Gradient Descent Finds Global Minima of Deep Neural Networks

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Simon Du, Jason Lee, Haochuan Li, Liwei Wang, Xiyu Zhai ;
Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 97:1675-1685, 2019.

Abstract

Gradient descent finds a global minimum in training deep neural networks despite the objective function being non-convex. The current paper proves gradient descent achieves zero training loss in polynomial time for a deep over-parameterized neural network with residual connections (ResNet). Our analysis relies on the particular structure of the Gram matrix induced by the neural network architecture. This structure allows us to show the Gram matrix is stable throughout the training process and this stability implies the global optimality of the gradient descent algorithm. We further extend our analysis to deep residual convolutional neural networks and obtain a similar convergence result.

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