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Workshop: Associative Memory & Hopfield Networks in 2023

Exploring the Temperature-Dependent Phase Transition in Modern Hopfield Networks

Felix Koulischer · C├ędric Goemaere · Tom Van Der Meersch · Johannes Deleu · Thomas Demeester

Abstract: The recent discovery of a connection between Transformers and Modern Hopfield Networks (MHNs) has reignited the study of neural networks from a physical energy-based perspective. This paper focuses on the pivotal effect of the inverse temperature hyperparameter $\beta$ on the distribution of energy minima of the MHN. To achieve this, the distribution of energy minima is tracked in a simplified MHN in which equidistant normalised patterns are stored. This network demonstrates a phase transition at a critical temperature $\beta_{\text{c}}$, from a single global attractor towards highly pattern specific minima as $\beta$ is increased. Importantly, the dynamics are not solely governed by the hyperparameter $\beta$ but are instead determined by an effective inverse temperature $\beta_{\text{eff}}$ which also depends on the distribution and size of the stored patterns. Recognizing the role of hyperparameters in the MHN could, in the future, aid researchers in the domain of Transformers to optimise their initial choices, potentially reducing the necessity for time and energy expensive hyperparameter fine-tuning.

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