Active Comparison of Prediction Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Christoph Sawade, Niels Landwehr, Tobias Scheffer


We address the problem of comparing the risks of two given predictive models - for instance, a baseline model and a challenger - as confidently as possible on a fixed labeling budget. This problem occurs whenever models cannot be compared on held-out training data, possibly because the training data are unavailable or do not reflect the desired test distribution. In this case, new test instances have to be drawn and labeled at a cost. We devise an active comparison method that selects instances according to an instrumental sampling distribution. We derive the sampling distribution that maximizes the power of a statistical test applied to the observed empirical risks, and thereby minimizes the likelihood of choosing the inferior model. Empirically, we investigate model selection problems on several classification and regression tasks and study the accuracy of the resulting p-values.