What’s Hidden in a Randomly Weighted Neural Network?

CVPR 2020

Authors: Vivek Ramanujan, Mitchell Wortsman, Aniruddha Kembhavi, Ali Farhadi, Mohammad Rastegari Description: Training a neural network is synonymous with learning the values of the weights. By contrast, we demonstrate that randomly weighted neural networks contain subnetworks which achieve impressive performance without ever training the weight values. Hidden in a randomly weighted Wide ResNet-50 is a subnetwork (with random weights) that is smaller than, but matches the performance of a ResNet-34 trained on ImageNet. Not only do these ``untrained subnetworks"" exist, but we provide an algorithm to effectively find them. We empirically show that as randomly weighted neural networks with fixed weights grow wider and deeper, an ``untrained subnetwork"" approaches a network with learned weights in accuracy.