Beyond Images: Label Noise Transition Matrix Estimation for Tasks with Lower-Quality Features
Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 162:27633-27653, 2022.
The label noise transition matrix, denoting the transition probabilities from clean labels to noisy labels, is crucial for designing statistically robust solutions. Existing estimators for noise transition matrices, e.g., using either anchor points or clusterability, focus on computer vision tasks that are relatively easier to obtain high-quality representations. We observe that tasks with lower-quality features fail to meet the anchor-point or clusterability condition, due to the coexistence of both uninformative and informative representations. To handle this issue, we propose a generic and practical information-theoretic approach to down-weight the less informative parts of the lower-quality features. This improvement is crucial to identifying and estimating the label noise transition matrix. The salient technical challenge is to compute the relevant information-theoretical metrics using only noisy labels instead of clean ones. We prove that the celebrated $f$-mutual information measure can often preserve the order when calculated using noisy labels. We then build our transition matrix estimator using this distilled version of features. The necessity and effectiveness of the proposed method are also demonstrated by evaluating the estimation error on a varied set of tabular data and text classification tasks with lower-quality features. Code is available at github.com/UCSC-REAL/BeyondImages.