On Supervised Class-Imbalanced Learning: An Updated Perspective and Some Key Challenges

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Research Article

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IEEE Transactions on Artificial Intelligence


The problem of class imbalance has always been considered as a significant challenge to traditional machine learning and the emerging deep learning research communities. A classification problem can be considered as class imbalanced if the training set does not contain an equal number of labeled examples from all the classes. A classifier trained on such an imbalanced training set is likely to favor those classes containing a larger number of training examples than the others. Unfortunately, the classes that contain a small number of labelled instances usually correspond to rare and significant events. Thus, poor classification accuracy on these classes may lead to severe consequences. In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive summary of the rich pool of research works attempting to combat the adversarial effects of class imbalance efficiently. Specifically, following a formal definition of the problem of class imbalance, we explore the plethora of traditional machine learning approaches aiming to mitigate its adversarial effects. We further discuss the state-of-the-art deep-learning-based approaches for improving a classifier's resilience against class imbalance and highlight the need for techniques tailored for such a paradigm. Moreover, we look at the emerging applications where class imbalance can be a major concern. Finally, we outline a few open problems along with the various challenges emerging with the advent of modern applications, deep learning paradigm, and new sources of data.

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