Efficient training of Support Vector Machines in Java
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Efficient training of Support Vector Machines in Java

  • Heavily refactored Java port of the venerable LIBSVM (version 2.88).
  • Provides idiomatic Java class structure and APIs (unlike the Java version provided by LIBSVM, which is transliterated C code).
  • Easy to add new kernels, in addition to the five standard ones provided by LIBSVM.
  • On the mathematical side, jlibsvm performs exactly the same computations as LIBSVM, including shrinking and all the fancy stuff described in the LIBSVM implementation docs.
  • Optimized kernel implementations run faster, particularly when input vectors are sparse. For instance, on the mushrooms dataset, jlibsvm trained ~25% faster than LIBSVM (java version) with an RBF kernel and ~40% faster with a linear kernel. (The C version of LIBSVM is still faster, though).
  • Multithreaded training to take advantage of modern multi-core machines (using Conja).
  • Integrated scaling and normalization so you don't have to explicitly preprocess your data.
  • Integrated grid search for optimal kernel parameters.
  • Drop-in replacement if you use the command-line tools (e.g. svm-train, etc.), but not if you use LIBSVM programmatically.
  • Uses Java generics throughout, including for classification labels, so you can specify that the "label" of a class be of whatever Java type you like. In an email-filtering application, for example, you could use objects of type Mailbox as the labels. That would allow you to write something like mySvmSolutionModel.predict(incomingEmail).addMessage(incomingEmail). The predict() method returns a classification label, which in this case is an object of class Mailbox, which has an addMessage() method.


This is beta code. While LIBSVM is stable, it's possible that I broke something in the process of refactoring it. I've done ad-hoc testing primarily with the C_SVC machine and an RBF kernel, and got results that were identical to LIBSVM as far as I could tell. There are not (yet?) any unit tests. I'm running some automated verifications that jlibsvm behaves identically to LIBSVM for a number of input datasets and parameter choices; results will be available here soon. Please let me know if you find a situation in which the two packages give different results.


Sorry, I haven't really had a chance to write any docs. Have a look at the sources for the command-line programs in the legacyexec package to see how jlibsvm gets called. Very briefly, you'll need to:

  1. instantiate the KernelFunction that you want
  2. set up some parameters in a new SvmParameter object
  3. instantiate a concrete subclass of SvmProblem (binary, multiclass, or regression), and populate it with training data
  4. instantiate a concrete subclass of SVM, choosing a type appropriate for your problem
  5. Call SVM.train(problem) to yield a SolutionModel, which can be used to make predictions


Maven is by far the easiest way to make use of jlibsvm. Just add these to your pom.xml:

		<id>dev.davidsoergel.com releases</id>
		<id>dev.davidsoergel.com snapshots</id>


If you really want just the jar, you can get the latest release from the Maven repo; or get the latest stable build from the build server.