Learning Multiple Timescales in Recurrent Neural Networks

Tayfun Alpay, Stefan Heinrich, Stefan Wermter

Conference: Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN2016), pp. 132-139, Barcelona, ES, Sep 2016


Abstract: Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) are powerful architectures for sequence learning. Recent advances on the vanishing gradient problem have led to improved results and an increased research interest. Among recent proposals are architectural innovations that allow the emergence of multiple timescales during training. This paper explores a number of architectures for sequence generation and prediction tasks with long-term relationships. We compare the Simple Recurrent Network (SRN) and Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) with the recently proposed Clockwork RNN (CWRNN), Structurally Constrained Recurrent Network (SCRN), and Recurrent Plausibility Network (RPN) with regard to their capabilities of learning multiple timescales. Our results show that partitioning hidden layers under distinct temporal constraints enables the learning of multiple timescales, which contributes to the understanding of the fundamental conditions that allow RNNs to self-organize to accurate temporal abstractions.