Dynamics of Deep Neural Networks and Neural Tangent Hierarchy

Jiaoyang Huang
Institute for Advanced Study
Friday, March 6, 2020 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
Vincent Hall 213

The evolution of a deep neural network trained by the gradient descent can be described by its neural tangent kernel (NTK) as introduced by Jacot et al., where it was proven that in the infinite width limit the NTK converges to an explicit limiting kernel and it stays constant during training. The NTK was also implicit in many other recent papers. In the overparametrization regime, a fully-trained deep neural network is indeed equivalent to the kernel regression predictor using the limiting NTK. And the gradient descent achieves zero training loss for a deep overparameterized neural network. However, it was observed by Arora et al. that there is a performance gap between the kernel regression using the limiting NTK and the deep neural networks. This performance gap is likely to originate from the change of the NTK along training due to the finite width effect.  The change of the NTK along the training is central to describe the generalization features of deep neural networks.In the work, we study the dynamic of the NTK for finite width deep fully-connected neural networks. We derive an infinite hierarchy of ordinary differential equations, the neural tangent hierarchy (NTH) which captures the gradient descent dynamic of the deep neural network. Moreover, under certain conditions on the neural network width and the data set dimension, we prove that the truncated hierarchy of NTH approximates the dynamic of the NTK up to arbitrary precision. This is a joint work with Horng-Tzer Yau.