On the number of response regions of deep feed forward networks with piece-wise linear activations

Razvan Pascanu, Guido Montufar, Yoshua Bengio

This paper explores the complexity of deep feedforward networks with linear pre-synaptic couplings and rectified linear activations. This is a contribution to the growing body of work contrasting the representational power of deep and shallow network architectures. In particular, we offer a framework for comparing deep and shallow models that belong to the family of piecewise linear functions based on computational geometry. We look at a deep rectifier multi-layer perceptron (MLP) with linear outputs units and compare it with a single layer version of the model. In the asymptotic regime, when the number of inputs stays constant, if the shallow model has $kn$ hidden units and $n_0$ inputs, then the number of linear regions is $O(k^{n_0}n^{n_0})$. For a $k$ layer model with $n$ hidden units on each layer it is $\Omega(\left\lfloor {n}/{n_0}\right\rfloor^{k-1}n^{n_0})$. The number $\left\lfloor{n}/{n_0}\right\rfloor^{k-1}$ grows faster than $k^{n_0}$ when $n$ tends to infinity or when $k$ tends to infinity and $n \geq 2n_0$. Additionally, even when $k$ is small, if we restrict $n$ to be $2n_0$, we can show that a deep model has considerably more linear regions that a shallow one. We consider this as a first step towards understanding the complexity of these models and specifically towards providing suitable mathematical tools for future analysis.

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