The Statistical Cost of Robust Kernel Hyperparameter Turning

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

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Raphael Meyer, Christopher Musco


This paper studies the statistical complexity of kernel hyperparameter tuning in the setting of active regression under adversarial noise. We consider the problem of finding the best interpolant from a class of kernels with unknown hyperparameters, assuming only that the noise is square-integrable. We provide finite-sample guarantees for the problem, characterizing how increasing the complexity of the kernel class increases the complexity of learning kernel hyperparameters. For common kernel classes (e.g. squared-exponential kernels with unknown lengthscale), our results show that hyperparameter optimization increases sample complexity by just a logarithmic factor, in comparison to the setting where optimal parameters are known in advance. Our result is based on a subsampling guarantee for linear regression under multiple design matrices which may be of independent interest.