Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

*Hamid JALALZAI, Stephan Clémençon, Anne Sabourin*

In pattern recognition, a random label Y is to be predicted based upon observing a random vector X valued in $\mathbb{R}^d$ with d>1 by means of a classification rule with minimum probability of error. In a wide variety of applications, ranging from finance/insurance to environmental sciences through teletraffic data analysis for instance, extreme (i.e. very large) observations X are of crucial importance, while contributing in a negligible manner to the (empirical) error however, simply because of their rarity. As a consequence, empirical risk minimizers generally perform very poorly in extreme regions. It is the purpose of this paper to develop a general framework for classification in the extremes. Precisely, under non-parametric heavy-tail assumptions for the class distributions, we prove that a natural and asymptotic notion of risk, accounting for predictive performance in extreme regions of the input space, can be defined and show that minimizers of an empirical version of a non-asymptotic approximant of this dedicated risk, based on a fraction of the largest observations, lead to classification rules with good generalization capacity, by means of maximal deviation inequalities in low probability regions. Beyond theoretical results, numerical experiments are presented in order to illustrate the relevance of the approach developed.

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