Implicit Regularization of Random Feature Models

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Arthur Jacot, berfin simsek, Francesco Spadaro, Clement Hongler, Franck Gabriel


Random Features (RF) models are used as efficient parametric approximations of kernel methods. We investigate, by means of random matrix theory, the connection between Gaussian RF models and Kernel Ridge Regression (KRR). For a Gaussian RF model with $P$ features, $N$ data points, and a ridge $\lambda$, we show that the average (i.e. expected) RF predictor is close to a KRR predictor with an \textit{effective ridge} $\tilde{\lambda}$. We show that $\tilde{\lambda} > \lambda$ and $\tilde{\lambda} \searrow \lambda$ monotonically as $P$ grows, thus revealing the \textit{implicit regularization effect} of finite RF sampling. We then compare the risk (i.e. test error) of the $\tilde{\lambda}$-KRR predictor with the average risk of the $\lambda$-RF predictor and obtain a precise and explicit bound on their difference. Finally, we empirically find an extremely good agreement between the test errors of the average $\lambda$-RF predictor and $\tilde{\lambda}$-KRR predictor.