optimal choice queries. We also examine the case where user responses to choice queries are error-prone (using both constant and follow mixed multinomial logit noise models) and provide worst-case guarantees. Finally we present a local search technique that works well with large outcome spaces.