FloatBoost Learning for Classification

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15 (NIPS 2002)

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Stan Li, Zhenqiu Zhang, Heung-yeung Shum, Hongjiang Zhang


AdaBoost [3] minimizes an upper error bound which is an exponential function of the margin on the training set [14]. However, the ultimate goal in applications of pattern classification is always minimum error rate. On the other hand, AdaBoost needs an effective procedure for learning weak classifiers, which by itself is difficult especially for high dimensional data. In this paper, we present a novel procedure, called FloatBoost, for learning a better boosted classifier. FloatBoost uses a backtrack mechanism after each iteration of AdaBoost to remove weak classifiers which cause higher error rates. The resulting float-boosted classifier consists of fewer weak classifiers yet achieves lower error rates than AdaBoost in both training and test. We also propose a statistical model for learning weak classifiers, based on a stagewise approximation of the posterior using an overcomplete set of scalar features. Experi- mental comparisons of FloatBoost and AdaBoost are provided through a difficult classification problem, face detection, where the goal is to learn from training examples a highly nonlinear classifier to differentiate be- tween face and nonface patterns in a high dimensional space. The results clearly demonstrate the promises made by FloatBoost over AdaBoost.