Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)
Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) contain local pooling to effectively downsize feature maps for increasing computation efficiency as well as robustness to input variations. The local pooling methods are generally formulated in a form of convex combination of local neuron activations for retaining the characteristics of an input feature map in a manner similar to image downscaling. In this paper, to improve performance of CNNs, we propose a novel local pooling method based on the Gaussian-based probabilistic model over local neuron activations for flexibly pooling (extracting) features, in contrast to the previous model restricting the output within the convex hull of local neurons. In the proposed method, the local neuron activations are aggregated into the statistics of mean and standard deviation in a Gaussian distribution, and then on the basis of those statistics, we construct the probabilistic model suitable for the pooling in accordance with the knowledge about local pooling in CNNs. Through the probabilistic model equipped with trainable parameters, the proposed method naturally integrates two schemes of adaptively training the pooling form based on input feature maps and stochastically performing the pooling throughout the end-to-end learning. The experimental results on image classification demonstrate that the proposed method favorably improves performance of various CNNs in comparison with the other pooling methods.