Learning from Label Proportions: Bootstrapping Supervised Learners via Belief Propagation

The Twelfth International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR)(2024)


Learning from Label Proportions (LLP) is a learning problem where only aggregate level labels are available for groups of instances, called bags, during training, and the aim is to get the best performance at the instance-level on the test data. This setting arises in domains like advertising and medicine due to privacy considerations. We propose a novel algorithmic framework for this problem that iteratively performs two main steps. For the first step (Pseudo Labeling) in every iteration, we define a Gibbs distribution over binary instance labels that incorporates a) covariate information through the constraint that instances with similar covariates should have similar labels and b) the bag level aggregated label. We then use Belief Propagation (BP) to marginalize the Gibbs distribution to obtain pseudo labels. In the second step (Embedding Refinement), we use the pseudo labels to provide supervision for a learner that yields a better embedding. Further, we iterate on the two steps again by using the second step's embeddings as new covariates for the next iteration. In the final iteration, a classifier is trained using the pseudo labels. Our algorithm displays strong gains against several SOTA baselines for the LLP Binary Classification problem on various dataset types - Small Tabular, Large Tabular and Images. We achieve these improvements with minimal computational overhead above standard supervised learning due to Belief Propagation, for large bag sizes, even for a million samples.

Research Areas