Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)
Drew Linsley, Junkyung Kim, Vijay Veerabadran, Charles Windolf, Thomas Serre
Progress in deep learning has spawned great successes in many engineering applications. As a prime example, convolutional neural networks, a type of feedforward neural networks, are now approaching -- and sometimes even surpassing -- human accuracy on a variety of visual recognition tasks. Here, however, we show that these neural networks and their recent extensions struggle in recognition tasks where co-dependent visual features must be detected over long spatial ranges. We introduce a visual challenge, Pathfinder, and describe a novel recurrent neural network architecture called the horizontal gated recurrent unit (hGRU) to learn intrinsic horizontal connections -- both within and across feature columns. We demonstrate that a single hGRU layer matches or outperforms all tested feedforward hierarchical baselines including state-of-the-art architectures with orders of magnitude more parameters.