The loss surface of residual networks: Ensembles and the role of batch normalization

Etai Littwin, Lior Wolf

Nov 04, 2016 (modified: Dec 18, 2016) ICLR 2017 conference submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: Deep Residual Networks present a premium in performance in comparison to conventional networks of the same depth and are trainable at extreme depths. It has recently been shown that Residual Networks behave like ensembles of relatively shallow networks. We show that these ensemble are dynamic: while initially the virtual ensemble is mostly at depths lower than half the network’s depth, as training progresses, it becomes deeper and deeper. The main mechanism that controls the dynamic ensemble behavior is the scaling introduced, e.g., by the Batch Normalization technique. We explain this behavior and demonstrate the driving force behind it. As a main tool in our analysis, we employ generalized spin glass models, which we also use in order to study the number of critical points in the optimization of Residual Networks.
  • TL;DR: Residual nets are dynamic ensembles
  • Conflicts: none
  • Keywords: Deep learning, Theory