Deep Convolutional Neural Networks with Merge-and-Run Mappings

23 Nov 2016  ·  Liming Zhao, Jingdong Wang, Xi Li, Zhuowen Tu, Wen-Jun Zeng ·

A deep residual network, built by stacking a sequence of residual blocks, is easy to train, because identity mappings skip residual branches and thus improve information flow. To further reduce the training difficulty, we present a simple network architecture, deep merge-and-run neural networks... The novelty lies in a modularized building block, merge-and-run block, which assembles residual branches in parallel through a merge-and-run mapping: Average the inputs of these residual branches (Merge), and add the average to the output of each residual branch as the input of the subsequent residual branch (Run), respectively. We show that the merge-and-run mapping is a linear idempotent function in which the transformation matrix is idempotent, and thus improves information flow, making training easy. In comparison to residual networks, our networks enjoy compelling advantages: they contain much shorter paths, and the width, i.e., the number of channels, is increased. We evaluate the performance on the standard recognition tasks. Our approach demonstrates consistent improvements over ResNets with the comparable setup, and achieves competitive results (e.g., $3.57\%$ testing error on CIFAR-$10$, $19.00\%$ on CIFAR-$100$, $1.51\%$ on SVHN). read more

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