**Context Dependent Random Utility Model (CDM)**

Many applications in preference learning assume that decisions come from the maximization of a stable utility function. Yet a large experimental literature shows that individual choices and judgements can be affected by ‘irrelevant’ aspects of the context in which they are made. An important class of such contexts is the composition of the choice set. In this work, our goal is to discover such choice set effects from raw choice data. We introduce an extension of the Multinomial Logit (MNL) model, called the context dependent random utility model (CDM), which allows for a particular class of choice set effects. We show that the CDM can be thought of as a second-order approximation to a general choice system, can be inferred optimally using maximum likelihood and, importantly, is easily interpretable. We apply the CDM to both real and simulated choice data to perform principled exploratory analyses for the presence of choice set effects. … **Two Dimensional Stochastic Configuration Network (2DSCN)**

Stochastic configuration networks (SCNs) as a class of randomized learner model have been successfully employed in data analytics due to its universal approximation capability and fast modelling property. The technical essence lies in stochastically configuring hidden nodes (or basis functions) based on a supervisory mechanism rather than data-independent randomization as usually adopted for building randomized neural networks. Given image data modelling tasks, the use of one-dimensional SCNs potentially demolishes the spatial information of images, and may result in undesirable performance. This paper extends the original SCNs to two-dimensional version, termed 2DSCNs, for fast building randomized learners with matrix-inputs. Some theoretical analyses on the goodness of 2DSCNs against SCNs, including the complexity of the random parameter space, and the superiority of generalization, are presented. Empirical results over one regression, four benchmark handwritten digits classification, and two human face recognition datasets demonstrate that the proposed 2DSCNs perform favourably and show good potential for image data analytics. … **Stochastically Controlled Stochastic Gradient (SCSG)**

Stochastic-gradient-based optimization has been a core enabling methodology in applications to large-scale problems in machine learning and related areas. Despite the progress, the gap between theory and practice remains significant, with theoreticians pursuing mathematical optimality at a cost of obtaining specialized procedures in different regimes (e.g., modulus of strong convexity, magnitude of target accuracy, signal-to-noise ratio), and with practitioners not readily able to know which regime is appropriate to their problem, and seeking broadly applicable algorithms that are reasonably close to optimality. To bridge these perspectives it is necessary to study algorithms that are adaptive to different regimes. We present the stochastically controlled stochastic gradient (SCSG) method for composite convex finite-sum optimization problems and show that SCSG is adaptive to both strong convexity and target accuracy. The adaptivity is achieved by batch variance reduction with adaptive batch sizes and a novel technique, which we referred to as \emph{geometrization}, which sets the length of each epoch as a geometric random variable. The algorithm achieves strictly better theoretical complexity than other existing adaptive algorithms, while the tuning parameters of the algorithm only depend on the smoothness parameter of the objective. … **Conformalized Quantile Regression**

Conformal prediction is a technique for constructing prediction intervals that attain valid coverage in finite samples, without making distributional assumptions. Despite this appeal, existing conformal methods can be unnecessarily conservative because they form intervals of constant or weakly varying length across the input space. In this paper we propose a new method that is fully adaptive to heteroscedasticity. It combines conformal prediction with classical quantile regression, inheriting the advantages of both. We establish a theoretical guarantee of valid coverage, supplemented by extensive experiments on popular regression datasets. We compare the efficiency of conformalized quantile regression to other conformal methods, showing that our method tends to produce shorter intervals. …

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