Nonparametrically Learning Activation Functions in Deep Neural Nets

Carson Eisenach, Zhaoran Wang, Han Liu

Nov 04, 2016 (modified: Nov 04, 2016) ICLR 2017 conference submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: We provide a principled framework for nonparametrically learning activation functions in deep neural networks. Currently, state-of-the-art deep networks treat choice of activation function as a hyper-parameter before training. By allowing activation functions to be estimated as part of the training procedure, we expand the class of functions that each node in the network can learn. We also provide a theoretical justification for our choice of nonparametric activation functions and demonstrate that networks with our nonparametric activation functions generalize well. To demonstrate the power of our novel techniques, we test them on image recognition datasets and achieve up to a 15% relative increase in test performance compared to the baseline.
  • TL;DR: A new class of nonparametric activation functions for deep learning with theoretical guarantees for generalization error.
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