On the Global Convergence of Training Deep Linear ResNets

Difan Zou, Philip M. Long, Quanquan Gu

Keywords: gradient descent

Abstract: We study the convergence of gradient descent (GD) and stochastic gradient descent (SGD) for training $L$-hidden-layer linear residual networks (ResNets). We prove that for training deep residual networks with certain linear transformations at input and output layers, which are fixed throughout training, both GD and SGD with zero initialization on all hidden weights can converge to the global minimum of the training loss. Moreover, when specializing to appropriate Gaussian random linear transformations, GD and SGD provably optimize wide enough deep linear ResNets. Compared with the global convergence result of GD for training standard deep linear networks \citep{du2019width}, our condition on the neural network width is sharper by a factor of $O(\kappa L)$, where $\kappa$ denotes the condition number of the covariance matrix of the training data. We further propose a modified identity input and output transformations, and show that a $(d+k)$-wide neural network is sufficient to guarantee the global convergence of GD/SGD, where $d,k$ are the input and output dimensions respectively.

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