Noise-Tolerant Interactive Learning Using Pairwise Comparisons

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Yichong Xu, Hongyang Zhang, Kyle Miller, Aarti Singh, Artur Dubrawski


We study the problem of interactively learning a binary classifier using noisy labeling and pairwise comparison oracles, where the comparison oracle answers which one in the given two instances is more likely to be positive. Learning from such oracles has multiple applications where obtaining direct labels is harder but pairwise comparisons are easier, and the algorithm can leverage both types of oracles. In this paper, we attempt to characterize how the access to an easier comparison oracle helps in improving the label and total query complexity. We show that the comparison oracle reduces the learning problem to that of learning a threshold function. We then present an algorithm that interactively queries the label and comparison oracles and we characterize its query complexity under Tsybakov and adversarial noise conditions for the comparison and labeling oracles. Our lower bounds show that our label and total query complexity is almost optimal.