Scalable Nearest Neighbor Search for Optimal Transport

Jul 12, 2020

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The Optimal Transport (a.k.a. Wasserstein) distance is an increasingly popular similarity measure for rich data domains, such as images or text documents. This raises the necessity for fast nearest neighbor search algorithms according to this distance, which poses a substantial computational bottleneck on massive datasets. In this work we introduce Flowtree, a fast and accurate approximation algorithm for the Wasserstein-1 distance. We formally analyze its approximation factor and running time. We perform extensive experimental evaluation of nearest neighbor search algorithms in the W_1 distance on real-world dataset. Our results show that compared to previous state of the art, Flowtree achieves up to 7.4 times faster running time.

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About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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