On generalization bounds for deep networks based on loss surface implicit regularization

Masaaki Imaizumi, Johannes Schmidt-Hieber

The classical statistical learning theory says that fitting too many parameters leads to overfitting and poor performance. That modern deep neural networks generalize well despite a large number of parameters contradicts this finding and constitutes a major unsolved problem towards explaining the success of deep learning. The implicit regularization induced by stochastic gradient descent (SGD) has been regarded to be important, but its specific principle is still unknown. In this work, we study how the local geometry of the energy landscape around local minima affects the statistical properties of SGD with Gaussian gradient noise. We argue that under reasonable assumptions, the local geometry forces SGD to stay close to a low dimensional subspace and that this induces implicit regularization and results in tighter bounds on the generalization error for deep neural networks. To derive generalization error bounds for neural networks, we first introduce a notion of stagnation sets around the local minima and impose a local essential convexity property of the population risk. Under these conditions, lower bounds for SGD to remain in these stagnation sets are derived. If stagnation occurs, we derive a bound on the generalization error of deep neural networks involving the spectral norms of the weight matrices but not the number of network parameters. Technically, our proofs are based on controlling the change of parameter values in the SGD iterates and local uniform convergence of the empirical loss functions based on the entropy of suitable neighborhoods around local minima. Our work attempts to better connect non-convex optimization and generalization analysis with uniform convergence.

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