Model-Free Preference Elicitation

Carlos Martin
Tuomas Sandholm
Proceedings of the 33rd International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-24), Jeju, South Korea(2024) (to appear)


Elicitation of user preferences is becoming an important approach for improving the qualityof recommendations, especially when there is little or no user history. In this setting, arecommender system interacts with the user by iteratively presenting elicitation questionsand recording their responses. Various criteria have been proposed for optimizing thesequence of queries in order to improve user understanding and thereby the quality ofdownstream recommendations. A compelling approach for preference elicitation is theExpected Value of Information (EVOI), a Bayesian approach which computes the expectedgain in user utility for possible queries. Previous work on EVOI has focused on probabilisticmodels of users for computing posterior utilities. In contrast, in this work we exploremodel-free variants of EVOI which rely on function approximations in order to avoid strongmodeling assumptions. Specifically, we propose to learn a user response model and a userutility model from data which is often available in real-world systems, and to use thesemodels in EVOI in place of the probabilistic models. We show that our approach leads toimproved elicitation performance.

Research Areas