Ankit B. Patel, Minh Tan Nguyen, Richard Baraniuk
We develop a probabilistic framework for deep learning based on the Deep Rendering Mixture Model (DRMM), a new generative probabilistic model that explicitly capture variations in data due to latent task nuisance variables. We demonstrate that max-sum inference in the DRMM yields an algorithm that exactly reproduces the operations in deep convolutional neural networks (DCNs), providing a first principles derivation. Our framework provides new insights into the successes and shortcomings of DCNs as well as a principled route to their improvement. DRMM training via the Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm is a powerful alternative to DCN back-propagation, and initial training results are promising. Classification based on the DRMM and other variants outperforms DCNs in supervised digit classification, training 2-3x faster while achieving similar accuracy. Moreover, the DRMM is applicable to semi-supervised and unsupervised learning tasks, achieving results that are state-of-the-art in several categories on the MNIST benchmark and comparable to state of the art on the CIFAR10 benchmark.