Low Budget Active Learning via Wasserstein Distance: An Integer Programming Approach

Rafid Mahmood, Sanja Fidler, Marc T. Law

Given restrictions on the availability of data, active learning is the process of training a model with limited labeled data by selecting a core subset of an unlabeled data pool to label. Although selecting the most useful points for training is an optimization problem, the scale of deep learning data sets forces most selection strategies to employ efficient heuristics. Instead, we propose a new integer optimization problem for selecting a core set that minimizes the discrete Wasserstein distance from the unlabeled pool. We demonstrate that this problem can be tractably solved with a Generalized Benders Decomposition algorithm. Our strategy requires high-quality latent features which we obtain by unsupervised learning on the unlabeled pool. Numerical results on several data sets show that our optimization approach is competitive with baselines and particularly outperforms them in the low budget regime where less than one percent of the data set is labeled.

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