The noise in stochastic gradient descent (SGD) provides a crucial implicit regularization effect for training overparameterized models. Prior theoretical work largely focuses on spherical Gaussian noise, whereas empirical studies demonstrate the phenomenon that parameter-dependent noise — induced by mini-batches or label perturbation — is far more effective than Gaussian noise. This paper theoretically characterizes this phenomenon on a quadratically-parameterized model introduced by Vaskevicius et al. and Woodworth et al. We show that in an over-parameterized setting, SGD with label noise recovers the sparse ground-truth with an arbitrary initialization, whereas SGD with Gaussian noise or gradient descent overfits to dense solutions with large norms. Our analysis reveals that parameter-dependent noise introduces a bias towards local minima with smaller noise variance, whereas spherical Gaussian noise does not.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Artificial Intelligence
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Statistics and Probability
- Implicit regularization
- implicit bias