Oracle-Efficient Online Learning for Smoothed AdversariesDownload PDF

Published: 31 Oct 2022, Last Modified: 19 Dec 2022NeurIPS 2022 AcceptReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Online learning, Computational Efficiency, Smoothed Analysis
TL;DR: We establish that under smoothed analysis, there are computationally efficient online algorithms (given access to an offline optimization oracle) whose sublinear regret depends only on the VC dimension and the smootheness parameter.
Abstract: We study the design of computationally efficient online learning algorithms under smoothed analysis. In this setting, at every step, an adversary generates a sample from an adaptively chosen distribution whose density is upper bounded by $1/\sigma$ times the uniform density. Given access to an offline optimization (ERM) oracle, we give the first computationally efficient online algorithms whose sublinear regret depends only on the pseudo/VC dimension $d$ of the class and the smoothness parameter $\sigma$. In particular, we achieve \emph{oracle-efficient} regret bounds of $ O ( \sqrt{T d\sigma^{-1}} ) $ for learning real-valued functions and $ O ( \sqrt{T d\sigma^{-\frac{1}{2}} } )$ for learning binary-valued functions. Our results establish that online learning is computationally as easy as offline learning, under the smoothed analysis framework. This contrasts the computational separation between online learning with worst-case adversaries and offline learning established by [HK16]. Our algorithms also achieve improved bounds for some settings with binary-valued functions and worst-case adversaries. These include an oracle-efficient algorithm with $O ( \sqrt{T(d |\mathcal{X}|)^{1/2} })$ regret that refines the earlier $O ( \sqrt{T|\mathcal{X}|})$ bound of [DS16] for finite domains, and an oracle-efficient algorithm with $O(T^{3/4} d^{1/2})$ regret for the transductive setting.
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