An Empirical Study on The Properties of Random Bases for Kernel Methods

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Maximilian Alber, Pieter-Jan Kindermans, Kristof Schütt, Klaus-Robert Müller, Fei Sha


Kernel machines as well as neural networks possess universal function approximation properties. Nevertheless in practice their ways of choosing the appropriate function class differ. Specifically neural networks learn a representation by adapting their basis functions to the data and the task at hand, while kernel methods typically use a basis that is not adapted during training. In this work, we contrast random features of approximated kernel machines with learned features of neural networks. Our analysis reveals how these random and adaptive basis functions affect the quality of learning. Furthermore, we present basis adaptation schemes that allow for a more compact representation, while retaining the generalization properties of kernel machines.