The Relaxed Online Maximum Margin Algorithm

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 12 (NIPS 1999)

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Yi Li, Philip Long


We describe a new incremental algorithm for training linear thresh(cid:173) old functions: the Relaxed Online Maximum Margin Algorithm, or ROMMA. ROMMA can be viewed as an approximation to the algorithm that repeatedly chooses the hyperplane that classifies previously seen ex(cid:173) amples correctly with the maximum margin. It is known that such a maximum-margin hypothesis can be computed by minimizing the length of the weight vector subject to a number of linear constraints. ROMMA works by maintaining a relatively simple relaxation of these constraints that can be efficiently updated. We prove a mistake bound for ROMMA that is the same as that proved for the perceptron algorithm. Our analysis implies that the more computationally intensive maximum-margin algo(cid:173) rithm also satisfies this mistake bound; this is the first worst-case perfor(cid:173) mance guarantee for this algorithm. We describe some experiments us(cid:173) ing ROMMA and a variant that updates its hypothesis more aggressively as batch algorithms to recognize handwritten digits. The computational complexity and simplicity of these algorithms is similar to that of per(cid:173) ceptron algorithm , but their generalization is much better. We describe a sense in which the performance of ROMMA converges to that of SVM in the limit if bias isn't considered.