Optimistic Semi-supervised Least Squares Classification

Jesse H. Krijthe, Marco Loog

The goal of semi-supervised learning is to improve supervised classifiers by using additional unlabeled training examples. In this work we study a simple self-learning approach to semi-supervised learning applied to the least squares classifier. We show that a soft-label and a hard-label variant of self-learning can be derived by applying block coordinate descent to two related but slightly different objective functions. The resulting soft-label approach is related to an idea about dealing with missing data that dates back to the 1930s. We show that the soft-label variant typically outperforms the hard-label variant on benchmark datasets and partially explain this behaviour by studying the relative difficulty of finding good local minima for the corresponding objective functions.

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