Probabilistic structure discovery in time series data

arXiv.org Machine Learning

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.


The Loss Rank Principle for Model Selection

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We introduce a new principle for model selection in regression and classification. Many regression models are controlled by some smoothness or flexibility or complexity parameter c, e.g. the number of neighbors to be averaged over in k nearest neighbor (kNN) regression or the polynomial degree in regression with polynomials. Let f_D^c be the (best) regressor of complexity c on data D. A more flexible regressor can fit more data D' well than a more rigid one. If something (here small loss) is easy to achieve it's typically worth less. We define the loss rank of f_D^c as the number of other (fictitious) data D' that are fitted better by f_D'^c than D is fitted by f_D^c. We suggest selecting the model complexity c that has minimal loss rank (LoRP). Unlike most penalized maximum likelihood variants (AIC,BIC,MDL), LoRP only depends on the regression function and loss function. It works without a stochastic noise model, and is directly applicable to any non-parametric regressor, like kNN. In this paper we formalize, discuss, and motivate LoRP, study it for specific regression problems, in particular linear ones, and compare it to other model selection schemes.


A PAC-Bayesian Margin Bound for Linear Classifiers: Why SVMs work

Neural Information Processing Systems

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].


Choice of neighbor order in nearest-neighbor classification

arXiv.org Machine Learning

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 $k$.


Convergence Rates of Active Learning for Maximum Likelihood Estimation

Neural Information Processing Systems

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.