DANTE: Deep AlterNations for Training nEural networks

Sneha Kudugunta, Vaibhav B Sinha, Adepu Ravi Sankar, Surya Teja Chavali, Purushottam Kar, Vineeth N Balasubramanian

We present DANTE, a novel method for training neural networks using the alternating minimization principle. DANTE provides an alternate perspective to traditional gradient-based backpropagation techniques commonly used to train deep networks. It utilizes an adaptation of quasi-convexity to cast training a neural network as a bi-quasi-convex optimization problem. We show that for neural network configurations with both differentiable (e.g. sigmoid) and non-differentiable (e.g. ReLU) activation functions, we can perform the alternations very effectively. DANTE can also be extended to networks with multiple hidden layers. In experiments on standard datasets, neural networks trained using the proposed method were found to be very promising and competitive to traditional backpropagation techniques, both in terms of quality of the solution, as well as training speed.

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