Stochastic Gradient Descent Optimizes Over-parameterized Deep ReLU Networks

21 Nov 2018  ·  Difan Zou, Yuan Cao, Dongruo Zhou, Quanquan Gu ·

We study the problem of training deep neural networks with Rectified Linear Unit (ReLU) activation function using gradient descent and stochastic gradient descent. In particular, we study the binary classification problem and show that for a broad family of loss functions, with proper random weight initialization, both gradient descent and stochastic gradient descent can find the global minima of the training loss for an over-parameterized deep ReLU network, under mild assumption on the training data. The key idea of our proof is that Gaussian random initialization followed by (stochastic) gradient descent produces a sequence of iterates that stay inside a small perturbation region centering around the initial weights, in which the empirical loss function of deep ReLU networks enjoys nice local curvature properties that ensure the global convergence of (stochastic) gradient descent. Our theoretical results shed light on understanding the optimization for deep learning, and pave the way for studying the optimization dynamics of training modern deep neural networks.

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