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Asymptotically Unbiased Instance-wise Regularized Partial AUC Optimization: Theory and Algorithm
HuiYang Shao · Qianqian Xu · Zhiyong Yang · Shilong Bao · Qingming Huang

The Partial Area Under the ROC Curve (PAUC), typically including One-way Partial AUC (OPAUC) and Two-way Partial AUC (TPAUC), measures the average performance of a binary classifier within a specific false positive rate and/or true positive rate interval, which is a widely adopted measure when decision constraints must be considered. Consequently, PAUC optimization has naturally attracted increasing attention in the machine learning community within the last few years. Nonetheless, most of the existing methods could only optimize PAUC approximately, leading to inevitable biases that are not controllable. Fortunately, a recent work presents an unbiased formulation of the PAUC optimization problem via distributional robust optimization. However, it is based on the pair-wise formulation of AUC, which suffers from the limited scalability w.r.t. sample size and a slow convergence rate, especially for TPAUC. To address this issue, we present a simpler reformulation of the problem in an asymptotically unbiased and instance-wise manner. For both OPAUC and TPAUC, we come to a nonconvex strongly concave min-max regularized problem of instance-wise functions. On top of this, we employ an efficient solver that enjoys a linear per-iteration computational complexity w.r.t. the sample size and a time-complexity of $O(\epsilon^{-1/3})$ to reach a $\epsilon$ stationary point. Furthermore, we find that the min-max reformulation also facilitates the theoretical analysis of generalization error as a byproduct. Compared with the existing results, we present new error bounds that are much easier to prove and could deal with hypotheses with real-valued outputs. Finally, extensive experiments on several benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

Author Information

HuiYang Shao (University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Qianqian Xu (Key Laboratory of Intelligent Information Processing, Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Zhiyong Yang (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Shilong Bao (University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Qingming Huang (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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