Improving generalization by regularizing in $L^2$ function space

Ari S Benjamin, Konrad Kording

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 15, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Learning rules for neural networks necessarily include some form of regularization. Most regularization techniques are conceptualized and implemented in the space of parameters. However, it is also possible to regularize in the space of functions. Here, we propose to measure networks in an $L^2$ Hilbert space, and test a learning rule that regularizes the distance a network can travel through $L^2$-space each update. This approach is inspired by the slow movement of gradient descent through parameter space as well as by the natural gradient, which can be derived from a regularization term upon functional change. The resulting learning rule, which we call Hilbert-constrained gradient descent (HCGD), is thus closely related to the natural gradient but regularizes a different and more calculable metric over the space of functions. Experiments show that the HCGD is efficient and leads to considerably better generalization.
  • TL;DR: It's important to consider optimization in function space, not just parameter space. We introduce a learning rule that reduces distance traveled in function space, just like SGD limits distance traveled in parameter space.
  • Keywords: natural gradient, generalization, optimization, function space, Hilbert