DS 2012 will be collocated with ALT 2012, with the two conferences being held in parallel, and with shared invited talks.

Keynote speaker common to ALT and DS 2012

Luc De Raedt
Department of Computer Science, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Title: Declarative modeling for machine learning and data mining.

Abstract: Despite the popularity of machine learning and data mining today, it remains challenging to develop applications and software that incorporates machine learning or data mining techniques. This is because machine learning and data mining have focussed on developing high-performance algorithms for solving particular tasks rather than on developing general principles and techniques. I propose to alleviate these problems by applying the constraint programming methodology to machine learning and data mining and to specify machine learning and data mining problems as constraint satisfaction and optimization problems. What is essential is that the user be provided with a way to declaratively specify what the machine learning or data mining problem is rather than having to outline how that solution needs to be computed. This corresponds to a model + solver-based approach to machine learning and data mining, in which the user specifies the problem in a high level modeling language and the system automatically transforms such models into a format that can be used by a solver to efficiently generate a solution. This should be much easier for the user than having to implement or adapt an algorithm that computes a particular solution to a specific problem. Throughout the talk, I shall use illustrations from our work on constraint programming for itemset mining and probabilistic programming.

NEW: The slides of this keynote speech are available here.

Keynote speaker DS 2012

Toon Calders
Faculty of Math and Computer Science, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Title: Recent Developments in Pattern Mining.

Abstract: Pattern Mining is one of the most researched topics in the data mining community. Literally hundreds of algorithms for efficiently enumerating all frequent itemsets have been proposed. These exhaustive algorithms, however, all suffer from the pattern explosion problem. Depending on the minimal support threshold, even for moderately sized databases, millions of patterns may be generated. Although this problem is by now well recognized in te pattern mining community, it has not yet been solved satisfactorily. In my talk I will give an overview of the different approaches that have been proposed to alleviate this problem. As a first step, constraint-based mining and condensed representations such as the closed itemsets and the non-derivable itemsets were introduced. These methods, however, still produce too many and redundant results. More recently, promising methods based upon the minimal description length principle, information theory, and statistical models have been introduced. We show the respective advantages and disadvantages of these approaches and their connections, and illustrate their usefulness on real life data. After this overview we move from itemsets to more complex patterns, such as sequences and graphs. Even though these extensions seem trivial at first, they turn out to be quite challenging. I will end my talk with an overview of what I consider to be important open questions in this fascinating research area.

NEW: The slides of this keynote speech are available here.

Keynote speaker ALT 2012

Shai Shalev-Shwartz
School of Computer Science and Engineering, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Title: Learnability Beyond Uniform Convergence.

The problem of characterizing learnability is the most basic question of statistical learning theory. A fundamental result is that learnability is equivalent to uniform convergence of the empirical risk to the population risk, and that if a problem is learnable, it is learnable via empirical risk minimization. The equivalence of uniform convergence and learnability was formally established only in the supervised classification and regression setting. We show that in (even slightly) more complex prediction problems learnability does not imply uniform convergence. We discuss several alternative attempts to characterize learnability. The presentation is based on a joint research with Ohad Shamir, Nati Srebro, Karthik Sridharan, and with Amit Daniely, Sivan Sabato, and Shai Ben-David.

NEW: The slides of this keynote speech are available here.

Tutorial DS 2012: Exploring sequential data

Gilbert Ritschard
Full professor of statistics for the social sciences
Institute for Demographic and Life Course Studies, IDEMO, Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, University of Geneva

The tutorial is devoted to categorical sequence data describing for instance the successive buys of customers, working states of devices, visited web pages, or professional careers. Addressed topics include the rendering of state and event sequences, longitudinal characteristics of sequences, measuring pairwise dissimilarities and dissimilarity-based analysis of sequence data such as clustering, representative sequences, and regression trees. The tutorial also provides a short introduction to the practice of sequence analysis with the TraMineR R-package.

NEW: The slides of this tutorial are available here.

Tutorial ALT 2012: Model selection theory --- a tutorial with applications to learning

Pascal Massart
Département de Mathématiques, Université de Paris-Sud, France

Model selection is a classical topic in statistics. The idea of selecting a model via penalizing a log-likelihood type criterion goes back to the early seventies with the pioneering works of Mallows and Akaike. One can find many consistency results in the literature for such criteria. These results are asymptotic in the sense that one deals with a given number of models and the number of observations tends to infinity. We shall give an overview of a non asymtotic theory for model selection which has emerged during these last fifty years. In various contexts of function estimation it is possible to design penalized log-likelihood type criteria with penalty terms depending not only on the number of parameters defining each model (as for the classical criteria) but also on the complexity of the whole collection of models to be considered. For practical relevance of these methods, it is desirable to get a precise expression of the penalty terms involved in the penalized criteria on which they are based. Our approach heavily relies on concentration inequalities (the prototype being Talagrand's inequality for empirical processes) which lead to explicit shapes for penalties. Simultanuously, we derive non asymptotic risk bounds for the corresponding penalized estimators showing that they perform almost as well as if the best model (i.e. with minimal risk) were known. Our purpose will be to give an account of the theory and discuss some heuristics and new results leading to data driven strategies for designing penalties.

NEW: The slides of this tutorial are available here.