Unpacking Information Bottlenecks: Unifying Information-Theoretic Objectives in Deep Learning

27 Mar 2020  ·  Andreas Kirsch, Clare Lyle, Yarin Gal ·

The Information Bottleneck principle offers both a mechanism to explain how deep neural networks train and generalize, as well as a regularized objective with which to train models. However, multiple competing objectives are proposed in the literature, and the information-theoretic quantities used in these objectives are difficult to compute for large deep neural networks, which in turn limits their use as a training objective. In this work, we review these quantities and compare and unify previously proposed objectives, which allows us to develop surrogate objectives more friendly to optimization without relying on cumbersome tools such as density estimation. We find that these surrogate objectives allow us to apply the information bottleneck to modern neural network architectures. We demonstrate our insights on MNIST, CIFAR-10 and Imagenette with modern DNN architectures (ResNets).

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