Weighted ROC Curve in Cost Space: Extending AUC to Cost-Sensitive Learning

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


HuiYang Shao, Qianqian Xu, Zhiyong Yang, Peisong Wen, Gao Peifeng, Qingming Huang


In this paper, we aim to tackle flexible cost requirements for long-tail datasets, where we need to construct a (a) cost-sensitive and (b) class-distribution robust learning framework. The misclassification cost and the area under the ROC curve (AUC) are popular metrics for (a) and (b), respectively. However, limited by their formulations, models trained with AUC cannot be applied to cost-sensitive decision problems, and models trained with fixed costs are sensitive to the class distribution shift. To address this issue, we present a new setting where costs are treated like a dataset to deal with arbitrarily unknown cost distributions. Moreover, we propose a novel weighted version of AUC where the cost distribution can be integrated into its calculation through decision thresholds. To formulate this setting, we propose a novel bilevel paradigm to bridge weighted AUC (WAUC) and cost. The inner-level problem approximates the optimal threshold from sampling costs, and the outer-level problem minimizes the WAUC loss over the optimal threshold distribution. To optimize this bilevel paradigm, we employ a stochastic optimization algorithm (SACCL) to optimize it. Finally, experiment results show that our algorithm performs better than existing cost-sensitive learning methods and two-stage AUC decisions approach.