Discriminative Recurrent Sparse Auto-Encoders

Jason Rolfe, Yann LeCun

Jan 17, 2013 (modified: Jan 17, 2013) ICLR 2013 conference submission readers: everyone
  • Decision: conferenceOral-iclr2013-conference
  • Abstract: We present the discriminative recurrent sparse auto-encoder model, which consists of an encoder whose hidden layer is recurrent, and two linear decoders, one to reconstruct the input, and one to predict the output. The hidden layer is composed of rectified linear units (ReLU) and is subject to a sparsity penalty. The network is first trained in unsupervised mode to reconstruct the input, and subsequently trained discriminatively to also produce the desired output. The recurrent network is time-unfolded with a given number of iterations, and trained using back-propagation through time. In its time-unfolded form, the network can be seen as a very deep multi-layer network in which the weights are shared between the hidden layers. The depth allows the system to exhibit all the power of deep network while substantially reducing the number of trainable parameters. From an initially unstructured recurrent network, the hidden units of discriminative recurrent sparse auto-encoders naturally organize into a hierarchy of features. The systems spontaneously learns categorical-units, whose activity build up over time through interactions with part-units, which represent deformations of templates. Even using a small number of hidden units per layer, discriminative recurrent sparse auto-encoders that are pixel-permutation agnostic achieve excellent performance on MNIST.