Coping with Label Shift via Distributionally Robust Optimisation

Jingzhao Zhang · Aditya Krishna Menon · Andreas Veit · Srinadh Bhojanapalli · Sanjiv Kumar · Suvrit Sra

Keywords: [ distributional robust optimization ] [ label shift ]


The label shift problem refers to the supervised learning setting where the train and test label distributions do not match. Existing work addressing label shift usually assumes access to an unlabelled test sample. This sample may be used to estimate the test label distribution, and to then train a suitably re-weighted classifier. While approaches using this idea have proven effective, their scope is limited as it is not always feasible to access the target domain; further, they require repeated retraining if the model is to be deployed in multiple test environments. Can one instead learn a single classifier that is robust to arbitrary label shifts from a broad family? In this paper, we answer this question by proposing a model that minimises an objective based on distributionally robust optimisation (DRO). We then design and analyse a gradient descent-proximal mirror ascent algorithm tailored for large-scale problems to optimise the proposed objective. Finally, through experiments on CIFAR-100 and ImageNet, we show that our technique can significantly improve performance over a number of baselines in settings where label shift is present.

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