Semi-Generative Modelling: Covariate-Shift Adaptation with Cause and Effect Features


Julius Kügelgen, Alexander Mey, Marco Loog ;
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, PMLR 89:1361-1369, 2019.


Current methods for covariate-shift adaptation use unlabelled data to compute importance weights or domain-invariant features, while the final model is trained on labelled data only. Here, we consider a particular case of covariate shift which allows us also to learn from unlabelled data, that is, combining adaptation and semi-supervised learning. Using ideas from causality, we argue that this requires learning with both causes, $X_C$, and effects, $X_E$, of a target variable, $Y$, and show how this setting leads to what we call a semi-generative model, $P(Y,X_E|X_C,\theta)$. Our approach is robust to domain shifts in the distribution of causal features and leverages unlabelled data by learning a direct map from causes to effects. Experiments on synthetic data demonstrate significant improvements in classification over purely-supervised and importance-weighting baselines.

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