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Julian Asilis, Siddartha Devic, Shaddin Dughmi, Vatsal Sharan, Shang-Hua Teng

Recent work on learning has yielded a striking result: the learnability of various problems can be undecidable, or independent of the standard ZFC axioms of set theory. Furthermore, the learnability of such problems can fail to be a property of finite character: informally, it cannot be detected by examining finite projections of the problem. On the other hand, learning theory abounds with notions of dimension that characterize learning and consider only finite restrictions of the problem, i.e., are properties of finite character. How can these results be reconciled? More precisely, which classes of learning problems are vulnerable to logical undecidability, and which are within the grasp of finite characterizations? We demonstrate that the difficulty of supervised learning with metric losses admits a tight finite characterization. In particular, we prove that the sample complexity of learning a hypothesis class can be detected by examining its finite projections. For realizable and agnostic learning with respect to a wide class of proper loss functions, we demonstrate an exact compactness result: a class is learnable with a given sample complexity precisely when the same is true of all its finite projections. For realizable learning with improper loss functions, we show that exact compactness of sample complexity can fail, and provide matching upper and lower bounds of a factor of 2 on the extent to which such sample complexities can differ. We conjecture that larger gaps are possible for the agnostic case. At the heart of our technical work is a compactness result concerning assignments of variables that maintain a class of functions below a target value, which generalizes Hall's classic matching theorem and may be of independent interest.

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Julian Asilis, Siddartha Devic, Shaddin Dughmi, Vatsal Sharan, Shang-Hua Teng

The quintessential learning algorithm of empirical risk minimization (ERM) is known to fail in various settings for which uniform convergence does not characterize learning. It is therefore unsurprising that the practice of machine learning is rife with considerably richer algorithmic techniques for successfully controlling model capacity. Nevertheless, no such technique or principle has broken away from the pack to characterize optimal learning in these more general settings. The purpose of this work is to characterize the role of regularization in perhaps the simplest setting for which ERM fails: multiclass learning with arbitrary label sets. Using one-inclusion graphs (OIGs), we exhibit optimal learning algorithms that dovetail with tried-and-true algorithmic principles: Occam's Razor as embodied by structural risk minimization (SRM), the principle of maximum entropy, and Bayesian reasoning. Most notably, we introduce an optimal learner which relaxes structural risk minimization on two dimensions: it allows the regularization function to be "local" to datapoints, and uses an unsupervised learning stage to learn this regularizer at the outset. We justify these relaxations by showing that they are necessary: removing either dimension fails to yield a near-optimal learner. We also extract from OIGs a combinatorial sequence we term the Hall complexity, which is the first to characterize a problem's transductive error rate exactly. Lastly, we introduce a generalization of OIGs and the transductive learning setting to the agnostic case, where we show that optimal orientations of Hamming graphs -- judged using nodes' outdegrees minus a system of node-dependent credits -- characterize optimal learners exactly. We demonstrate that an agnostic version of the Hall complexity again characterizes error rates exactly, and exhibit an optimal learner using maximum entropy programs.

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Nathanael Ackerman, Julian Asilis, Jieqi Di, Cameron Freer, Jean-Baptiste Tristan

We introduce definitions of computable PAC learning for binary classification over computable metric spaces. We provide sufficient conditions for learners that are empirical risk minimizers (ERM) to be computable, and bound the strong Weihrauch degree of an ERM learner under more general conditions. We also give a presentation of a hypothesis class that does not admit any proper computable PAC learner with computable sample function, despite the underlying class being PAC learnable.

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