On the Generalization Power of Overfitted Two-Layer Neural Tangent Kernel Models

Peizhong Ju, Xiaojun Lin, Ness Shroff

[ Abstract ] [ Livestream: Visit Learning Theory 10 ] [ Paper ]

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.

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