Neural Networks with Cheap Differential Operators

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Ricky T. Q. Chen, David K. Duvenaud


Gradients of neural networks can be computed efficiently for any architecture, but some applications require computing differential operators with higher time complexity. We describe a family of neural network architectures that allow easy access to a family of differential operators involving \emph{dimension-wise derivatives}, and we show how to modify the backward computation graph to compute them efficiently. We demonstrate the use of these operators for solving root-finding subproblems in implicit ODE solvers, exact density evaluation for continuous normalizing flows, and evaluating the Fokker-Planck equation for training stochastic differential equation models.