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Polarity Is All You Need to Learn and Transfer Faster

Alice (Qingyang) Wang · Michael Powell · Eric Bridgeford · Ali Geisa · Joshua Vogelstein

Exhibit Hall 1 #613
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Natural intelligences (NIs) thrive in a dynamic world - they learn quickly, sometimes with only a few samples. In contrast, artificial intelligences (AIs) typically learn with a prohibitive number of training samples and computational power. What design principle difference between NI and AI could contribute to such a discrepancy? Here, we investigate the role of weight polarity: development processes initialize NIs with advantageous polarity configurations; as NIs grow and learn, synapse magnitudes update, yet polarities are largely kept unchanged. We demonstrate with simulation and image classification tasks that if weight polarities are adequately set a priori, then networks learn with less time and data. We also explicitly illustrate situations in which a priori setting the weight polarities is disadvantageous for networks. Our work illustrates the value of weight polarities from the perspective of statistical and computational efficiency during learning.

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