A Marketplace For Data: An Algorithmic Solution

May 03, 2019, Webb 1100

Munther Dahleh

MIT, Electrical Engineering


In this work, we aim to create a data marketplace; a robust real-time matching mechanism to efficiently buy and sell training data for Machine Learning tasks. While the monetization of data and pre-trained models is an essential focus of industry today, there does not exist a market mechanism to price training data and match buyers to vendors while still addressing the associated (computational and other) complexity. The challenge in creating such a market stems from the very nature of data as an asset: (i) it is freely replicable; (ii) its value is inherently combinatorial due to correlation with signal in other data; (iii) prediction tasks and the value of accuracy vary widely; (iv) usefulness of training data is difficult to verify a priori without first applying it to a prediction task. As our main contributions we: (i) propose a mathematical model for a two-sided data market and formally define the key associated challenges; (ii) construct algorithms for such a market to function and rigorously prove how they meet the challenges defined. We highlight two technical contributions: (i) a new notion of “fairness" required for cooperative games with freely replicable goods; (ii) a truthful, zero regret mechanism for auctioning a particular class of combinatorial goods based on utilizing Myerson’s payment function and the Multiplicative Weights algorithm. These might be of independent interest. This is joint work with Anish Agarwal, Tuhin Sarkar, and Devavrat Shah.

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