Kernel Methods for Tree Structured Data

Da San Martino, Giovanni (2009) Kernel Methods for Tree Structured Data, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Informatica, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1400.
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Machine learning comprises a series of techniques for automatic extraction of meaningful information from large collections of noisy data. In many real world applications, data is naturally represented in structured form. Since traditional methods in machine learning deal with vectorial information, they require an a priori form of preprocessing. Among all the learning techniques for dealing with structured data, kernel methods are recognized to have a strong theoretical background and to be effective approaches. They do not require an explicit vectorial representation of the data in terms of features, but rely on a measure of similarity between any pair of objects of a domain, the kernel function. Designing fast and good kernel functions is a challenging problem. In the case of tree structured data two issues become relevant: kernel for trees should not be sparse and should be fast to compute. The sparsity problem arises when, given a dataset and a kernel function, most structures of the dataset are completely dissimilar to one another. In those cases the classifier has too few information for making correct predictions on unseen data. In fact, it tends to produce a discriminating function behaving as the nearest neighbour rule. Sparsity is likely to arise for some standard tree kernel functions, such as the subtree and subset tree kernel, when they are applied to datasets with node labels belonging to a large domain. A second drawback of using tree kernels is the time complexity required both in learning and classification phases. Such a complexity can sometimes prevents the kernel application in scenarios involving large amount of data. This thesis proposes three contributions for resolving the above issues of kernel for trees. A first contribution aims at creating kernel functions which adapt to the statistical properties of the dataset, thus reducing its sparsity with respect to traditional tree kernel functions. Specifically, we propose to encode the input trees by an algorithm able to project the data onto a lower dimensional space with the property that similar structures are mapped similarly. By building kernel functions on the lower dimensional representation, we are able to perform inexact matchings between different inputs in the original space. A second contribution is the proposal of a novel kernel function based on the convolution kernel framework. Convolution kernel measures the similarity of two objects in terms of the similarities of their subparts. Most convolution kernels are based on counting the number of shared substructures, partially discarding information about their position in the original structure. The kernel function we propose is, instead, especially focused on this aspect. A third contribution is devoted at reducing the computational burden related to the calculation of a kernel function between a tree and a forest of trees, which is a typical operation in the classification phase and, for some algorithms, also in the learning phase. We propose a general methodology applicable to convolution kernels. Moreover, we show an instantiation of our technique when kernels such as the subtree and subset tree kernels are employed. In those cases, Direct Acyclic Graphs can be used to compactly represent shared substructures in different trees, thus reducing the computational burden and storage requirements.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Da San Martino, Giovanni
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze e ingegneria dell'informazione
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
20 Aprile 2009

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