Home Page




Editorial Board

Special Issues

Open Source Software

Proceedings (PMLR)

Data (DMLR)

Transactions (TMLR)




Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

RSS Feed

An Embedding Framework for the Design and Analysis of Consistent Polyhedral Surrogates

Jessie Finocchiaro, Rafael M. Frongillo, Bo Waggoner; 25(63):1−60, 2024.


We formalize and study the natural approach of designing convex surrogate loss functions via embeddings, for discrete problems such as classification, ranking, or structured prediction. In this approach, one embeds each of the finitely many predictions (e.g. rankings) as a point in $\mathbb{R}^d$, assigns the original loss values to these points, and “convexifies” the loss in some way to obtain a surrogate. We establish a strong connection between this approach and polyhedral (piecewise-linear convex) surrogate losses: every discrete loss is embedded by some polyhedral loss, and every polyhedral loss embeds some discrete loss. Moreover, an embedding gives rise to a consistent link function as well as linear surrogate regret bounds. Our results are constructive, as we illustrate with several examples. In particular, our framework gives succinct proofs of consistency or inconsistency for existing polyhedral surrogates, and for inconsistent surrogates, it further reveals the discrete losses for which these surrogates are consistent. We go on to show additional structure of embeddings, such as the equivalence of embedding and matching Bayes risks, and the equivalence of various notions of non-redudancy. Using these results, we establish that indirect elicitation, a necessary condition for consistency, is also sufficient when working with polyhedral surrogates.

© JMLR 2024. (edit, beta)