The Effect of the Intrinsic Dimension on the Generalization of Quadratic Classifiers

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Fabian Latorre, Leello Tadesse Dadi, Paul Rolland, Volkan Cevher


It has been recently observed that neural networks, unlike kernel methods, enjoy a reduced sample complexity when the distribution is isotropic (i.e., when the covariance matrix is the identity). We find that this sensitivity to the data distribution is not exclusive to neural networks, and the same phenomenon can be observed on the class of quadratic classifiers (i.e., the sign of a quadratic polynomial) with a nuclear-norm constraint. We demonstrate this by deriving an upper bound on the Rademacher Complexity that depends on two key quantities: (i) the intrinsic dimension, which is a measure of isotropy, and (ii) the largest eigenvalue of the second moment (covariance) matrix of the distribution. Our result improves the dependence on the dimension over the best previously known bound and precisely quantifies the relation between the sample complexity and the level of isotropy of the distribution.