SGD Through the Lens of Kolmogorov ComplexityDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 13 Feb 2023Submitted to ICLR 2023Readers: Everyone
Abstract: We initiate a thorough study of the dynamics of stochastic gradient descent (SGD) under minimal assumptions using the tools of entropy compression. Specifically, we characterize a quantity of interest which we refer to as the \emph{accuracy discrepancy}. Roughly speaking, this measures the average discrepancy between the model accuracy on batches and large subsets of the entire dataset. We show that if this quantity is sufficiently large, then SGD finds a model which achieves perfect accuracy on the data in $O(1)$ epochs. On the contrary, if the model cannot perfectly fit the data, this quantity must remain below a \emph{global} threshold, which only depends on the size of the dataset and batch. We use the above framework to lower bound the amount of randomness required to allow (non stochastic) gradient descent to escape from local minimas using perturbations. We show that even if the model is \emph{extremely overparameterized}, at least a linear (in the size of the dataset) number of random bits are required to guarantee that GD escapes local minimas in polynomial time.
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