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Norm matters: efficient and accurate normalization schemes in deep networks
Elad Hoffer · Ron Banner · Itay Golan · Daniel Soudry

Thu Dec 06 12:35 PM -- 12:40 PM (PST) @ Room 220 E
Over the past few years, Batch-Normalization has been commonly used in deep networks, allowing faster training and high performance for a wide variety of applications. However, the reasons behind its merits remained unanswered, with several shortcomings that hindered its use for certain tasks. In this work, we present a novel view on the purpose and function of normalization methods and weight-decay, as tools to decouple weights' norm from the underlying optimized objective. This property highlights the connection between practices such as normalization, weight decay and learning-rate adjustments. We suggest several alternatives to the widely used $L^2$ batch-norm, using normalization in $L^1$ and $L^\infty$ spaces that can substantially improve numerical stability in low-precision implementations as well as provide computational and memory benefits. We demonstrate that such methods enable the first batch-norm alternative to work for half-precision implementations. Finally, we suggest a modification to weight-normalization, which improves its performance on large-scale tasks.

Author Information

Elad Hoffer (Technion)
Ron Banner (Intel - Artificial Intelligence Products Group (AIPG))
Itay Golan (Technion)
Daniel Soudry (Technion)

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Technion, working in the areas of Machine learning and theoretical neuroscience. I am especially interested in all aspects of neural networks and deep learning. I did my post-doc (as a Gruss Lipper fellow) working with Prof. Liam Paninski in the Department of Statistics, the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience the Grossman Center for Statistics of the Mind, the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, and the NeuroTechnology Center at Columbia University. I did my Ph.D. (2008-2013, direct track) in the Network Biology Research Laboratory in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Technion, Israel Institute of technology, under the guidance of Prof. Ron Meir. In 2008 I graduated summa cum laude with a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and a B.Sc. in Physics, after studying in the Technion since 2004.

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