Early Stopping without a Validation Set

Maren Mahsereci, Lukas Balles, Christoph Lassner, Philipp Hennig

Early stopping is a widely used technique to prevent poor generalization performance when training an over-expressive model by means of gradient-based optimization. To find a good point to halt the optimizer, a common practice is to split the dataset into a training and a smaller validation set to obtain an ongoing estimate of the generalization performance. We propose a novel early stopping criterion based on fast-to-compute local statistics of the computed gradients and entirely removes the need for a held-out validation set. Our experiments show that this is a viable approach in the setting of least-squares and logistic regression, as well as neural networks.

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