Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2021-07-28, 11:15 authored by Kevin Segundo Bello MedinaKevin Segundo Bello Medina
Structured prediction consists of receiving a structured input and producing a combinatorial structure such as trees, clusters, networks, sequences, permutations, among others. From the computational viewpoint, structured prediction is in general considered intractable because of the size of the output space being exponential in the input size. For instance, in image segmentation tasks, the number of admissible segments is exponential in the number of pixels. A second factor is the combination of the input dimensionality along with the amount of data under availability. In structured prediction it is common to have the input live in a high-dimensional space, which involves to jointly reason about thousands or millions of variables, and at the same time contend with limited amount of data. Thus, learning and inference methods with strong computational and statistical guarantees are desired. The focus of our research is then to propose principled methods for structured prediction that are both polynomial time, i.e., computationally efficient, and require a polynomial number of data samples, i.e., statistically efficient.

The main contributions of this thesis are as follows:

(i) We develop an efficient and principled learning method of latent variable models for structured prediction under Gaussian perturbations. We derive a Rademacher-based generalization bound and argue that the use of non-convex formulations in learning latent-variable models leads to tighter bounds of the Gibbs decoder distortion.

(ii) We study the fundamental limits of structured prediction, i.e., we characterize the necessary sample complexity for learning factor graph models in the context of structured prediction. In particular, we show that the finiteness of our novel MaxPair-dimension is necessary for learning. Lastly, we show a connection between the MaxPair-dimension and the VC-dimension---which allows for using existing results on VC-dimension to calculate the MaxPair-dimension.

(iii) We analyze a generative model based on connected graphs, and find the structural conditions of the graph that allow for the exact recovery of the node labels. In particular, we show that exact recovery is realizable in polynomial time for a large class of graphs. Our analysis is based on convex relaxations, where we thoroughly analyze a semidefinite program and a degree-4 sum-of-squares program. Finally, we extend this model to consider linear constraints (e.g., fairness), and formally explain the effect of the added constraints on the probability of exact recovery.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Computer Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jean Honorio

Additional Committee Member 2

Jennifer Neville

Additional Committee Member 3

Dan Goldwasser

Additional Committee Member 4

Elena Grigorescu