Classifier Evaluation with Missing Negative Class Labels

Authors: 
Andrew K. Rider, Reid A. Johnson, Darcy A. Davis, T. Ryan Hoens, Nitesh V. Chawla
Citation: 
Advances in Intelligent Data Analysis XII Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 8207, 2013, pp 380-391
Publication Date: 
October, 2013

The concept of a negative class does not apply to many problems for which classification is increasingly utilized. In this study we investigate the reliability of evaluation metrics when the negative class contains an unknown proportion of mislabeled positive class instances. We examine how evaluation metrics can inform us about potential systematic biases in the data. We provide a motivating case study and a general framework for approaching evaluation when the negative class contains mislabeled positive class instances. We show that the behavior of evaluation metrics is unstable in the presence of uncertainty in class labels and that the stability of evaluation metrics depends on the kind of bias in the data. Finally, we show that the type and amount of bias present in data can have a significant effect on the ranking of evaluation metrics and the degree to which they over- or underestimate the true performance of classifiers.