Model Optimization in Imbalanced Regression

by   Aníbal Silva, et al.

Imbalanced domain learning aims to produce accurate models in predicting instances that, though underrepresented, are of utmost importance for the domain. Research in this field has been mainly focused on classification tasks. Comparatively, the number of studies carried out in the context of regression tasks is negligible. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of loss functions capable of focusing on minimizing the errors of extreme (rare) values. Recently, an evaluation metric was introduced: Squared Error Relevance Area (SERA). This metric posits a bigger emphasis on the errors committed at extreme values while also accounting for the performance in the overall target variable domain, thus preventing severe bias. However, its effectiveness as an optimization metric is unknown. In this paper, our goal is to study the impacts of using SERA as an optimization criterion in imbalanced regression tasks. Using gradient boosting algorithms as proof of concept, we perform an experimental study with 36 data sets of different domains and sizes. Results show that models that used SERA as an objective function are practically better than the models produced by their respective standard boosting algorithms at the prediction of extreme values. This confirms that SERA can be embedded as a loss function into optimization-based learning algorithms for imbalanced regression scenarios.


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