Embedding Principle of Loss Landscape of Deep Neural NetworksDownload PDF

Published: 09 Nov 2021, Last Modified: 05 May 2023NeurIPS 2021 SpotlightReaders: Everyone
Keywords: deep neural network, embedding principle, loss landscape, critical points, degree of degeneracy
Abstract: Understanding the structure of loss landscape of deep neural networks (DNNs) is obviously important. In this work, we prove an embedding principle that the loss landscape of a DNN "contains" all the critical points of all the narrower DNNs. More precisely, we propose a critical embedding such that any critical point, e.g., local or global minima, of a narrower DNN can be embedded to a critical point/affine subspace of the target DNN with higher degeneracy and preserving the DNN output function. Note that, given any training data, differentiable loss function and differentiable activation function, this embedding structure of critical points holds.This general structure of DNNs is starkly different from other nonconvex problems such as protein-folding.Empirically, we find that a wide DNN is often attracted by highly-degenerate critical points that are embedded from narrow DNNs. The embedding principle provides a new perspective to study the general easy optimization of wide DNNs and unravels a potential implicit low-complexity regularization during the training.Overall, our work provides a skeleton for the study of loss landscape of DNNs and its implication, by which a more exact and comprehensive understanding can be anticipated in the near future.
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TL;DR: Embedding principle: the loss landscape of any network contains all critical points of all narrower networks.
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