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Altitude Training: Strong Bounds for Single-Layer Dropout
Stefan Wager · William S Fithian · Sida Wang · Percy Liang

Wed Dec 10 04:00 PM -- 08:59 PM (PST) @ Level 2, room 210D

Dropout training, originally designed for deep neural networks, has been successful on high-dimensional single-layer natural language tasks. This paper proposes a theoretical explanation for this phenomenon: we show that, under a generative Poisson topic model with long documents, dropout training improves the exponent in the generalization bound for empirical risk minimization. Dropout achieves this gain much like a marathon runner who practices at altitude: once a classifier learns to perform reasonably well on training examples that have been artificially corrupted by dropout, it will do very well on the uncorrupted test set. We also show that, under similar conditions, dropout preserves the Bayes decision boundary and should therefore induce minimal bias in high dimensions.

Author Information

Stefan Wager (Stanford University)
William S Fithian (Stanford University)
Sida Wang (Facebook)
Percy Liang (Stanford University)
Percy Liang

Percy Liang is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University (B.S. from MIT, 2004; Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, 2011). His research spans machine learning and natural language processing, with the goal of developing trustworthy agents that can communicate effectively with people and improve over time through interaction. Specific topics include question answering, dialogue, program induction, interactive learning, and reliable machine learning. His awards include the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award (2016), an NSF CAREER Award (2016), a Sloan Research Fellowship (2015), and a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship (2014).

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