Distribution-Free, Risk-Controlling Prediction Sets

7 Jan 2021  ·  Stephen Bates, Anastasios Angelopoulos, Lihua Lei, Jitendra Malik, Michael I. Jordan ·

While improving prediction accuracy has been the focus of machine learning in recent years, this alone does not suffice for reliable decision-making. Deploying learning systems in consequential settings also requires calibrating and communicating the uncertainty of predictions... To convey instance-wise uncertainty for prediction tasks, we show how to generate set-valued predictions from a black-box predictor that control the expected loss on future test points at a user-specified level. Our approach provides explicit finite-sample guarantees for any dataset by using a holdout set to calibrate the size of the prediction sets. This framework enables simple, distribution-free, rigorous error control for many tasks, and we demonstrate it in five large-scale machine learning problems: (1) classification problems where some mistakes are more costly than others; (2) multi-label classification, where each observation has multiple associated labels; (3) classification problems where the labels have a hierarchical structure; (4) image segmentation, where we wish to predict a set of pixels containing an object of interest; and (5) protein structure prediction. Lastly, we discuss extensions to uncertainty quantification for ranking, metric learning and distributionally robust learning. read more

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