The Intrinsic Dimensionality of Images and Its Impact on Learning

May 3, 2021



It is widely believed that natural image data exhibits low-dimensional structure despite being embedded in a high-dimensional pixel space. This idea underlies a common intuition for the success of deep learning and has been exploited for enhanced regularization and adversarial robustness. In this work, we apply dimension estimation tools to popular datasets and investigate the role of low dimensional structure in neural network learning. We find that common natural image datasets indeed have very low intrinsic dimension relative to the high number of pixels in the images. Additionally, we find that low dimensional datasets are easier for neural networks to learn. We validate our dimension estimation tools synthetic data generated by GANs in which we can manipulate intrinsic dimension.



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The International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence called representation learning, but generally referred to as deep learning. ICLR is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of deep learning used in the fields of artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, text understanding, gaming, and robotics.

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