Robust Model-free Multiclass Probability Estimation

North Carolina State University

Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 3:30pm

Classical statistical approaches for multiclass probability estimation are typically based on regression techniques such as multiple logistic regression, or density estimation approaches such as linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA). These methods often make certain assumptions on the form of probability functions or on the underlying distributions of subclasses. In this paper, we develop a model-free procedure to estimate multiclass probabilities based on large-margin classifiers. In particular, the new estimation scheme is employed by solving a series of weighted large-margin classifiers and then systematically extracting the probability information from these multiple classification rules. A main advantage of the proposed probability estimation technique is that it does not impose any strong parametric assumption on the underlying distribution and can be applied for a wide range of large-margin classification methods. A general computational algorithm is developed for class probability estimation. Furthermore, we establish asymptotic consistency of the probability estimates. Both simulated and real data examples are presented to illustrate competitive performance of the new approach and compare it with several other existing methods. * This is a joint work with Hao Helen Zhang and Yufeng Liu