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Active Learning for Cost-Sensitive Classification

Akshay Krishnamurthy, Alekh Agarwal, Tzu-Kuo Huang, Hal Daum√© III, John Langford; 20(65):1−50, 2019.


We design an active learning algorithm for cost-sensitive multiclass classification: problems where different errors have different costs. Our algorithm, COAL, makes predictions by regressing to each label's cost and predicting the smallest. On a new example, it uses a set of regressors that perform well on past data to estimate possible costs for each label. It queries only the labels that could be the best, ignoring the sure losers. We prove COAL can be efficiently implemented for any regression family that admits squared loss optimization; it also enjoys strong guarantees with respect to predictive performance and labeling effort. We empirically compare COAL to passive learning and several active learning baselines, showing significant improvements in labeling effort and test cost on real-world datasets.

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