Stability Enhanced Large-Margin Classifier Selection

20 Jan 2017  ·  Will Wei Sun, Guang Cheng, Yufeng Liu ·

Stability is an important aspect of a classification procedure because unstable predictions can potentially reduce users' trust in a classification system and also harm the reproducibility of scientific conclusions. The major goal of our work is to introduce a novel concept of classification instability, i.e., decision boundary instability (DBI), and incorporate it with the generalization error (GE) as a standard for selecting the most accurate and stable classifier. Specifically, we implement a two-stage algorithm: (i) initially select a subset of classifiers whose estimated GEs are not significantly different from the minimal estimated GE among all the candidate classifiers; (ii) the optimal classifier is chosen as the one achieving the minimal DBI among the subset selected in stage (i). This general selection principle applies to both linear and nonlinear classifiers. Large-margin classifiers are used as a prototypical example to illustrate the above idea. Our selection method is shown to be consistent in the sense that the optimal classifier simultaneously achieves the minimal GE and the minimal DBI. Various simulations and real examples further demonstrate the advantage of our method over several alternative approaches.

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