Tackling Diverse Minorities in Imbalanced Classification

Imbalanced datasets are commonly observed in various real-world applications, presenting significant challenges in training classifiers. When working with large datasets, the imbalanced issue can be further exacerbated, making it exceptionally difficult to train classifiers effectively. To address the problem, over-sampling techniques have been developed to linearly interpolating data instances between minorities and their neighbors. However, in many real-world scenarios such as anomaly detection, minority instances are often dispersed diversely in the feature space rather than clustered together. Inspired by domain-agnostic data mix-up, we propose generating synthetic samples iteratively by mixing data samples from both minority and majority classes. It is non-trivial to develop such a framework, the challenges include source sample selection, mix-up strategy selection, and the coordination between the underlying model and mix-up strategies. To tackle these challenges, we formulate the problem of iterative data mix-up as a Markov decision process (MDP) that maps data attributes onto an augmentation strategy. To solve the MDP, we employ an actor-critic framework to adapt the discrete-continuous decision space. This framework is utilized to train a data augmentation policy and design a reward signal that explores classifier uncertainty and encourages performance improvement, irrespective of the classifier's convergence. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed framework through extensive experiments conducted on seven publicly available benchmark datasets using three different types of classifiers. The results of these experiments showcase the potential and promise of our framework in addressing imbalanced datasets with diverse minorities.

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