Bayesian Transduction

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 12 (NIPS 1999)

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Thore Graepel, Ralf Herbrich, Klaus Obermayer


Transduction is an inference principle that takes a training sam(cid:173) ple and aims at estimating the values of a function at given points contained in the so-called working sample as opposed to the whole of input space for induction. Transduction provides a confidence measure on single predictions rather than classifiers - a feature particularly important for risk-sensitive applications. The possibly infinite number of functions is reduced to a finite number of equiv(cid:173) alence classes on the working sample. A rigorous Bayesian analysis reveals that for standard classification loss we cannot benefit from considering more than one test point at a time. The probability of the label of a given test point is determined as the posterior measure of the corresponding subset of hypothesis space. We con(cid:173) sider the PAC setting of binary classification by linear discriminant functions (perceptrons) in kernel space such that the probability of labels is determined by the volume ratio in version space. We suggest to sample this region by an ergodic billiard. Experimen(cid:173) tal results on real world data indicate that Bayesian Transduction compares favourably to the well-known Support Vector Machine, in particular if the posterior probability of labellings is used as a confidence measure to exclude test points of low confidence.