Probit Classifiers with a Generalized Gaussian Scale Mixture Prior
Guoqing Liu, Jianxin Wu and Suiping Zhou
Most of the existing probit classifiers are based on sparsity-oriented modeling. However, we show that sparsity is not always desirable in practice, and only an appropriate degree of sparsity is profitable. In this work, we propose a flexible probabilistic model using a generalized Gaussian scale mixture prior that can promote an appropriate degree of sparsity for its model parameters, and yield either sparse or non-sparse estimates according to the intrinsic sparsity of features in a dataset. Model learning is carried out by an efficient modified maximum a posteriori (MAP) estimate. We also show relationships of the proposed model to existing probit classifiers as well as iteratively re-weighted $l_1$ and $l_2$ minimizations. Experiments demonstrate that the proposed method has better or comparable performances in feature selection for linear classifiers as well as in kernel-based classification.