Moderator: Pierre Alquier

Abstract:

Wed 21 July 18:00 - 18:20 PDT

(Oral)

Saurabh Garg · Sivaraman Balakrishnan · Zico Kolter · Zachary Lipton

To assess generalization, machine learning scientists typically either (i) bound the generalization gap and then (after training) plug in the empirical risk to obtain a bound on the true risk; or (ii) validate empirically on holdout data. However, (i) typically yields vacuous guarantees for overparameterized models; and (ii) shrinks the training set and its guarantee erodes with each re-use of the holdout set. In this paper, we leverage unlabeled data to produce generalization bounds. After augmenting our (labeled) training set with randomly labeled data, we train in the standard fashion. Whenever classifiers achieve low error on the clean data but high error on the random data, our bound ensures that the true risk is low. We prove that our bound is valid for 0-1 empirical risk minimization and with linear classifiers trained by gradient descent. Our approach is especially useful in conjunction with deep learning due to the early learning phenomenon whereby networks fit true labels before noisy labels but requires one intuitive assumption. Empirically, on canonical computer vision and NLP tasks, our bound provides non-vacuous generalization guarantees that track actual performance closely. This work enables practitioners to certify generalization even when (labeled) holdout data is unavailable and provides insights into the relationship between random label noise and generalization.

Wed 21 July 18:20 - 18:25 PDT

(Spotlight)

Haotian Jiang · Zhong Li · Qianxiao Li

We study the approximation properties of convolutional architectures applied to time series modelling, which can be formulated mathematically as a functional approximation problem. In the recurrent setting, recent results reveal an intricate connection between approximation efficiency and memory structures in the data generation process. In this paper, we derive parallel results for convolutional architectures, with WaveNet being a prime example. Our results reveal that in this new setting, approximation efficiency is not only characterised by memory, but also additional fine structures in the target relationship. This leads to a novel definition of spectrum-based regularity that measures the complexity of temporal relationships under the convolutional approximation scheme. These analyses provide a foundation to understand the differences between architectural choices for time series modelling and can give theoretically grounded guidance for practical applications.

Wed 21 July 18:25 - 18:30 PDT

(Spotlight)

Peizhong Ju · Xiaojun Lin · Ness Shroff

In this paper, we study the generalization performance of min $\ell_2$-norm overfitting solutions for the neural tangent kernel (NTK) model of a two-layer neural network with ReLU activation that has no bias term. We show that, depending on the ground-truth function, the test error of overfitted NTK models exhibits characteristics that are different from the "double-descent" of other overparameterized linear models with simple Fourier or Gaussian features. Specifically, for a class of learnable functions, we provide a new upper bound of the generalization error that approaches a small limiting value, even when the number of neurons $p$ approaches infinity. This limiting value further decreases with the number of training samples $n$. For functions outside of this class, we provide a lower bound on the generalization error that does not diminish to zero even when $n$ and $p$ are both large.

Wed 21 July 18:30 - 18:35 PDT

(Spotlight)

Berfin Simsek · François Ged · Arthur Jacot · Francesco Spadaro · Clement Hongler · Wulfram Gerstner · Johanni Brea

We study how permutation symmetries in overparameterized multi-layer neural
networks generate `symmetry-induced' critical points.
Assuming a network with $ L $ layers of minimal widths $ r_1^*, \ldots, r_{L-1}^* $ reaches a zero-loss minimum at $ r_1^*! \cdots r_{L-1}^*! $ isolated points that are permutations of one another,
we show that adding one extra neuron to each layer is sufficient to connect all these previously discrete minima into a single manifold.
For a two-layer overparameterized network of width $ r^*+ h =: m $ we explicitly describe the manifold of global minima: it consists of $ T(r^*, m) $ affine subspaces of dimension at least $ h $ that are connected to one another.
For a network of width $m$, we identify the number $G(r,m)$ of affine subspaces containing only symmetry-induced critical points that are related to the critical points of a smaller network of width $r

Wed 21 July 18:35 - 18:40 PDT

(Spotlight)

Hancheng Min · Salma Tarmoun · Rene Vidal · Enrique Mallada

Neural networks trained via gradient descent with random initialization and without any regularization enjoy good generalization performance in practice despite being highly overparametrized. A promising direction to explain this phenomenon is to study how initialization and overparametrization affect convergence and implicit bias of training algorithms. In this paper, we present a novel analysis of single-hidden-layer linear networks trained under gradient flow, which connects initialization, optimization, and overparametrization. Firstly, we show that the squared loss converges exponentially to its optimum at a rate that depends on the level of imbalance of the initialization. Secondly, we show that proper initialization constrains the dynamics of the network parameters to lie within an invariant set. In turn, minimizing the loss over this set leads to the min-norm solution. Finally, we show that large hidden layer width, together with (properly scaled) random initialization, ensures proximity to such an invariant set during training, allowing us to derive a novel non-asymptotic upper-bound on the distance between the trained network and the min-norm solution.

Wed 21 July 18:40 - 18:45 PDT

(Spotlight)

Corinna Cortes · Mehryar Mohri · Ananda Theertha Suresh

We present a series of new and more favorable margin-based learning guarantees that depend on the empirical margin loss of a predictor. e give two types of learning bounds, in terms of either the Rademacher complexity or the empirical $\ell_\infty$-covering number of the hypothesis set used, both distribution-dependent and valid for general families. Furthermore, using our relative deviation margin bounds, we derive distribution-dependent generalization bounds for unbounded loss functions under the assumption of a finite moment. We also briefly highlight several applications of these bounds and discuss their connection with existing results.

Wed 21 July 18:45 - 18:50 PDT

(Spotlight)

John Miller · Rohan Taori · Aditi Raghunathan · Shiori Sagawa · Pang Wei Koh · Vaishaal Shankar · Percy Liang · Yair Carmon · Ludwig Schmidt

For machine learning systems to be reliable, we must understand their performance in unseen, out- of-distribution environments. In this paper, we empirically show that out-of-distribution performance is strongly correlated with in-distribution performance for a wide range of models and distribution shifts. Specifically, we demonstrate strong correlations between in-distribution and out-of- distribution performance on variants of CIFAR- 10 & ImageNet, a synthetic pose estimation task derived from YCB objects, FMoW-WILDS satellite imagery classification, and wildlife classification in iWildCam-WILDS. The correlation holds across model architectures, hyperparameters, training set size, and training duration, and is more precise than what is expected from existing domain adaptation theory. To complete the picture, we also investigate cases where the correlation is weaker, for instance some synthetic distribution shifts from CIFAR-10-C and the tissue classification dataset Camelyon17-WILDS. Finally, we provide a candidate theory based on a Gaussian data model that shows how changes in the data covariance arising from distribution shift can affect the observed correlations.