An Actor-critic Algorithm for Learning Rate Learning

Chang Xu, Tao Qin, Gang Wang, Tie-Yan Liu

Nov 03, 2016 (modified: Dec 14, 2016) ICLR 2017 conference submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: Stochastic gradient descent (SGD), which updates the model parameters by adding a local gradient times a learning rate at each step, is widely used in model training of machine learning algorithms such as neural networks. It is observed that the models trained by SGD are sensitive to learning rates and good learning rates are problem specific. To avoid manually searching of learning rates, which is tedious and inefficient, we propose an algorithm to automatically learn learning rates using actor-critic methods from reinforcement learning (RL). In particular, we train a policy network called actor to decide the learning rate at each step during training, and a value network called critic to give feedback about quality of the decision (e.g., the goodness of the learning rate outputted by the actor) that the actor made. Experiments show that our method leads to good convergence of SGD and can prevent overfitting to a certain extent, resulting in better performance than human-designed competitors.
  • TL;DR: We propose an algorithm to automatically learn learning rates using actor-critic methods from reinforcement learning.
  • Conflicts: nankai.edu.cn, microsoft.com
  • Keywords: Deep learning, Reinforcement Learning

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