Supervised Sequential Classification Under Budget Constraints

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Kirill Trapeznikov, Venkatesh Saligrama ;
Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 31:581-589, 2013.

Abstract

In this paper we develop a framework for a sequential decision making under budget constraints for multi-class classification. In many classification systems, such as medical diagnosis and homeland security, sequential decisions are often warranted. For each instance, a sensor is first chosen for acquiring measurements and then based on the available information one decides (rejects) to seek more measurements from a new sensor/modality or to terminate by classifying the example based on the available information. Different sensors have varying costs for acquisition, and these costs account for delay, throughput or monetary value. Consequently, we seek methods for maximizing performance of the system subject to budget constraints. We formulate a multi-stage multi-class empirical risk objective and learn sequential decision functions from training data. We show that reject decision at each stage can be posed as supervised binary classification. We derive bounds for the VC dimension of the multi-stage system to quantify the generalization error. We compare our approach to alternative strategies on several multi-class real world datasets.

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