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Roman Novak, Yasaman Bahri, Daniel A. Abolafia, Jeffrey Pennington, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein. Sensitivity and Generalization in Neural Networks: an Empirical Study. ICLR (Poster) 2018.

Novak et al. study the relationship between neural network sensitivity and generalization. Here, sensitivity is measured in terms of the Frobenius gradient of the network’s probabilities (resulting in a Jacobian matrix, not depending on the true label) or based on a coding scheme of activations. The latter is intended to quantify transitions between linear regions of the piece-wise linear model. To this end, all activations are assigned either $0$ or $1$ depending on their ReLU output. Based on a path between two or more input examples, the difference in this coding scheme is an estimator of how many linear regions have been “traversed”. Both metrics are illustrated in Figure 1, showing that they are low for test and training examples, or in regions within the same class, and high otherwise. The second metric is also illustrated in Figure 2. Based on these metrics, the authors show that these metrics correlate with the generalization gap, meaning that the sensitivity of the network and its generalization performance seem to be inherently connected.

Figure 1: For a network trained on MNIST, illustrations of a possible trajectory (left) and the corresponding sensitivity metrics (middle and right). I refer to the paper for details.

Figure 2: Linear regions for a random 2-dimensional slice of the pre-logit space before and after training.

Also find this summary on ShortScience.org.

What is your opinion on the summarized work? Or do you know related work that is of interest? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below: