Optimization Landscape and Expressivity of Deep CNNs


Quynh Nguyen, Matthias Hein ;
Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 80:3730-3739, 2018.


We analyze the loss landscape and expressiveness of practical deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) with shared weights and max pooling layers. We show that such CNNs produce linearly independent features at a “wide” layer which has more neurons than the number of training samples. This condition holds e.g. for the VGG network. Furthermore, we provide for such wide CNNs necessary and sufficient conditions for global minima with zero training error. For the case where the wide layer is followed by a fully connected layer we show that almost every critical point of the empirical loss is a global minimum with zero training error. Our analysis suggests that both depth and width are very important in deep learning. While depth brings more representational power and allows the network to learn high level features, width smoothes the optimization landscape of the loss function in the sense that a sufficiently wide network has a well-behaved loss surface with almost no bad local minima.

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