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# “Plus/minus the learning rate”: Easy and Scalable Statistical Inference with SGD

*Proceedings of The 26th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics*, PMLR 206:2285-2309, 2023.

#### Abstract

In this paper, we develop a statistical inference procedure using stochastic gradient descent (SGD)-based confidence intervals. These intervals are of the simplest possible form: $\theta_{N,j} \pm 2\sqrt{}(\gamma/N)$ , where $\theta_N$ is the SGD estimate of model parameters $\theta$ over N data points, and $\gamma$ is the learning rate. This construction relies only on a proper selection of the learning rate to ensure the standard SGD conditions for O(1/n) convergence. The procedure performs well in our empirical evaluations, achieving near-nominal coverage intervals scaling up to 20$\times$ as many parameters as other SGD-based inference methods. We also demonstrate our method’s practical significance on modeling adverse events in emergency general surgery patients using a novel dataset from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.