Keywords: [ Parameter Sharing ] [ Function Composition ] [ Nested Architecture ] [ Neural Network Approximation ]

Abstract:
This paper proposes a new neural network architecture by introducing an additional dimension called height beyond width and depth. Neural network architectures with height, width, and depth as hyper-parameters are called three-dimensional architectures. It is shown that neural networks with three-dimensional architectures are significantly more expressive than the ones with two-dimensional architectures (those with only width and depth as hyper-parameters), e.g., standard fully connected networks. The new network architecture is constructed recursively via a nested structure, and hence we call a network with the new architecture nested network (NestNet). A NestNet of height $s$ is built with each hidden neuron activated by a NestNet of height $\le s-1$. When $s=1$, a NestNet degenerates to a standard network with a two-dimensional architecture. It is proved by construction that height-$s$ ReLU NestNets with $\mathcal{O}(n)$ parameters can approximate $1$-Lipschitz continuous functions on $[0,1]^d$ with an error $\mathcal{O}(n^{-(s+1)/d})$, while the optimal approximation error of standard ReLU networks with $\mathcal{O}(n)$ parameters is $\mathcal{O}(n^{-2/d})$. Furthermore, such a result is extended to generic continuous functions on $[0,1]^d$ with the approximation error characterized by the modulus of continuity. Finally, we use numerical experimentation to show the advantages of the super-approximation power of ReLU NestNets.

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