Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

*Dimitris Fotakis, Alkis Kalavasis, Vasilis Kontonis, Christos Tzamos*

Label Ranking (LR) is the supervised task of learning a sorting function that maps feature vectors $x \in \mathbb{R}^d$ to rankings $\sigma(x) \in \mathbb S_k$ over a finite set of $k$ labels. We focus on the fundamental case of learning linear sorting functions (LSFs) under Gaussian marginals: $x$ is sampled from the $d$-dimensional standard normal and the ground truth ranking $\sigma^\star(x)$ is the ordering induced by sorting the coordinates of the vector $W^\star x$, where $W^\star \in \mathbb{R}^{k \times d}$ is unknown. We consider learning LSFs in the presence of bounded noise: assuming that a noiseless example is of the form $(x, \sigma^\star(x))$, we observe $(x, \pi)$, where for any pair of elements $i \neq j$, the probability that the order of $i, j$ is different in $\pi$ than in $\sigma^\star(x)$ is at most $\eta < 1/2$. We design efficient non-proper and proper learning algorithms that learn hypotheses within normalized Kendall's Tau distance $\epsilon$ from the ground truth with $N= \widetilde{O}(d\log(k)/\epsilon)$ labeled examples and runtime $\mathrm{poly}(N, k)$. For the more challenging top-$r$ disagreement loss, we give an efficient proper learning algorithm that achieves $\epsilon$ top-$r$ disagreement with the ground truth with $N = \widetilde{O}(d k r /\epsilon)$ samples and $\mathrm{poly}(N)$ runtime.

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