Vanishing Activations: A Symptom of Deep Capsule Networks

Miles Everett, Mingjun Zhong, Georgios Leontidis

Capsule Networks, an extension to Neural Networks utilizing vector or matrix representations instead of scalars, were initially developed to create a dynamic parse tree where visual concepts evolve from parts to complete objects. Early implementations of Capsule Networks achieved and maintain state-of-the-art results on various datasets. However, recent studies have revealed shortcomings in the original Capsule Network architecture, notably its failure to construct a parse tree and its susceptibility to vanishing gradients when deployed in deeper networks. This paper extends the investigation to a range of leading Capsule Network architectures, demonstrating that these issues are not confined to the original design. We argue that the majority of Capsule Network research has produced architectures that, while modestly divergent from the original Capsule Network, still retain a fundamentally similar structure. We posit that this inherent design similarity might be impeding the scalability of Capsule Networks. Our study contributes to the broader discussion on improving the robustness and scalability of Capsule Networks.

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