Agnostic Pointwise-Competitive Selective Classification

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Abstract

Pointwise-competitive classifier from class F is required to classify identically to the best classifier in hindsight from F. For noisy, agnostic settings we present a strategy for learning pointwise-competitive classifiers from a finite training sample provided that the classifier can abstain from prediction at a certain region of its choice. For some interesting hypothesis classes and families of distributions, the measure of this rejected region is shown to be diminishing at a fast rate, with high probability. Exact implementation of the proposed learning strategy is dependent on an ERM oracle that can be hard to compute in the agnostic case. We thus consider a heuristic approximation procedure that is based on SVMs, and show empirically that this algorithm consistently outperforms a traditional rejection mechanism based on distance from decision boundary.

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