Multiclass Learnability Beyond the PAC Framework: Universal Rates and Partial Concept Classes

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Alkis Kalavasis, Grigoris Velegkas, Amin Karbasi


In this paper we study the problem of multiclass classification with a bounded number of different labels $k$, in the realizable setting. We extend the traditional PAC model to a) distribution-dependent learning rates, and b) learning rates under data-dependent assumptions. First, we consider the universal learning setting (Bousquet, Hanneke, Moran, van Handel and Yehudayoff, STOC'21), for which we provide a complete characterization of the achievable learning rates that holds for every fixed distribution. In particular, we show the following trichotomy: for any concept class, the optimal learning rate is either exponential, linear or arbitrarily slow. Additionally, we provide complexity measures of the underlying hypothesis class that characterize when these rates occur. Second, we consider the problem of multiclass classification with structured data (such as data lying on a low dimensional manifold or satisfying margin conditions), a setting which is captured by partial concept classes (Alon, Hanneke, Holzman and Moran, FOCS'21). Partial concepts are functions that can be undefined in certain parts of the input space. We extend the traditional PAC learnability of total concept classes to partial concept classes in the multiclass setting and investigate differences between partial and total concepts.