Krijthe, Jesse H., Loog, Marco

We introduce a novel semi-supervised version of the least squares classifier. This implicitly constrained least squares (ICLS) classifier minimizes the squared loss on the labeled data among the set of parameters implied by all possible labelings of the unlabeled data. Unlike other discriminative semi-supervised methods, our approach does not introduce explicit additional assumptions into the objective function, but leverages implicit assumptions already present in the choice of the supervised least squares classifier. We show this approach can be formulated as a quadratic programming problem and its solution can be found using a simple gradient descent procedure. We prove that, in a certain way, our method never leads to performance worse than the supervised classifier. Experimental results corroborate this theoretical result in the multidimensional case on benchmark datasets, also in terms of the error rate.

Wasserman, Larry, Lafferty, John D.

Semi-supervised methods use unlabeled data in addition to labeled data to construct predictors.While existing semi-supervised methods have shown some promising empirical performance, their development has been based largely based on heuristics. In this paper we study semi-supervised learning from the viewpoint of minimax theory. Our first result shows that some common methods based on regularization using graph Laplacians do not lead to faster minimax rates of convergence. Thus,the estimators that use the unlabeled data do not have smaller risk than the estimators that use only labeled data. We then develop several new approaches that provably lead to improved performance. The statistical tools of minimax analysis are thus used to offer some new perspective on the problem of semi-supervised learning.

Xie, Zheng (Nanjing University) | Li, Ming (Nanjing University)

Semi-supervised learning, which aims to construct learners that automatically exploit the large amount of unlabeled data in addition to the limited labeled data, has been widely applied in many real-world applications. AUC is a well-known performance measure for a learner, and directly optimizing AUC may result in a better prediction performance. Thus, semi-supervised AUC optimization has drawn much attention. Existing semi-supervised AUC optimization methods exploit unlabeled data by explicitly or implicitly estimating the possible labels of the unlabeled data based on various distributional assumptions. However, these assumptions may be violated in many real-world applications, and estimating labels based on the violated assumption may lead to poor performance. In this paper, we argue that, in semi-supervised AUC optimization, it is unnecessary to guess the possible labels of the unlabeled data or prior probability based on any distributional assumptions. We analytically show that the AUC risk can be estimated unbiasedly by simply treating the unlabeled data as both positive and negative. Based on this finding, two semi-supervised AUC optimization methods named Samult and Sampura are proposed. Experimental results indicate that the proposed methods outperform the existing methods.

Krijthe, Jesse H., Loog, Marco

We show that for linear classifiers defined by convex margin-based surrogate losses that are monotonically decreasing, it is impossible to construct any semi-supervised approach that is able to guarantee an improvement over the supervised classifier measured by this surrogate loss. For non-monotonically decreasing loss functions, we demonstrate safe improvements are possible.

Maximov, Yury, Amini, Massih-Reza, Harchaoui, Zaid

We propose Rademacher complexity bounds for multiclass classifiers trained with a two-step semi-supervised model. In the first step, the algorithm partitions the partially labeled data and then identifies dense clusters containing $\kappa$ predominant classes using the labeled training examples such that the proportion of their non-predominant classes is below a fixed threshold. In the second step, a classifier is trained by minimizing a margin empirical loss over the labeled training set and a penalization term measuring the disability of the learner to predict the $\kappa$ predominant classes of the identified clusters. The resulting data-dependent generalization error bound involves the margin distribution of the classifier, the stability of the clustering technique used in the first step and Rademacher complexity terms corresponding to partially labeled training data. Our theoretical result exhibit convergence rates extending those proposed in the literature for the binary case, and experimental results on different multiclass classification problems show empirical evidence that supports the theory.