Unique Properties of Wide Minima in Deep Networks

Jul 12, 2020



It is well known that (stochastic) gradient descent has an implicit bias towards wide minima. In deep neural network training, this mechanism serves to screen out minima. However, the precise effect that this has on the trained network is not yet fully understood. In this paper, we characterize the wide minima in linear neural networks trained with a quadratic loss. First, we show that linear ResNets with zero initialization necessarily converge to the widest of all minima. We then prove that these minima correspond to nearly balanced networks whereby the gain from the input to any intermediate representation does not change drastically from one layer to the next. Finally, we show that consecutive layers in wide minima solutions are coupled. That is, one of the left singular vectors of each weight matrix, equals one of the right singular vectors of the next matrix. This forms a distinct path from input to output, that, as we show, is dedicated to the signal that experiences the largest gain end-to-end. Experiments indicate that these properties are characteristic of both linear and nonlinear models trained in practice.



About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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