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# Towards a General Theory of Infinite-Width Limits of Neural Classifiers

*Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 119:3617-3626, 2020.

#### Abstract

Obtaining theoretical guarantees for neural networks training appears to be a hard problem in a general case. Recent research has been focused on studying this problem in the limit of infinite width and two different theories have been developed: a mean-field (MF) and a constant kernel (NTK) limit theories. We propose a general framework that provides a link between these seemingly distinct theories. Our framework out of the box gives rise to a discrete-time MF limit which was not previously explored in the literature. We prove a convergence theorem for it, and show that it provides a more reasonable approximation for finite-width nets compared to the NTK limit if learning rates are not very small. Also, our framework suggests a limit model that coincides neither with the MF limit nor with the NTK one. We show that for networks with more than two hidden layers RMSProp training has a non-trivial discrete-time MF limit but GD training does not have one. Overall, our framework demonstrates that both MF and NTK limits have considerable limitations in approximating finite-sized neural nets, indicating the need for designing more accurate infinite-width approximations for them.