Deep neural networks motivated by partial differential equations


Partial differential equations (PDEs) are in- dispensable for modeling many physical phenomena and also commonly used for solving image processing tasks. In the lat- ter area, PDE-based approaches interpret image data as discretizations of multivariate functions and the output of image processing algorithms as solutions to certain PDEs. Posing image processing problems in the infinite dimensional setting provides powerful tools for their analysis and solution. Over the last few decades, the reinterpretation of classical image processing problems through the PDE lens has been creating multiple celebrated approaches that benefit a vast area of tasks including image segmentation, denoising, registration, and reconstruction.

In this paper, we establish a new PDE-interpretation of a class of deep convolutional neural networks (CNN) that are commonly used to learn from speech, image, and video data. Our interpretation includes convolution residual neural networks (ResNet), which are among the most promising approaches for tasks such as image classification having improved the state-of-the-art performance in prestigious bench- mark challenges. Despite their recent successes, deep ResNets still face some critical challenges associated with their design, immense computational costs and memory requirements, and lack of understanding of their reasoning.

Guided by well-established PDE theory, we derive three new ResNet architectures that fall into two new classes: parabolic and hyperbolic CNNs. We demonstrate how PDE theory can provide new insights and algorithms for deep learning and demonstrate the competitiveness of three new CNN architectures using numerical experiments.

Journal of Mathematical Imaging and Vision