Pervasive and networked computers have dramatically reduced the cost of collecting and distributing large datasets. In this context, machine learning algorithms that scale poorly could simply become irrelevant. We need learning algorithms that scale linearly with the volume of the data while maintaining enough statistical efficiency to outperform algorithms that simply process a random subset of the data.
In the field of machine learning, semi-supervised learning (SSL) occupies the middle ground, between supervised learning (in which all training examples are labeled) and unsupervised learning (in which no label data are given). Interest in SSL has increased in recent years, particularly because of application domains in which unlabeled data are plentiful, such as images, text, and bioinformatics.