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Scaling Supervised Local Learning with Augmented Auxiliary Networks

Chenxiang Ma · Jibin Wu · Chenyang Si · KC Tan

Halle B #128
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Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Deep neural networks are typically trained using global error signals that backpropagate (BP) end-to-end, which is not only biologically implausible but also suffers from the update locking problem and requires huge memory consumption. Local learning, which updates each layer independently with a gradient-isolated auxiliary network, offers a promising alternative to address the above problems. However, existing local learning methods are confronted with a large accuracy gap with the BP counterpart, particularly for large-scale networks. This is due to the weak coupling between local layers and their subsequent network layers, as there is no gradient communication across layers. To tackle this issue, we put forward an augmented local learning method, dubbed AugLocal. AugLocal constructs each hidden layer’s auxiliary network by uniformly selecting a small subset of layers from its subsequent network layers to enhance their synergy. We also propose to linearly reduce the depth of auxiliary networks as the hidden layer goes deeper, ensuring sufficient network capacity while reducing the computational cost of auxiliary networks. Our extensive experiments on four image classification datasets (i.e., CIFAR-10, SVHN, STL-10, and ImageNet) demonstrate that AugLocal can effectively scale up to tens of local layers with a comparable accuracy to BP-trained networks while reducing GPU memory usage by around 40%. The proposed AugLocal method, therefore, opens up a myriad of opportunities for training high-performance deep neural networks on resource-constrained platforms. Code is available at \url{}.

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