Peer Loss Functions: Learning from Noisy Labels without Knowing Noise Rates

ICML 2020

Peer Loss Functions: Learning from Noisy Labels without Knowing Noise Rates

Jul 12, 2020
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Learning with noisy labels is a common problem in supervised learning. Existing approaches require practitioners to specify \emph{noise rates}, i.e., a set of parameters controlling the severity of label noises in the problem. In this work, we introduce a technique to learn from noisy labels that does not require a priori specification of the noise rates. In particular, we introduce a new family of loss functions that we name as \emph{peer loss} functions. Our approach then uses a standard empirical risk minimization (ERM) framework with peer loss functions. Peer loss functions associate each training sample with a certain form of "peer" samples, which evaluate a classifier' predictions jointly. We show that, under mild conditions, performing ERM with peer loss functions on the noisy dataset leads to the optimal or a near optimal classifier as if performing ERM over the clean training data, which we do not have access to. To our best knowledge, this is the first result on "learning with noisy labels without knowing noise rates" with theoretical guarantees. We pair our results with an extensive set of experiments, where we compare with state-of-the-art techniques of learning with noisy labels. Our results show that peer loss functions based method consistently outperforms the baseline benchmarks. Peer loss provides a way to simplify model development when facing potentially noisy training labels, and can be promoted as a robust candidate loss function in such situations. Speakers: Yang Liu, Hongyi Guo

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