beating the perils of non-convexity: guaranteed training of neural networks using tensor methods

Majid Janzamin, Hanie Sedghi, Anima Anandkumar

Training neural networks is a challenging non-convex optimization problem, and backpropagation or gradient descent can get stuck in spurious local optima. We propose a novel algorithm based on tensor decomposition for training a two-layer neural network. We prove efficient risk bounds for our proposed method, with a polynomial sample complexity in the relevant parameters, such as input dimension and number of neurons. While learning arbitrary target functions is NP-hard, we provide transparent conditions on the function and the input for generalizability. Our training method is based on tensor decomposition, which provably converges to the global optimum, under a set of mild non-degeneracy conditions. It consists of simple embarrassingly parallel linear and multi-linear operations, and is competitive with standard stochastic gradient descent (SGD), in terms of computational complexity. Thus, we have a computationally efficient method with guaranteed risk bounds for training neural networks with general non-linear activations.

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