Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

*Kunal Talwar*

Commonly used classification algorithms in machine learning, such as support vector machines, minimize a convex surrogate loss on training examples. In practice, these algorithms are surprisingly robust to errors in the training data. In this work, we identify a set of conditions on the data under which such surrogate loss minimization algorithms provably learn the correct classifier. This allows us to establish, in a unified framework, the robustness of these algorithms under various models on data as well as error. In particular, we show that if the data is linearly classifiable with a slightly non-trivial margin (i.e. a margin at least $C\div\sqrt{d}$ for $d$-dimensional unit vectors), and the class-conditional distributions are near isotropic and logconcave, then surrogate loss minimization has negligible error on the uncorrupted data even when a constant fraction of examples are adversarially mislabeled.

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