How degenerate is the parametrization of neural networks with the ReLU activation function?
Dennis Maximilian Elbr├Ąchter · Julius Berner · Philipp Grohs

Thu Dec 12th 10:45 AM -- 12:45 PM @ East Exhibition Hall B + C #244

Neural network training is usually accomplished by solving a non-convex optimization problem using stochastic gradient descent. Although one optimizes over the networks parameters, the main loss function generally only depends on the realization of the neural network, i.e. the function it computes. Studying the optimization problem over the space of realizations opens up new ways to understand neural network training. In particular, usual loss functions like mean squared error and categorical cross entropy are convex on spaces of neural network realizations, which themselves are non-convex. Approximation capabilities of neural networks can be used to deal with the latter non-convexity, which allows us to establish that for sufficiently large networks local minima of a regularized optimization problem on the realization space are almost optimal. Note, however, that each realization has many different, possibly degenerate, parametrizations. In particular, a local minimum in the parametrization space needs not correspond to a local minimum in the realization space. To establish such a connection, inverse stability of the realization map is required, meaning that proximity of realizations must imply proximity of corresponding parametrizations. We present pathologies which prevent inverse stability in general, and, for shallow networks, proceed to establish a restricted space of parametrizations on which we have inverse stability w.r.t. to a Sobolev norm. Furthermore, we show that by optimizing over such restricted sets, it is still possible to learn any function which can be learned by optimization over unrestricted sets.

Author Information

Dennis Maximilian Elbr├Ąchter (University of Vienna)
Julius Berner (University of Vienna)

Educated at University of Vienna (BSc, MSc) with a specialization in applied mathematics and scientific computing, I became very interested in machine learning and neural networks, in particular. Currently working towards a doctoral degree my research focuses on the mathematical analysis of deep learning based methods at the intersection of approximation theory, statistical learning theory, and optimization.

Philipp Grohs (University of Vienna)