Instance-wise Feature Grouping

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

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Aria Masoomi, Chieh Wu, Tingting Zhao, Zifeng Wang, Peter Castaldi, Jennifer Dy


<p>In many learning problems, the domain scientist is often interested in discovering the groups of features that are redundant and are important for classification. Moreover, the features that belong to each group, and the important feature groups may vary per sample. But what do we mean by feature redundancy? In this paper, we formally define two types of redundancies using information theory: \textit{Representation} and \textit{Relevant redundancies}. We leverage these redundancies to design a formulation for instance-wise feature group discovery and reveal a theoretical guideline to help discover the appropriate number of groups. We approximate mutual information via a variational lower bound and learn the feature group and selector indicators with Gumbel-Softmax in optimizing our formulation. Experiments on synthetic data validate our theoretical claims. Experiments on MNIST, Fashion MNIST, and gene expression datasets show that our method discovers feature groups with high classification accuracies.</p>