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It is usually expected that, when labeled data are limited, the learning performance can be improved by exploiting unlabeled data. In many cases, however, the performances of current semi-supervised learning approaches may be even worse than purely using the limited labeled data.It is desired to have extit{safe} semi-supervised learning approaches which never degenerate learning performance by using unlabeled data. In this paper, we focus on semi-supervised support vector machines (S3VMs) and propose S4VMs, i.e., safe S3VMs. Unlike S3VMs which typically aim at approaching an optimal low-density separator, S4VMs try to exploit the candidate low-density separators simultaneously to reduce the risk of identifying a poor separator with unlabeled data. We describe two implementations of S4VMs, and our comprehensive experiments show that the overall performance of S4VMs are highly competitive to S3VMs, while in contrast to S3VMs which degenerate performance in many cases, S4VMs are never significantly inferior to inductive SVMs.

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