Improving Deep Learning by Inverse Square Root Linear Units (ISRLUs)

Brad Carlile, Guy Delamarter, Paul Kinney, Akiko Marti, Brian Whitney

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 15, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: We introduce the “inverse square root linear unit” (ISRLU) to speed up learning in deep neural networks. ISRLU has better performance than ELU but has many of the same benefits. ISRLU and ELU have similar curves and characteristics. Both have negative values, allowing them to push mean unit activation closer to zero, and bring the normal gradient closer to the unit natural gradient, ensuring a noise- robust deactivation state, lessening the over fitting risk. The significant performance advantage of ISRLU on traditional CPUs also carry over to more efficient HW implementations on HW/SW codesign for CNNs/RNNs. In experiments with TensorFlow, ISRLU leads to faster learning and better generalization than ReLU on CNNs. This work also suggests a computationally efficient variant called the “inverse square root unit” (ISRU) which can be used for RNNs. Many RNNs use either long short-term memory (LSTM) and gated recurrent units (GRU) which are implemented with tanh and sigmoid activation functions. ISRU has less computational complexity but still has a similar curve to tanh and sigmoid.
  • TL;DR: We introduce the ISRLU activation function which is continuously differentiable and faster than ELU. The related ISRU replaces tanh & sigmoid.
  • Keywords: Deep learning, Theory