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In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper

Learning Label Encodings for Deep Regression

Deval Shah · Tor Aamodt



Deep regression networks are widely used to tackle the problem of predicting a continuous value for a given input. Task-specialized approaches for training regression networks have shown significant improvement over generic approaches, such as direct regression. More recently, a generic approach based on regression by binary classification using binary-encoded labels has shown significant improvement over direct regression. The space of label encodings for regression is large. Lacking heretofore have been automated approaches to find a good label encoding for a given application. This paper introduces Regularized Label Encoding Learning (RLEL) for end-to-end training of an entire network and its label encoding. RLEL provides a generic approach for tackling regression. Underlying RLEL is our observation that the search space of label encodings can be constrained and efficiently explored by using a continuous search space of real-valued label encodings combined with a regularization function designed to encourage encodings with certain properties. These properties balance the probability of classification error in individual bits against error correction capability. Label encodings found by RLEL result in lower or comparable errors to manually designed label encodings. Applying RLEL results in 10.9% and 12.4% improvement in Mean Absolute Error (MAE) over direct regression and multiclass classification, respectively. Our evaluation demonstrates that RLEL can be combined with off-the-shelf feature extractors and is suitable across different architectures, datasets, and tasks. Code is available at

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