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Sequential Learning of Classifiers for Structured Prediction Problems

Dan Roth, Kevin Small, Ivan Titov; JMLR W&CP 5:440-447, 2009.

Abstract

Many classification problems with structured outputs can be regarded as a set of interrelated sub-problems where constraints dictate valid variable assignments. The standard approaches to these problems include either independent learning of individual classifiers for each of the sub-problems or joint learning of the entire set of classifiers with the constraints enforced during learning. We propose an intermediate approach where we learn these classifiers in a sequence using previously learned classifiers to guide learning of the next classifier by enforcing constraints between their outputs. We provide a theoretical motivation to explain why this learning protocol is expected to outperform both alternatives when individual problems have different `complexity'. This analysis motivates an algorithm for choosing a preferred order of classifier learning. We evaluate our technique on artificial experiments and on the entity and relation identification problem where the proposed method outperforms both joint and independent learning.



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