Learning Theory

Volume 3559 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 143-157

On the Consistency of Multiclass Classification Methods

  • Ambuj TewariAffiliated withDivision of Computer Science, University of California
  • , Peter L. BartlettAffiliated withDivision of Computer Science and Department of Statistics, University of California

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Binary classification methods can be generalized in many ways to handle multiple classes. It turns out that not all generalizations preserve the nice property of Bayes consistency. We provide a necessary and sufficient condition for consistency which applies to a large class of multiclass classification methods. The approach is illustrated by applying it to some multiclass methods proposed in the literature.