Learning with Symmetric Label Noise: The Importance of Being Unhinged
A note about reviews: "heavy" review comments were provided by reviewers in the program committee as part of the evaluation process for NIPS 2015, along with posted responses during the author feedback period. Numerical scores from both "heavy" and "light" reviewers are not provided in the review link below.
Conference Event Type: Spotlight
Convex potential minimisation is the de facto approach to binary classification. However, Long and Servedio  proved that under symmetric label noise (SLN), minimisation of any convex potential over a linear function class can result in classification performance equivalent to random guessing. This ostensibly shows that convex losses are not SLN-robust. In this paper, we propose a convex, classification-calibrated loss and prove that it is SLN-robust. The loss avoids the Long and Servedio  result by virtue of being negatively unbounded. The loss is a modification of the hinge loss, where one does not clamp at zero; hence, we call it the unhinged loss. We show that the optimal unhinged solution is equivalent to that of a strongly regularised SVM, and is the limiting solution for any convex potential; this implies that strong l2 regularisation makes most standard learners SLN-robust. Experiments confirm the unhinged loss’ SLN-robustness.