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Communications and Signal Processing Seminar

Benign overfitting

Peter BartlettProfessorComputer Science and Statistics, UC Berkeley

Abstract: Deep learning methodology has revealed some major surprises from the perspective of statistical complexity: even without any explicit effort to control model complexity, these methods find prediction rules that give a near-perfect fit to noisy training data and yet exhibit excellent prediction performance in practice. We investigate this phenomenon of ‘benign overfitting’ in the setting of linear prediction, and give a characterization of linear regression problems for which the minimum norm interpolating prediction rule has near-optimal prediction accuracy. The characterization shows that overparameterization is essential: the number of directions in parameter space that are unimportant for prediction must significantly exceed the sample size. We discuss implications for deep networks, for robustness to adversarial examples, and for the rich variety of possible behaviors of excess risk as a function of dimension, and we describe extensions to ridge regression and barriers to analyzing benign overfitting based on model-dependent generalization bounds.

Joint work with Phil Long, Gábor Lugosi, and Alex Tsigler.

Speaker Bio:  Peter Bartlett is professor of Computer Science and Statistics at the University of California at Berkeley, Associate Director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, Director of the Foundations of Data Science Institute, and Director of the Collaboration on the Theoretical Foundations of Deep Learning. His research interests include machine learning and statistical learning theory, and he is the co-author of the book Neural Network Learning: Theoretical Foundations. He has been Institute of Mathematical Statistics Medallion Lecturer, winner of the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year, and Australian Laureate Fellow, and he is a Fellow of the IMS, Fellow of the ACM, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Join Zoom Meeting https://umich.zoom.us/j/97598571292

Meeting ID: 975 9857 1292

Passcode: XXXXXX (Will be sent via email to attendees)

Zoom Passcode information is also available upon request to Shelly (Michele) Feldkamp ([email protected]).


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