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Associative Memory in Iterated Overparameterized Sigmoid Autoencoders

Yibo Jiang · Cengiz Pehlevan

Keywords: [ Deep Learning Theory ] [ Neuroscience and Cognitive Science ] [ Supervised Learning ] [ Autoencoders ] [ Deep Learning - Generative Models and Autoencoders ]


Recent work showed that overparameterized autoencoders can be trained to implement associative memory via iterative maps, when the trained input-output Jacobian of the network has all of its eigenvalue norms strictly below one. Here, we theoretically analyze this phenomenon for sigmoid networks by leveraging recent developments in deep learning theory, especially the correspondence between training neural networks in the infinite-width limit and performing kernel regression with the Neural Tangent Kernel (NTK). We find that overparameterized sigmoid autoencoders can have attractors in the NTK limit for both training with a single example and multiple examples under certain conditions. In particular, for multiple training examples, we find that the norm of the largest Jacobian eigenvalue drops below one with increasing input norm, leading to associative memory.

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