Adaptive Sampling for Stochastic Risk-Averse Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2020)

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Sebastian Curi, Kfir Y. Levy, Stefanie Jegelka, Andreas Krause


In high-stakes machine learning applications, it is crucial to not only perform well {\em on average}, but also when restricted to {\em difficult} examples. To address this, we consider the problem of training models in a risk-averse manner. We propose an adaptive sampling algorithm for stochastically optimizing the {\em Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR)} of a loss distribution, which measures its performance on the $\alpha$ fraction of most difficult examples. We use a distributionally robust formulation of the CVaR to phrase the problem as a zero-sum game between two players, and solve it efficiently using regret minimization. Our approach relies on sampling from structured Determinantal Point Processes (DPPs), which enables scaling it to large data sets. Finally, we empirically demonstrate its effectiveness on large-scale convex and non-convex learning tasks.