null
(Ed.)

We develop a convex analytic framework for ReLU neural networks which elucidates the inner workings of hidden neurons and their function space characteristics. We show that neural networks with rectified linear units act as convex regularizers, where simple solutions are encouraged via extreme points of a certain convex set. For one dimensional regression and classification, as well as rank-one data matrices, we prove that finite two-layer ReLU networks with norm regularization yield linear spline interpolation. We characterize the classification decision regions in terms of a closed form kernel matrix and minimum L1 norm solutions. This is in contrast to Neural Tangent Kernel which is unable to explain neural network predictions with finitely many neurons. Our convex geometric description also provides intuitive explanations of hidden neurons as auto encoders. In higher dimensions, we show that the training problem for two-layer networks can be cast as a finite dimensional convex optimization problem with
infinitely many constraints. We then provide a family of convex relaxations to approximate the solution, and a cutting-plane algorithm to improve the relaxations. We derive conditions for the exactness of the relaxations and provide simple closed form formulas for the optimal neural network weights in certain cases. We also establish a connection to ℓ0-ℓ1 equivalence for neural networks analogous to the minimal cardinality solutions in compressed sensing. Extensive experimental results show that the proposed approach yields interpretable and accurate models.

more »
« less