A Trichotomy for Transductive Online Learning

Steve Hanneke · Shay Moran · Jonathan Shafer

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1811
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Thu 14 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST

Abstract: We present new upper and lower bounds on the number of learner mistakes in the `transductive' online learning setting of Ben-David, Kushilevitz and Mansour (1997). This setting is similar to standard online learning, except that the adversary fixes a sequence of instances $x_1,\dots,x_n$ to be labeled at the start of the game, and this sequence is known to the learner. Qualitatively, we prove a \emph{trichotomy}, stating that the minimal number of mistakes made by the learner as $n$ grows can take only one of precisely three possible values: $n$, $\Theta\left(\log (n)\right)$, or $\Theta(1)$. Furthermore, this behavior is determined by a combination of the VC dimension and the Littlestone dimension. Quantitatively, we show a variety of bounds relating the number of mistakes to well-known combinatorial dimensions. In particular, we improve the known lower bound on the constant in the $\Theta(1)$ case from $\Omega\left(\sqrt{\log(d)}\right)$ to $\Omega(\log(d))$ where $d$ is the Littlestone dimension. Finally, we extend our results to cover multiclass classification and the agnostic setting.

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