Open Problem: A (Missing) Boosting-type Convergence Result for AdaBoost.MH with Factorized Multi-class Classifiers


Balázs Kégl ;
Proceedings of The 27th Conference on Learning Theory, PMLR 35:1268-1275, 2014.


In (Kégl, 2014), we recently showed empirically that AdaBoost.MH is one of the best multi-class boosting algorithms when the classical one-against-all base classifiers, proposed in the seminal paper of Schapire and Singer (1999), are replaced by factorized base classifiers containing a binary classifier and a vote (or code) vector. In a slightly different setup, a similar factorization coupled with an iterative optimization of the two factors also proved to be an excellent approach (Gao and Koller, 2011). The main algorithmic advantage of our approach over the original setup of Schapire and Singer (1999) is that trees can be built in a straightforward way by using the binary classifier at inner nodes. In this open problem paper we take a step back to the basic setup of boosting generic multi-class factorized (Hamming) classifiers (so no trees), and state the classical problem of boosting-like convergence of the training error. Given a vote vector, training the classifier leads to a standard weighted binary classification problem. The main difficulty of proving the convergence is that, unlike in binary AdaBoost, the sum of the weights in this weighted binary classification problem is less than one, which means that the lower bound on the edge, coming from the weak learning condition, shrinks. To show the convergence, we need a (uniform) lower bound on the sum of the weights in this derived binary classification problem.

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