Analyzing Lottery Ticket Hypothesis from PAC-Bayesian Theory Perspective

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Keitaro Sakamoto, Issei Sato


The lottery ticket hypothesis (LTH) has attracted attention because it can explain why over-parameterized models often show high generalization ability. It is known that when we use iterative magnitude pruning (IMP), which is an algorithm to find sparse networks with high generalization ability that can be trained from the initial weights independently, called winning tickets, the initial large learning rate does not work well in deep neural networks such as ResNet. However, since the initial large learning rate generally helps the optimizer to converge to flatter minima, we hypothesize that the winning tickets have relatively sharp minima, which is considered a disadvantage in terms of generalization ability. In this paper, we confirm this hypothesis and show that the PAC-Bayesian theory can provide an explicit understanding of the relationship between LTH and generalization behavior. On the basis of our experimental findings that IMP with a small learning rate finds relatively sharp minima and that the distance from the initial weights is deeply involved in winning tickets, we offer the PAC-Bayes bound using a spike-and-slab distribution to analyze winning tickets. Finally, we revisit existing algorithms for finding winning tickets from a PAC-Bayesian perspective and provide new insights into these methods.