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# Shedding a PAC-Bayesian Light on Adaptive Sliced-Wasserstein Distances

*Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 202:26451-26473, 2023.

#### Abstract

The Sliced-Wasserstein distance (SW) is a computationally efficient and theoretically grounded alternative to the Wasserstein distance. Yet, the literature on its statistical properties – or, more accurately, its generalization properties – with respect to the distribution of slices, beyond the uniform measure, is scarce. To bring new contributions to this line of research, we leverage the PAC-Bayesian theory and a central observation that SW may be interpreted as an average risk, the quantity PAC-Bayesian bounds have been designed to characterize. We provide three types of results: i) PAC-Bayesian generalization bounds that hold on what we refer as adaptive Sliced-Wasserstein distances, i.e. SW defined with respect to arbitrary distributions of slices (among which data-dependent distributions), ii) a principled procedure to learn the distribution of slices that yields maximally discriminative SW, by optimizing our theoretical bounds, and iii) empirical illustrations of our theoretical findings.