Aims of the EURO Mini Conference

Following the two previous editions of this workshop (DA2PL’2014 and DA2PL’2012), the third edition has the goal to bring together researchers from decision analysis and machine learning. It aims at providing a forum for discussing recent advances and identifying new research challenges in the intersection of both fields, thereby supporting a cross-fertilisation of these disciplines.

The notion of “preferences” has a long tradition in economics and operational research, where it has been formalised in various ways and studied extensively from different points of view. Nowadays, it is a topic of key importance in fields such as game theory, social choice and the decision sciences, including decision analysis and multicriteria decision aiding. In these fields, much emphasis is put in properly modelling a decision maker’s preferences, and on deriving and (axiomatically) characterizing rational decision rules.

In machine learning, like in artificial intelligence and computer science in general, the interest in the topic of preferences arose much more recently. The emerging field of preference learning is concerned with methods for learning preference models from explicit or implicit preference information, which are typically used for predicting the preferences of an individual or a group of individuals in new decision contexts. While research on preference learning has been specifically triggered by applications such as “learning to rank” for information retrieval (e.g., Internet search engines) and recommender systems, the methods developed in this field are useful in many other domains as well.

Obviously, preference modelling and decision analysis on the one side and preference learning on the other side can ideally complement and mutually benefit from each other. In particular, the suitable specification of an underlying model class is a key prerequisite for successful machine learning, that is to say, successful learning presumes appropriate modelling. Likewise, data-driven approaches for preference modelling and preference elicitation are becoming more and more important in decision analysis nowadays, mainly due to large scale applications, the proliferation of semi-automated computerised interfaces and the increasing availability of preference data.