An Extended Level Method for Efficient Multiple Kernel Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 21 (NIPS 2008)

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Zenglin Xu, Rong Jin, Irwin King, Michael Lyu


We consider the problem of multiple kernel learning (MKL), which can be formulated as a convex-concave problem. In the past, two efficient methods, i.e., Semi-Infinite Linear Programming (SILP) and Subgradient Descent (SD), have been proposed for large-scale multiple kernel learning. Despite their success, both methods have their own shortcomings: (a) the SD method utilizes the gradient of only the current solution, and (b) the SILP method does not regularize the approximate solution obtained from the cutting plane model. In this work, we extend the level method, which was originally designed for optimizing non-smooth objective functions, to convex-concave optimization, and apply it to multiple kernel learning. The extended level method overcomes the drawbacks of SILP and SD by exploiting all the gradients computed in past iterations and by regularizing the solution via a projection to a level set. Empirical study with eight UCI datasets shows that the extended level method can significantly improve efficiency by saving on average 91.9% of computational time over the SILP method and 70.3% over the SD method.