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# An optimization and generalization analysis for max-pooling networks

*Proceedings of the Thirty-Seventh Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence*, PMLR 161:1650-1660, 2021.

#### Abstract

Max-Pooling operations are a core component of deep learning architectures. In particular, they are part of most convolutional architectures used in machine vision, since pooling is a natural approach to pattern detection problems. However, these architectures are not well understood from a theoretical perspective. For example, we do not understand when they can be globally optimized, and what is the effect of over-parameterization on generalization. Here we perform a theoretical analysis of a convolutional max-pooling architecture, proving that it can be globally optimized, and can generalize well even for highly over-parameterized models. Our analysis focuses on a data generating distribution inspired by pattern detection problem, where a “discriminative” pattern needs to be detected among “spurious” patterns. We empirically validate that CNNs significantly outperform fully connected networks in our setting, as predicted by our theoretical results.