Structure Regularization for Structured Prediction

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Xu Sun


While there are many studies on weight regularization, the study on structure regularization is rare. Many existing systems on structured prediction focus on increasing the level of structural dependencies within the model. However, this trend could have been misdirected, because our study suggests that complex structures are actually harmful to generalization ability in structured prediction. To control structure-based overfitting, we propose a structure regularization framework via \emph{structure decomposition}, which decomposes training samples into mini-samples with simpler structures, deriving a model with better generalization power. We show both theoretically and empirically that structure regularization can effectively control overfitting risk and lead to better accuracy. As a by-product, the proposed method can also substantially accelerate the training speed. The method and the theoretical results can apply to general graphical models with arbitrary structures. Experiments on well-known tasks demonstrate that our method can easily beat the benchmark systems on those highly-competitive tasks, achieving record-breaking accuracies yet with substantially faster training speed.