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We show that a class of nonlinear kernel SVMs admits approximate classifiers with runtime and memory complexity that is independent of the number of support vectors. This class of kernels, which we refer to as additive kernels, includes widely used kernels for histogram-based image comparison like intersection and chi-squared kernels. Additive kernel SVMs can offer significant improvements in accuracy over linear SVMs on a wide variety of tasks while having the same runtime, making them practical for large-scale recognition or real-time detection tasks. We present experiments on a variety of datasets, including the INRIA person, Daimler-Chrysler pedestrians, UIUC Cars, Caltech-101, MNIST, and USPS digits, to demonstrate the effectiveness of our method for efficient evaluation of SVMs with additive kernels. Since its introduction, our method has become integral to various state-of-the-art systems for PASCAL VOC object detection/image classification, ImageNet Challenge, TRECVID, etc. The techniques we propose can also be applied to settings where evaluation of weighted additive kernels is required, which include kernelized versions of PCA, LDA, regression, k-means, as well as speeding up the inner loop of SVM classifier training algorithms.