A Shooting Formulation of Deep Learning

06/18/2020 ∙ by François-Xavier Vialard, et al. ∙ 12

Continuous-depth neural networks can be viewed as deep limits of discrete neural networks whose dynamics resemble a discretization of an ordinary differential equation (ODE). Although important steps have been taken to realize the advantages of such continuous formulations, most current techniques are not truly continuous-depth as they assume identical layers. Indeed, existing works throw into relief the myriad difficulties presented by an infinite-dimensional parameter space in learning a continuous-depth neural ODE. To this end, we introduce a shooting formulation which shifts the perspective from parameterizing a network layer-by-layer to parameterizing over optimal networks described only by a set of initial conditions. For scalability, we propose a novel particle-ensemble parametrization which fully specifies the optimal weight trajectory of the continuous-depth neural network. Our experiments show that our particle-ensemble shooting formulation can achieve competitive performance, especially on long-range forecasting tasks. Finally, though the current work is inspired by continuous-depth neural networks, the particle-ensemble shooting formulation also applies to discrete-time networks and may lead to a new fertile area of research in deep learning parametrization.

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