Instance-dependent Label-noise Learning under a Structural Causal Model

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Yu Yao, Tongliang Liu, Mingming Gong, Bo Han, Gang Niu, Kun Zhang


Label noise generally degenerates the performance of deep learning algorithms because deep neural networks easily overfit label errors. Let $X$ and $Y$ denote the instance and clean label, respectively. When $Y$ is a cause of $X$, according to which many datasets have been constructed, e.g., \textit{SVHN} and \textit{CIFAR}, the distributions of $P(X)$ and $P(Y|X)$ are generally entangled. This means that the unsupervised instances are helpful to learn the classifier and thus reduce the side effect of label noise. However, it remains elusive on how to exploit the causal information to handle the label-noise problem. We propose to model and make use of the causal process in order to correct the label-noise effect.Empirically, the proposed method outperforms all state-of-the-art methods on both synthetic and real-world label-noise datasets.