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Although a Relu activation function can deal with real value number but I have tried scaling the dataset in the range [0,1] (min-max scaling) is more effective before feed it to the neural network. on the other hand, the batch normalization (BN) is also normalizing data before passed to the non-linearity layer (activation function). I was wondering if the min-max scaling is still needed when BN is applied. can we perform min-max scaling and BN together?. It would be nice if someone guides me to the better understanding

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  • $\begingroup$ I think you can let go of batch normalization. It is not needed any more. $\endgroup$ – Souradeep Nanda Dec 5 '16 at 5:39
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As mentioned, it's best to use [-1,1] min-max scaling or zero-mean, unit-variance standardization. Scaling your data into [0,1] will result in slow learning.

To answer your question: Yes, should should still standardize your inputs to a network that uses Batch Normalization. This will ensure that inputs to the first layer have zero mean and come from the same distribution, while Batch Normalization on subsequent layers will ensure that inputs to those layers have zero mean in expectation and that their distributions do not drift over time.

The reasons that we want zero mean and stable input distribution are discussed further in Section 4.3 of Efficient BackProp.

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    $\begingroup$ As a hack, can I use batch norm in the first layer of my network? I am feeling lazy to preprocess the input :P $\endgroup$ – Red Floyd Mar 15 at 7:04
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In this case scaling data would only influence the first layer of your network. Also if you are scaling your input it's better to scale it to [-1, 1], but it's best to scale it to 0 mean and 1 variance (since your weights are probably initialized to expect such distribution).

Not that it's going to make a huge difference anyway.

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