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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 10, 2024
  2. Active learning is a label-efficient approach to train highly effective models while interactively selecting only small subsets of unlabelled data for labelling and training. In "open world" settings, the classes of interest can make up a small fraction of the overall dataset -- most of the data may be viewed as an out-of-distribution or irrelevant class. This leads to extreme class-imbalance, and our theory and methods focus on this core issue. We propose a new strategy for active learning called GALAXY (Graph-based Active Learning At the eXtrEme), which blends ideas from graph-based active learning and deep learning. GALAXY automatically and adaptively selects more class-balanced examples for labeling than most other methods for active learning. Our theory shows that GALAXY performs a refined form of uncertainty sampling that gathers a much more class-balanced dataset than vanilla uncertainty sampling. Experimentally, we demonstrate GALAXY's superiority over existing state-of-art deep active learning algorithms in unbalanced vision classification settings generated from popular datasets. 
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  3. The model selection problem in the pure exploration linear bandit setting is introduced and studied in both the fixed confidence and fixed budget settings. The model selection problem considers a nested sequence of hypothesis classes of increasing complexities. Our goal is to automatically adapt to the instance-dependent complexity measure of the smallest hypothesis class containing the true model, rather than suffering from the complexity measure related to the largest hypothesis class. We provide evidence showing that a standard doubling trick over dimension fails to achieve the optimal instance-dependent sample complexity. Our algorithms define a new optimization problem based on experimental design that leverages the geometry of the action set to efficiently identify a near-optimal hypothesis class. Our fixed budget algorithm uses a novel application of a selection-validation trick in bandits. This provides a new method for the understudied fixed budget setting in linear bandits (even without the added challenge of model selection). We further generalize the model selection problem to the misspecified regime, adapting our algorithms in both fixed confidence and fixed budget settings. 
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  4. Out-of-distribution (OOD) detection is important for machine learning models deployed in the wild. Recent methods use auxiliary outlier data to regularize the model for improved OOD detection. However, these approaches make a strong distributional assumption that the auxiliary outlier data is completely separable from the in-distribution (ID) data. In this paper, we propose a novel framework that leverages wild mixture data -- that naturally consists of both ID and OOD samples. Such wild data is abundant and arises freely upon deploying a machine learning classifier in their \emph{natural habitats}. Our key idea is to formulate a constrained optimization problem and to show how to tractably solve it. Our learning objective maximizes the OOD detection rate, subject to constraints on the classification error of ID data and on the OOD error rate of ID examples. We extensively evaluate our approach on common OOD detection tasks and demonstrate superior performance. 
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  5. Many active learning and search approaches are intractable for large-scale industrial settings with billions of unlabeled examples. Existing approaches search globally for the optimal examples to label, scaling linearly or even quadratically with the unlabeled data. In this paper, we improve the computational efficiency of active learning and search methods by restricting the candidate pool for labeling to the nearest neighbors of the currently labeled set instead of scanning over all of the unlabeled data. We evaluate several selection strategies in this setting on three large-scale computer vision datasets: ImageNet, OpenImages, and a de-identified and aggregated dataset of 10 billion publicly shared images provided by a large internet company. Our approach achieved similar mean average precision and recall as the traditional global approach while reducing the computational cost of selection by up to three orders of magnitude, enabling web-scale active learning. 
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