RBF-Softmax: Learning Deep Representative Prototypes with Radial Basis Function Softmax

Xiao Zhang, Rui Zhao, Yu Qiao, Hongsheng Li ;


Deep neural networks have achieved remarkable successes in learning feature representations for visual classification. However, deep features learned by the softmax cross-entropy loss generally show excessive intra-class variations. We argue that, because the traditional softmax losses aim to optimize only the relative differences between intra-class and inter-class distances (logits), it cannot obtain representative class prototypes (class weights/centers) to regularize intra-class distances, even when the training is converged. Previous efforts mitigate this problem by introducing auxiliary regularization losses. But these modified losses mainly focus on optimizing intra-class compactness, while ignoring keeping reasonable relations between different class prototypes. These lead to weak models and eventually limit their performance. To address this problem, this paper introduces a novel Radial Basis Function (RBF) distances to replace the commonly used inner products in the softmax loss function, such that it can adaptively assign losses to regularize the intra-class and inter-class distances by reshaping the relative differences, and thus creating more representative prototypes of classes to improve optimization. The proposed RBF-Softmax loss function not only effectively reduces intra-class distances, stabilizes the training behavior, and reserves ideal relations between prototypes, but also significantly improves the testing performance. Experiments on visual recognition benchmarks including MNIST, CIFAR-10/100, and ImageNet demonstrate that the proposed RBF-Softmax achieves better results than cross-entropy and other state-of-the-art classification losses. The code is at https://github.com/2han9x1a0release/RBF-Softmax."

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