Minimax-optimal semi-supervised regression on unknown manifolds
Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 54:933-942, 2017.
We consider semi-supervised regression when the predictor variables are drawn from an unknown manifold. A simple two step approach to this problem is to: (i) estimate the manifold geodesic distance between any pair of points using both the labeled and unlabeled instances; and (ii) apply a k nearest neighbor regressor based on these distance estimates. We prove that given sufficiently many unlabeled points, this simple method of geodesic kNN regression achieves the optimal finite-sample minimax bound on the mean squared error, as if the manifold were known. Furthermore, we show how this approach can be efficiently implemented, requiring only O(k N log N) operations to estimate the regression function at all N labeled and unlabeled points. We illustrate this approach on two datasets with a manifold structure: indoor localization using WiFi fingerprints and facial pose estimation. In both cases, geodesic kNN is more accurate and much faster than the popular Laplacian eigenvector regressor.