Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)
Yutong Wang, Clayton Scott
Multiclass extensions of the support vector machine (SVM) have been formulated in a variety of ways. A recent empirical comparison of nine such formulations [Doǧan et al. 2016] recommends the variant proposed by Weston and Watkins (WW), despite the fact that the WW-hinge loss is not calibrated with respect to the 0-1 loss. In this work we introduce a novel discrete loss function for multiclass classification, the ordered partition loss, and prove that the WW-hinge loss is calibrated with respect to this loss. We also argue that the ordered partition loss is minimally emblematic among discrete losses satisfying this property. Finally, we apply our theory to justify the empirical observation made by Doǧan et al that the WW-SVM can work well even under massive label noise, a challenging setting for multiclass SVMs.