Investigating the Consistency of Uncertainty Sampling in Deep Active Learning

2021
German Conference on Pattern Recognition

Authors: Niklas Penzel and Christian Reimers and Clemens-Alexander Brust and Joachim Denzler

Abstract: Uncertainty sampling is a widely used active learning strategy to select unlabeled examples for annotation. However, previous work hints at weaknesses of uncertainty sampling when combined with deep learning, where the amount of data is even more significant. To investigate these problems, we analyze the properties of the latent statistical estimators of uncertainty sampling in simple scenarios. We prove that uncertainty sampling converges towards some decision boundary. Additionally, we show that it can be inconsistent, leading to incorrect estimates of the optimal latent boundary. The inconsistency depends on the latent class distribution, more specifically on the class overlap. Further, we empirically analyze the variance of the decision boundary and find that the performance of uncertainty sampling is also connected to the class regions overlap. We argue that our findings could be the first step towards explaining the poor performance of uncertainty sampling combined with deep models.

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