Unsupervised Transfer Classification: Application to Text Categorization

author: Tianbao Yang, Computer Science Department, University of Iowa
published: Oct. 1, 2010,   recorded: July 2010,   views: 3820


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We study the problem of building the classification model for a target class in the absence of any labeled training example for that class. To address this difficult learning problem, we extend the idea of transfer learning by assuming that the following side information is available: (i) a collection of labeled examples belonging to other classes in the problem domain, called the auxiliary classes; (ii) the class information including the prior of the target class and the correlation between the target class and the auxiliary classes. Our goal is to construct the classification model for the target class by leveraging the above data and information. We refer to this learning problem as unsupervised transfer classification. Our framework is based on the generalized maximum entropy model that is effective in transferring the label information of the auxiliary classes to the target class. A theoretical analysis shows that under certain assumption, the classification model obtained by the proposed approach converges to the optimal model when it is learned from the labeled examples for the target class. Empirical study on text categorization over four different data sets verifies the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

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