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Coulomb Classifiers: Generalizing Support Vector Machines via an Analogy to Electrostatic Systems
Citation key Hochreiter2003c
Author Hochreiter, S. and Mozer, M. and Obermayer, K.
Title of Book Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15
Pages 561 – 568
Year 2003
Publisher MIT Press
Abstract We introduce a family of classifiers based on a physical analogy to an electrostatic system of charged conductors. The family, called Coulomb classifiers, includes the two best-known support-vector machines (SVMs), the $\\nu$–SVM and the $C$–SVM. In the electrostatics analogy, a training example corresponds to a charged conductor at a given location in space, the classification function corresponds to the electrostatic potential function, and the training objective function corresponds to the Coulomb energy. The electrostatic framework provides not only a novel interpretation of existing algorithms and their interrelationships, but it suggests a variety of new methods for SVMs including kernels that bridge the gap between polynomial and radial-basis functions, objective functions that do not require positive-definite kernels, regularization techniques that allow for the construction of an optimal classifier in Minkowski space. Based on the framework, we propose novel SVMs and perform simulation studies to show that they are comparable or superior to standard SVMs. The experiments include classification tasks on data which are represented in terms of their pairwise proximities, where a Coulomb Classifier outperformed standard SVMs.
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