Accepted Papers

Adaptive-Halting Policy Network for Early Classification

Thomas Hartvigsen (Worcester Polytechnic Institute);Cansu Sen (Worcester Polytechnic Institute);Xiangnan Kong (Worcester Polytechnic Institute);Elke Rundensteiner (Worcester Polytechnic Institute);


Early classification of time series is the prediction of the class label of a time series before it is observed in its entirety. In time-sensitive domains where information is collected over time it is worth sacrificing some classification accuracy in favor of earlier predictions, ideally early enough for actions to be taken. However, since accuracy and earliness are contradictory objectives, a solution must address this challenge to discover task-dependent trade-offs. We design an early classification model, called EARLIEST, which tackles this multi-objective optimization problem, jointly learning (1) to classify time series and (2) at which timestep to halt and generate this prediction. By learning the objectives together, we achieve a user-controlled balance between these contradictory goals while capturing their natural relationship. Our model consists of the novel pairing of a recurrent discriminator network with a stochastic policy network, with the latter learning a halting-policy as a reinforcement learning task. The learned policy interprets representations generated by the recurrent model and controls its dynamics, sequentially deciding whether or not to request observations from future timesteps. For a rich variety of datasets (four synthetic and three real-world), we demonstrate that EARLIEST consistently out-performs state-of-the-art alternatives in accuracy and earliness while discovering signal locations without supervision.

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