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Weighted Sampling without Replacement for Deep Top-$k$ Classification

Dieqiao Feng · Yuanqi Du · Carla Gomes · Bart Selman

Exhibit Hall 1 #518

Abstract: The top-$k$ classification accuracy is a crucial metric in machine learning and is often used to evaluate the performance of deep neural networks. These networks are typically trained using the cross-entropy loss, which optimizes for top-$1$ classification and is considered optimal in the case of infinite data. However, in real-world scenarios, data is often noisy and limited, leading to the need for more robust losses. In this paper, we propose using the Weighted Sampling Without Replacement (WSWR) method as a learning objective for top-$k$ loss. While traditional methods for evaluating **WSWR-based top-$k$ loss** are computationally impractical, we show a novel connection between WSWR and Reinforcement Learning (RL) and apply well-established RL algorithms to estimate gradients. We compared our method with recently proposed top-$k$ losses in various regimes of noise and data size for the prevalent use case of $k = 5$. Our experimental results reveal that our method consistently outperforms all other methods on the top-$k$ metric for noisy datasets, has more robustness on extreme testing scenarios, and achieves competitive results on training with limited data.

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