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Learning with Noisy Labels
Nagarajan Natarajan · Inderjit Dhillon · Pradeep Ravikumar · Ambuj Tewari

Fri Dec 06 07:00 PM -- 11:59 PM (PST) @ Harrah's Special Events Center, 2nd Floor #None

In this paper, we theoretically study the problem of binary classification in the presence of random classification noise --- the learner, instead of seeing the true labels, sees labels that have independently been flipped with some small probability. Moreover, random label noise is \emph{class-conditional} --- the flip probability depends on the class. We provide two approaches to suitably modify any given surrogate loss function. First, we provide a simple unbiased estimator of any loss, and obtain performance bounds for empirical risk minimization in the presence of iid data with noisy labels. If the loss function satisfies a simple symmetry condition, we show that the method leads to an efficient algorithm for empirical minimization. Second, by leveraging a reduction of risk minimization under noisy labels to classification with weighted 0-1 loss, we suggest the use of a simple weighted surrogate loss, for which we are able to obtain strong empirical risk bounds. This approach has a very remarkable consequence --- methods used in practice such as biased SVM and weighted logistic regression are provably noise-tolerant. On a synthetic non-separable dataset, our methods achieve over 88\% accuracy even when 40\% of the labels are corrupted, and are competitive with respect to recently proposed methods for dealing with label noise in several benchmark datasets.

Author Information

Nagarajan Natarajan (Microsoft Research, India)
Inderjit Dhillon (UT Austin & Amazon)
Pradeep Ravikumar (Carnegie Mellon University)
Ambuj Tewari (University of Michigan)

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