Probabilistic Label Trees for Extreme Multi-label Classification

09/23/2020 ∙ by Kalina Jasinska-Kobus, et al. ∙ 4

Extreme multi-label classification (XMLC) is a learning task of tagging instances with a small subset of relevant labels chosen from an extremely large pool of possible labels. Problems of this scale can be efficiently handled by organizing labels as a tree, like in hierarchical softmax used for multi-class problems. In this paper, we thoroughly investigate probabilistic label trees (PLTs) which can be treated as a generalization of hierarchical softmax for multi-label problems. We first introduce the PLT model and discuss training and inference procedures and their computational costs. Next, we prove the consistency of PLTs for a wide spectrum of performance metrics. To this end, we upperbound their regret by a function of surrogate-loss regrets of node classifiers. Furthermore, we consider a problem of training PLTs in a fully online setting, without any prior knowledge of training instances, their features, or labels. In this case, both node classifiers and the tree structure are trained online. We prove a specific equivalence between the fully online algorithm and an algorithm with a tree structure given in advance. Finally, we discuss several implementations of PLTs and introduce a new one, napkinXC, which we empirically evaluate and compare with state-of-the-art algorithms.

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