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Supervised Tree-Wasserstein Distance

Yuki Takezawa · Ryoma Sato · Makoto Yamada


Keywords: [ Algorithms ] [ Optimal Transport ]


To measure the similarity of documents, the Wasserstein distance is a powerful tool, but it requires a high computational cost. Recently, for fast computation of the Wasserstein distance, methods for approximating the Wasserstein distance using a tree metric have been proposed. These tree-based methods allow fast comparisons of a large number of documents; however, they are unsupervised and do not learn task-specific distances. In this work, we propose the Supervised Tree-Wasserstein (STW) distance, a fast, supervised metric learning method based on the tree metric. Specifically, we rewrite the Wasserstein distance on the tree metric by the parent-child relationships of a tree, and formulate it as a continuous optimization problem using a contrastive loss. Experimentally, we show that the STW distance can be computed fast, and improves the accuracy of document classification tasks. Furthermore, the STW distance is formulated by matrix multiplications, runs on a GPU, and is suitable for batch processing. Therefore, we show that the STW distance is extremely efficient when comparing a large number of documents.

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