Semi-Supervised AUC Optimization based on Positive-Unlabeled Learning

4 May 2017  ·  Tomoya Sakai, Gang Niu, Masashi Sugiyama ·

Maximizing the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) is a standard approach to imbalanced classification. So far, various supervised AUC optimization methods have been developed and they are also extended to semi-supervised scenarios to cope with small sample problems. However, existing semi-supervised AUC optimization methods rely on strong distributional assumptions, which are rarely satisfied in real-world problems. In this paper, we propose a novel semi-supervised AUC optimization method that does not require such restrictive assumptions. We first develop an AUC optimization method based only on positive and unlabeled data (PU-AUC) and then extend it to semi-supervised learning by combining it with a supervised AUC optimization method. We theoretically prove that, without the restrictive distributional assumptions, unlabeled data contribute to improving the generalization performance in PU and semi-supervised AUC optimization methods. Finally, we demonstrate the practical usefulness of the proposed methods through experiments.

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