We study deep neural networks with binary activation functions (BDNN), i.e. the activation function only has two states. We show that the BDNN can be reformulated as a mixed-integer linear program which can be solved to global optimality by classical integer programming solvers. Additionally, a heuristic solution algorithm is presented and we study the model under data uncertainty, applying a two-stage robust optimization approach. We implemented our methods on random and real datasets and show that the heuristic version of the BDNN outperforms classical deep neural networks on the Breast Cancer Wisconsin dataset while performing worse on random data.
Published in ICML 2020 Special Issue: Beyond First-Order Methods in ML systems