A Scale Mixture Perspective of Multiplicative Noise in Neural Networks
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A Scale Mixture Perspective of Multiplicative Noise in Neural Networks


Corrupting the input and hidden layers of deep neural networks (DNNs) with multiplicative noise, often drawn from the Bernoulli distribution (or 'dropout'), provides regularization that has significantly contributed to deep learning's success. However, understanding how multiplicative corruptions prevent overfitting has been difficult due to the complexity of a DNN's functional form. In this paper, we show that when a Gaussian prior is placed on a DNN's weights, applying multiplicative noise induces a Gaussian scale mixture, which can be reparameterized to circumvent the problematic likelihood function. Analysis can then proceed by using a type-II maximum likelihood procedure to derive a closed-form expression revealing how regularization evolves as a function of the network's weights. Results show that multiplicative noise forces weights to become either sparse or invariant to rescaling. We find our analysis has implications for model compression as it naturally reveals a weight pruning rule that starkly contrasts with the commonly used signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). While the SNR prunes weights with large variances, seeing them as noisy, our approach recognizes their robustness and retains them. We empirically demonstrate our approach has a strong advantage over the SNR heuristic and is competitive to retraining with soft targets produced from a teacher model.

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