Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 26 (NIPS 2013)
Stefan Wager, Sida Wang, Percy S. Liang
Dropout and other feature noising schemes control overfitting by artificially corrupting the training data. For generalized linear models, dropout performs a form of adaptive regularization. Using this viewpoint, we show that the dropout regularizer is first-order equivalent to an $\LII$ regularizer applied after scaling the features by an estimate of the inverse diagonal Fisher information matrix. We also establish a connection to AdaGrad, an online learner, and find that a close relative of AdaGrad operates by repeatedly solving linear dropout-regularized problems. By casting dropout as regularization, we develop a natural semi-supervised algorithm that uses unlabeled data to create a better adaptive regularizer. We apply this idea to document classification tasks, and show that it consistently boosts the performance of dropout training, improving on state-of-the-art results on the IMDB reviews dataset.