Stability bounds for stationary φ-mixing and β-mixing processes

Mehryar Mohri, Afshin Rostamizadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most generalization bounds in learning theory are based on some measure of the complexity of the hypothesis class used, independently of any algorithm. In contrast, the notion of algorithmic stability can be used to derive tight generalization bounds that are tailored to specific learning algorithms by exploiting their particular properties. However, as in much of learning theory, existing stability analyses and bounds apply only in the scenario where the samples are independently and identically distributed. In many machine learning applications, however, this assumption does not hold. The observations received by the learning algorithm often have some inherent temporal dependence. This paper studies the scenario where the observations are drawn from a stationary φ-mixing or β-mixing sequence, a widely adopted assumption in the study of non-i.i.d. processes that implies a dependence between observations weakening over time. We prove novel and distinct stability-based generalization bounds for stationary φ-mixing and β-mixing sequences. These bounds strictly generalize the bounds given in the i.i.d. case and apply to all stable learning algorithms, thereby extending the use of stability-bounds to non-i.i.d. scenarios. We also illustrate the application of our φ-mixing generalization bounds to general classes of learning algorithms, including Support Vector Regression, Kernel Ridge Regression, and Support Vector Machines, and many other kernel regularization-based and relative entropy-based regularization algorithms. These novel bounds can thus be viewed as the first theoretical basis for the use of these algorithms in non-i.i.d. scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-814
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Machine Learning Research
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Algorithmic stability
  • Generalization bounds
  • Learning in non-i.i.d. scenarios
  • Learning theory
  • Mixing distributions
  • Weakly dependent observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Artificial Intelligence


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