Efficient task specific data valuation for nearest neighbor algorithms

Ruoxi Jia, David Dao, Boxin Wang, Frances Ann Hubis, Nezihe Merve Gurel, Bo Li, Ce Zhang, Costas Spanos, Dawn Song

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Given a data set D containing millions of data points and a data consumer who is willing to pay for $X to train a machine learning (ML) model over D, how should we distribute this $X to each data point to reflect its "value"? In this paper, we define the "relative value of data" via the Shapley value, as it uniquely possesses properties with appealing real-world interpretations, such as fairness, rationality and decentralizability. For general, bounded utility functions, the Shapley value is known to be challenging to compute: to get Shapley values for all N data points, it requires O(2N) model evaluations for exact computation and O(N logN) for (j; δ)-approximation. In this paper, we focus on one popular family of ML models relying on K-nearest neighbors (KNN). The most surprising result is that for unweighted KNN classifiers and regressors, the Shapley value of all N data points can be computed, exactly, in O(N logN) time-an exponential improvement on computational complexity! Moreover, for (j; δ)-approximation, we are able to develop an algorithm based on Locality Sensitive Hashing (LSH) with only sublinear complexity O(Nh(j;K) logN) when j is not too small and K is not too large. We empirically evaluate our algorithms on up to 10 million data points and even our exact algorithm is up to three orders of magnitude faster than the baseline approximation algorithm. The LSH-based approximation algorithm can accelerate the value calculation process even further. We then extend our algorithm to other scenarios such as (1) weighed KNN classifiers, (2) different data points are clustered by different data curators, and (3) there are data analysts providing computation who also requires proper valuation. Some of these extensions, although also being improved exponentially, are less practical for exact computation (e.g., O(NK) complexity for weigthed KNN). We thus propose an Monte Carlo approximation algorithm, which is O(N(logN)2=(logK)2) times more efficient than the baseline approximation algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1623
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the VLDB Endowment
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2018
Event45th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases, VLDB 2019 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: Aug 26 2017Aug 30 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science(all)


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