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Abstract:In practice, deep neural networks are often able to easily interpolate their training data. To understand this phenomenon, many works have aimed to quantify the memorization capacity of a neural network architecture: the largest number of points such that the architecture can interpolate any placement of these points with any assignment of labels. For real-world data, however, one intuitively expects the presence of a benign structure so that interpolation already occurs at a smaller network size than suggested by memorization capacity. In this paper, we investigate interpolation by adopting an instance-specific viewpoint. We introduce a simple randomized algorithm that, given a fixed finite dataset with two classes, with high probability constructs an interpolating three-layer neural network in polynomial time. The required number of parameters is linked to geometric properties of the two classes and their mutual arrangement. As a result, we obtain guarantees that are independent of the number of samples and hence move beyond worst-case memorization capacity bounds. We illustrate the effectiveness of the algorithm in non-pathological situations with extensive numerical experiments and link the insights back to the theoretical results.

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