On the Interpretability of Regularisation for Neural Networks Through Model Gradient Similarity

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Vincent Szolnoky, Viktor Andersson, Balazs Kulcsar, Rebecka Jörnsten


Most complex machine learning and modelling techniques are prone to over-fitting and may subsequently generalise poorly to future data. Artificial neural networks are no different in this regard and, despite having a level of implicit regularisation when trained with gradient descent, often require the aid of explicit regularisers. We introduce a new framework, Model Gradient Similarity (MGS), that (1) serves as a metric of regularisation, which can be used to monitor neural network training, (2) adds insight into how explicit regularisers, while derived from widely different principles, operate via the same mechanism underneath by increasing MGS, and (3) provides the basis for a new regularisation scheme which exhibits excellent performance, especially in challenging settings such as high levels of label noise or limited sample sizes.