The Benefits of Over-parameterization at Initialization in Deep ReLU Networks

Sep 25, 2019 Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Keywords: deep relu networks, he initialization, norm preserving, gradient preserving
  • TL;DR: We show that the norm of hidden activations and the norm of weight gradients are a function of the norm of input data and error at output. We relax the assumption made by previous papers that study weight initialization in deep ReLU networks.
  • Abstract: It has been noted in existing literature that over-parameterization in ReLU networks generally improves performance. While there could be several factors involved behind this, we prove some desirable theoretical properties at initialization which may be enjoyed by ReLU networks. Specifically, it is known that He initialization in deep ReLU networks asymptotically preserves variance of activations in the forward pass and variance of gradients in the backward pass for infinitely wide networks, thus preserving the flow of information in both directions. Our paper goes beyond these results and shows novel properties that hold under He initialization: i) the norm of hidden activation of each layer is equal to the norm of the input, and, ii) the norm of weight gradient of each layer is equal to the product of norm of the input vector and the error at output layer. These results are derived using the PAC analysis framework, and hold true for finitely sized datasets such that the width of the ReLU network only needs to be larger than a certain finite lower bound. As we show, this lower bound depends on the depth of the network and the number of samples, and by the virtue of being a lower bound, over-parameterized ReLU networks are endowed with these desirable properties. For the aforementioned hidden activation norm property under He initialization, we further extend our theory and show that this property holds for a finite width network even when the number of data samples is infinite. Thus we overcome several limitations of existing papers, and show new properties of deep ReLU networks at initialization.
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