Timezone: »

Layer-Wise Feedback Alignment is Conserved in Deep Neural Networks
Zach Robertson · Sanmi Koyejo
Event URL: https://arxiv.org/abs/2306.01870 »

In the quest to enhance the efficiency and bio-plausibility of training deep neural networks, Feedback Alignment (FA), which replaces the backward pass weights with random matrices in the training process, has emerged as an alternative to traditional backpropagation. While the appeal of FA lies in its circumvention of computational challenges and its plausible biological alignment, the theoretical understanding of this learning rule remains partial. This paper uncovers a set of conservation laws underpinning the learning dynamics of FA, revealing intriguing parallels between FA and Gradient Descent (GD). Our analysis reveals that FA harbors implicit biases akin to those exhibited by GD, challenging the prevailing narrative that these learning algorithms are fundamentally different. Moreover, we demonstrate that these conservation laws elucidate sufficient conditions for layer-wise alignment with feedback matrices in ReLU networks. We further show that this implies over-parameterized two-layer linear networks trained with FA converge to minimum-norm solutions. The implications of our findings offer avenues for developing more efficient and biologically plausible alternatives to backpropagation through an understanding of the principles governing learning dynamics in deep networks.

Author Information

Zach Robertson (Stanford University)
Sanmi Koyejo (Stanford University)

More from the Same Authors