The representer theorem for Hilbert spaces: a necessary and sufficient condition

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

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Francesco Dinuzzo, Bernhard Schölkopf


The representer theorem is a property that lies at the foundation of regularization theory and kernel methods. A class of regularization functionals is said to admit a linear representer theorem if every member of the class admits minimizers that lie in the finite dimensional subspace spanned by the representers of the data. A recent characterization states that certain classes of regularization functionals with differentiable regularization term admit a linear representer theorem for any choice of the data if and only if the regularization term is a radial nondecreasing function. In this paper, we extend such result by weakening the assumptions on the regularization term. In particular, the main result of this paper implies that, for a sufficiently large family of regularization functionals, radial nondecreasing functions are the only lower semicontinuous regularization terms that guarantee existence of a representer theorem for any choice of the data.