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In Neural networks : the official journal of the International Neural Network Society

Fully connected deep neural networks (DNN) often include redundant weights leading to overfitting and high memory requirements. Additionally, in tabular data classification, DNNs are challenged by the often superior performance of traditional machine learning models. This paper proposes periodic perturbations (prune and regrow) of DNN weights, especially at the self-supervised pre-training stage of deep autoencoders. The proposed weight perturbation strategy outperforms dropout learning or weight regularization (L1 or L2) for four out of six tabular data sets in downstream classification tasks. Unlike dropout learning, the proposed weight perturbation routine additionally achieves 15% to 40% sparsity across six tabular data sets, resulting in compressed pretrained models. The proposed pretrained model compression improves the accuracy of downstream classification, unlike traditional weight pruning methods that trade off performance for model compression. Our experiments reveal that a pretrained deep autoencoder with weight perturbation can outperform traditional machine learning in tabular data classification, whereas baseline fully-connected DNNs yield the worst classification accuracy. However, traditional machine learning models are superior to any deep model when a tabular data set contains uncorrelated variables. Therefore, the performance of deep models with tabular data is contingent on the types and statistics of constituent variables.

Abrar Sakib, Samad Manar D


Autoencoder, Deep neural network, Model compression, Sparse learning, Tabular data, Weight pruning