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Neural Computation

July 2019, Vol. 31, No. 7, Pages 1462-1498
(doi: 10.1162/neco_a_01195)
© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
Effect of Depth and Width on Local Minima in Deep Learning
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In this paper, we analyze the effects of depth and width on the quality of local minima, without strong overparameterization and simplification assumptions in the literature. Without any simplification assumption, for deep nonlinear neural networks with the squared loss, we theoretically show that the quality of local minima tends to improve toward the global minimum value as depth and width increase. Furthermore, with a locally induced structure on deep nonlinear neural networks, the values of local minima of neural networks are theoretically proven to be no worse than the globally optimal values of corresponding classical machine learning models. We empirically support our theoretical observation with a synthetic data set, as well as MNIST, CIFAR-10, and SVHN data sets. When compared to previous studies with strong overparameterization assumptions, the results in this letter do not require overparameterization and instead show the gradual effects of overparameterization as consequences of general results.