PPDsparse: A Parallel Primal-Dual Sparse Method for Extreme Classification

author: Xiangru Huang, Department of Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin
published: Oct. 9, 2017,   recorded: August 2017,   views: 1054

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Extreme Classification comprises multi-class or multi-label prediction where there is a large number of classes, and is increasingly relevant to many real-world applications such as text and image tagging. In this setting, standard classification methods, with complexity linear in the number of classes, become intractable, while enforcing structural constraints among classes (such as low-rank or tree-structure) to reduce complexity often sacrifices accuracy for efficiency. The recent PD-Sparse method addresses this via an algorithm that is sub-linear in the number of variables, by exploiting primal-dual sparsity inherent in a specific loss function, namely the max-margin loss. In this work, we extend PD-Sparse to be efficiently parallelized in large-scale distributed settings. By introducing separable loss functions, we can scale out the training, with network communication and space efficiency comparable to those in one-versus-all approaches while maintaining an overall complexity sub-linear in the number of classes. On several large-scale benchmarks our proposed method achieves accuracy competitive to the state-of-the-art while reducing the training time from days to tens of minutes compared with existing parallel or sparse methods on a cluster of 100 cores.

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