Conformal Prediction Sets for Ordinal Classification

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Prasenjit Dey, Srujana Merugu, Sivaramakrishnan R Kaveri


Ordinal classification (OC), i.e., labeling instances along classes with a natural ordering, is common in multiple applications such as size or budget based recommendations and disease severity labeling. Often in practical scenarios, it is desirable to obtain a small set of likely classes with a guaranteed high chance of including the true class. Recent works on conformal prediction (CP) address this problem for the classification setting with non-ordered labels but the resulting prediction sets (PS) are often non-contiguous and unsuitable for ordinal classification. In this work, we propose a framework to adapt existing CP methods to generate contiguous sets with guaranteed coverage and minimal cardinality. Our framework employs a novel non-parametric approach for modeling unimodal distributions. Empirical results on both synthetic and real-world datasets demonstrate our method outperforms SOTA baselines by 4% on Accuracy@K and 8% on PS size.