MomentumRNN: Integrating Momentum into Recurrent Neural Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Tan Nguyen, Richard Baraniuk, Andrea Bertozzi, Stanley Osher, Bao Wang


<p>Designing deep neural networks is an art that often involves an expensive search over candidate architectures. To overcome this for recurrent neural nets (RNNs), we establish a connection between the hidden state dynamics in an RNN and gradient descent (GD). We then integrate momentum into this framework and propose a new family of RNNs, called {\em MomentumRNNs}. We theoretically prove and numerically demonstrate that MomentumRNNs alleviate the vanishing gradient issue in training RNNs. We study the momentum long-short term memory (MomentumLSTM) and verify its advantages in convergence speed and accuracy over its LSTM counterpart across a variety of benchmarks. We also demonstrate that MomentumRNN is applicable to many types of recurrent cells, including those in the state-of-the-art orthogonal RNNs. Finally, we show that other advanced momentum-based optimization methods, such as Adam and Nesterov accelerated gradients with a restart, can be easily incorporated into the MomentumRNN framework for designing new recurrent cells with even better performance.</p>