Learning from triplet comparison data has been extensively studied in the context of metric learning, where we want to learn a distance metric between two instances, and ordinal embedding, where we want to learn an embedding in a Euclidean space of the given instances that preserve the comparison order as much as possible. Unlike fully labeled data, triplet comparison data can be collected in a more accurate and human-friendly way. Although learning from triplet comparison data has been considered in many applications, an important fundamental question of whether we can learn a classifier only from triplet comparison data without all the labels has remained unanswered. In this letter, we give a positive answer to this important question by proposing an unbiased estimator for the classification risk under the empirical risk minimization framework. Since the proposed method is based on the empirical risk minimization framework, it inherently has the advantage that any surrogate loss function and any model, including neural networks, can be easily applied. Furthermore, we theoretically establish an estimation error bound for the proposed empirical risk minimizer. Finally, we provide experimental results to show that our method empirically works well and outperforms various baseline methods.

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