Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)
Nicolas Roux, Pierre-antoine Manzagol, Yoshua Bengio
Guided by the goal of obtaining an optimization algorithm that is both fast and yielding good generalization, we study the descent direction maximizing the decrease in generalization error or the probability of not increasing generalization error. The surprising result is that from both the Bayesian and frequentist perspectives this can yield the natural gradient direction. Although that direction can be very expensive to compute we develop an efficient, general, online approximation to the natural gradient descent which is suited to large scale problems. We report experimental results showing much faster convergence in computation time and in number of iterations with TONGA (Topmoumoute Online natural Gradient Algorithm) than with stochastic gradient descent, even on very large datasets.