Workshop: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better: Understanding Deep Learning Through Empirical Falsification

Exploring the Sharpened Cosine Similarity

Skyler Wu · Fred Lu · Edward Raff · James Holt


Convolutional layers have long served as the primary workhorse for image classification. Recently, an alternative to convolution was proposed using the Sharpened Cosine Similarity (SCS), which in theory may serve as a better feature detector. While multiple sources report promising results, there has not been to date a full-scale empirical analysis of neural network performance using these new layers. In our work, we explore SCS's parameter behavior and potential as a drop-in replacement for convolutions in multiple CNN architectures benchmarked on CIFAR-10. We find that while SCS may not yield significant increases in accuracy, it may learn more interpretable representations. We also find that, in some circumstances, SCS may confer a slight increase in adversarial robustness.

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