Angle-based models for ranking data

Hang XU, Mayer ALVO, Leung Ho Philip YU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A new class of general exponential ranking models is introduced which we label angle-based models for ranking data. A consensus score vector is assumed, which assigns scores to a set of items, where the scores reflect a consensus view of the relative preference of the items. The probability of observing a ranking is modeled to be proportional to its cosine of the angle from the consensus vector. Bayesian variational inference is employed to determine the corresponding predictive density. It can be seen from simulation experiments that the Bayesian variational inference approach not only has great computational advantage compared to the traditional MCMC, but also avoids the problem of overfitting inherent when using maximum likelihood methods. The model also works when a large number of items are ranked which is usually an NP-hard problem to find the estimate of parameters for other classes of ranking models. Model extensions to incomplete rankings and mixture models are also developed. Real data applications demonstrate that the model and extensions can handle different tasks for the analysis of ranking data. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-136
JournalComputational Statistics and Data Analysis
Early online dateDec 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


Xu, H., Alvo, M., & Yu, P. L. H. (2018). Angle-based models for ranking data. Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, 121, 113-136. doi: 10.1016/j.csda.2017.12.004


  • Ranking data
  • Bayesian variational inference
  • Incomplete ranking


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