Learning transport cost from subset correspondence

by   Ruishan Liu, et al.

Learning to align multiple datasets is an important problem with many applications, and it is especially useful when we need to integrate multiple experiments or correct for confounding. Optimal transport (OT) is a principled approach to align datasets, but a key challenge in applying OT is that we need to specify a transport cost function that accurately captures how the two datasets are related. Reliable cost functions are typically not available and practitioners often resort to using hand-crafted or Euclidean cost even if it may not be appropriate. In this work, we investigate how to learn the cost function using a small amount of side information which is often available. The side information we consider captures subset correspondence---i.e. certain subsets of points in the two data sets are known to be related. For example, we may have some images labeled as cars in both datasets; or we may have a common annotated cell type in single-cell data from two batches. We develop an end-to-end optimizer (OT-SI) that differentiates through the Sinkhorn algorithm and effectively learns the suitable cost function from side information. On systematic experiments in images, marriage-matching and single-cell RNA-seq, our method substantially outperform state-of-the-art benchmarks.


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