Strongly-Typed Recurrent Neural Networks


David Balduzzi, Muhammad Ghifary ;
Proceedings of The 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 48:1292-1300, 2016.


Recurrent neural networks are increasing popular models for sequential learning. Unfortunately, although the most effective RNN architectures are perhaps excessively complicated, extensive searches have not found simpler alternatives. This paper imports ideas from physics and functional programming into RNN design to provide guiding principles. From physics, we introduce type constraints, analogous to the constraints that forbids adding meters to seconds. From functional programming, we require that strongly-typed architectures factorize into stateless learnware and state-dependent firmware, reducing the impact of side-effects. The features learned by strongly-typed nets have a simple semantic interpretation via dynamic average-pooling on one-dimensional convolutions. We also show that strongly-typed gradients are better behaved than in classical architectures, and characterize the representational power of strongly-typed nets. Finally, experiments show that, despite being more constrained, strongly-typed architectures achieve lower training and comparable generalization error to classical architectures.

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