Janz, David, Paige, Brooks, Rainforth, Tom, van de Meent, Jan-Willem, Wood, Frank

Existing methods for structure discovery in time series data construct interpretable, compositional kernels for Gaussian process regression models. While the learned Gaussian process model provides posterior mean and variance estimates, typically the structure is learned via a greedy optimization procedure. This restricts the space of possible solutions and leads to over-confident uncertainty estimates. We introduce a fully Bayesian approach, inferring a full posterior over structures, which more reliably captures the uncertainty of the model.

Herbrich, Ralf, Graepel, Thore

We present a bound on the generalisation error of linear classifiers in terms of a refined margin quantity on the training set. The result is obtained in a PAC-Bayesian framework and is based on geometrical arguments in the space of linear classifiers. The new bound constitutes an exponential improvement of the so far tightest margin bound by Shawe-Taylor et al. [8] and scales logarithmically in the inverse margin. Even in the case of less training examples than input dimensions sufficiently large margins lead to nontrivial bound values and - for maximum margins - to a vanishing complexity term.Furthermore, the classical margin is too coarse a measure for the essential quantity that controls the generalisation error: the volume ratio between the whole hypothesis space and the subset of consistent hypotheses. The practical relevance of the result lies in the fact that the well-known support vector machine is optimal w.r.t. the new bound only if the feature vectors are all of the same length. As a consequence we recommend to use SVMs on normalised feature vectors only - a recommendation that is well supported by our numerical experiments on two benchmark data sets. 1 Introduction Linear classifiers are exceedingly popular in the machine learning community due to their straightforward applicability and high flexibility which has recently been boosted by the so-called kernel methods [13]. A natural and popular framework for the theoretical analysis of classifiers is the PAC (probably approximately correct) framework[11] which is closely related to Vapnik's work on the generalisation error [12]. For binary classifiers it turned out that the growth function is an appropriate measureof "complexity" and can tightly be upper bounded by the VC (Vapnik-Chervonenkis) dimension [14].

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.

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.