Nonstationary Nonparametric Online Learning: Balancing Dynamic Regret and Model Parsimony

12 Sep 2019  ·  Amrit Singh Bedi, Alec Koppel, Ketan Rajawat, Brian M. Sadler ·

An open challenge in supervised learning is \emph{conceptual drift}: a data point begins as classified according to one label, but over time the notion of that label changes. Beyond linear autoregressive models, transfer and meta learning address drift, but require data that is representative of disparate domains at the outset of training. To relax this requirement, we propose a memory-efficient \emph{online} universal function approximator based on compressed kernel methods. Our approach hinges upon viewing non-stationary learning as online convex optimization with dynamic comparators, for which performance is quantified by dynamic regret. Prior works control dynamic regret growth only for linear models. In contrast, we hypothesize actions belong to reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces (RKHS). We propose a functional variant of online gradient descent (OGD) operating in tandem with greedy subspace projections. Projections are necessary to surmount the fact that RKHS functions have complexity proportional to time. For this scheme, we establish sublinear dynamic regret growth in terms of both loss variation and functional path length, and that the memory of the function sequence remains moderate. Experiments demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed technique for online nonlinear regression and classification problems with non-stationary data.

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