Training Neural Networks for and by Interpolation

Leonard Berrada, Andrew Zisserman, M. Pawan Kumar

The majority of modern deep learning models are able to interpolate the data: the empirical loss can be driven near zero on all samples simultaneously. In this work, we explicitly exploit this interpolation property for the design of a new optimization algorithm for deep learning. Specifically, we use it to compute an adaptive learning-rate given a stochastic gradient direction. This results in the Adaptive Learning-rates for Interpolation with Gradients (ALI-G) algorithm. ALI-G retains the advantages of SGD, which are low computational cost and provable convergence in the convex setting. But unlike SGD, the learning-rate of ALI-G can be computed inexpensively in closed-form and does not require a manual schedule. We provide a detailed analysis of ALI-G in the stochastic convex setting with explicit convergence rates. In order to obtain good empirical performance in deep learning, we extend the algorithm to use a maximal learning-rate, which gives a single hyper-parameter to tune. We show that employing such a maximal learning-rate has an intuitive proximal interpretation and preserves all convergence guarantees. We provide experiments on a variety of architectures and tasks: (i) learning a differentiable neural computer; (ii) training a wide residual network on the SVHN data set; (iii) training a Bi-LSTM on the SNLI data set; and (iv) training wide residual networks and densely connected networks on the CIFAR data sets. We empirically show that ALI-G outperforms adaptive gradient methods such as Adam, and provides comparable performance with SGD, although SGD benefits from manual learning rate schedules. We release PyTorch and Tensorflow implementations of ALI-G as standalone optimizers that can be used as a drop-in replacement in existing code (code available at https://github.com/oval-group/ali-g ).

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