Active Structure Learning of Bayesian Networks in an Observational Setting

Noa Ben-David, Sivan Sabato

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint

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We study active feature selection, a novel feature selection setting in which unlabeled data is available, but the budget for labels is limited, and the examples to label can be actively selected by the algorithm. We focus on feature selection using the classical mutual information criterion, which selects the k features with the largest mutual information with the label. In the active feature selection setting, the goal is to use significantly fewer labels than the data set size and still find k features whose mutual information with the label based on the entire data set is large. We explain and experimentally study the choices that we make in the algorithm, and show that they lead to a successful algorithm, compared to other more native approaches. Our design draws on insights which relate the problem of active feature selection to the study of pure-exploration multi-armed bandits settings. While we focus here on mutual information, our general methodology can be adapted to other feature-quality measures as well.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2021


  • Computer Science - Machine Learning
  • Statistics - Machine Learning


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