Exploring Curvature Noise in Large-Batch Stochastic Optimization


Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Using stochastic gradient descent (SGD) with large batch-sizes to train deep neural networks is an increasingly popular technique. By doing so, one can improve parallelization by scaling to multiple workers (GPUs) and hence leading to significant reductions in training time. Unfortunately, a major drawback is the so-called generalization gap: large-batch training typically leads to a degradation in generalization performance of the model as compared to small-batch training. In this paper, we propose to correct this generalization gap by adding diagonal Fisher curvature noise to large-batch gradient updates. We provide a theoretical analysis of our method in the convex quadratic setting. Our empirical study with state-of-the-art deep learning models shows that our method not only improves the generalization performance in large-batch training but furthermore, does so in a way where the training convergence remains desirable and the training duration is not elongated. We additionally connect our method to recent works on loss surface landscape in the experimental section.
  • Keywords: optimization, large-batch training, generalization, noise covariance
  • TL;DR: Engineer large-batch training such that we retain fast training while achieving better generalization.
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