Bengio, Yoshua, Roux, Nicolas L., Vincent, Pascal, Delalleau, Olivier, Marcotte, Patrice

Convexity has recently received a lot of attention in the machine learning community, and the lack of convexity has been seen as a major disadvantage of many learning algorithms, such as multi-layer artificial neural networks. We show that training multi-layer neural networks in which the number of hidden units is learned can be viewed as a convex optimization problem. This problem involves an infinite number of variables, but can be solved by incrementally inserting a hidden unit at a time, each time finding a linear classifier that minimizes a weighted sum of errors.

Bengio, Yoshua, Roux, Nicolas L., Vincent, Pascal, Delalleau, Olivier, Marcotte, Patrice

Blondel, Mathieu, Niculae, Vlad, Otsuka, Takuma, Ueda, Naonori

Factorization machines and polynomial networks are supervised polynomial models based on an efficient low-rank decomposition. We extend these models to the multi-output setting, i.e., for learning vector-valued functions, with application to multi-class or multi-task problems. We cast this as the problem of learning a 3-way tensor whose slices share a common basis and propose a convex formulation of that problem. We then develop an efficient conditional gradient algorithm and prove its global convergence, despite the fact that it involves a non-convex basis selection step. On classification tasks, we show that our algorithm achieves excellent accuracy with much sparser models than existing methods. On recommendation system tasks, we show how to combine our algorithm with a reduction from ordinal regression to multi-output classification and show that the resulting algorithm outperforms simple baselines in terms of ranking accuracy.

Sahiner, Arda, Ergen, Tolga, Pauly, John, Pilanci, Mert

We describe the convex semi-infinite dual of the two-layer vector-output ReLU neural network training problem. This semi-infinite dual admits a finite dimensional representation, but its support is over a convex set which is difficult to characterize. In particular, we demonstrate that the non-convex neural network training problem is equivalent to a finite-dimensional convex copositive program. Our work is the first to identify this strong connection between the global optima of neural networks and those of copositive programs. We thus demonstrate how neural networks implicitly attempt to solve copositive programs via semi-nonnegative matrix factorization, and draw key insights from this formulation. We describe the first algorithms for provably finding the global minimum of the vector output neural network training problem, which are polynomial in the number of samples for a fixed data rank, yet exponential in the dimension. However, in the case of convolutional architectures, the computational complexity is exponential in only the filter size and polynomial in all other parameters. We describe the circumstances in which we can find the global optimum of this neural network training problem exactly with soft-thresholded SVD, and provide a copositive relaxation which is guaranteed to be exact for certain classes of problems, and which corresponds with the solution of Stochastic Gradient Descent in practice.