Generalization Error for Linear Regression under Distributed Learning

Martin Hellkvist, Ayça Özçelikkale, Anders Ahlén

Distributed learning facilitates the scaling-up of data processing by distributing the computational burden over several nodes. Despite the vast interest in distributed learning, generalization performance of such approaches is not well understood. We address this gap by focusing on a linear regression setting. We consider the setting where the unknowns are distributed over a network of nodes. We present an analytical characterization of the dependence of the generalization error on the partitioning of the unknowns over nodes. In particular, for the overparameterized case, our results show that while the error on training data remains in the same range as that of the centralized solution, the generalization error of the distributed solution increases dramatically compared to that of the centralized solution when the number of unknowns estimated at any node is close to the number of observations. We further provide numerical examples to verify our analytical expressions.

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