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Faster Margin Maximization Rates for Generic Optimization Methods

Guanghui Wang · Zihao Hu · Vidya Muthukumar · Jacob Abernethy

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #2023
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Wed 13 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST

Abstract: First-order optimization methods tend to inherently favor certain solutions over others when minimizing a given training objective with multiple local optima. This phenomenon, known as \emph{implicit bias}, plays a critical role in understanding the generalization capabilities of optimization algorithms. Recent research has revealed that gradient-descent-based methods exhibit an implicit bias for the $\ell_2$-maximal margin classifier in the context of separable binary classification. In contrast, generic optimization methods, such as mirror descent and steepest descent, have been shown to converge to maximal margin classifiers defined by alternative geometries. However, while gradient-descent-based algorithms demonstrate fast implicit bias rates, the implicit bias rates of generic optimization methods have been relatively slow. To address this limitation, in this paper, we present a series of state-of-the-art implicit bias rates for mirror descent and steepest descent algorithms. Our primary technique involves transforming a generic optimization algorithm into an online learning dynamic that solves a regularized bilinear game, providing a unified framework for analyzing the implicit bias of various optimization methods. The accelerated rates are derived leveraging the regret bounds of online learning algorithms within this game framework.

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