MMA Regularization: Decorrelating Weights of Neural Networks by Maximizing the Minimal Angles

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Zhennan Wang, Canqun Xiang, Wenbin Zou, Chen Xu


The strong correlation between neurons or filters can significantly weaken the generalization ability of neural networks. Inspired by the well-known Tammes problem, we propose a novel diversity regularization method to address this issue, which makes the normalized weight vectors of neurons or filters distributed on a hypersphere as uniformly as possible, through maximizing the minimal pairwise angles (MMA). This method can easily exert its effect by plugging the MMA regularization term into the loss function with negligible computational overhead. The MMA regularization is simple, efficient, and effective. Therefore, it can be used as a basic regularization method in neural network training. Extensive experiments demonstrate that MMA regularization is able to enhance the generalization ability of various modern models and achieves considerable performance improvements on CIFAR100 and TinyImageNet datasets. In addition, experiments on face verification show that MMA regularization is also effective for feature learning. Code is available at: