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New Bounds on the Accuracy of Majority Voting for Multi-Class Classification

Sina AeenehNikola ZlatanovJiangshan Yu
Sep 2023
Majority voting is a simple mathematical function that returns the value that appears most often in a set. As a popular decision fusion technique, the majority voting function (MVF) finds applications in resolving conflicts, where a number of independent voters report their opinions on a classification problem. Despite its importance and its various applications in ensemble learning, data crowd-sourcing, remote sensing, and data oracles for blockchains, the accuracy of the MVF for the general multi-class classification problem has remained unknown. In this paper, we derive a new upper bound on the accuracy of the MVF for the multi-class classification problem. More specifically, we show that under certain conditions, the error rate of the MVF exponentially decays toward zero as the number of independent voters increases. Conversely, the error rate of the MVF exponentially grows with the number of independent voters if these conditions are not met. We first explore the problem for independent and identically distributed voters where we assume that every voter follows the same conditional probability distribution of voting for different classes, given the true classification of the data point. Next, we extend our results for the case where the voters are independent but non-identically distributed. Using the derived results, we then provide a discussion on the accuracy of the truth discovery algorithms. We show that in the best-case scenarios, truth discovery algorithms operate as an amplified MVF and thereby achieve a small error rate only when the MVF achieves a small error rate, and vice versa, achieve a large error rate when the MVF also achieves a large error rate. In the worst-case scenario, the truth discovery algorithms may achieve a higher error rate than the MVF. Finally, we confirm our theoretical results using numerical simulations.
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