On the Double Descent of Random Features Models Trained with SGD

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

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Fanghui Liu, Johan Suykens, Volkan Cevher


We study generalization properties of random features (RF) regression in high dimensions optimized by stochastic gradient descent (SGD) in under-/over-parameterized regime. In this work, we derive precise non-asymptotic error bounds of RF regression under both constant and polynomial-decay step-size SGD setting, and observe the double descent phenomenon both theoretically and empirically. Our analysis shows how to cope with multiple randomness sources of initialization, label noise, and data sampling (as well as stochastic gradients) with no closed-form solution, and also goes beyond the commonly-used Gaussian/spherical data assumption. Our theoretical results demonstrate that, with SGD training, RF regression still generalizes well for interpolation learning, and is able to characterize the double descent behavior by the unimodality of variance and monotonic decrease of bias. Besides, we also prove that the constant step-size SGD setting incurs no loss in convergence rate when compared to the exact minimum-norm interpolator, as a theoretical justification of using SGD in practice.