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Asymmetric Loss Functions for Learning with Noisy Labels

Xiong Zhou · Xianming Liu · Junjun Jiang · Xin Gao · Xiangyang Ji


Keywords: [ Algorithms ] [ Supervised Learning ]


Robust loss functions are essential for training deep neural networks with better generalization power in the presence of noisy labels. Symmetric loss functions are confirmed to be robust to label noise. However, the symmetric condition is overly restrictive. In this work, we propose a new class of loss functions, namely asymmetric loss functions, which are robust to learning from noisy labels for arbitrary noise type. Subsequently, we investigate general theoretical properties of asymmetric loss functions, including classification-calibration, excess risk bound, and noise-tolerance. Meanwhile, we introduce the asymmetry ratio to measure the asymmetry of a loss function, and the empirical results show that a higher ratio will provide better robustness. Moreover, we modify several common loss functions, and establish the necessary and sufficient conditions for them to be asymmetric. Experiments on benchmark datasets demonstrate that asymmetric loss functions can outperform state-of-the-art methods.

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