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Anqi Mao, Mehryar Mohri, Yutao Zhong

We introduce a novel framework of ranking with abstention, where the learner can abstain from making prediction at some limited cost $c$. We present a extensive theoretical analysis of this framework including a series of $H$-consistency bounds for both the family of linear functions and that of neural networks with one hidden-layer. These theoretical guarantees are the state-of-the-art consistency guarantees in the literature, which are upper bounds on the target loss estimation error of a predictor in a hypothesis set $H$, expressed in terms of the surrogate loss estimation error of that predictor. We further argue that our proposed abstention methods are important when using common equicontinuous hypothesis sets in practice. We report the results of experiments illustrating the effectiveness of ranking with abstention.

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Raef Bassily, Corinna Cortes, Anqi Mao, Mehryar Mohri

In many applications, the labeled data at the learner's disposal is subject to privacy constraints and is relatively limited. To derive a more accurate predictor for the target domain, it is often beneficial to leverage publicly available labeled data from an alternative domain, somewhat close to the target domain. This is the modern problem of supervised domain adaptation from a public source to a private target domain. We present two $(\epsilon, \delta)$-differentially private adaptation algorithms for supervised adaptation, for which we make use of a general optimization problem, recently shown to benefit from favorable theoretical learning guarantees. Our first algorithm is designed for regression with linear predictors and shown to solve a convex optimization problem. Our second algorithm is a more general solution for loss functions that may be non-convex but Lipschitz and smooth. While our main objective is a theoretical analysis, we also report the results of several experiments first demonstrating that the non-private versions of our algorithms outperform adaptation baselines and next showing that, for larger values of the target sample size or $\epsilon$, the performance of our private algorithms remains close to that of the non-private formulation.

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Anqi Mao, Mehryar Mohri, Yutao Zhong

Cross-entropy is a widely used loss function in applications. It coincides with the logistic loss applied to the outputs of a neural network, when the softmax is used. But, what guarantees can we rely on when using cross-entropy as a surrogate loss? We present a theoretical analysis of a broad family of losses, comp-sum losses, that includes cross-entropy (or logistic loss), generalized cross-entropy, the mean absolute error and other loss cross-entropy-like functions. We give the first $H$-consistency bounds for these loss functions. These are non-asymptotic guarantees that upper bound the zero-one loss estimation error in terms of the estimation error of a surrogate loss, for the specific hypothesis set $H$ used. We further show that our bounds are tight. These bounds depend on quantities called minimizability gaps, which only depend on the loss function and the hypothesis set. To make them more explicit, we give a specific analysis of these gaps for comp-sum losses. We also introduce a new family of loss functions, smooth adversarial comp-sum losses, derived from their comp-sum counterparts by adding in a related smooth term. We show that these loss functions are beneficial in the adversarial setting by proving that they admit $H$-consistency bounds. This leads to new adversarial robustness algorithms that consist of minimizing a regularized smooth adversarial comp-sum loss. While our main purpose is a theoretical analysis, we also present an extensive empirical analysis comparing comp-sum losses. We further report the results of a series of experiments demonstrating that our adversarial robustness algorithms outperform the current state-of-the-art, while also achieving a superior non-adversarial accuracy.

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Pranjal Awasthi, Anqi Mao, Mehryar Mohri, Yutao Zhong

We present a detailed study of estimation errors in terms of surrogate loss estimation errors. We refer to such guarantees as $\mathscr{H}$-consistency estimation error bounds, since they account for the hypothesis set $\mathscr{H}$ adopted. These guarantees are significantly stronger than $\mathscr{H}$-calibration or $\mathscr{H}$-consistency. They are also more informative than similar excess error bounds derived in the literature, when $\mathscr{H}$ is the family of all measurable functions. We prove general theorems providing such guarantees, for both the distribution-dependent and distribution-independent settings. We show that our bounds are tight, modulo a convexity assumption. We also show that previous excess error bounds can be recovered as special cases of our general results. We then present a series of explicit bounds in the case of the zero-one loss, with multiple choices of the surrogate loss and for both the family of linear functions and neural networks with one hidden-layer. We further prove more favorable distribution-dependent guarantees in that case. We also present a series of explicit bounds in the case of the adversarial loss, with surrogate losses based on the supremum of the $\rho$-margin, hinge or sigmoid loss and for the same two general hypothesis sets. Here too, we prove several enhancements of these guarantees under natural distributional assumptions. Finally, we report the results of simulations illustrating our bounds and their tightness.

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Pranjal Awasthi, Anqi Mao, Mehryar Mohri, Yutao Zhong

We present a more general analysis of $H$-calibration for adversarially robust classification. By adopting a finer definition of calibration, we can cover settings beyond the restricted hypothesis sets studied in previous work. In particular, our results hold for most common hypothesis sets used in machine learning. We both fix some previous calibration results (Bao et al., 2020) and generalize others (Awasthi et al., 2021). Moreover, our calibration results, combined with the previous study of consistency by Awasthi et al. (2021), also lead to more general $H$-consistency results covering common hypothesis sets.

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Pranjal Awasthi, Natalie Frank, Anqi Mao, Mehryar Mohri, Yutao Zhong

Adversarial robustness is an increasingly critical property of classifiers in applications. The design of robust algorithms relies on surrogate losses since the optimization of the adversarial loss with most hypothesis sets is NP-hard. But which surrogate losses should be used and when do they benefit from theoretical guarantees? We present an extensive study of this question, including a detailed analysis of the H-calibration and H-consistency of adversarial surrogate losses. We show that, under some general assumptions, convex loss functions, or the supremum-based convex losses often used in applications, are not H-calibrated for important hypothesis sets such as generalized linear models or one-layer neural networks. We then give a characterization of H-calibration and prove that some surrogate losses are indeed H-calibrated for the adversarial loss, with these hypothesis sets. Next, we show that H-calibration is not sufficient to guarantee consistency and prove that, in the absence of any distributional assumption, no continuous surrogate loss is consistent in the adversarial setting. This, in particular, proves that a claim presented in a COLT 2020 publication is inaccurate. (Calibration results there are correct modulo subtle definition differences, but the consistency claim does not hold.) Next, we identify natural conditions under which some surrogate losses that we describe in detail are H-consistent for hypothesis sets such as generalized linear models and one-layer neural networks. We also report a series of empirical results with simulated data, which show that many H-calibrated surrogate losses are indeed not H-consistent, and validate our theoretical assumptions.

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Yingzhou Li, Jianfeng Lu, Anqi Mao

A novel solve-training framework is proposed to train neural network in representing low dimensional solution maps of physical models. Solve-training framework uses the neural network as the ansatz of the solution map and train the network variationally via loss functions from the underlying physical models. Solve-training framework avoids expensive data preparation in the traditional supervised training procedure, which prepares labels for input data, and still achieves effective representation of the solution map adapted to the input data distribution. The efficiency of solve-training framework is demonstrated through obtaining solutions maps for linear and nonlinear elliptic equations, and maps from potentials to ground states of linear and nonlinear Schr\"odinger equations.

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