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Stochastic approximation in Hilbert spaces

Abstract : The goal of supervised machine learning is to infer relationships between a phenomenon one seeks to predict and “explanatory” variables. To that end, multiple occurrences of the phenomenon are observed, from which a prediction rule is constructed. The last two decades have witnessed the apparition of very large data-sets, both in terms of the number of observations (e.g., in image analysis) and in terms of the number of explanatory variables (e.g., in genetics). This has raised two challenges: first, avoiding the pitfall of over-fitting, especially when the number of explanatory variables is much higher than the number of observations; and second, dealing with the computational constraints, such as when the mere resolution of a linear system becomes a difficulty of its own. Algorithms that take their roots in stochastic approximation methods tackle both of these difficulties simultaneously: these stochastic methods dramatically reduce the computational cost, without degrading the quality of the proposed prediction rule, and they can naturally avoid over-fitting. As a consequence, the core of this thesis will be the study of stochastic gradient methods. The popular parametric methods give predictors which are linear functions of a set ofexplanatory variables. However, they often result in an imprecise approximation of the underlying statistical structure. In the non-parametric setting, which is paramount in this thesis, this restriction is lifted. The class of functions from which the predictor is proposed depends on the observations. In practice, these methods have multiple purposes, and are essential for learning with non-vectorial data, which can be mapped onto a vector in a functional space using a positive definite kernel. This allows to use algorithms designed for vectorial data, but requires the analysis to be made in the non-parametric associated space: the reproducing kernel Hilbert space. Moreover, the analysis of non-parametric regression also sheds some light on the parametric setting when the number of predictors is much larger than the number of observations. The first contribution of this thesis is to provide a detailed analysis of stochastic approximation in the non-parametric setting, precisely in reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces. This analysis proves optimal convergence rates for the averaged stochastic gradient descent algorithm. As we take special care in using minimal assumptions, it applies to numerous situations, and covers both the settings in which the number of observations is known a priori, and situations in which the learning algorithm works in an on-line fashion. The second contribution is an algorithm based on acceleration, which converges at optimal speed, both from the optimization point of view and from the statistical one. In the non-parametric setting, this can improve the convergence rate up to optimality, even inparticular regimes for which the first algorithm remains sub-optimal. Finally, the third contribution of the thesis consists in an extension of the framework beyond the least-square loss. The stochastic gradient descent algorithm is analyzed as a Markov chain. This point of view leads to an intuitive and insightful interpretation, that outlines the differences between the quadratic setting and the more general setting. A simple method resulting in provable improvements in the convergence is then proposed.
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https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-01705522
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 5:17:05 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 3:01:42 PM
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Aymeric Dieuleveut. Stochastic approximation in Hilbert spaces. Statistics [math.ST]. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PSLEE059⟩. ⟨tel-01705522v2⟩

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