On the Multiple Descent of Minimum-Norm Interpolants and Restricted Lower Isometry of Kernels


We study the risk of minimum-norm interpolants of data in Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Spaces. Our upper bounds on the risk are of a \emph{multiple-descent} shape for the various scalings of $d = n^{\alpha}$, $\alpha\in(0,1)$, for the input dimension $d$ and sample size $n$. Empirical evidence supports our finding that minimum-norm interpolants in RKHS can exhibit this unusual non-monotonicity in sample size; furthermore, locations of the peaks in our experiments match our theoretical predictions. Since gradient flow on appropriately initialized wide neural networks converges to a minimum-norm interpolant with respect to a certain kernel, our analysis also yields novel estimation and generalization guarantees for these over-parametrized models. At the heart of our analysis is a study of spectral properties of the random kernel matrix restricted to a filtration of eigen-spaces of the population covariance operator, and may be of independent interest.

Conference on Learning Theory (COLT)