Neural Networks as Geometric Chaotic Maps

IEEE Trans Neural Netw Learn Syst. 2021 Jun 30;PP. doi: 10.1109/TNNLS.2021.3087497. Online ahead of print.


The use of artificial neural networks (NNs) as models of chaotic dynamics has been rapidly expanding. Still, a theoretical understanding of how NNs learn chaos is lacking. Here, we employ a geometric perspective to show that NNs can efficiently model chaotic dynamics by becoming structurally chaotic themselves. We first confirm NN's efficiency in emulating chaos by showing that a parsimonious NN trained only on few data points can reconstruct strange attractors, extrapolate outside training data boundaries, and accurately predict local divergence rates. We then posit that the trained network's map comprises sequential geometric stretching, rotation, and compression operations. These geometric operations indicate topological mixing and chaos, explaining why NNs are naturally suitable to emulate chaotic dynamics.