High-dimensional SGD aligns with emerging outlier eigenspaces

Published: 16 Jan 2024, Last Modified: 16 Mar 2024ICLR 2024 spotlightEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
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Keywords: stochastic gradient descent, Hessian, multi-layer neural networks, high-dimensional classification, Gaussian mixture model, XOR problem
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Abstract: We rigorously study the joint evolution of training dynamics via stochastic gradient descent (SGD) and the spectra of empirical Hessian and gradient matrices. We prove that in two canonical classification tasks for multi-class high-dimensional mixtures and either 1 or 2-layer neural networks, the SGD trajectory rapidly aligns with emerging low-rank outlier eigenspaces of the Hessian and gradient matrices. Moreover, in multi-layer settings this alignment occurs per layer, with the final layer's outlier eigenspace evolving over the course of training, and exhibiting rank deficiency when the SGD converges to sub-optimal classifiers. This establishes some of the rich predictions that have arisen from extensive numerical studies in the last decade about the spectra of Hessian and information matrices over the course of training in overparametrized networks.
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Primary Area: learning theory
Submission Number: 2000