Bayesian models for Large-scale Hierarchical Classification

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

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Siddharth Gopal, Yiming Yang, Bing Bai, Alexandru Niculescu-mizil


A challenging problem in hierarchical classification is to leverage the hierarchical relations among classes for improving classification performance. An even greater challenge is to do so in a manner that is computationally feasible for the large scale problems usually encountered in practice. This paper proposes a set of Bayesian methods to model hierarchical dependencies among class labels using multivari- ate logistic regression. Specifically, the parent-child relationships are modeled by placing a hierarchical prior over the children nodes centered around the parame- ters of their parents; thereby encouraging classes nearby in the hierarchy to share similar model parameters. We present new, efficient variational algorithms for tractable posterior inference in these models, and provide a parallel implementa- tion that can comfortably handle large-scale problems with hundreds of thousands of dimensions and tens of thousands of classes. We run a comparative evaluation on multiple large-scale benchmark datasets that highlights the scalability of our approach, and shows a significant performance advantage over the other state-of- the-art hierarchical methods.