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Risk Bounds of Accelerated SGD for Overparameterized Linear Regression

Xuheng Li · Yihe Deng · Jingfeng Wu · Dongruo Zhou · Quanquan Gu

Halle B #188
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Tue 7 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Accelerated stochastic gradient descent (ASGD) is a workhorse in deep learning and often achieves better generalization performance than SGD. However, existing optimization theory can only explain the faster convergence of ASGD, but cannot explain its better generalization. In this paper, we study the generalization of ASGD for overparameterized linear regression, which is possibly the simplest setting of learning with overparameterization. We establish an instance-dependent excess risk bound for ASGD within each eigen-subspace of the data covariance matrix. Our analysis shows that (i) ASGD outperforms SGD in the subspace of small eigenvalues, exhibiting a faster rate of exponential decay for bias error, while in the subspace of large eigenvalues, its bias error decays slower than SGD; and (ii) the variance error of ASGD is always larger than that of SGD. Our result suggests that ASGD can outperform SGD when the difference between the initialization and the true weight vector is mostly confined to the subspace of small eigenvalues. Additionally, when our analysis is specialized to linear regression in the strongly convex setting, it yields a tighter bound for bias error than the best-known result.

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