This was part of Bayesian Statistics and Statistical Learning

Characterizing the spectrum of the neural tangent kernel via a power series expansion

Guido Montufar, UCLA

Wednesday, December 13, 2023


Under mild conditions on the network initialization we derive a power series expansion for the Neural Tangent Kernel (NTK) of arbitrarily deep feedforward networks in the infinite width limit. We provide expressions for the coefficients of this power series which depend on both the Hermite coefficients of the activation function as well as the depth of the network. We observe faster decay of the Hermite coefficients leads to faster decay in the NTK coefficients and explore the role of depth. Using this series, first we relate the effective rank of the NTK to the effective rank of the input-data Gram. Second, for data drawn uniformly on the sphere we study the eigenvalues of the NTK, analyzing the impact of the choice of activation function. Finally, for generic data and activation functions with sufficiently fast Hermite coefficient decay, we derive an asymptotic upper bound on the spectrum of the NTK. The talk is based on joint work with Michael Murray, Hui Jin, and Benjamin Bowman.