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54
The strength of weak learnability
 Machine Learning
, 1990
"... Abstract. This paper addresses the problem of improving the accuracy of an hypothesis output by a learning algorithm in the distributionfree (PAC) learning model. A concept class is learnable (or strongly learnable) if, given access to a Source of examples of the unknown concept, the learner with h ..."
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Cited by 805 (22 self)
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Abstract. This paper addresses the problem of improving the accuracy of an hypothesis output by a learning algorithm in the distributionfree (PAC) learning model. A concept class is learnable (or strongly learnable) if, given access to a Source of examples of the unknown concept, the learner with high probability is able to output an hypothesis that is correct on all but an arbitrarily small fraction of the instances. The concept class is weakly learnable if the learner can produce an hypothesis that performs only slightly better than random guessing. In this paper, it is shown that these two notions of learnability are equivalent. A method is described for converting a weak learning algorithm into one that achieves arbitrarily high accuracy. This construction may have practical applications as a tool for efficiently converting a mediocre learning algorithm into one that performs extremely well. In addition, the construction has some interesting theoretical consequences, including a set of general upper bounds on the complexity of any strong learning algorithm as a function of the allowed error e.
Learning quickly when irrelevant attributes abound: A new linearthreshold algorithm
 Machine Learning
, 1988
"... learning Boolean functions, linearthreshold algorithms Abstract. Valiant (1984) and others have studied the problem of learning various classes of Boolean functions from examples. Here we discuss incremental learning of these functions. We consider a setting in which the learner responds to each ex ..."
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Cited by 741 (5 self)
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learning Boolean functions, linearthreshold algorithms Abstract. Valiant (1984) and others have studied the problem of learning various classes of Boolean functions from examples. Here we discuss incremental learning of these functions. We consider a setting in which the learner responds to each example according to a current hypothesis. Then the learner updates the hypothesis, if necessary, based on the correct classification of the example. One natural measure of the quality of learning in this setting is the number of mistakes the learner makes. For suitable classes of functions, learning algorithms are available that make a bounded number of mistakes, with the bound independent of the number of examples seen by the learner. We present one such algorithm that learns disjunctive Boolean functions, along with variants for learning other classes of Boolean functions. The basic method can be expressed as a linearthreshold algorithm. A primary advantage of this algorithm is that the number of mistakes grows only logarithmically with the number of irrelevant attributes in the examples. At the same time, the algorithm is computationally efficient in both time and space. 1.
How to Use Expert Advice
 JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR COMPUTING MACHINERY
, 1997
"... We analyze algorithms that predict a binary value by combining the predictions of several prediction strategies, called experts. Our analysis is for worstcase situations, i.e., we make no assumptions about the way the sequence of bits to be predicted is generated. We measure the performance of the ..."
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Cited by 350 (71 self)
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We analyze algorithms that predict a binary value by combining the predictions of several prediction strategies, called experts. Our analysis is for worstcase situations, i.e., we make no assumptions about the way the sequence of bits to be predicted is generated. We measure the performance of the algorithm by the difference between the expected number of mistakes it makes on the bit sequence and the expected number of mistakes made by the best expert on this sequence, where the expectation is taken with respect to the randomization in the predictions. We show that the minimum achievable difference is on the order of the square root of the number of mistakes of the best expert, and we give efficient algorithms that achieve this. Our upper and lower bounds have matching leading constants in most cases. We then show howthis leads to certain kinds of pattern recognition/learning algorithms with performance bounds that improve on the best results currently known in this context. We also compare our analysis to the case in which log loss is used instead of the expected number of mistakes.
Learning conjunctions of Horn clauses
 In Proceedings of the 31st Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science
, 1990
"... Abstract. An algorithm is presented for learning the class of Boolean formulas that are expressible as conjunctions of Horn clauses. (A Horn clause is a disjunction of literals, all but at most one of which is a negated variable.) The algorithm uses equivalence queries and membership queries to prod ..."
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Cited by 117 (14 self)
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Abstract. An algorithm is presented for learning the class of Boolean formulas that are expressible as conjunctions of Horn clauses. (A Horn clause is a disjunction of literals, all but at most one of which is a negated variable.) The algorithm uses equivalence queries and membership queries to produce a formula that is logically equivalent to the unknown formula to be learned. The amount of time used by the algorithm is polynomial in the number of variables and the number of clauses in the unknown formula.
Bounding the VapnikChervonenkis dimension of concept classes parameterized by real numbers
 Machine Learning
, 1995
"... Abstract. The VapnikChervonenkis (VC) dimension is an important combinatorial tool in the analysis of learning problems in the PAC framework. For polynomial learnability, we seek upper bounds on the VC dimension that are polynomial in the syntactic complexity of concepts. Such upper bounds are au ..."
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Cited by 90 (1 self)
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Abstract. The VapnikChervonenkis (VC) dimension is an important combinatorial tool in the analysis of learning problems in the PAC framework. For polynomial learnability, we seek upper bounds on the VC dimension that are polynomial in the syntactic complexity of concepts. Such upper bounds are automatic for discrete concept classes, but hitherto little has been known about what general conditions guarantee polynomial bounds on VC dimension for classes in which concepts and examples are represented by tuples of real numbers. In this paper, we show that for two general kinds of concept class the VC dimension is polynomially bounded in the number of real numbers used to define a problem instance. One is classes where the criterion for membership of an instance in a concept can be expressed as a formula (in the firstorder theory of the reals) with fixed quantification depth and exponentiallybounded length, whose atomic predicates are polynomial inequalities of exponentiallybounded degree. The other is classes where containment of an instance in a concept is testable in polynomial time, assuming we may compute standard arithmetic operations on reals exactly in constant time. Our results show that in the continuous case, as in the discrete, the real barrier to efficient learning in the Occam sense is complexitytheoretic and not informationtheoretic. We present examples to show how these results apply to concept classes defined by geometrical figures and neural nets, and derive polynomial bounds on the VC dimension for these classes. Keywords: Concept learning, information theory, VapnikChervonenkis dimension, Milnor’s theorem 1.
Tracking drifting concepts by minimizing disagreements
 Machine Learning
, 1994
"... Abstract. In this paper we consider the problem of tracking a subset of a domain (called the target) which changes gradually over time. A single (unknown) probability distribution over the domain is used to generate random examples for the learning algorithm and measure the speed at which the target ..."
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Cited by 73 (3 self)
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Abstract. In this paper we consider the problem of tracking a subset of a domain (called the target) which changes gradually over time. A single (unknown) probability distribution over the domain is used to generate random examples for the learning algorithm and measure the speed at which the target changes. Clearly, the more rapidly the target moves, the harder it is for the algorithm to maintain a good approximation of the target. Therefore we evaluate algorithms based on how much movement of the target can be tolerated between examples while predicting with accuracy e. Furthermore, the complexity of the class 7/of possible targets, as measured by d, its VCdimension, also effects the difficulty of tracking the target concept. We show that if the problem of minimizing the number of disagreements with a sample from among concepts in a class 7 { can be approximated to within a factor k, then there is a simple tracking algorithm for 7t which can achieve a probability e of making a mistake if the target movement rate is at most a constant times e2/(k(d + k) In 1), where d is the VapnikChervonenkis dimension of 7t. Also, we show that if 7 / is properly PAClearnable, then there is an efficient (randomized) algorithm that with high probability approximately minimizes disagreements to within a factor of 7d + 1, yielding an efficient tracking algorithm for 7I which tolerates drift rates up to a constant times e2/(d 2 In ). In addition, we prove complementary results for the classes of halfspaces and axisaligned hyperrectangles showing that the maximum rate of drift that any algorithm (even with unlimited computational power) can tolerate is a constant times e2/d.
The True Sample Complexity of Active Learning
"... We describe and explore a new perspective on the sample complexity of active learning. In many situations where it was generally believed that active learning does not help, we find that active learning does help in the limit, often with exponential improvements in sample complexity. This contrasts ..."
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Cited by 63 (16 self)
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We describe and explore a new perspective on the sample complexity of active learning. In many situations where it was generally believed that active learning does not help, we find that active learning does help in the limit, often with exponential improvements in sample complexity. This contrasts with the traditional analysis of active learning problems such as nonhomogeneous linear separators or depthlimited decision trees, in which Ω(1/ɛ) lower bounds are common; we point out that such results must be interpreted carefully, and that finding an ɛgood classifier can always be accomplished with a number of samples asymptotically smaller than any such bound. These new insights arise from a subtle variation on the traditional definition of sample complexity, not previously recognized in the active learning literature. 1
Risk bounds for Statistical Learning
"... We propose a general theorem providing upper bounds for the risk of an empirical risk minimizer (ERM).We essentially focus on the binary classi…cation framework. We extend Tsybakov’s analysis of the risk of an ERM under margin type conditions by using concentration inequalities for conveniently weig ..."
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Cited by 50 (2 self)
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We propose a general theorem providing upper bounds for the risk of an empirical risk minimizer (ERM).We essentially focus on the binary classi…cation framework. We extend Tsybakov’s analysis of the risk of an ERM under margin type conditions by using concentration inequalities for conveniently weighted empirical processes. This allows us to deal with other ways of measuring the ”size”of a class of classi…ers than entropy with bracketing as in Tsybakov’s work. In particular we derive new risk bounds for the ERM when the classi…cation rules belong to some VCclass under margin conditions and discuss the optimality of those bounds in a minimax sense.
Efficient Learning of Typical Finite Automata from Random Walks
, 1997
"... This paper describes new and efficient algorithms for learning deterministic finite automata. Our approach is primarily distinguished by two features: (1) the adoption of an averagecase setting to model the ``typical'' labeling of a finite automaton, while retaining a worstcase model for ..."
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Cited by 49 (9 self)
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This paper describes new and efficient algorithms for learning deterministic finite automata. Our approach is primarily distinguished by two features: (1) the adoption of an averagecase setting to model the ``typical'' labeling of a finite automaton, while retaining a worstcase model for the underlying graph of the automaton, along with (2) a learning model in which the learner is not provided with the means to experiment with the machine, but rather must learn solely by observing the automaton's output behavior on a random input sequence. The main contribution of this paper is in presenting the first efficient algorithms for learning nontrivial classes of automata in an entirely passive learning model. We adopt an online learning model in which the learner is asked to predict the output of the next state, given the next symbol of the random input sequence; the goal of the learner is to make as few prediction mistakes as possible. Assuming the learner has a means of resetting the target machine to a fixed start state, we first present an efficient algorithm that
Probably Approximately Correct Learning
 Proceedings of the Eighth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence
, 1990
"... This paper surveys some recent theoretical results on the efficiency of machine learning algorithms. The main tool described is the notion of Probably Approximately Correct (PAC) learning, introduced by Valiant. We define this learning model and then look at some of the results obtained in it. We th ..."
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Cited by 40 (1 self)
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This paper surveys some recent theoretical results on the efficiency of machine learning algorithms. The main tool described is the notion of Probably Approximately Correct (PAC) learning, introduced by Valiant. We define this learning model and then look at some of the results obtained in it. We then consider some criticisms of the PAC model and the extensions proposed to address these criticisms. Finally, we look briefly at other models recently proposed in computational learning theory. 2 Introduction It's a dangerous thing to try to formalize an enterprise as complex and varied as machine learning so that it can be subjected to rigorous mathematical analysis. To be tractable, a formal model must be simple. Thus, inevitably, most people will feel that important aspects of the activity have been left out of the theory. Of course, they will be right. Therefore, it is not advisable to present a theory of machine learning as having reduced the entire field to its bare essentials. All ...