Speeding-up One-vs-All Training for Extreme Classification via Smart Initialization

Erik Schultheis, Rohit Babbar

Research output: Working paperScientific


In this paper we show that a simple, data dependent way of setting the initial vector can be used to substantially speed up the training of linear one-versus-all (OVA) classifiers in extreme multi-label classification (XMC). We discuss the problem of choosing the initial weights from the perspective of three goals. We want to start in a region of weight space a) with low loss value, b) that is favourable for second-order optimization, and c) where the conjugate-gradient (CG) calculations can be performed quickly. For margin losses, such an initialization is achieved by selecting the initial vector such that it separates the mean of all positive (relevant for a label) instances from the mean of all negatives -- two quantities that can be calculated quickly for the highly imbalanced binary problems occurring in XMC. We demonstrate a speedup of ≈3× for training with squared hinge loss on a variety of XMC datasets. This comes in part from the reduced number of iterations that need to be performed due to starting closer to the solution, and in part from an implicit negative mining effect that allows to ignore easy negatives in the CG step. Because of the convex nature of the optimization problem, the speedup is achieved without any degradation in classification accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 27 Sept 2021
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study


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