Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


Generalization Through the Lens of Leave-One-Out Error

Gregor Bachmann · Thomas Hofmann · Aurelien Lucchi


Despite the tremendous empirical success of deep learning models to solve various learning tasks, our theoretical understanding of their generalization ability is very limited. Classical generalization bounds based on tools such as the VC dimension or Rademacher complexity, are so far unsuitable for deep models and it is doubtful that these techniques can yield tight bounds even in the most idealistic settings~\citep{nagarajan2019uniform}. In this work, we instead revisit the concept of leave-one-out (LOO) error to measure the generalization ability of deep models in the so-called kernel regime. While popular in statistics, the LOO error has been largely overlooked in the context of deep learning. By building upon the recently established connection between neural networks and kernel learning, we leverage the closed-form expression for the leave-one-out error, giving us access to an efficient proxy for the test error. We show both theoretically and empirically that the leave-one-out error is capable of capturing various phenomena in generalization theory, such as double descent, random labels or transfer learning.Our work therefore demonstrates that the leave-one-out error provides a tractable way to estimate the generalization ability of deep neural networks in the kernel regime, opening the door to potential, new research directions in the field of generalization.

Chat is not available.