Mitigating Overfitting in Supervised Classification from Two Unlabeled Datasets: A Consistent Risk Correction Approach


Nan Lu, Tianyi Zhang, Gang Niu, Masashi Sugiyama ;
Proceedings of the Twenty Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 108:1115-1125, 2020.


The recently proposed unlabeled-unlabeled (UU) classification method allows us to train a binary classifier only from two unlabeled datasets with different class priors. Since this method is based on the empirical risk minimization, it works as if it is a supervised classification method, compatible with any model and optimizer. However, this method sometimes suffers from severe overfitting, which we would like to prevent in this paper. Our empirical finding in applying the original UU method is that overfitting often co-occurs with the empirical risk going negative, which is not legitimate. Therefore, we propose to wrap the terms that cause a negative empirical risk by certain correction functions. Then, we prove the consistency of the corrected risk estimator and derive an estimation error bound for the corrected risk minimizer. Experiments show that our proposal can successfully mitigate overfitting of the UU method and significantly improve the classification accuracy.

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