Multi-target classification problem:**Error** multi-target not supported for CrossEntropyLoss

I have a dataset which has multiple targets attributes.

Sample targets for 12 data points (4 attributes as target outputs: not one-hot encoded):

 class Classifier(nn.Module):
    def __init__(self,input_nodes):
        super(Classifier, self).__init__()
        self.fc3 = nn.Linear(75000, 500)
        self.fc4 = nn.Linear(500, 200)
        self.fc5 = nn.Linear(200, 100)
        self.fc_out = nn.Linear(100, 4)
        self.dropout = nn.Dropout(0.5)
    def forward(self, x):
        x = F.relu(self.fc3(x))
        x = self.dropout(x)
        x = F.relu(self.fc4(x))
        x = self.dropout(x)
        x = F.relu(self.fc5(x))
        x = self.dropout(x)
        x = self.fc_out(x)
        return x

criterion = nn.CrossEntropyLoss()

for epoch in range(n_epochs):
	running_loss = 0
	i = 0
	for data, label in trainloader:
		 y_hat  = model(data) # Shape of y_hat = 6*4 (as 4 targets)
		 loss = criterion(y_hat, label) # Shape of label = 6*4
		 #--> Give error: RuntimeError: multi-target not supported at ..\aten\src\THNN/generic/ClassNLLCriterion.c:20
		 running_loss += loss.item()

Error: RuntimeError: multi-target not supported at …\aten\src\THNN/generic/ClassNLLCriterion.c:20

How can I train and evaluate the multi-target classification problem?

Please help.

Hello Animesh!

Just to confirm, are your really working with a “multi-target”
(multi-class) classification problem? I ask because the sample
targets you show in your .png image have either 0 (in just row 2)
or 1 (in the rest of the rows) of the labels set.

That is, even though you didn’t show such a row, could you have
a row (say, row 17) for which all four fields are set to 1?

If not, you have a multi-class (but not multi-label) classification
problem, and you should recast it as such, and (most likely)
use nn.CrossEntropyLoss as your loss function.

The general consensus is that MultiLabelSoftMarginLoss
is the loss function to start with for a multi-label classification


K. Frank

Hi @KFrank,

Thanks for your help.

That is, even though you didn’t show such a row, could you have
a row (say, row 17) for which all four fields are set to 1?

Yes, I have some rows with all 1s and some rows with more than ones there.

The targets can be like this:

Hi Animesh,

I think you’re looking for BCEloss which can be found here.

Hi Prerna and Animesh!

You don’t want – in the typical case – BCELoss for classification
problems. This is because BCELoss requires the predictions fed
into it to be numbers in (0, 1) (probability-like numbers).

For example, Animesh’s output layer is a Linear

        self.fc_out = nn.Linear(100, 4)

that will, in general, output numbers ranging from -infinity to
+infinity. You also don’t want to pass these outputs through
a Sigmoid (or Softmax) layer to map them to (0, 1) because
of the risk of overflow.

You want, instead, a loss function that takes logit-like
predictions (that run from -infinity to +infinity), such as

MultiLabelSoftMarginLoss and BCEWithLogitsLoss
are essentially the same function, as Peter explains here:

Good luck.

K. Frank