Effect of Depth and Width on Local Minima in Deep Learning

Kenji Kawaguchi, Jiaoyang Huang, Leslie Pack Kaelbling

In this paper, we analyze the effects of depth and width on the quality of local minima, without strong over-parameterization and simplification assumptions in the literature. Without any simplification assumption, for deep nonlinear neural networks with the squared loss, we theoretically show that the quality of local minima tends to improve towards the global minimum value as depth and width increase. Furthermore, with a locally-induced structure on deep nonlinear neural networks, the values of local minima of neural networks are theoretically proven to be no worse than the globally optimal values of corresponding classical machine learning models. We empirically support our theoretical observation with a synthetic dataset as well as MNIST, CIFAR-10 and SVHN datasets. When compared to previous studies with strong over-parameterization assumptions, the results in this paper do not require over-parameterization, and instead show the gradual effects of over-parameterization as consequences of general results.

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