Newton Methods for Convolutional Neural Networks

Author: Chien-Chih Wang, Rakuten Institute of Technology; Kent Loong Tan, National Taiwan University; Chih-Jen Lin, National Taiwan University


Deep learning involves a difficult non-convex optimization problem, which is often solved by stochastic gradient (SG) methods. While SG is usually effective, it may not be robust in some situations. Recently, Newton methods have been investigated as an alternative optimization technique, but nearly all existing studies consider only fully-connected feedforward neural networks. They do not investigate other types of networks such as Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN), which are more commonly used in deep-learning applications. One reason is that Newton methods for CNN involve complicated operations, and so far no works have conducted a thorough investigation. In this work, we give details of all building blocks including function, gradient, and Jacobian evaluation, and Gauss-Newton matrix-vector products. These basic components are very important because with them further developments of Newton methods for CNN become possible. We show that an efficient MATLAB implementation can be done in just several hundred lines of code and demonstrate that the Newton method gives competitive test accuracy.

Keywords: Convolution Neural Networks, Newton methods, Large-scale classification, Subsampled Hessian

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