Shallow vs. Deep Sum-Product Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24 (NIPS 2011)

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Olivier Delalleau, Yoshua Bengio


We investigate the representational power of sum-product networks (computation networks analogous to neural networks, but whose individual units compute either products or weighted sums), through a theoretical analysis that compares deep (multiple hidden layers) vs. shallow (one hidden layer) architectures. We prove there exist families of functions that can be represented much more efficiently with a deep network than with a shallow one, i.e. with substantially fewer hidden units. Such results were not available until now, and contribute to motivate recent research involving learning of deep sum-product networks, and more generally motivate research in Deep Learning.