Robust learning with the Hilbert-Schmidt independence criterion

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Daniel Greenfeld, Uri Shalit


We investigate the use of a non-parametric independence measure, the Hilbert-Schmidt Independence Criterion (HSIC), as a loss-function for learning robust regression and classification models. This loss-function encourages learning models where the distribution of the residuals between the label and the model prediction is statistically independent of the distribution of the instances themselves. This loss-function was first proposed by \citet{mooij2009regression} in the context of learning causal graphs. We adapt it to the task of learning for unsupervised covariate shift: learning on a source domain without access to any instances or labels from the unknown target domain, but with the assumption that $p(y|x)$ (the conditional probability of labels given instances) remains the same in the target domain. We show that the proposed loss is expected to give rise to models that generalize well on a class of target domains characterised by the complexity of their description within a reproducing kernel Hilbert space. Experiments on unsupervised covariate shift tasks demonstrate that models learned with the proposed loss-function outperform models learned with standard loss functions, achieving state-of-the-art results on a challenging cell-microscopy unsupervised covariate shift task.