Virtual Seminar: On the Convergence of Gradient Descent for Wide Two-Layer Neural Networks

Friday, September 18, 2020
11:00am - 12:00pm

Many supervised learning methods are naturally cast as optimization problems. For prediction models which are linear in their parameters, this often leads to convex problems for which many guarantees exist. Models which are non-linear in their parameters such as neural networks lead to non-convex optimization problems for which guarantees are harder to obtain. In this talk, I will consider two-layer neural networks with homogeneous activation functions where the number of hidden neurons tends to infinity, and show how qualitative convergence guarantees may be derived. I will also highlight open problems related to the quantitative behavior of gradient descent for such models. (Joint work with Lénaïc Chizat)

Access: Seminar was delivered live online via Zoom on Friday, September 18, 2020. You can watch a video recording of the talk here.


Photo: Francis Bach

Francis Bach is a researcher at Inria, leading since 2011 the machine learning team which is part of the Computer Science department at Ecole Normale Supérieure. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 1997 and completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at U.C. Berkeley in 2005, working with Professor Michael Jordan. He spent two years in the Mathematical Morphology group at Ecole des Mines de Paris, then he joined the computer vision project-team at Inria/Ecole Normale Supérieure from 2007 to 2010. Francis Bach is primarily interested in machine learning, and especially in sparse methods, kernel-based learning, large-scale optimization, computer vision and signal processing. He obtained in 2009 a Starting Grant and in 2016 a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council, and received the Inria young researcher prize in 2012, the ICML test-of-time award in 2014, as well as the Lagrange prize in continuous optimization in 2018, and the Jean-Jacques Moreau prize in 2019. He was elected in 2020 at the French Academy of Sciences. In 2015, he was program co-chair of the International Conference in Machine learning (ICML), and general chair in 2018; he is now co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Machine Learning Research.