In several applications, scarcity of labeled data is a challenging problem that hinders the predictive capabilities of machine learning algorithms. Additionally, the distribution of the data changes over time, rendering models trained with older data less capable of discovering useful structure from the newly available data. Transfer learning is a convenient framework to overcome such problems where the learning of a model specific to a domain can benefit the learning of other models in other domains through either simultaneous training of domains or sequential transfer of knowledge from one domain to the others. This thesis explores the opportunities of knowledge transfer in the context of a few applications pertaining to object recognition from images, text analysis, network modeling and recommender systems, using probabilistic latent variable models as building blocks. Both simultaneous and sequential knowledge transfer are achieved through the latent variables, either by sharing these across multiple related domains (for simultaneous learning) or by adapting their distributions to fit data from a new domain (for sequential learning).
ML ID: 322
This paper presents an approach for detecting promotional content in Wikipedia. By incorporating stylometric features, including features based on n-gram and PCFG language models, we demonstrate improved accuracy at identifying promotional articles, compared to using only lexical information and meta-features.
ML ID: 292
We introduce the Spherical Admixture Model (SAM), a Bayesian topic model for arbitrary L2 normalized data. SAM maintains the same hierarchical structure as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), but models documents as points on a high-dimensional spherical manifold, allowing a natural likelihood parameterization in terms of cosine distance. Furthermore, SAM can model word absence/presence at the document level, and unlike previous models can assign explicit negative weight to topic terms. Performance is evaluated empirically, both through human ratings of topic quality and through diverse classification tasks from natural language processing and computer vision. In these experiments, SAM consistently outperforms existing models.
ML ID: 248
Current vector-space models of lexical semantics create a single “prototype” vector to represent the meaning of a word. However, due to lexical ambiguity, encoding word meaning with a single vector is problematic. This paper presents a method that uses clustering to produce multiple “sense-specific&rdquo vectors for each word. This approach provides a context-dependent vector representation of word meaning that naturally accommodates homonymy and polysemy. Experimental comparisons to human judgements of semantic similarity for both isolated words as well as words in sentential contexts demonstrate the superiority of this approach over both prototype and exemplar based vector-space models.
ML ID: 241
We introduce the Spherical Admixture Model (SAM), a Bayesian topic model over arbitrary L2 normalized data. SAM models documents as points on a high- dimensional spherical manifold, and is capable of representing negative word- topic correlations and word presence/absence, unlike models with multinomial document likelihood, such as LDA. In this paper, we evaluate SAM as a topic browser, focusing on its ability to model “negative” topic features, and also as a dimensionality reduction method, using topic proportions as features for difficult classification tasks in natural language processing and computer vision.
ML ID: 237
In certain clustering tasks it is possible to obtain limited supervision in the form of pairwise constraints, i.e., pairs of instances labeled as belonging to same or different clusters. The resulting problem is known as semi-supervised clustering, an instance of semi-supervised learning stemming from a traditional unsupervised learning setting. Several algorithms exist for enhancing clustering quality by using supervision in the form of constraints. These algorithms typically utilize the pairwise constraints to either modify the clustering objective function or to learn the clustering distortion measure. This chapter describes an approach that employs Hidden Markov Random Fields (HMRFs) as a probabilistic generative model for semi-supervised clustering, thereby providing a principled framework for incorporating constraint-based supervision into prototype-based clustering. The HMRF-based model allows the use of a broad range of clustering distortion measures, including Bregman divergences (e.g., squared Euclidean distance, KL divergence) and directional distance measures (e.g., cosine distance), making it applicable to a number of domains. The model leads to the HMRF-KMeans algorithm which minimizes an objective function derived from the joint probability of the model, and allows unification of constraint-based and distance-based semi-supervised clustering methods. Additionally, a two-phase active learning algorithm for selecting informative pairwise constraints in a query-driven framework is derived from the HMRF model, facilitating improved clustering performance with relatively small amounts of supervision from the user.
ML ID: 176
Clustering is one of the most common data mining tasks, used frequently for data categorization and analysis in both industry and academia. The focus of our research is on semi-supervised clustering, where we study how prior knowledge, gathered either from automated information sources or human supervision, can be incorporated into clustering algorithms. In this thesis, we present probabilistic models for semi-supervised clustering, develop algorithms based on these models and empirically validate their performances by extensive experiments on data sets from different domains, e.g., text analysis, hand-written character recognition, and bioinformatics.
In many domains where clustering is applied, some prior knowledge is available either in the form of labeled data (specifying the category to which an instance belongs) or pairwise constraints on some of the instances (specifying whether two instances should be in same or different clusters). In this thesis, we first analyze effective methods of incorporating labeled supervision into prototype-based clustering algorithms, and propose two variants of the well-known KMeans algorithm that can improve their performance with limited labeled data.
We then focus on the problem of semi-supervised clustering with constraints and show how this problem can be studied in the framework of a well-defined probabilistic generative model of a Hidden Markov Random Field. We derive an efficient KMeans-type iterative algorithm, HMRF-KMeans, for optimizing a semi-supervised clustering objective function defined on the HMRF model. We also give convergence guarantees of our algorithm for a large class of clustering distortion measures (e.g., squared Euclidean distance, KL divergence, and cosine distance).
Finally, we develop an active learning algorithm for acquiring maximally informative pairwise constraints in an interactive query-driven framework, which to our knowledge is the first active learning algorithm for semi-supervised clustering with constraints.
Other interesting problems of semi-supervised clustering that we discuss in this thesis include (1) semi-supervised graph-based clustering using kernels, (2) using prior knowledge to improve overlapping clustering of data, (3) integration of both constraint-based and distance-based semi-supervised clustering methods using the HMRF model, and (4) model selection techniques that use the available supervision to automatically select the right number of clusters.
ML ID: 174
While the vast majority of clustering algorithms are partitional, many real world datasets have inherently overlapping clusters. The recent explosion of analysis on biological datasets, which are frequently overlapping, has led to new clustering models that allow hard assignment of data points to multiple clusters. One particularly appealing model was proposed by Segal et al. in the context of probabilistic relational models (PRMs) applied to the analysis of gene microarray data. In this paper, we start with the basic approach of Segal et al. and provide an alternative interpretation of the model as a generalization of mixture models, which makes it easily interpretable. While the original model maximized likelihood over constant variance Gaussians, we generalize it to work with any regular exponential family distribution, and corresponding Bregman divergences, thereby making the model applicable for a wide variety of clustering distance functions, e.g., KL-divergence, Itakura-Saito distance, I-divergence. The general model is applicable to several domains, including high-dimensional sparse domains, such as text and recommender systems. We additionally offer several algorithmic modifications that improve both the performance and applicability of the model. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithm through experiments on synthetic data as well as subsets of 20-Newsgroups and EachMovie datasets.
ML ID: 163
Unsupervised clustering can be significantly improved using supervision in the form of pairwise constraints, i.e., pairs of instances labeled as belonging to same or different clusters. In recent years, a number of algorithms have been proposed for enhancing clustering quality by employing such supervision. Such methods use the constraints to either modify the objective function, or to learn the distance measure. We propose a probabilistic model for semi-supervised clustering based on Hidden Markov Random Fields (HMRFs) that provides a principled framework for incorporating supervision into prototype-based clustering. The model generalizes a previous approach that combines constraints and Euclidean distance learning, and allows the use of a broad range of clustering distortion measures, including Bregman divergences (e.g., Euclidean distance and I-divergence) and directional similarity measures (e.g., cosine similarity). We present an algorithm that performs partitional semi-supervised clustering of data by minimizing an objective function derived from the posterior energy of the HMRF model. Experimental results on several text data sets demonstrate the advantages of the proposed framework.
ML ID: 154
ML ID: 149
Semi-supervised clustering uses a small amount of supervised data to aid unsupervised learning. One typical approach specifies a limited number of must-link and cannot-link constraints between pairs of examples. This paper presents a pairwise constrained clustering framework and a new method for actively selecting informative pairwise constraints to get improved clustering performance. The clustering and active learning methods are both easily scalable to large datasets, and can handle very high dimensional data. Experimental and theoretical results confirm that this active querying of pairwise constraints significantly improves the accuracy of clustering when given a relatively small amount of supervision.
ML ID: 141
In many machine learning domains (e.g. text processing, bioinformatics), there is a large supply of unlabeled data but limited labeled data, which can be expensive to generate. Consequently, semi-supervised learning, learning from a combination of both labeled and unlabeled data, has become a topic of significant recent interest. In the proposed thesis, our research focus is on semi-supervised clustering, which uses a small amount of supervised data in the form of class labels or pairwise constraints on some examples to aid unsupervised clustering. Semi-supervised clustering can be either search-based, i.e., changes are made to the clustering objective to satisfy user-specified labels/constraints, or similarity-based, i.e., the clustering similarity metric is trained to satisfy the given labels/constraints. Our main goal in the proposed thesis is to study search-based semi-supervised clustering algorithms and apply them to different domains.
In our initial work, we have shown how supervision can be provided to clustering in the form of labeled data points or pairwise constraints. We have also developed an active learning framework for selecting informative constraints in the pairwise constrained semi-supervised clustering model, and proposed a method for unifying search-based and similarity-based techniques in semi-supervised clustering.
In this thesis, we want to study other aspects of semi-supervised clustering. Some of the issues we want to investigate include: (1) effect of noisy, probabilistic or incomplete supervision in clustering; (2) model selection techniques for automatic selection of number of clusters in semi-supervised clustering; (3) ensemble semi-supervised clustering. In our work so far, we have mainly focussed on generative clustering models, e.g. KMeans and EM, and ran experiments on clustering low-dimensional UCI datasets or high-dimensional text datasets. In future, we want to study the effect of semi-supervision on other clustering algorithms, especially in the discriminative clustering and online clustering framework. We also want to study the effectiveness of our semi-supervised clustering algorithms on other domains, e.g., web search engines (clustering of search results), astronomy (clustering of Mars spectral images) and bioinformatics (clustering of gene microarray data).
ML ID: 134
Semi-supervised clustering uses a small amount of labeled data to aid and bias the clustering of unlabeled data. This paper explores the use of labeled data to generate initial seed clusters, as well as the use of constraints generated from labeled data to guide the clustering process. It introduces two semi-supervised variants of KMeans clustering that can be viewed as instances of the EM algorithm, where labeled data provides prior information about the conditional distributions of hidden category labels. Experimental results demonstrate the advantages of these methods over standard random seeding and COP-KMeans, a previously developed semi-supervised clustering algorithm.
ML ID: 113
Recommender systems improve access to relevant products and information by making personalized suggestions based on previous examples of a user's likes and dislikes. Most existing recommender systems use collaborative filtering methods that base recommendations on other users' preferences. By contrast, content-based methods use information about an item itself to make suggestions. This approach has the advantage of being able to recommend previously unrated items to users with unique interests and to provide explanations for its recommendations. We describe a content-based book recommending system that utilizes information extraction and a machine-learning algorithm for text categorization. Initial experimental results demonstrate that this approach can produce accurate recommendations.
ML ID: 98
Recommender systems improve access to relevant products and information by making personalized suggestions based on previous examples of a user's likes and dislikes. Most existing recommender systems use social filtering methods that base recommendations on other users' preferences. By contrast, content-based methods use information about an item itself to make suggestions. This approach has the advantage of being able to recommended previously unrated items to users with unique interests and to provide explanations for its recommendations. We describe a content-based book recommending system that utilizes information extraction and a machine-learning algorithm for text categorization. Initial experimental results demonstrate that this approach can produce accurate recommendations. These experiments are based on ratings from random samplings of items and we discuss problems with previous experiments that employ skewed samples of user-selected examples to evaluate performance.
ML ID: 96
Classifying web pages is an important task in automating the organization of information on the WWW, and learning for text categorization can help automate the development of such systems. This project explores using two aspects of HTML to improve learning for text categorization: 1) Using HTML tags such as titles, links, and headings to partition the text on a page and 2) Using the pages linked from a given page to augment its description. Initial experimental results on 26 categories from the Yahoo hierarchy demonstrate the promise of these two methods for improving the accuracy of a bag-of-words text classifier using a simple Bayesian learning algorithm.
ML ID: 91
Content-based recommender systems suggest documents, items, and services to users based on learning a profile of the user from rated examples containing information about the given items. Text categorization methods are very useful for this task but generally rely on unstructured text. We have developed a book-recommending system that utilizes semi-structured information about items gathered from the web using simple information extraction techniques. Initial experimental results demonstrate that this approach can produce fairly accurate recommendations.
ML ID: 86
With the growth of the World Wide Web, recommender systems have received an increasing amount of attention. Many recommender systems in use today are based on collaborative filtering. This project has focused on LIBRA, a content-based book recommending system. By utilizing text categorization methods and the information available for each book, the system determines a user profile which is used as the basis of recommendations made to the user. Instead of the bag-of-words approach used in many other statistical text categorization approaches, LIBRA parses each text sample into a semi-structured representation. We have used standard Machine Learning techniques to analyze the performance of several algorithms on this learning task. In addition, we analyze the utility of several methods of feature construction and selection (i.e. methods of choosing the representation of an item that the learning algorithm actually uses). After analyzing the system we conclude that good recommendations are produced after a relatively small number of training examples. We also conclude that the feature selection method tested does not improve the performance of these algorithms in any systematic way, though the results indicate other feature selection methods may prove useful. Feature construction, however, while not providing a large increase in performance with the particular construction methods used here, holds promise of providing performance improvements for the algorithms investigated. This text assumes only minor familiarity with concepts of artificial intelligence and should be readable by the upper division computer science undergraduate familiar with basic concepts of probability theory and set theory.
ML ID: 85