Gated Orthogonal Recurrent Units: On Learning to Forget

AAAI Conferences

We present a novel recurrent neural network (RNN) based model that combines the remembering ability of unitary RNNs with the ability of gated RNNs to effectively forget redundant/irrelevant information in its memory. We achieve this by extending unitary RNNs with a gating mechanism. Our model is able to outperform LSTMs, GRUs and Unitary RNNs on several long-term dependency benchmark tasks. We empirically both show the orthogonal/unitary RNNs lack the ability to forget and also the ability of GORU to simultaneously remember long term dependencies while forgetting irrelevant information. This plays an important role in recurrent neural networks. We provide competitive results along with an analysis of our model on many natural sequential tasks including the bAbI Question Answering, TIMIT speech spectrum prediction, Penn TreeBank, and synthetic tasks that involve long-term dependencies such as algorithmic, parenthesis, denoising and copying tasks.

Towards Non-saturating Recurrent Units for Modelling Long-term Dependencies Machine Learning

Modelling long-term dependencies is a challenge for recurrent neural networks. This is primarily due to the fact that gradients vanish during training, as the sequence length increases. Gradients can be attenuated by transition operators and are attenuated or dropped by activation functions. Canonical architectures like LSTM alleviate this issue by skipping information through a memory mechanism. We propose a new recurrent architecture (Non-saturating Recurrent Unit; NRU) that relies on a memory mechanism but forgoes both saturating activation functions and saturating gates, in order to further alleviate vanishing gradients. In a series of synthetic and real world tasks, we demonstrate that the proposed model is the only model that performs among the top 2 models across all tasks with and without long-term dependencies, when compared against a range of other architectures.

Tunable Efficient Unitary Neural Networks (EUNN) and their application to RNNs Machine Learning

Using unitary (instead of general) matrices in artificial neural networks (ANNs) is a promising way to solve the gradient explosion/vanishing problem, as well as to enable ANNs to learn long-term correlations in the data. This approach appears particularly promising for Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). In this work, we present a new architecture for implementing an Efficient Unitary Neural Network (EUNNs); its main advantages can be summarized as follows. Firstly, the representation capacity of the unitary space in an EUNN is fully tunable, ranging from a subspace of SU(N) to the entire unitary space. Secondly, the computational complexity for training an EUNN is merely $\mathcal{O}(1)$ per parameter. Finally, we test the performance of EUNNs on the standard copying task, the pixel-permuted MNIST digit recognition benchmark as well as the Speech Prediction Test (TIMIT). We find that our architecture significantly outperforms both other state-of-the-art unitary RNNs and the LSTM architecture, in terms of the final performance and/or the wall-clock training speed. EUNNs are thus promising alternatives to RNNs and LSTMs for a wide variety of applications.

Complex Unitary Recurrent Neural Networks using Scaled Cayley Transform Machine Learning

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) have been successfully used on a wide range of sequential data problems. A well known difficulty in using RNNs is the \textit{vanishing or exploding gradient} problem. Recently, there have been several different RNN architectures that try to mitigate this issue by maintaining an orthogonal or unitary recurrent weight matrix. One such architecture is the scaled Cayley orthogonal recurrent neural network (scoRNN) which parameterizes the orthogonal recurrent weight matrix through a scaled Cayley transform. This parametrization contains a diagonal scaling matrix consisting of positive or negative one entries that can not be optimized by gradient descent. Thus the scaling matrix is fixed before training and a hyperparameter is introduced to tune the matrix for each particular task. In this paper, we develop a unitary RNN architecture based on a complex scaled Cayley transform. Unlike the real orthogonal case, the transformation uses a diagonal scaling matrix consisting of entries on the complex unit circle which can be optimized using gradient descent and no longer requires the tuning of a hyperparameter. We also provide an analysis of a potential issue of the modReLU activiation function which is used in our work and several other unitary RNNs. In the experiments conducted, the scaled Cayley unitary recurrent neural network (scuRNN) achieves comparable or better results than scoRNN and other unitary RNNs without fixing the scaling matrix.

Rotational Unit of Memory Machine Learning

The concepts of unitary evolution matrices and associative memory have boosted the field of Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) to state-of-the-art performance in a variety of sequential tasks. However, RNN still have a limited capacity to manipulate long-term memory. To bypass this weakness the most successful applications of RNN use external techniques such as attention mechanisms. In this paper we propose a novel RNN model that unifies the state-of-the-art approaches: Rotational Unit of Memory (RUM). The core of RUM is its rotational operation, which is, naturally, a unitary matrix, providing architectures with the power to learn long-term dependencies by overcoming the vanishing and exploding gradients problem. Moreover, the rotational unit also serves as associative memory. We evaluate our model on synthetic memorization, question answering and language modeling tasks. RUM learns the Copying Memory task completely and improves the state-of-the-art result in the Recall task. RUM's performance in the bAbI Question Answering task is comparable to that of models with attention mechanism. We also improve the state-of-the-art result to 1.189 bits-per-character (BPC) loss in the Character Level Penn Treebank (PTB) task, which is to signify the applications of RUM to real-world sequential data. The universality of our construction, at the core of RNN, establishes RUM as a promising approach to language modeling, speech recognition and machine translation.