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# A Two-Stage Active Learning Algorithm for k-Nearest Neighbors

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:29103-29129, 2023.

#### Abstract

$k$-nearest neighbor classification is a popular non-parametric method because of desirable properties like automatic adaption to distributional scale changes. Unfortunately, it has thus far proved difficult to design active learning strategies for the training of local voting-based classifiers that naturally retain these desirable properties, and hence active learning strategies for $k$-nearest neighbor classification have been conspicuously missing from the literature. In this work, we introduce a simple and intuitive active learning algorithm for the training of $k$-nearest neighbor classifiers, the first in the literature which retains the concept of the $k$-nearest neighbor vote at prediction time. We provide consistency guarantees for a modified $k$-nearest neighbors classifier trained on samples acquired via our scheme, and show that when the conditional probability function $\mathbb{P}(Y=y|X=x)$ is sufficiently smooth and the Tsybakov noise condition holds, our actively trained classifiers converge to the Bayes optimal classifier at a faster asymptotic rate than passively trained $k$-nearest neighbor classifiers.