Label Propagation via Teaching-to-Learn and Learning-to-Teach

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Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, 2017, 28 (6), pp. 1452 - 1465
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© 2016 IEEE. How to propagate label information from labeled examples to unlabeled examples over a graph has been intensively studied for a long time. Existing graph-based propagation algorithms usually treat unlabeled examples equally, and transmit seed labels to the unlabeled examples that are connected to the labeled examples in a neighborhood graph. However, such a popular propagation scheme is very likely to yield inaccurate propagation, because it falls short of tackling ambiguous but critical data points (e.g., outliers). To this end, this paper treats the unlabeled examples in different levels of difficulties by assessing their reliability and discriminability, and explicitly optimizes the propagation quality by manipulating the propagation sequence to move from simple to difficult examples. In particular, we propose a novel iterative label propagation algorithm in which each propagation alternates between two paradigms, teaching-to-learn and learning-to-teach (TLLT). In the teaching-to-learn step, the learner conducts the propagation on the simplest unlabeled examples designated by the teacher. In the learning-to-teach step, the teacher incorporates the learner's feedback to adjust the choice of the subsequent simplest examples. The proposed TLLT strategy critically improves the accuracy of label propagation, making our algorithm substantially robust to the values of tuning parameters, such as the Gaussian kernel width used in graph construction. The merits of our algorithm are theoretically justified and empirically demonstrated through experiments performed on both synthetic and real-world data sets.
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