Toward Understanding Generalization of Over-parameterized Deep ReLU network trained with SGD in Student-teacher SettingDownload PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • TL;DR: This paper analyzes training dynamics and critical points of training deep ReLU network via SGD in the teacher-student setting.
  • Abstract: To analyze deep ReLU network, we adopt a student-teacher setting in which an over-parameterized student network learns from the output of a fixed teacher network of the same depth, with Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD). Our contributions are two-fold. First, we prove that when the gradient is zero (or bounded above by a small constant) at every data point in training, a situation called \emph{interpolation setting}, there exists many-to-one \emph{alignment} between student and teacher nodes in the lowest layer under mild conditions. This suggests that generalization in unseen dataset is achievable, even the same condition often leads to zero training error. Second, analysis of noisy recovery and training dynamics in 2-layer network shows that strong teacher nodes (with large fan-out weights) are learned first and subtle teacher nodes are left unlearned until late stage of training. As a result, it could take a long time to converge into these small-gradient critical points. Our analysis shows that over-parameterization plays two roles: (1) it is a necessary condition for alignment to happen at the critical points, and (2) in training dynamics, it helps student nodes cover more teacher nodes with fewer iterations. Both improve generalization. Experiments justify our finding.
  • Keywords: deep ReLU network, theoretical analysis, generalization, training dynamics, student teacher setting, interpolation region, over-parameterization
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