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  1. null (Ed.)
    Graphical models are powerful tools for modeling high-dimensional data, but learning graphical models in the presence of latent variables is well-known to be difficult. In this work we give new results for learning Restricted Boltzmann Machines, probably the most well-studied class of latent variable models. Our results are based on new connections to learning two-layer neural networks under ℓ∞ bounded input; for both problems, we give nearly optimal results under the conjectured hardness of sparse parity with noise. Using the connection between RBMs and feedforward networks, we also initiate the theoretical study of supervised RBMs [Hinton, 2012], a version of neural-network learning that couples distributional assumptions induced from the underlying graphical model with the architecture of the unknown function class. We then give an algorithm for learning a natural class of supervised RBMs with better runtime than what is possible for its related class of networks without distributional assumptions. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    We give the first statistical-query lower bounds for agnostically learning any non-polynomial activation with respect to Gaussian marginals (e.g., ReLU, sigmoid, sign). For the specific problem of ReLU regression (equivalently, agnostically learning a ReLU), we show that any statistical-query algorithm with tolerance n−(1/ϵ)b must use at least 2ncϵ queries for some constant b,c>0, where n is the dimension and ϵ is the accuracy parameter. Our results rule out general (as opposed to correlational) SQ learning algorithms, which is unusual for real-valued learning problems. Our techniques involve a gradient boosting procedure for "amplifying" recent lower bounds due to Diakonikolas et al. (COLT 2020) and Goel et al. (ICML 2020) on the SQ dimension of functions computed by two-layer neural networks. The crucial new ingredient is the use of a nonstandard convex functional during the boosting procedure. This also yields a best-possible reduction between two commonly studied models of learning: agnostic learning and probabilistic concepts. 
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