Recurrent Batch Normalization Recurrent Batch Normalization
Paper summary This paper presents a re-parameterization of the LSTM to successfully apply batch normalization, which results in faster convergence and improved generalization on a several sequential tasks. Main contributions: - Batch normalization is applied to the input to hidden and hidden to hidden projections. - Separate statistics are maintained for each timestep, estimated over each minibatch during training and over the whole dataset during test. - For generalization to longer sequences during test time, population statistics of time T\_max are used for all time steps beyond it. - The cell state is left untouched so as not to hinder the gradient flow. - Proper initialization of batch normalization parameters to avoid vanishing gradients. - They plot norm of gradient of loss wrt hidden state at different time steps for different BN variance initializations. High variance ($\gamma = 1$) causes gradients to die quickly by driving activations to the saturation region. - Initializing BN variance to 0.1 works well. ## Strengths - Simple idea, the authors finally got it to work. Proper initialization of BN parameters and maintaining separate estimates for each time step play a key role. ## Weaknesses / Notes - It would be useful in practice to put down a proper formulation for using batch normalization with variable-length training sequences.

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