Fast Randomized Kernel Ridge Regression with Statistical Guarantees

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Ahmed Alaoui, Michael W. Mahoney


One approach to improving the running time of kernel-based methods is to build a small sketch of the kernel matrix and use it in lieu of the full matrix in the machine learning task of interest. Here, we describe a version of this approach that comes with running time guarantees as well as improved guarantees on its statistical performance.By extending the notion of \emph{statistical leverage scores} to the setting of kernel ridge regression, we are able to identify a sampling distribution that reduces the size of the sketch (i.e., the required number of columns to be sampled) to the \emph{effective dimensionality} of the problem. This latter quantity is often much smaller than previous bounds that depend on the \emph{maximal degrees of freedom}. We give an empirical evidence supporting this fact. Our second contribution is to present a fast algorithm to quickly compute coarse approximations to thesescores in time linear in the number of samples. More precisely, the running time of the algorithm is $O(np^2)$ with $p$ only depending on the trace of the kernel matrix and the regularization parameter. This is obtained via a variant of squared length sampling that we adapt to the kernel setting. Lastly, we discuss how this new notion of the leverage of a data point captures a fine notion of the difficulty of the learning problem.