Selective prediction-set models with coverage guarantees

Jean Feng, Arjun Sondhi, Jessica Perry, Noah Simon

Though black-box predictors are state-of-the-art for many complex tasks, they often fail to properly quantify predictive uncertainty and may provide inappropriate predictions for unfamiliar data. Instead, we can learn more reliable models by letting them either output a prediction set or abstain when the uncertainty is high. We propose training these selective prediction-set models using an uncertainty-aware loss minimization framework, which unifies ideas from decision theory and robust maximum likelihood. Moreover, since black-box methods are not guaranteed to output well-calibrated prediction sets, we show how to calculate point estimates and confidence intervals for the true coverage of any selective prediction-set model, as well as a uniform mixture of K set models obtained from K-fold sample-splitting. When applied to predicting in-hospital mortality and length-of-stay for ICU patients, our model outperforms existing approaches on both in-sample and out-of-sample age groups, and our recalibration method provides accurate inference for prediction set coverage.

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