Research Output
A topological insight into restricted Boltzmann machines
  Restricted Boltzmann Machines (RBMs) and models derived from them have been successfully used as basic building blocks in deep artificial neural networks for automatic features extraction, unsupervised weights initialization, but also as density estimators. Thus, their generative and discriminative capabilities, but also their computational time are instrumental to a wide range of applications. Our main contribution is to look at RBMs from a topological perspective, bringing insights from network science. Firstly, here we show that RBMs and Gaussian RBMs (GRBMs) are bipartite graphs which naturally have a small-world topology. Secondly, we demonstrate both on synthetic and real-world datasets that by constraining RBMs and GRBMs to a scale-free topology (while still considering local neighborhoods and data distribution), we reduce the number of weights that need to be computed by a few orders of magnitude, at virtually no loss in generative performance. Thirdly, we show that, for a fixed number of weights, our proposed sparse models (which by design have a higher number of hidden neurons) achieve better generative capabilities than standard fully connected RBMs and GRBMs (which by design have a smaller number of hidden neurons), at no additional computational costs.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    15 July 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Springer Nature

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    004 Data processing & computer science

  • Funders:

    Technische Universiteit Eindhoven


Mocanu, D. C., Mocanu, E., Nguyen, P. H., Gibescu, M., & Liotta, A. (2016). A topological insight into restricted Boltzmann machines. Machine Learning, 104(2-3), 243-270.



Deep learning; Sparse restricted Boltzmann machines; Complex networks; Scale-free networks; Small-world networks

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