Machine Learning's Dropout Training is Distributionally Robust Optimal

13 Sep 2020  ·  Jose Blanchet, Yang Kang, Jose Luis Montiel Olea, Viet Anh Nguyen, Xuhui Zhang ·

This paper shows that dropout training in Generalized Linear Models is the minimax solution of a two-player, zero-sum game where an adversarial nature corrupts a statistician's covariates using a multiplicative nonparametric errors-in-variables model. In this game, nature's least favorable distribution is dropout noise, where nature independently deletes entries of the covariate vector with some fixed probability $\delta$... This result implies that dropout training indeed provides out-of-sample expected loss guarantees for distributions that arise from multiplicative perturbations of in-sample data. In addition to the decision-theoretic analysis, the paper makes two more contributions. First, there is a concrete recommendation on how to select the tuning parameter $\delta$ to guarantee that, as the sample size grows large, the in-sample loss after dropout training exceeds the true population loss with some pre-specified probability. Second, the paper provides a novel, parallelizable, Unbiased Multi-Level Monte Carlo algorithm to speed-up the implementation of dropout training. Our algorithm has a much smaller computational cost compared to the naive implementation of dropout, provided the number of data points is much smaller than the dimension of the covariate vector. read more

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