Learning with Pseudo-Ensembles

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

Bibtex Metadata Paper Reviews Supplemental


Philip Bachman, Ouais Alsharif, Doina Precup


We formalize the notion of a pseudo-ensemble, a (possibly infinite) collection of child models spawned from a parent model by perturbing it according to some noise process. E.g., dropout (Hinton et al, 2012) in a deep neural network trains a pseudo-ensemble of child subnetworks generated by randomly masking nodes in the parent network. We examine the relationship of pseudo-ensembles, which involve perturbation in model-space, to standard ensemble methods and existing notions of robustness, which focus on perturbation in observation-space. We present a novel regularizer based on making the behavior of a pseudo-ensemble robust with respect to the noise process generating it. In the fully-supervised setting, our regularizer matches the performance of dropout. But, unlike dropout, our regularizer naturally extends to the semi-supervised setting, where it produces state-of-the-art results. We provide a case study in which we transform the Recursive Neural Tensor Network of (Socher et al, 2013) into a pseudo-ensemble, which significantly improves its performance on a real-world sentiment analysis benchmark.