NGBoost: Natural Gradient Boosting for Probabilistic Prediction

ICML 2020

NGBoost: Natural Gradient Boosting for Probabilistic Prediction

Jul 12, 2020
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We present Natural Gradient Boosting (NGBoost), an algorithm which brings probabilistic prediction capability to gradient boosting in a generic way. Predictive uncertainty estimation is crucial in many applications such as healthcare and weather forecasting. Probabilistic prediction, which is the approach where the model outputs a full probability distribution over the entire outcome space, is a natural way to quantify those uncertainties. Gradient Boosting Machines have been widely successful in prediction tasks on structured input data, but a simple boosting solution for probabilistic prediction of real valued outputs is yet to be made. NGBoost is a gradient boosting approach which uses the \emph{Natural Gradient} to address technical challenges that makes generic probabilistic prediction hard with existing gradient boosting methods. Our approach is modular with respect to the choice of base learner, probability distribution, and scoring rule. We show empirically on several regression datasets that NGBoost provides competitive predictive performance of both uncertainty estimates and traditional metrics. Speakers: Tony Duan, Anand Avati, Daisy Ding, Khanh K. Thai, Sanjay Basu, Andrew Ng, Alejandro Schuler

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