The Effect of Correlated Input Data on the Dynamics of Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 9 (NIPS 1996)

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Søren Halkjær, Ole Winther


The convergence properties of the gradient descent algorithm in the case of the linear perceptron may be obtained from the response function. We derive a general expression for the response function and apply it to the case of data with simple input correlations. It is found that correlations severely may slow down learning. This explains the success of PCA as a method for reducing training time. Motivated by this finding we furthermore propose to transform the input data by removing the mean across input variables as well as examples to decrease correlations. Numerical findings for a medical classification problem are in fine agreement with the theoretical results.