argmax centroid

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

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Chengyue Gong, Mao Ye, Qiang Liu


We propose a general method to construct centroid approximation for the distribution of maximum points of a random function (a.k.a. argmax distribution), which finds broad applications in machine learning. Our method optimizes a set of centroid points to compactly approximate the argmax distribution with a simple objective function, without explicitly drawing exact samples from the argmax distribution. Theoretically, the argmax centroid method can be shown to minimize a surrogate of Wasserstein distance between the ground-truth argmax distribution and the centroid approximation under proper conditions. We demonstrate the applicability and effectiveness of our method on a variety of real-world multi-task learning applications, including few-shot image classification, personalized dialogue systems and multi-target domain adaptation.