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  1. Mixup is a data augmentation technique that relies on training using random convex combinations of data points and their labels. In recent years, Mixup has become a standard primitive used in the training of state-of-the-art image classification models due to its demonstrated benefits over empirical risk minimization with regards to generalization and robustness. In this work, we try to explain some of this success from a feature learning perspective. We focus our attention on classification problems in which each class may have multiple associated features (or views) that can be used to predict the class correctly. Our main theoretical results demonstrate that, for a non-trivial class of data distributions with two features per class, training a 2-layer convolutional network using empirical risk minimization can lead to learning only one feature for almost all classes while training with a specific instantiation of Mixup succeeds in learning both features for every class. We also show empirically that these theoretical insights extend to the practical settings of image benchmarks modified to have additional synthetic features. 
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  2. In deep learning, often the training process nds an interpolator (a solution with 0 training loss), but the test loss is still low. This phenomenon, known as benign overfitting, is a major mystery that received a lot of recent attention. One common mechanism for benign overfitting is implicit regularization, where the training process leads to additional properties for the interpolator, often characterized by minimizing certain norms. However, even for a simple sparse linear regression problem y = Ax+ noise with sparse x , neither minimum l_1 orl_`2 norm interpolator gives the optimal test loss. In this work, we give a different parametrization of the model which leads to a new implicit regularization effect that combines the benefit of l_1 and l_2 interpolators. We show that training our new model via gradient descent leads to an interpolator with near-optimal test loss. Our result is based on careful analysis of the training dynamics and provides another example of implicit regularization effect that goes beyond norm minimization. 
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  3. Hybrid modelling reduces the misspecification of expert models by combining them with machine learning (ML) components learned from data. Similarly to many ML algorithms, hybrid model performance guarantees are limited to the training distribution. Leveraging the insight that the expert model is usually valid even outside the training domain, we overcome this limitation by introducing a hybrid data augmentation strategy termed expert augmentation. Based on a probabilistic formalization of hybrid modelling, we demonstrate that expert augmentation, which can be incorporated into existing hybrid systems, improves generalization. We empirically validate the expert augmentation on three controlled experiments modelling dynamical systems with ordinary and partial differential equations. Finally, we assess the potential real-world applicability of expert augmentation on a dataset of a real double pendulum. 
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  4. Recently, researchers observed that gradient descent for deep neural networks operates in an “edge-of-stability” (EoS) regime: the sharpness (maximum eigenvalue of the Hessian) is often larger than stability threshold 2/\eta (where \eta is the step size). Despite this, the loss oscillates and converges in the long run, and the sharpness at the end is just slightly below 2/\eta . While many other well-understood nonconvex objectives such as matrix factorization or two-layer networks can also converge despite large sharpness, there is often a larger gap between sharpness of the endpoint and 2/\eta . In this paper, we study EoS phenomenon by constructing a simple function that has the same behavior. We give rigorous analysis for its training dynamics in a large local region and explain why the fnal converging point has sharpness close to 2/\eta . Globally we observe that the training dynamics for our example have an interesting bifurcating behavior, which was also observed in the training of neural nets. 
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  5. Sparse coding refers to modeling a signal as sparse linear combinations of the elements of a learned dictionary. Sparse coding has proven to be a successful and interpretable approach in many applications, such as signal processing, computer vision, and medical imaging. While this success has spurred much work on sparse coding with provable guarantees, work on the setting where the learned dictionary is larger (or over-realized) with respect to the ground truth is comparatively nascent. Existing theoretical results in the over-realized regime are limited to the case of noise-less data. In this paper, we show that for over-realized sparse coding in the presence of noise, minimizing the standard dictionary learning objective can fail to recover the ground-truth dictionary, regardless of the magnitude of the signal in the data-generating process. Furthermore, drawing from the growing body of work on self-supervised learning, we propose a novel masking objective and we prove that minimizing this new objective can recover the ground-truth dictionary. We corroborate our theoretical results with experiments across several parameter regimes, showing that our proposed objective enjoys better empirical performance than the standard reconstruction objective. 
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