Weight-space symmetry in deep networks gives rise to permutation saddles, connected by equal-loss valleys across the loss landscape

5 Jul 2019Johanni BreaBerfin SimsekBernd IllingWulfram Gerstner

The permutation symmetry of neurons in each layer of a deep neural network gives rise not only to multiple equivalent global minima of the loss function, but also to first-order saddle points located on the path between the global minima. In a network of $d-1$ hidden layers with $n_k$ neurons in layers $k = 1, \ldots, d$, we construct smooth paths between equivalent global minima that lead through a `permutation point' where the input and output weight vectors of two neurons in the same hidden layer $k$ collide and interchange... (read more)

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