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Provable Domain Generalization via Invariant-Feature Subspace Recovery
Haoxiang Wang · Haozhe Si · Bo Li · Han Zhao

Thu Jul 21 03:00 PM -- 05:00 PM (PDT) @ Hall E #537
Domain generalization asks for models trained over a set of training environments to perform well in unseen test environments. Recently, a series of algorithms such as Invariant Risk Minimization (IRM) has been proposed for domain generalization. However, Rosenfeld et al. (2021) shows that in a simple linear data model, even if non-convexity issues are ignored, IRM and its extensions cannot generalize to unseen environments with less than $d_s+1$ training environments, where $d_s$ is the dimension of the spurious-feature subspace. In this paper, we propose to achieve domain generalization with Invariant-feature Subspace Recovery (ISR). Our first algorithm, ISR-Mean, can identify the subspace spanned by invariant features from the first-order moments of the class-conditional distributions, and achieve provable domain generalization with $d_s+1$ training environments under the data model of Rosenfeld et al. (2021). Our second algorithm, ISR-Cov, further reduces the required number of training environments to $O(1)$ using the information of second-order moments. Notably, unlike IRM, our algorithms bypass non-convexity issues and enjoy global convergence guarantees. Empirically, our ISRs can obtain superior performance compared with IRM on synthetic benchmarks. In addition, on three real-world image and text datasets, we show that both ISRs can be used as simple yet effective post-processing methods to improve the worst-case accuracy of (pre-)trained models against spurious correlations and group shifts.

Author Information

Haoxiang Wang (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

A Ph.D. student from UIUC, working on machine learning with theoretical guarantees.

Haozhe Si (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign)
Bo Li (UIUC)
Bo Li

Dr. Bo Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She is the recipient of the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, AI’s 10 to Watch, NSF CAREER Award, MIT Technology Review TR-35 Award, Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, C.W. Gear Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, Intel Rising Star award, Symantec Research Labs Fellowship, Rising Star Award, Research Awards from Tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Intel, IBM, and eBay, and best paper awards at several top machine learning and security conferences. Her research focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of trustworthy machine learning, which is at the intersection of machine learning, security, privacy, and game theory. She has designed several scalable frameworks for trustworthy machine learning and privacy-preserving data publishing. Her work has been featured by major publications and media outlets such as Nature, Wired, Fortune, and New York Times.

Han Zhao (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

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