Temperature Balancing, Layer-wise Weight Analysis, and Neural Network Training

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yefan Zhou, TIANYU PANG, Keqin Liu, charles martin, Michael W. Mahoney, Yaoqing Yang


Regularization in modern machine learning is crucial, and it can take various forms in algorithmic design: training set, model family, error function, regularization terms, and optimizations. In particular, the learning rate, which can be interpreted as a temperature-like parameter within the statistical mechanics of learning, plays a crucial role in neural network training. Indeed, many widely adopted training strategies basically just define the decay of the learning rate over time. This process can be interpreted as decreasing a temperature, using either a global learning rate (for the entire model) or a learning rate that varies for each parameter. This paper proposes TempBalance, a straightforward yet effective layer-wise learning rate method. TempBalance is based on Heavy-Tailed Self-Regularization (HT-SR) Theory, an approach which characterizes the implicit self-regularization of different layers in trained models. We demonstrate the efficacy of using HT-SR-motivated metrics to guide the scheduling and balancing of temperature across all network layers during model training, resulting in improved performance during testing. We implement TempBalance on CIFAR10, CIFAR100, SVHN, and TinyImageNet datasets using ResNets, VGGs and WideResNets with various depths and widths. Our results show that TempBalance significantly outperforms ordinary SGD and carefully-tuned spectral norm regularization. We also show that TempBalance outperforms a number of state-of-the-art optimizers and learning rate schedulers.