Learning Theory 11

Moderator: Yiming Ying


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Wed 21 July 18:00 - 18:20 PDT

Stability and Generalization of Stochastic Gradient Methods for Minimax Problems

Yunwen Lei · Zhenhuan Yang · Tianbao Yang · Yiming Ying

Many machine learning problems can be formulated as minimax problems such as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), AUC maximization and robust estimation, to mention but a few. A substantial amount of studies are devoted to studying the convergence behavior of their stochastic gradient-type algorithms. In contrast, there is relatively little work on understanding their generalization, i.e., how the learning models built from training examples would behave on test examples. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive generalization analysis of stochastic gradient methods for minimax problems under both convex-concave and nonconvex-nonconcave cases through the lens of algorithmic stability. We establish a quantitative connection between stability and several generalization measures both in expectation and with high probability. For the convex-concave setting, our stability analysis shows that stochastic gradient descent ascent attains optimal generalization bounds for both smooth and nonsmooth minimax problems. We also establish generalization bounds for both weakly-convex-weakly-concave and gradient-dominated problems. We report preliminary experimental results to verify our theory.

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Wed 21 July 18:20 - 18:25 PDT

Outside the Echo Chamber: Optimizing the Performative Risk

John Miller · Juan Perdomo · Tijana Zrnic

In performative prediction, predictions guide decision-making and hence can influence the distribution of future data. To date, work on performative prediction has focused on finding performatively stable models, which are the fixed points of repeated retraining. However, stable solutions can be far from optimal when evaluated in terms of the performative risk, the loss experienced by the decision maker when deploying a model. In this paper, we shift attention beyond performative stability and focus on optimizing the performative risk directly. We identify a natural set of properties of the loss function and model-induced distribution shift under which the performative risk is convex, a property which does not follow from convexity of the loss alone. Furthermore, we develop algorithms that leverage our structural assumptions to optimize the performative risk with better sample efficiency than generic methods for derivative-free convex optimization.

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Wed 21 July 18:25 - 18:30 PDT

Asymptotic Normality and Confidence Intervals for Prediction Risk of the Min-Norm Least Squares Estimator

Zeng Li · Chuanlong Xie · Qinwen Wang

This paper quantifies the uncertainty of prediction risk for the min-norm least squares estimator in high-dimensional linear regression models. We establish the asymptotic normality of prediction risk when both the sample size and the number of features tend to infinity. Based on the newly established central limit theorems(CLTs), we derive the confidence intervals of the prediction risk under various scenarios. Our results demonstrate the sample-wise non-monotonicity of the prediction risk and confirm ``more data hurt" phenomenon. Furthermore, the width of confidence intervals indicates that over-parameterization would enlarge the randomness of prediction performance.

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Wed 21 July 18:30 - 18:35 PDT

Provable Meta-Learning of Linear Representations

Nilesh Tripuraneni · Chi Jin · Michael Jordan

Meta-learning, or learning-to-learn, seeks to design algorithms that can utilize previous experience to rapidly learn new skills or adapt to new environments. Representation learning---a key tool for performing meta-learning---learns a data representation that can transfer knowledge across multiple tasks, which is essential in regimes where data is scarce. Despite a recent surge of interest in the practice of meta-learning, the theoretical underpinnings of meta-learning algorithms are lacking, especially in the context of learning transferable representations. In this paper, we focus on the problem of multi-task linear regression---in which multiple linear regression models share a common, low-dimensional linear representation. Here, we provide provably fast, sample-efficient algorithms to address the dual challenges of (1) learning a common set of features from multiple, related tasks, and (2) transferring this knowledge to new, unseen tasks. Both are central to the general problem of meta-learning. Finally, we complement these results by providing information-theoretic lower bounds on the sample complexity of learning these linear features.

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Wed 21 July 18:35 - 18:40 PDT

Sample Complexity of Robust Linear Classification on Separated Data

Robi Bhattacharjee · Somesh Jha · Kamalika Chaudhuri

We consider the sample complexity of learning with adversarial robustness. Most prior theoretical results for this problem have considered a setting where different classes in the data are close together or overlapping. We consider, in contrast, the well-separated case where there exists a classifier with perfect accuracy and robustness, and show that the sample complexity narrates an entirely different story. Specifically, for linear classifiers, we show a large class of well-separated distributions where the expected robust loss of any algorithm is at least $\Omega(\frac{d}{n})$, whereas the max margin algorithm has expected standard loss $O(\frac{1}{n})$. This shows a gap in the standard and robust losses that cannot be obtained via prior techniques. Additionally, we present an algorithm that, given an instance where the robustness radius is much smaller than the gap between the classes, gives a solution with expected robust loss is $O(\frac{1}{n})$. This shows that for very well-separated data, convergence rates of $O(\frac{1}{n})$ are achievable, which is not the case otherwise. Our results apply to robustness measured in any $\ell_p$ norm with $p > 1$ (including $p = \infty$).

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Wed 21 July 18:40 - 18:45 PDT

The Impact of Record Linkage on Learning from Feature Partitioned Data

Richard Nock · Stephen J Hardy · Wilko Henecka · Hamish Ivey-Law · Jakub Nabaglo · Giorgio Patrini · Guillaume Smith · Brian Thorne

There has been recently a significant boost to machine learning with distributed data, in particular with the success of federated learning. A common and very challenging setting is that of vertical or feature partitioned data, when multiple data providers hold different features about common entities. In general, training needs to be preceded by record linkage (RL), a step that finds the correspondence between the observations of the datasets. RL is prone to mistakes in the real world. Despite the importance of the problem, there has been so far no formal assessment of the way in which RL errors impact learning models. Work in the area either use heuristics or assume that the optimal RL is known in advance. In this paper, we provide the first assessment of the problem for supervised learning. For wide sets of losses, we provide technical conditions under which the classifier learned after noisy RL converges (with the data size) to the best classifier that would be learned from mistake-free RL. This yields new insights on the way the pipeline RL + ML operates, from the role of large margin classification on dampening the impact of RL mistakes to clues on how to further optimize RL as a preprocessing step to ML. Experiments on a large UCI benchmark validate those formal observations.

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Wed 21 July 18:45 - 18:50 PDT

Train simultaneously, generalize better: Stability of gradient-based minimax learners

Farzan Farnia · Asuman Ozdaglar

The success of minimax learning problems of generative adversarial networks (GANs) has been observed to depend on the minimax optimization algorithm used for their training. This dependence is commonly attributed to the convergence speed and robustness properties of the underlying optimization algorithm. In this paper, we show that the optimization algorithm also plays a key role in the generalization performance of the trained minimax model. To this end, we analyze the generalization properties of standard gradient descent ascent (GDA) and proximal point method (PPM) algorithms through the lens of algorithmic stability as defined by Bousquet & Elisseeff, 2002 under both convex-concave and nonconvex-nonconcave minimax settings. While the GDA algorithm is not guaranteed to have a vanishing excess risk in convex-concave problems, we show the PPM algorithm enjoys a bounded excess risk in the same setup. For nonconvex-nonconcave problems, we compare the generalization performance of stochastic GDA and GDmax algorithms where the latter fully solves the maximization subproblem at every iteration. Our generalization analysis suggests the superiority of GDA provided that the minimization and maximization subproblems are solved simultaneously with similar learning rates. We discuss several numerical results indicating the role of optimization algorithms in the generalization of learned minimax models.

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Wed 21 July 18:50 - 18:55 PDT