A Shooting Formulation of Deep Learning


Continuous-depth neural networks can be viewed as deep limits of discrete neural networks whose dynamics resemble a discretization of an ordinary differential equation (ODE). Although important steps have been taken to realize the advantages of such continuous formulations, most current techniques are not truly continuous-depth as they assume identical layers. Indeed, existing works throw into relief the myriad difficulties presented by an infinite-dimensional parameter space in learning a continuous-depth neural ODE. To this end, we introduce a shooting formulation which shifts the perspective from parameterizing a network layer-by-layer to parameterizing over optimal networks described only by a set of initial conditions. For scalability, we propose a novel particle-ensemble parametrization which fully specifies the optimal weight trajectory of the continuous-depth neural network. Our experiments show that our particle-ensemble shooting formulation can achieve competitive performance, especially on long-range forecasting tasks. Finally, though the current work is inspired by continuous-depth neural networks, the particle-ensemble shooting formulation also applies to discrete-time networks and may lead to a new fertile area of research in deep learning parametrization.

Marc Niethammer
Marc Niethammer
Professor of Computer Science

My research interests include image registration, image segmentation, shape analysis, machine learning, and biomedical applications.