Selecting Receptive Fields in Deep Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 24 (NIPS 2011)

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Adam Coates, Andrew Ng


Recent deep learning and unsupervised feature learning systems that learn from unlabeled data have achieved high performance in benchmarks by using extremely large architectures with many features (hidden units) at each layer. Unfortunately, for such large architectures the number of parameters usually grows quadratically in the width of the network, thus necessitating hand-coded "local receptive fields" that limit the number of connections from lower level features to higher ones (e.g., based on spatial locality). In this paper we propose a fast method to choose these connections that may be incorporated into a wide variety of unsupervised training methods. Specifically, we choose local receptive fields that group together those low-level features that are most similar to each other according to a pairwise similarity metric. This approach allows us to harness the advantages of local receptive fields (such as improved scalability, and reduced data requirements) when we do not know how to specify such receptive fields by hand or where our unsupervised training algorithm has no obvious generalization to a topographic setting. We produce results showing how this method allows us to use even simple unsupervised training algorithms to train successful multi-layered etworks that achieve state-of-the-art results on CIFAR and STL datasets: 82.0% and 60.1% accuracy, respectively.