Published on Sun Jan 14 2018

Fix your classifier: the marginal value of training the last weight layer

Elad Hoffer, Itay Hubara, Daniel Soudry

Neural networks are commonly used as models for classification for a wide variety of tasks. We argue that this classifier can be fixed, up to a global scale constant, with little or no loss of accuracy for most tasks.

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Abstract

Neural networks are commonly used as models for classification for a wide variety of tasks. Typically, a learned affine transformation is placed at the end of such models, yielding a per-class value used for classification. This classifier can have a vast number of parameters, which grows linearly with the number of possible classes, thus requiring increasingly more resources. In this work we argue that this classifier can be fixed, up to a global scale constant, with little or no loss of accuracy for most tasks, allowing memory and computational benefits. Moreover, we show that by initializing the classifier with a Hadamard matrix we can speed up inference as well. We discuss the implications for current understanding of neural network models.