Multi-Label Noise Transition Matrix Estimation with Label Correlations: Theory and Algorithm

Noisy multi-label learning has garnered increasing attention due to the challenges posed by collecting large-scale accurate labels, making noisy labels a more practical alternative. Motivated by noisy multi-class learning, the introduction of transition matrices can help model multi-label noise and enable the development of statistically consistent algorithms for noisy multi-label learning. However, estimating multi-label noise transition matrices remains a challenging task, as most existing estimators in noisy multi-class learning rely on anchor points and accurate fitting of noisy class posteriors, which is hard to satisfy in noisy multi-label learning. In this paper, we address this problem by first investigating the identifiability of class-dependent transition matrices in noisy multi-label learning. Building upon the identifiability results, we propose a novel estimator that leverages label correlations without the need for anchor points or precise fitting of noisy class posteriors. Specifically, we first estimate the occurrence probability of two noisy labels to capture noisy label correlations. Subsequently, we employ sample selection techniques to extract information implying clean label correlations, which are then used to estimate the occurrence probability of one noisy label when a certain clean label appears. By exploiting the mismatches in label correlations implied by these occurrence probabilities, we demonstrate that the transition matrix becomes identifiable and can be acquired by solving a bilinear decomposition problem. Theoretically, we establish an estimation error bound for our multi-label transition matrix estimator and derive a generalization error bound for our statistically consistent algorithm. Empirically, we validate the effectiveness of our estimator in estimating multi-label noise transition matrices, leading to excellent classification performance.

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