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Steve Hanneke, Shay Moran, Tom Waknine

List learning is a variant of supervised classification where the learner outputs multiple plausible labels for each instance rather than just one. We investigate classical principles related to generalization within the context of list learning. Our primary goal is to determine whether classical principles in the PAC setting retain their applicability in the domain of list PAC learning. We focus on uniform convergence (which is the basis of Empirical Risk Minimization) and on sample compression (which is a powerful manifestation of Occam's Razor). In classical PAC learning, both uniform convergence and sample compression satisfy a form of `completeness': whenever a class is learnable, it can also be learned by a learning rule that adheres to these principles. We ask whether the same completeness holds true in the list learning setting. We show that uniform convergence remains equivalent to learnability in the list PAC learning setting. In contrast, our findings reveal surprising results regarding sample compression: we prove that when the label space is $Y=\{0,1,2\}$, then there are 2-list-learnable classes that cannot be compressed. This refutes the list version of the sample compression conjecture by Littlestone and Warmuth (1986). We prove an even stronger impossibility result, showing that there are $2$-list-learnable classes that cannot be compressed even when the reconstructed function can work with lists of arbitrarily large size. We prove a similar result for (1-list) PAC learnable classes when the label space is unbounded. This generalizes a recent result by arXiv:2308.06424.

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Marek Elias, Haim Kaplan, Yishay Mansour, Shay Moran

Recent advances in algorithmic design show how to utilize predictions obtained by machine learning models from past and present data. These approaches have demonstrated an enhancement in performance when the predictions are accurate, while also ensuring robustness by providing worst-case guarantees when predictions fail. In this paper we focus on online problems; prior research in this context was focused on a paradigm where the predictor is pre-trained on past data and then used as a black box (to get the predictions it was trained for). In contrast, in this work, we unpack the predictor and integrate the learning problem it gives rise for within the algorithmic challenge. In particular we allow the predictor to learn as it receives larger parts of the input, with the ultimate goal of designing online learning algorithms specifically tailored for the algorithmic task at hand. Adopting this perspective, we focus on a number of fundamental problems, including caching and scheduling, which have been well-studied in the black-box setting. For each of the problems we consider, we introduce new algorithms that take advantage of explicit learning algorithms which we carefully design towards optimizing the overall performance. We demonstrate the potential of our approach by deriving performance bounds which improve over those established in previous work.

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Lee Cohen, Yishay Mansour, Shay Moran, Han Shao

In contrast with standard classification tasks, strategic classification involves agents strategically modifying their features in an effort to receive favorable predictions. For instance, given a classifier determining loan approval based on credit scores, applicants may open or close their credit cards to fool the classifier. The learning goal is to find a classifier robust against strategic manipulations. Various settings, based on what and when information is known, have been explored in strategic classification. In this work, we focus on addressing a fundamental question: the learnability gaps between strategic classification and standard learning. We essentially show that any learnable class is also strategically learnable: we first consider a fully informative setting, where the manipulation structure (which is modeled by a manipulation graph $G^\star$) is known and during training time the learner has access to both the pre-manipulation data and post-manipulation data. We provide nearly tight sample complexity and regret bounds, offering significant improvements over prior results. Then, we relax the fully informative setting by introducing two natural types of uncertainty. First, following Ahmadi et al. (2023), we consider the setting in which the learner only has access to the post-manipulation data. We improve the results of Ahmadi et al. (2023) and close the gap between mistake upper bound and lower bound raised by them. Our second relaxation of the fully informative setting introduces uncertainty to the manipulation structure. That is, we assume that the manipulation graph is unknown but belongs to a known class of graphs. We provide nearly tight bounds on the learning complexity in various unknown manipulation graph settings. Notably, our algorithm in this setting is of independent interest and can be applied to other problems such as multi-label learning.

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Yuval Filmus, Steve Hanneke, Idan Mehalel, Shay Moran

Consider the domain of multiclass classification within the adversarial online setting. What is the price of relying on bandit feedback as opposed to full information? To what extent can an adaptive adversary amplify the loss compared to an oblivious one? To what extent can a randomized learner reduce the loss compared to a deterministic one? We study these questions in the mistake bound model and provide nearly tight answers. We demonstrate that the optimal mistake bound under bandit feedback is at most $O(k)$ times higher than the optimal mistake bound in the full information case, where $k$ represents the number of labels. This bound is tight and provides an answer to an open question previously posed and studied by Daniely and Helbertal ['13] and by Long ['17, '20], who focused on deterministic learners. Moreover, we present nearly optimal bounds of $\tilde{\Theta}(k)$ on the gap between randomized and deterministic learners, as well as between adaptive and oblivious adversaries in the bandit feedback setting. This stands in contrast to the full information scenario, where adaptive and oblivious adversaries are equivalent, and the gap in mistake bounds between randomized and deterministic learners is a constant multiplicative factor of $2$. In addition, our results imply that in some cases the optimal randomized mistake bound is approximately the square-root of its deterministic parallel. Previous results show that this is essentially the smallest it can get.

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Steve Hanneke, Shay Moran, Jonathan Shafer

We present new upper and lower bounds on the number of learner mistakes in the `transductive' online learning setting of Ben-David, Kushilevitz and Mansour (1997). This setting is similar to standard online learning, except that the adversary fixes a sequence of instances $x_1,\dots,x_n$ to be labeled at the start of the game, and this sequence is known to the learner. Qualitatively, we prove a trichotomy, stating that the minimal number of mistakes made by the learner as $n$ grows can take only one of precisely three possible values: $n$, $\Theta\left(\log (n)\right)$, or $\Theta(1)$. Furthermore, this behavior is determined by a combination of the VC dimension and the Littlestone dimension. Quantitatively, we show a variety of bounds relating the number of mistakes to well-known combinatorial dimensions. In particular, we improve the known lower bound on the constant in the $\Theta(1)$ case from $\Omega\left(\sqrt{\log(d)}\right)$ to $\Omega(\log(d))$ where $d$ is the Littlestone dimension. Finally, we extend our results to cover multiclass classification and the agnostic setting.

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Zachary Chase, Bogdan Chornomaz, Shay Moran, Amir Yehudayoff

We use and adapt the Borsuk-Ulam Theorem from topology to derive limitations on list-replicable and globally stable learning algorithms. We further demonstrate the applicability of our methods in combinatorics and topology. We show that, besides trivial cases, both list-replicable and globally stable learning are impossible in the agnostic PAC setting. This is in contrast with the realizable case where it is known that any class with a finite Littlestone dimension can be learned by such algorithms. In the realizable PAC setting, we sharpen previous impossibility results and broaden their scope. Specifically, we establish optimal bounds for list replicability and global stability numbers in finite classes. This provides an exponential improvement over previous works and implies an exponential separation from the Littlestone dimension. We further introduce lower bounds for weak learners, i.e., learners that are only marginally better than random guessing. Lower bounds from previous works apply only to stronger learners. To offer a broader and more comprehensive view of our topological approach, we prove a local variant of the Borsuk-Ulam theorem in topology and a result in combinatorics concerning Kneser colorings. In combinatorics, we prove that if $c$ is a coloring of all non-empty subsets of $[n]$ such that disjoint sets have different colors, then there is a chain of subsets that receives at least $1+ \lfloor n/2\rfloor$ colors (this bound is sharp). In topology, we prove e.g. that for any open antipodal-free cover of the $d$-dimensional sphere, there is a point $x$ that belongs to at least $t=\lceil\frac{d+3}{2}\rceil$ sets.

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Shay Moran, Hilla Schefler, Jonathan Shafer

We show that many definitions of stability found in the learning theory literature are equivalent to one another. We distinguish between two families of definitions of stability: distribution-dependent and distribution-independent Bayesian stability. Within each family, we establish equivalences between various definitions, encompassing approximate differential privacy, pure differential privacy, replicability, global stability, perfect generalization, TV stability, mutual information stability, KL-divergence stability, and R\'enyi-divergence stability. Along the way, we prove boosting results that enable the amplification of the stability of a learning rule. This work is a step towards a more systematic taxonomy of stability notions in learning theory, which can promote clarity and an improved understanding of an array of stability concepts that have emerged in recent years.

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Steve Hanneke, Shay Moran, Qian Zhang

We study universal rates for multiclass classification, establishing the optimal rates (up to log factors) for all hypothesis classes. This generalizes previous results on binary classification (Bousquet, Hanneke, Moran, van Handel, and Yehudayoff, 2021), and resolves an open question studied by Kalavasis, Velegkas, and Karbasi (2022) who handled the multiclass setting with a bounded number of class labels. In contrast, our result applies for any countable label space. Even for finite label space, our proofs provide a more precise bounds on the learning curves, as they do not depend on the number of labels. Specifically, we show that any class admits exponential rates if and only if it has no infinite Littlestone tree, and admits (near-)linear rates if and only if it has no infinite Daniely-Shalev-Shwartz-Littleston (DSL) tree, and otherwise requires arbitrarily slow rates. DSL trees are a new structure we define in this work, in which each node of the tree is given by a pseudo-cube of possible classifications of a given set of points. Pseudo-cubes are a structure, rooted in the work of Daniely and Shalev-Shwartz (2014), and recently shown by Brukhim, Carmon, Dinur, Moran, and Yehudayoff (2022) to characterize PAC learnability (i.e., uniform rates) for multiclass classification. We also resolve an open question of Kalavasis, Velegkas, and Karbasi (2022) regarding the equivalence of classes having infinite Graph-Littlestone (GL) trees versus infinite Natarajan-Littlestone (NL) trees, showing that they are indeed equivalent.

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Nataly Brukhim, Amit Daniely, Yishay Mansour, Shay Moran

We study a generalization of boosting to the multiclass setting. We introduce a weak learning condition for multiclass classification that captures the original notion of weak learnability as being "slightly better than random guessing". We give a simple and efficient boosting algorithm, that does not require realizability assumptions and its sample and oracle complexity bounds are independent of the number of classes. In addition, we utilize our new boosting technique in several theoretical applications within the context of List PAC Learning. First, we establish an equivalence to weak PAC learning. Furthermore, we present a new result on boosting for list learners, as well as provide a novel proof for the characterization of multiclass PAC learning and List PAC learning. Notably, our technique gives rise to a simplified analysis, and also implies an improved error bound for large list sizes, compared to previous results.

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Surbhi Goel, Steve Hanneke, Shay Moran, Abhishek Shetty

We study the problem of sequential prediction in the stochastic setting with an adversary that is allowed to inject clean-label adversarial (or out-of-distribution) examples. Algorithms designed to handle purely stochastic data tend to fail in the presence of such adversarial examples, often leading to erroneous predictions. This is undesirable in many high-stakes applications such as medical recommendations, where abstaining from predictions on adversarial examples is preferable to misclassification. On the other hand, assuming fully adversarial data leads to very pessimistic bounds that are often vacuous in practice. To capture this motivation, we propose a new model of sequential prediction that sits between the purely stochastic and fully adversarial settings by allowing the learner to abstain from making a prediction at no cost on adversarial examples. Assuming access to the marginal distribution on the non-adversarial examples, we design a learner whose error scales with the VC dimension (mirroring the stochastic setting) of the hypothesis class, as opposed to the Littlestone dimension which characterizes the fully adversarial setting. Furthermore, we design a learner for VC dimension~1 classes, which works even in the absence of access to the marginal distribution. Our key technical contribution is a novel measure for quantifying uncertainty for learning VC classes, which may be of independent interest.

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