Empowering Convolutional Neural Nets with MetaSin Activation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Farnood Salehi, Tunç Aydin, André Gaillard, Guglielmo Camporese, Yuxuan Wang


ReLU networks have remained the default choice for models in the area of image prediction despite their well-established spectral bias towards learning low frequencies faster, and consequently their difficulty of reproducing high frequency visual details. As an alternative, sin networks showed promising results in learning implicit representations of visual data. However training these networks in practically relevant settings proved to be difficult, requiring careful initialization, dealing with issues due to inconsistent gradients, and a degeneracy in local minima. In this work, we instead propose replacing a baseline network’s existing activations with a novel ensemble function with trainable parameters. The proposed MetaSin activation can be trained reliably without requiring intricate initialization schemes, and results in consistently lower test loss compared to alternatives. We demonstrate our method in the areas of Monte-Carlo denoising and image resampling where we set new state-of-the-art through a knowledge distillation based training procedure. We present ablations on hyper-parameter settings, comparisons with alternative activation function formulations, and discuss the use of our method in other domains, such as image classification.