Dimensionality Dependent PAC-Bayes Margin Bound

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Chi Jin, Liwei Wang


Margin is one of the most important concepts in machine learning. Previous margin bounds, both for SVM and for boosting, are dimensionality independent. A major advantage of this dimensionality independency is that it can explain the excellent performance of SVM whose feature spaces are often of high or infinite dimension. In this paper we address the problem whether such dimensionality independency is intrinsic for the margin bounds. We prove a dimensionality dependent PAC-Bayes margin bound. The bound is monotone increasing with respect to the dimension when keeping all other factors fixed. We show that our bound is strictly sharper than a previously well-known PAC-Bayes margin bound if the feature space is of finite dimension; and the two bounds tend to be equivalent as the dimension goes to infinity. In addition, we show that the VC bound for linear classifiers can be recovered from our bound under mild conditions. We conduct extensive experiments on benchmark datasets and find that the new bound is useful for model selection and is significantly sharper than the dimensionality independent PAC-Bayes margin bound as well as the VC bound for linear classifiers.