# A Simple Introduction to Support Vector Machines

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1 A Simple Introduction to Support Vector Machines Martin Law Lecture for CSE 802 Department of Computer Science and Engineering Michigan State University

2 Outline A brief history of SVM Large-margin linear classifier Linear separable Nonlinear separable Creating nonlinear classifiers: kernel trick A simple example Discussion on SVM Conclusion 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 2

3 History of SVM SVM is related to statistical learning theory [3] SVM was first introduced in 1992 [1] SVM becomes popular because of its success in handwritten digit recognition 1.1% test error rate for SVM. This is the same as the error rates of a carefully constructed neural network, LeNet 4. See Section 5.11 in [2] or the discussion in [3] for details SVM is now regarded as an important example of kernel methods, one of the key area in machine learning Note: the meaning of kernel is different from the kernel function for Parzen windows [1] B.E. Boser et al. A Training Algorithm for Optimal Margin Classifiers. Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Workshop on Computational Learning Theory , Pittsburgh, [2] L. Bottou et al. Comparison of classifier methods: a case study in handwritten digit recognition. Proceedings of the 12th IAPR International Conference on Pattern Recognition, vol. 2, pp [3] V. Vapnik. The Nature of Statistical Learning Theory. 2 nd edition, Springer, /1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 3

4 What is a good Decision Boundary? Consider a two-class, linearly separable classification problem Many decision boundaries! The Perceptron algorithm can be used to find such a boundary Different algorithms have been proposed (DHS ch. 5) Are all decision boundaries equally good? Class 1 Class 2 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 4

5 Examples of Bad Decision Boundaries Class 2 Class 2 Class 1 Class 1 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 5

6 Large-margin Decision Boundary The decision boundary should be as far away from the data of both classes as possible We should maximize the margin, m Distance between the origin and the line w t x=k is k/ w Class 2 Class 1 m 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 6

7 Finding the Decision Boundary Let {x 1,..., x n } be our data set and let y i {1,-1} be the class label of x i The decision boundary should classify all points correctly The decision boundary can be found by solving the following constrained optimization problem This is a constrained optimization problem. Solving it requires some new tools Feel free to ignore the following several slides; what is important is the constrained optimization problem above 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 7

8 Recap of Constrained Optimization Suppose we want to: minimize f(x) subject to g(x) = 0 A necessary condition for x 0 to be a solution: α: the Lagrange multiplier For multiple constraints g i (x) = 0, i=1,, m, we need a Lagrange multiplier α i for each of the constraints 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 8

9 Recap of Constrained Optimization The case for inequality constraint g i (x) 0 is similar, except that the Lagrange multiplier α i should be positive If x 0 is a solution to the constrained optimization problem There must exist α i 0 for i=1,, m such that x 0 satisfy The function is also known as the Lagrangrian; we want to set its gradient to 0 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 9

10 Back to the Original Problem The Lagrangian is Note that w 2 = w T w Setting the gradient of have w.r.t. w and b to zero, we 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 10

11 The Dual Problem If we substitute to, we have Note that This is a function of α i only 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 11

12 The Dual Problem The new objective function is in terms of α i only It is known as the dual problem: if we know w, we know all α i ; if we know all α i, we know w The original problem is known as the primal problem The objective function of the dual problem needs to be maximized! The dual problem is therefore: Properties of α i when we introduce the Lagrange multipliers The result when we differentiate the original Lagrangian w.r.t. b 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 12

13 The Dual Problem This is a quadratic programming (QP) problem A global maximum of α i can always be found w can be recovered by 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 13

14 Characteristics of the Solution Many of the α i are zero w is a linear combination of a small number of data points This sparse representation can be viewed as data compression as in the construction of knn classifier x i with non-zero α i are called support vectors (SV) The decision boundary is determined only by the SV Let t j (j=1,..., s) be the indices of the s support vectors. We can write For testing with a new data z Compute and classify z as class 1 if the sum is positive, and class 2 otherwise Note: w need not be formed explicitly 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 14

15 The Quadratic Programming Problem Many approaches have been proposed Loqo, cplex, etc. (see Most are interior-point methods Start with an initial solution that can violate the constraints Improve this solution by optimizing the objective function and/or reducing the amount of constraint violation For SVM, sequential minimal optimization (SMO) seems to be the most popular A QP with two variables is trivial to solve Each iteration of SMO picks a pair of (α i,α j ) and solve the QP with these two variables; repeat until convergence In practice, we can just regard the QP solver as a blackbox without bothering how it works 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 15

16 A Geometrical Interpretation Class 2 α 8 =0.6 α 10 =0 α 5 =0 α 7 =0 α 2 =0 α 4 =0 α 9 =0 Class 1 α 3 =0 α 6 =1.4 α 1 =0.8 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 16

17 Non-linearly Separable Problems We allow error ξ i in classification; it is based on the output of the discriminant function w T x+b ξ i approximates the number of misclassified samples Class 2 Class 1 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 17

18 Soft Margin Hyperplane If we minimize i ξ i, ξ i can be computed by ξ i are slack variables in optimization Note that ξ i =0 if there is no error for x i ξ i is an upper bound of the number of errors We want to minimize C : tradeoff parameter between error and margin The optimization problem becomes 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 18

19 The Optimization Problem The dual of this new constrained optimization problem is w is recovered as This is very similar to the optimization problem in the linear separable case, except that there is an upper bound C on α i now Once again, a QP solver can be used to find α i 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 19

20 Extension to Non-linear Decision Boundary So far, we have only considered large-margin classifier with a linear decision boundary How to generalize it to become nonlinear? Key idea: transform x i to a higher dimensional space to make life easier Input space: the space the point x i are located Feature space: the space of φ(x i ) after transformation Why transform? Linear operation in the feature space is equivalent to nonlinear operation in input space Classification can become easier with a proper transformation. In the XOR problem, for example, adding a new feature of x 1 x 2 make the problem linearly separable 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 20

21 Transforming the Data (c.f. DHS Ch. 5) Input space φ(.) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) φ( ) Feature space Note: feature space is of higher dimension than the input space in practice Computation in the feature space can be costly because it is high dimensional The feature space is typically infinite-dimensional! The kernel trick comes to rescue 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 21

22 The Kernel Trick Recall the SVM optimization problem The data points only appear as inner product As long as we can calculate the inner product in the feature space, we do not need the mapping explicitly Many common geometric operations (angles, distances) can be expressed by inner products Define the kernel function K by 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 22

23 An Example for φ(.) and K(.,.) Suppose φ(.) is given as follows An inner product in the feature space is So, if we define the kernel function as follows, there is no need to carry out φ(.) explicitly This use of kernel function to avoid carrying out φ(.) explicitly is known as the kernel trick 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 23

24 Kernel Functions In practical use of SVM, the user specifies the kernel function; the transformation φ(.) is not explicitly stated Given a kernel function K(x i, x j ), the transformation φ(.) is given by its eigenfunctions (a concept in functional analysis) Eigenfunctions can be difficult to construct explicitly This is why people only specify the kernel function without worrying about the exact transformation Another view: kernel function, being an inner product, is really a similarity measure between the objects 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 24

25 Examples of Kernel Functions Polynomial kernel with degree d Radial basis function kernel with width σ Closely related to radial basis function neural networks The feature space is infinite-dimensional Sigmoid with parameter κ and θ It does not satisfy the Mercer condition on all κ and θ 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 25

26 Modification Due to Kernel Function Change all inner products to kernel functions For training, Original With kernel function 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 26

27 Modification Due to Kernel Function For testing, the new data z is classified as class 1 if f 0, and as class 2 if f <0 Original With kernel function 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 27

28 More on Kernel Functions Since the training of SVM only requires the value of K(x i, x j ), there is no restriction of the form of x i and x j x i can be a sequence or a tree, instead of a feature vector K(x i, x j ) is just a similarity measure comparing x i and x j For a test object z, the discriminat function essentially is a weighted sum of the similarity between z and a preselected set of objects (the support vectors) 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 28

29 More on Kernel Functions Not all similarity measure can be used as kernel function, however The kernel function needs to satisfy the Mercer function, i.e., the function is positive-definite This implies that the n by n kernel matrix, in which the (i,j)- th entry is the K(x i, x j ), is always positive definite This also means that the QP is convex and can be solved in polynomial time 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 29

30 Example Suppose we have 5 1D data points x 1 =1, x 2 =2, x 3 =4, x 4 =5, x 5 =6, with 1, 2, 6 as class 1 and 4, 5 as class 2 y 1 =1, y 2 =1, y 3 =-1, y 4 =-1, y 5 =1 We use the polynomial kernel of degree 2 K(x,y) = (xy+1) 2 C is set to 100 We first find α i (i=1,, 5) by 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 30

31 Example By using a QP solver, we get α 1 =0, α 2 =2.5, α 3 =0, α 4 =7.333, α 5 =4.833 Note that the constraints are indeed satisfied The support vectors are {x 2 =2, x 4 =5, x 5 =6} The discriminant function is b is recovered by solving f(2)=1 or by f(5)=-1 or by f(6)=1, as x 2 and x 5 lie on the line and x 4 lies on the line All three give b=9 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 31

32 Example Value of discriminant function class 1 class 2 class /1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 32

33 Why SVM Work? The feature space is often very high dimensional. Why don t we have the curse of dimensionality? A classifier in a high-dimensional space has many parameters and is hard to estimate Vapnik argues that the fundamental problem is not the number of parameters to be estimated. Rather, the problem is about the flexibility of a classifier Typically, a classifier with many parameters is very flexible, but there are also exceptions Let x i =10 i where i ranges from 1 to n. The classifier can classify all x i correctly for all possible combination of class labels on x i This 1-parameter classifier is very flexible 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 33

34 Why SVM works? Vapnik argues that the flexibility of a classifier should not be characterized by the number of parameters, but by the flexibility (capacity) of a classifier This is formalized by the VC-dimension of a classifier Consider a linear classifier in two-dimensional space If we have three training data points, no matter how those points are labeled, we can classify them perfectly 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 34

35 VC-dimension However, if we have four points, we can find a labeling such that the linear classifier fails to be perfect We can see that 3 is the critical number The VC-dimension of a linear classifier in a 2D space is 3 because, if we have 3 points in the training set, perfect classification is always possible irrespective of the labeling, whereas for 4 points, perfect classification can be impossible 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 35

36 VC-dimension The VC-dimension of the nearest neighbor classifier is infinity, because no matter how many points you have, you get perfect classification on training data The higher the VC-dimension, the more flexible a classifier is VC-dimension, however, is a theoretical concept; the VCdimension of most classifiers, in practice, is difficult to be computed exactly Qualitatively, if we think a classifier is flexible, it probably has a high VC-dimension 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 36

37 Structural Risk Minimization (SRM) A fancy term, but it simply means: we should find a classifier that minimizes the sum of training error (empirical risk) and a term that is a function of the flexibility of the classifier (model complexity) Recall the concept of confidence interval (CI) For example, we are 99% confident that the population mean lies in the 99% CI estimated from a sample We can also construct a CI for the generalization error (error on the test set) 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 37

38 Structural Risk Minimization (SRM) Increasing error rate Training error Training error CI of test error for classifier 2 CI of test error for classifier 1 SRM prefers classifier 2 although it has a higher training error, because the upper limit of CI is smaller 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 38

39 Structural Risk Minimization (SRM) It can be proved that the more flexible a classifier, the wider the CI is The width can be upper-bounded by a function of the VC-dimension of the classifier In practice, the confidence interval of the testing error contains [0,1] and hence is trivial Empirically, minimizing the upper bound is still useful The two classifiers are often nested, i.e., one classifier is a special case of the other SVM can be viewed as implementing SRM because i ξ i approximates the training error; ½ w 2 is related to the VC-dimension of the resulting classifier See for more details 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 39

40 Justification of SVM Large margin classifier SRM Ridge regression: the term ½ w 2 shrinks the parameters towards zero to avoid overfitting The term the term ½ w 2 can also be viewed as imposing a weight-decay prior on the weight vector, and we find the MAP estimate 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 40

41 Choosing the Kernel Function Probably the most tricky part of using SVM. The kernel function is important because it creates the kernel matrix, which summarizes all the data Many principles have been proposed (diffusion kernel, Fisher kernel, string kernel, ) There is even research to estimate the kernel matrix from available information In practice, a low degree polynomial kernel or RBF kernel with a reasonable width is a good initial try Note that SVM with RBF kernel is closely related to RBF neural networks, with the centers of the radial basis functions automatically chosen for SVM 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 41

42 Other Aspects of SVM How to use SVM for multi-class classification? One can change the QP formulation to become multi-class More often, multiple binary classifiers are combined See DHS for some discussion One can train multiple one-versus-all classifiers, or combine multiple pairwise classifiers intelligently How to interpret the SVM discriminant function value as probability? By performing logistic regression on the SVM output of a set of data (validation set) that is not used for training Some SVM software (like libsvm) have these features built-in 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 42

43 Software A list of SVM implementation can be found at Some implementation (such as LIBSVM) can handle multi-class classification SVMLight is among one of the earliest implementation of SVM Several Matlab toolboxes for SVM are also available 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 43

44 Summary: Steps for Classification Prepare the pattern matrix Select the kernel function to use Select the parameter of the kernel function and the value of C You can use the values suggested by the SVM software, or you can set apart a validation set to determine the values of the parameter Execute the training algorithm and obtain the α i Unseen data can be classified using the α i and the support vectors 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 44

45 Strengths and Weaknesses of SVM Strengths Training is relatively easy No local optimal, unlike in neural networks It scales relatively well to high dimensional data Tradeoff between classifier complexity and error can be controlled explicitly Non-traditional data like strings and trees can be used as input to SVM, instead of feature vectors Weaknesses Need to choose a good kernel function. 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 45

46 Other Types of Kernel Methods A lesson learnt in SVM: a linear algorithm in the feature space is equivalent to a non-linear algorithm in the input space Standard linear algorithms can be generalized to its nonlinear version by going to the feature space Kernel principal component analysis, kernel independent component analysis, kernel canonical correlation analysis, kernel k-means, 1-class SVM are some examples 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 46

47 Conclusion SVM is a useful alternative to neural networks Two key concepts of SVM: maximize the margin and the kernel trick Many SVM implementations are available on the web for you to try on your data set! 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 47

48 Resources applist.html 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 48

49 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 49

50 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 50

51 Demonstration Iris data set Class 1 and class 3 are merged in this demo 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 51

52 Example of SVM Applications: Handwriting Recognition 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 52

53 Multi-class Classification SVM is basically a two-class classifier One can change the QP formulation to allow multi-class classification More commonly, the data set is divided into two parts intelligently in different ways and a separate SVM is trained for each way of division Multi-class classification is done by combining the output of all the SVM classifiers Majority rule Error correcting code Directed acyclic graph 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 53

54 Epsilon Support Vector Regression (ε-svr) Linear regression in feature space Unlike in least square regression, the error function is ε- insensitive loss function Intuitively, mistake less than ε is ignored This leads to sparsity similar to SVM ε-insensitive loss function Penalty Square loss function Penalty ε ε Value off target Value off target 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 54

55 Epsilon Support Vector Regression (ε-svr) Given: a data set {x 1,..., x n } with target values {u 1,..., u n }, we want to do ε-svr The optimization problem is Similar to SVM, this can be solved as a quadratic programming problem 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 55

56 Epsilon Support Vector Regression (ε-svr) C is a parameter to control the amount of influence of the error The ½ w 2 term serves as controlling the complexity of the regression function This is similar to ridge regression After training (solving the QP), we get values of α i and α i*, which are both zero if x i does not contribute to the error function For a new data z, 3/1/11 CSE 802. Prepared by Martin Law 56

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