
Computer Science 2008
Statistical Learning of Arbitrary Computable ClassifiersAbstract: Statistical learning theory chiefly studies restricted hypothesis classes, particularly those with finite VapnikChervonenkis (VC) dimension. The fundamental quantity of interest is the sample complexity: the number of samples required to learn to a specified level of accuracy. Here we consider learning over the set of all computable labeling functions. Since the VCdimension is infinite and a priori (uniform) bounds on the number of samples are impossible, we let the learning algorithm decide when it has seen sufficient samples to have learned. We first show that learning in this setting is indeed possible, and develop a learning algorithm. We then show, however, that bounding sample complexity independently of the distribution is impossible. Notably, this impossibility is entirely due to the requirement that the learning algorithm be computable, and not due to the statistical nature of the problem.
