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Finding Nearly Everything within Random Binary Networks

Kartik Sreenivasan · Shashank Rajput · Jy-yong Sohn · Dimitris Papailiopoulos

Abstract: A recent work by Ramanujan et al. (2020) provides significant empirical evidence that sufficiently overparameterized, random neural networks contain untrained subnetworks that achieve state-of-the-art accuracy on several predictive tasks. A follow-up line of theoretical work provides justification of these findings by proving that slightly overparameterized neural networks, with commonly used continuous-valued random initializations can indeed be pruned to approximate any target network. In this work, we show that the amplitude of those random weights does not even matter. We prove that any target network of width $d$ and depth $l$ can be approximated up to arbitrary accuracy $\varepsilon$ by simply pruning a random network of binary $\{\pm1\}$ weights that is wider and deeper than the target network only by a polylogarithmic factor of $d, l$ and $\varepsilon$.

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