Efficient and Near-Optimal Smoothed Online Learning for Generalized Linear Functions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Adam Block, Max Simchowitz


Due to the drastic gap in complexity between sequential and batch statistical learning, recent work has studied a smoothed sequential learning setting, where Nature is constrained to select contexts with density bounded by $1/\sigma$ with respect to a known measure $\mu$. Unfortunately, for some function classes, there is an exponential gap between the statistically optimal regret and that which can be achieved efficiently. In this paper, we give a computationally efficient algorithm that is the first to enjoy the statistically optimal $\log(T/\sigma)$ regret for realizable $K$-wise linear classification. We extend our results to settings where the true classifier is linear in an over-parameterized polynomial featurization of the contexts, as well as to a realizable piecewise-regression setting assuming access to an appropriate ERM oracle. Somewhat surprisingly, standard disagreement-based analyses are insufficient to achieve regret logarithmic in $1/\sigma$. Instead, we develop a novel characterization of the geometry of the disagreement region induced by generalized linear classifiers. Along the way, we develop numerous technical tools of independent interest, including a general anti-concentration bound for the determinant of certain matrix averages.