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On the Memory Properties of Recurrent Neural Models

Russell, A. J., Benetos, E. & Garcez, A. (2017). On the Memory Properties of Recurrent Neural Models. Paper presented at the 2017 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, 14-19 May 2017, Anchorage, USA.


In this paper, we investigate the memory properties of two popular gated units: long short term memory (LSTM) and gated recurrent units (GRU), which have been used in recurrent neural networks (RNN) to achieve state-of-the-art performance on several machine learning tasks. We propose five basic tasks for isolating and examining specific capabilities relating to the implementation of memory. Results show that (i) both types of gated unit perform less reliably than standard RNN units on tasks testing fixed delay recall, (ii) the reliability of stochastic gradient descent decreases as network complexity increases, and (iii) gated units are found to perform better than standard RNNs on tasks that require values to be stored in memory and updated conditionally upon input to the network. Task performance is found to be surprisingly independent of network depth (number of layers) and connection architecture. Finally, visualisations of the solutions found by these networks are presented and explored, exposing for the first time how logic operations are implemented by individual gated cells and small groups of these cells.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: © 2017 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
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