Semi-supervised Learning with Weakly-Related Unlabeled Data : Towards Better Text Categorization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 21 (NIPS 2008)

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Liu Yang, Rong Jin, Rahul Sukthankar


The cluster assumption is exploited by most semi-supervised learning (SSL) methods. However, if the unlabeled data is merely weakly related to the target classes, it becomes questionable whether driving the decision boundary to the low density regions of the unlabeled data will help the classification. In such case, the cluster assumption may not be valid; and consequently how to leverage this type of unlabeled data to enhance the classification accuracy becomes a challenge. We introduce Semi-supervised Learning with Weakly-Related Unlabeled Data" (SSLW), an inductive method that builds upon the maximum-margin approach, towards a better usage of weakly-related unlabeled information. Although the SSLW could improve a wide range of classification tasks, in this paper, we focus on text categorization with a small training pool. The key assumption behind this work is that, even with different topics, the word usage patterns across different corpora tends to be consistent. To this end, SSLW estimates the optimal word-correlation matrix that is consistent with both the co-occurrence information derived from the weakly-related unlabeled documents and the labeled documents. For empirical evaluation, we present a direct comparison with a number of state-of-the-art methods for inductive semi-supervised learning and text categorization; and we show that SSLW results in a significant improvement in categorization accuracy, equipped with a small training set and an unlabeled resource that is weakly related to the test beds."