The Implicit Bias of Batch Normalization in Linear Models and Two-layer Linear Convolutional Neural Networks
Proceedings of Thirty Sixth Conference on Learning Theory, PMLR 195:5699-5753, 2023.
We study the implicit bias of batch normalization trained by gradient descent. We show that when learning a linear model with batch normalization for binary classification, gradient descent converges to a uniform margin classifier on the training data with an $\exp(-\Omega(\log^2t))$ convergence rate. This distinguishes linear models with batch normalization from those without batch normalization in terms of both the type of implicit bias and the convergence rate. We then further extend our result to a class of two-layer, single-filter convolutional neural networks, and show that batch normalization has an implicit bias towards a patch-wise uniform margin. Based on two examples, we demonstrate that patch-wise uniform margin classifiers can outperform the maximum margin classifiers in certain learning problems. Our results contribute to a better theoretical understanding of batch normalization.