Hall, Peter, Park, Byeong U., Samworth, Richard J.

The $k$th-nearest neighbor rule is arguably the simplest and most intuitively appealing nonparametric classification procedure. However, application of this method is inhibited by lack of knowledge about its properties, in particular, about the manner in which it is influenced by the value of $k$; and by the absence of techniques for empirical choice of $k$. In the present paper we detail the way in which the value of $k$ determines the misclassification error. We consider two models, Poisson and Binomial, for the training samples. Under the first model, data are recorded in a Poisson stream and are "assigned" to one or other of the two populations in accordance with the prior probabilities. In particular, the total number of data in both training samples is a Poisson-distributed random variable. Under the Binomial model, however, the total number of data in the training samples is fixed, although again each data value is assigned in a random way. Although the values of risk and regret associated with the Poisson and Binomial models are different, they are asymptotically equivalent to first order, and also to the risks associated with kernel-based classifiers that are tailored to the case of two derivatives. These properties motivate new methods for choosing the value of $k$.

Chaudhuri, Kamalika, Kakade, Sham, Netrapalli, Praneeth, Sanghavi, Sujay

An active learner is given a class of models, a large set of unlabeled examples, and the ability to interactively query labels of a subset of these examples; the goal of the learner is to learn a model in the class that fits the data well. Previous theoretical work has rigorously characterized label complexity of active learning, but most of this work has focused on the PAC or the agnostic PAC model. In this paper, we shift our attention to a more general setting -- maximum likelihood estimation. Provided certain conditions hold on the model class, we provide a two-stage active learning algorithm for this problem. The conditions we require are fairly general, and cover the widely popular class of Generalized Linear Models, which in turn, include models for binary and multi-class classification, regression, and conditional random fields. We provide an upper bound on the label requirement of our algorithm, and a lower bound that matches it up to lower order terms. Our analysis shows that unlike binary classification in the realizable case, just a single extra round of interaction is sufficient to achieve near-optimal performance in maximum likelihood estimation. On the empirical side, the recent work in ~\cite{Zhang12} and~\cite{Zhang14} (on active linear and logistic regression) shows the promise of this approach.

Chaudhuri, Kamalika, Kakade, Sham M., Netrapalli, Praneeth, Sanghavi, Sujay

An active learner is given a class of models, a large set of unlabeled examples, and the ability to interactively query labels of a subset of these examples; the goal of the learner is to learn a model in the class that fits the data well. Previous theoretical work has rigorously characterized label complexity of active learning, but most of this work has focused on the PAC or the agnostic PAC model. In this paper, we shift our attention to a more general setting -- maximum likelihood estimation. Provided certain conditions hold on the model class, we provide a two-stage active learning algorithm for this problem. The conditions we require are fairly general, and cover the widely popular class of Generalized Linear Models, which in turn, include models for binary and multi-class classification, regression, and conditional random fields. We provide an upper bound on the label requirement of our algorithm, and a lower bound that matches it up to lower order terms. Our analysis shows that unlike binary classification in the realizable case, just a single extraround of interaction is sufficient to achieve near-optimal performance in maximum likelihood estimation. On the empirical side, the recent work in (Gu et al. 2012) and (Gu et al. 2014) (on active linear and logistic regression) shows the promise of this approach.

Vojnovic, Milan, Yun, Seyoung, Zhou, Kaifang

We show tight convergence rate bounds for gradient descent and MM algorithms for maximum likelihood estimation and maximum aposteriori probability estimation of a popular Bayesian inference method for generalized Bradley-Terry models. This class of models includes the Bradley-Terry model of paired comparisons, the Rao-Kupper model of paired comparisons with ties, the Luce choice model, and the Plackett-Luce ranking model. Our results show that MM algorithms have same convergence rates as gradient descent algorithms up to constant factors. For the maximum likelihood estimation, the convergence is linear with the rate crucially determined by the algebraic connectivity of the matrix of item pair co-occurrences in observed comparison data. For the Bayesian inference, the convergence rate is also linear, with the rate determined by a parameter of the prior distribution in a way that can make convergence arbitrarily slow for small values of this parameter. We propose a simple, first-order acceleration method that resolves the slow convergence issue.

Laskey, Kathryn Blackmond, Xu, Ning, Chen, Chun-Hung

The National Airspace System (NAS) is a large and complex system with thousands of interrelated components: administration, control centers, airports, airlines, aircraft, passengers, etc. The complexity of the NAS creates many difficulties in management and control. One of the most pressing problems is flight delay. Delay creates high cost to airlines, complaints from passengers, and difficulties for airport operations. As demand on the system increases, the delay problem becomes more and more prominent. For this reason, it is essential for the Federal Aviation Administration to understand the causes of delay and to find ways to reduce delay. Major contributing factors to delay are congestion at the origin airport, weather, increasing demand, and air traffic management (ATM) decisions such as the Ground Delay Programs (GDP). Delay is an inherently stochastic phenomenon. Even if all known causal factors could be accounted for, macro-level national airspace system (NAS) delays could not be predicted with certainty from micro-level aircraft information. This paper presents a stochastic model that uses Bayesian Networks (BNs) to model the relationships among different components of aircraft delay and the causal factors that affect delays. A case study on delays of departure flights from Chicago O'Hare international airport (ORD) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) reveals how local and system level environmental and human-caused factors combine to affect components of delay, and how these components contribute to the final arrival delay at the destination airport.