Oluwasanmi O. Koyejo, Nagarajan Natarajan, Pradeep K. Ravikumar, Inderjit S. Dhillon
Multilabel classification is rapidly developing as an important aspect of modern predictive modeling, motivating study of its theoretical aspects. To this end, we propose a framework for constructing and analyzing multilabel classification metrics which reveals novel results on a parametric form for population optimal classifiers, and additional insight into the role of label correlations. In particular, we show that for multilabel metrics constructed as instance-, micro- and macro-averages, the population optimal classifier can be decomposed into binary classifiers based on the marginal instance-conditional distribution of each label, with a weak association between labels via the threshold. Thus, our analysis extends the state of the art from a few known multilabel classification metrics such as Hamming loss, to a general framework applicable to many of the classification metrics in common use. Based on the population-optimal classifier, we propose a computationally efficient and general-purpose plug-in classification algorithm, and prove its consistency with respect to the metric of interest. Empirical results on synthetic and benchmark datasets are supportive of our theoretical findings.