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Abstract:Item Response Theory (IRT) models aim to assess latent abilities of $n$ examinees along with latent difficulty characteristics of $m$ test items from categorical data that indicates the quality of their corresponding answers. Classical psychometric assessments are based on a relatively small number of examinees and items, say a class of $200$ students solving an exam comprising $10$ problems. More recent global large scale assessments such as PISA, or internet studies, may lead to significantly increased numbers of participants. Additionally, in the context of Machine Learning where algorithms take the role of examinees and data analysis problems take the role of items, both $n$ and $m$ may become very large, challenging the efficiency and scalability of computations. To learn the latent variables in IRT models from large data, we leverage the similarity of these models to logistic regression, which can be approximated accurately using small weighted subsets called coresets. We develop coresets for their use in alternating IRT training algorithms, facilitating scalable learning from large data.

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Authors:Tung Mai, Alexander Munteanu, Cameron Musco, Anup B. Rao, Chris Schwiegelshohn, David P. Woodruff

Abstract:We study oblivious sketching for $k$-sparse linear regression under various loss functions such as an $\ell_p$ norm, or from a broad class of hinge-like loss functions, which includes the logistic and ReLU losses. We show that for sparse $\ell_2$ norm regression, there is a distribution over oblivious sketches with $\Theta(k\log(d/k)/\varepsilon^2)$ rows, which is tight up to a constant factor. This extends to $\ell_p$ loss with an additional additive $O(k\log(k/\varepsilon)/\varepsilon^2)$ term in the upper bound. This establishes a surprising separation from the related sparse recovery problem, which is an important special case of sparse regression. For this problem, under the $\ell_2$ norm, we observe an upper bound of $O(k \log (d)/\varepsilon + k\log(k/\varepsilon)/\varepsilon^2)$ rows, showing that sparse recovery is strictly easier to sketch than sparse regression. For sparse regression under hinge-like loss functions including sparse logistic and sparse ReLU regression, we give the first known sketching bounds that achieve $o(d)$ rows showing that $O(\mu^2 k\log(\mu n d/\varepsilon)/\varepsilon^2)$ rows suffice, where $\mu$ is a natural complexity parameter needed to obtain relative error bounds for these loss functions. We again show that this dimension is tight, up to lower order terms and the dependence on $\mu$. Finally, we show that similar sketching bounds can be achieved for LASSO regression, a popular convex relaxation of sparse regression, where one aims to minimize $\|Ax-b\|_2^2+\lambda\|x\|_1$ over $x\in\mathbb{R}^d$. We show that sketching dimension $O(\log(d)/(\lambda \varepsilon)^2)$ suffices and that the dependence on $d$ and $\lambda$ is tight.

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Abstract:We improve upon previous oblivious sketching and turnstile streaming results for $\ell_1$ and logistic regression, giving a much smaller sketching dimension achieving $O(1)$-approximation and yielding an efficient optimization problem in the sketch space. Namely, we achieve for any constant $c>0$ a sketching dimension of $\tilde{O}(d^{1+c})$ for $\ell_1$ regression and $\tilde{O}(\mu d^{1+c})$ for logistic regression, where $\mu$ is a standard measure that captures the complexity of compressing the data. For $\ell_1$-regression our sketching dimension is near-linear and improves previous work which either required $\Omega(\log d)$-approximation with this sketching dimension, or required a larger $\operatorname{poly}(d)$ number of rows. Similarly, for logistic regression previous work had worse $\operatorname{poly}(\mu d)$ factors in its sketching dimension. We also give a tradeoff that yields a $1+\varepsilon$ approximation in input sparsity time by increasing the total size to $(d\log(n)/\varepsilon)^{O(1/\varepsilon)}$ for $\ell_1$ and to $(\mu d\log(n)/\varepsilon)^{O(1/\varepsilon)}$ for logistic regression. Finally, we show that our sketch can be extended to approximate a regularized version of logistic regression where the data-dependent regularizer corresponds to the variance of the individual logistic losses.

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Abstract:A common method in training neural networks is to initialize all the weights to be independent Gaussian vectors. We observe that by instead initializing the weights into independent pairs, where each pair consists of two identical Gaussian vectors, we can significantly improve the convergence analysis. While a similar technique has been studied for random inputs [Daniely, NeurIPS 2020], it has not been analyzed with arbitrary inputs. Using this technique, we show how to significantly reduce the number of neurons required for two-layer ReLU networks, both in the under-parameterized setting with logistic loss, from roughly $\gamma^{-8}$ [Ji and Telgarsky, ICLR 2020] to $\gamma^{-2}$, where $\gamma$ denotes the separation margin with a Neural Tangent Kernel, as well as in the over-parameterized setting with squared loss, from roughly $n^4$ [Song and Yang, 2019] to $n^2$, implicitly also improving the recent running time bound of [Brand, Peng, Song and Weinstein, ITCS 2021]. For the under-parameterized setting we also prove new lower bounds that improve upon prior work, and that under certain assumptions, are best possible.

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Abstract:We study the $p$-generalized probit regression model, which is a generalized linear model for binary responses. It extends the standard probit model by replacing its link function, the standard normal cdf, by a $p$-generalized normal distribution for $p\in[1, \infty)$. The $p$-generalized normal distributions \citep{Sub23} are of special interest in statistical modeling because they fit much more flexibly to data. Their tail behavior can be controlled by choice of the parameter $p$, which influences the model's sensitivity to outliers. Special cases include the Laplace, the Gaussian, and the uniform distributions. We further show how the maximum likelihood estimator for $p$-generalized probit regression can be approximated efficiently up to a factor of $(1+\varepsilon)$ on large data by combining sketching techniques with importance subsampling to obtain a small data summary called coreset.

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Abstract:What guarantees are possible for solving logistic regression in one pass over a data stream? To answer this question, we present the first data oblivious sketch for logistic regression. Our sketch can be computed in input sparsity time over a turnstile data stream and reduces the size of a $d$-dimensional data set from $n$ to only $\operatorname{poly}(\mu d\log n)$ weighted points, where $\mu$ is a useful parameter which captures the complexity of compressing the data. Solving (weighted) logistic regression on the sketch gives an $O(\log n)$-approximation to the original problem on the full data set. We also show how to obtain an $O(1)$-approximation with slight modifications. Our sketches are fast, simple, easy to implement, and our experiments demonstrate their practicality.

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Abstract:We study the center and median clustering problems for high-dimensional polygonal curves with finite but unbounded complexity. We tackle the computational issue that arises from the high number of dimensions by defining a Johnson-Lindenstrauss projection for polygonal curves. We analyze the resulting error in terms of the Fr\'echet distance, which is a natural dissimilarity measure for curves. Our algorithms for the median clustering achieve sublinear dependency on the number of input curves via subsampling. For the center clustering we utilize Buchin et al. (2019a) algorithm that achieves linear running-time in the number of input curves. We evaluate our results empirically utilizing a fast, CUDA-parallelized variant of the Alt and Godau algorithm for the Fr\'echet distance. Our experiments show that our clustering algorithms have fast and accurate practical implementations that yield meaningful results on real world data from various physical domains.

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Abstract:We study a variant of the median problem for a collection of point sets in high dimensions. This generalizes the geometric median as well as the (probabilistic) smallest enclosing ball (pSEB) problems. Our main objective and motivation is to improve the previously best algorithm for the pSEB problem by reducing its exponential dependence on the dimension to linear. This is achieved via a novel combination of sampling techniques for clustering problems in metric spaces with the framework of stochastic subgradient descent. As a result, the algorithm becomes applicable to shape fitting problems in Hilbert spaces of unbounded dimension via kernel functions. We present an exemplary application by extending the support vector data description (SVDD) shape fitting method to the probabilistic case. This is done by simulating the pSEB algorithm implicitly in the feature space induced by the kernel function.

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Abstract:Coresets are one of the central methods to facilitate the analysis of large data sets. We continue a recent line of research applying the theory of coresets to logistic regression. First, we show a negative result, namely, that no strongly sublinear sized coresets exist for logistic regression. To deal with intractable worst-case instances we introduce a complexity measure $\mu(X)$, which quantifies the hardness of compressing a data set for logistic regression. $\mu(X)$ has an intuitive statistical interpretation that may be of independent interest. For data sets with bounded $\mu(X)$-complexity, we show that a novel sensitivity sampling scheme produces the first provably sublinear $(1\pm\varepsilon)$-coreset. We illustrate the performance of our method by comparing to uniform sampling as well as to state of the art methods in the area. The experiments are conducted on real world benchmark data for logistic regression.

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Abstract:Many applications infer the structure of a probabilistic graphical model from data to elucidate the relationships between variables. But how can we train graphical models on a massive data set? In this paper, we show how to construct coresets -compressed data sets which can be used as proxy for the original data and have provably bounded worst case error- for Gaussian dependency networks (DNs), i.e., cyclic directed graphical models over Gaussians, where the parents of each variable are its Markov blanket. Specifically, we prove that Gaussian DNs admit coresets of size independent of the size of the data set. Unfortunately, this does not extend to DNs over members of the exponential family in general. As we will prove, Poisson DNs do not admit small coresets. Despite this worst-case result, we will provide an argument why our coreset construction for DNs can still work well in practice on count data. To corroborate our theoretical results, we empirically evaluated the resulting Core DNs on real data sets. The results

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