The problem of ordinal classification occurs in a large and growing number of areas. Some of the most common source and applications of ordinal data include rating scales, medical classification scales, socio-economic scales, meaningful groupings of continuous data, facial emotional intensity, facial age estimation, etc. The problem of predicting ordinal classes is typically addressed by either performing n-1 binary classification for n ordinal classes or treating ordinal classes as continuous values for regression. However, the first strategy doesn’t fully utilize the ordering information of classes and the second strategy imposes a strong continuous assumption to ordinal classes. In this paper, we propose a novel loss function called Ordinal Hyperplane Loss (OHPL) that is particularly designed for data with ordinal classes. The proposal of OHPL is a significant advancement in predicting ordinal class data, since it enables deep learning techniques to be applied to the ordinal classification problem on both structured and unstructured data. By minimizing OHPL, a deep neural network learns to map data to an optimal space where the distance between points and their class centroids are minimized while a nontrivial ordinal relationship among classes are maintained. Experimental results show that deep neural network with OHPL not only outperforms the state-of-the-art alternatives on classification accuracy but also scales well to large ordinal classification problems.
Proceedings of 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data
Vanderheyden, Bob and Xie, Ying, "Ordinal Hyperplane Loss" (2018). OHPL Publications. 3.