Neural network performance for classification problems with boundaries of Barron class

25.11.2020 18:00 - 19:00

Felix Voigtlaender (Universität Wien)

Abstract: We study classification problems in which the distances between the different classes are not necessarily positive, but for which the boundaries between the classes are well-behaved. More precisely, we assume these boundaries to be locally described by graphs of functions of Barron-class.

ReLU neural networks can approximate and estimate classification functions of this type with rates independent of the ambient dimension. More formally, three-layer networks with $N$ neurons can approximate such functions with $L^1$-error bounded by $O(N^{-1/2})$. Furthermore, given $m$ training samples from such a function, and using ReLU networks of a suitable architecture as the hypothesis space, any empirical risk minimizer has generalization error bounded by $O(m^{-1/4})$. All implied constants depend only polynomially on the input dimension. We also discuss the optimality of these rates.

Our results mostly rely on the ``Fourier-analytic'' Barron spaces that consist of functions with finite first Fourier moment. But since several different function spaces have been dubbed ``Barron spaces'' in the recent literature, we discuss how these spaces relate to each other. We will see that they differ more than the existing literature suggests.

Philipp Petersen
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