Simultaneous Model Selection and Optimization through Parameter-free Stochastic Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Francesco Orabona


Stochastic gradient descent algorithms for training linear and kernel predictors are gaining more and more importance, thanks to their scalability. While various methods have been proposed to speed up their convergence, the model selection phase is often ignored. In fact, in theoretical works most of the time assumptions are made, for example, on the prior knowledge of the norm of the optimal solution, while in the practical world validation methods remain the only viable approach. In this paper, we propose a new kernel-based stochastic gradient descent algorithm that performs model selection while training, with no parameters to tune, nor any form of cross-validation. The algorithm builds on recent advancement in online learning theory for unconstrained settings, to estimate over time the right regularization in a data-dependent way. Optimal rates of convergence are proved under standard smoothness assumptions on the target function as well as preliminary empirical results.