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A Combinatorial Perspective on the Optimization of Shallow ReLU Networks
Michael S Matena · Colin Raffel

Thu Dec 01 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @ Hall J #322

The NP-hard problem of optimizing a shallow ReLU network can be characterized as a combinatorial search over each training example’s activation pattern followed by a constrained convex problem given a fixed set of activation patterns. We explore the implications of this combinatorial aspect of ReLU optimization in this work. We show that it can be naturally modeled via a geometric and combinatoric object known as a zonotope with its vertex set isomorphic to the set of feasible activation patterns. This assists in analysis and provides a foundation for further research. We demonstrate its usefulness when we explore the sensitivity of the optimal loss to perturbations of the training data. Later we discuss methods of zonotope vertex selection and its relevance to optimization. Overparameterization assists in training by making a randomly chosen vertex more likely to contain a good solution. We then introduce a novel polynomial-time vertex selection procedure that provably picks a vertex containing the global optimum using only double the minimum number of parameters required to fit the data. We further introduce a local greedy search heuristic over zonotope vertices and demonstrate that it outperforms gradient descent on underparameterized problems.

Author Information

Michael S Matena (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Colin Raffel (UNC Chapel Hill and Hugging Face)

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