Sparse Feature Learning for Deep Belief Networks
Marc'Aurelio Ranzato · Y-Lan Boureau · Yann LeCun

Mon Dec 3rd 10:30 -- 10:40 AM @ None #None

Unsupervised learning algorithms aim to discover the structure hidden in the data, and to learn representations that are more suitable as input to a supervised machine than the raw input. Many unsupervised methods are based on reconstructing the input from the representation, while constraining the representation to have certain desirable properties (e.g. low dimension, sparsity, etc). Others are based on approximating density by stochastically reconstructing the input from the representation. We describe a novel and efficient algorithm to learn sparse representations, and compare it theoretically and experimentally with a similar machines trained probabilistically, namely a Restricted Boltzmann Machine. We propose a simple criterion to compare and select different unsupervised machines based on the trade-off between the reconstruction error and the information content of the representation. We demonstrate this method by extracting features from a dataset of handwritten numerals, and from a dataset of natural image patches. We show that by stacking multiple levels of such machines and by training sequentially, high-order dependencies between the input variables can be captured.

Author Information

Marc'Aurelio Ranzato (Facebook AI Research)
Y-Lan Boureau (Facebook)
Yann LeCun (Facebook AI Research and New York University)

Yann LeCun is Director of AI Research at Facebook, and Silver Professor of Data Science, Computer Science, Neural Science, and Electrical Engineering at New York University. He received the Electrical Engineer Diploma from ESIEE, Paris in 1983, and a PhD in Computer Science from Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris) in 1987. After a postdoc at the University of Toronto, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ in 1988. He became head of the Image Processing Research Department at AT&T Labs-Research in 1996, and joined NYU as a professor in 2003, after a brief period as a Fellow of the NEC Research Institute in Princeton. From 2012 to 2014 he directed NYU's initiative in data science and became the founding director of the NYU Center for Data Science. He was named Director of AI Research at Facebook in late 2013 and retains a part-time position on the NYU faculty. His current interests include AI, machine learning, computer perception, mobile robotics, and computational neuroscience. He has published over 180 technical papers and book chapters on these topics as well as on neural networks, handwriting recognition, image processing and compression, and on dedicated circuits for computer perception.

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