Learn then test: Calibrating predictive algorithms to achieve risk control

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Abstract:

We introduce Learn then Test, a framework for calibrating machine learning models so that their predictions satisfy explicit, finite-sample statistical guarantees regardless of the underlying model and (unknown) data-generating distribution. The framework addresses, among other examples, false discovery rate control in multi-label classification, intersection-over-union control in instance segmentation, and the simultaneous control of the type-1 error of outlier detection and confidence set coverage in classification or regression. To accomplish this, we solve a key technical challenge: the control of arbitrary risks that are not necessarily monotonic. Our main insight is to reframe the risk-control problem as multiple hypothesis testing, enabling techniques and mathematical arguments different from those in the previous literature. We use our framework to provide new calibration methods for several core machine learning tasks with detailed worked examples in computer vision.

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