CNN: validation_acc staying constant

Hi folks, :hugs:

i am working on a face expression recognition project and i am using the public dataset fer2013 (with its original data splits:
abt 28,709 training set, 3,589 validation set and 3,589 test set). As input for my CNN i get scaled (from 0-1) grey-scale 48x48 face
images and for output i get a tensor which gives 7 probability values for each 7 emotions (0=Angry, 1=Disgust, 2=Fear, 3=Happy, 4=Sad, 5=Surprise, 6=Neutral)

After i have trained my CNN model for about 400 epochs while printing the running training loss/acc over every 20 mini-batches and also validating
on the whole validation dataset after every 20 mini-batches, i see that my validation accuracy is just staying at that same exact value
of 24,94 even after running 400 epochs…Also the validation loss is not moving that much…At this point i have no idea what exactly i am doing wrong.

Is my evaluation method, which i call for validation even correct? Is the way i am calculating loss and accuracy correct?
Why is my validation loss/acc staying at the same value and not improving?

I would be really greatful for ANY help or improvement suggestions. :pray: :pray: :pray:

I have the following configurations:
“device”: “cuda:0”,
“learningrate”: 1e-3,
“weight_decay”: 1e-5,
“epochs”: 500,

MY CNN-MODEL----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

class CustomCNN(nn.Module):
    def __init__(self, drop=0.5, n_in_channels: int = 1, n_kernels: int = 64,
                 kernel_size: int = 3):

        padding = int(kernel_size / 2)

        self.conv1a = nn.Conv2d(in_channels=n_in_channels, out_channels=n_kernels, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=1)
        self.conv1b = nn.Conv2d(in_channels=64, out_channels=64, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=1)

        self.conv2a = nn.Conv2d(in_channels=64, out_channels=96, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=padding)
        self.conv2b = nn.Conv2d(in_channels=96, out_channels=96, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=padding)

        self.conv3a = nn.Conv2d(96, 128, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=padding)
        self.conv3b = nn.Conv2d(128, 128, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=padding)

        self.conv4a = nn.Conv2d(128, 256, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=padding)
        # max pooling right here
        self.conv4b = nn.Conv2d(256, 256, kernel_size=kernel_size, padding=padding)

        self.bn1a = nn.BatchNorm2d(64)
        self.bn1b = nn.BatchNorm2d(64)

        self.bn2a = nn.BatchNorm2d(96)
        self.bn2b = nn.BatchNorm2d(96)

        self.bn3a = nn.BatchNorm2d(128)
        self.bn3b = nn.BatchNorm2d(128)

        self.bn4a = nn.BatchNorm2d(256)
        self.bn4b = nn.BatchNorm2d(256)

        self.pool = nn.MaxPool2d(kernel_size=2, stride=2)
        self.pool2 = nn.MaxPool2d(kernel_size=3, stride=1)
        self.drop = nn.Dropout(p=drop)
        self.relu = nn.ReLU()  # torch.nn.LeakyReLU(0.3)

        ''' passing random data through model just to get shape of last conv2d output'''
        self._to_linear = None
        x = torch.randn(48, 48).view(-1, 1, 48, 48)

        self.lin1 = nn.Linear(self._to_linear, 256)
        self.lin3 = nn.Linear(256, 7)

    def convs(self, x):
        x = self.relu(self.bn1a(self.conv1a(x)))
        x = self.relu(self.bn1b(self.conv1b(x)))
        x = self.pool(x)  # from 48x48 to 24x24

        x = self.relu(self.bn2a(self.conv2a(x)))
        x = self.relu(self.bn2b(self.conv2b(x)))
        x = self.pool(x)  # from 24x24 to 12x12

        x = self.relu(self.bn3a(self.conv3a(x)))
        x = self.relu(self.bn3b(self.conv3b(x)))
        x = self.pool(x)  # from 12x12 to 6x6

        x = self.relu(self.bn4a(self.conv4a(x)))
        x = self.pool2(x)  # max pool from 6x6 to 4x4

        x = self.relu(self.bn4b(self.conv4b(x)))

        if self._to_linear is None:
            self._to_linear = x[0].shape[0] * x[0].shape[1] * x[0].shape[2]
        return x

    def forward(self, x):
        x = self.convs(x)
        x = x.view(-1, self._to_linear)
        x = F.relu(self.lin1(x))
        x = self.lin3(x)
        return F.softmax(x, dim=1)

function for validating / evaluating model-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

def evaluate(model: nn.Module, loader: DataLoader, loss_fn):
    device = next(model.parameters()).device
    loss_avg, correct_predictions = 0.0, 0.0
    nr_samples = len(loader.dataset)
    with torch.no_grad():
        for inputs, labels in loader:
            inputs, labels =,
            outputs = model(inputs)
            loss = loss_fn(outputs, labels)
            # calculating some performance metrics
            loss_avg += loss.item()
            correct_predictions += outputs.argmax(dim=1).eq(labels.argmax(dim=1)).sum().item()

    accuracy = 100 * (correct_predictions / nr_samples)
    loss = loss_avg / nr_samples
    return accuracy, loss

“”“Main function that takes hyperparameters and performs training and evaluation of model”""

def main(results_path, network_config: dict, learningrate: int = 1e-3, weight_decay: float = 1e-5,
         epochs: int = 400, device: torch.device = torch.device("cuda:0")):  # cuda:0

    training_dataset = ImageDataset(TRAINING_DATA, TRAINING_LABELS)
    val_dataset = ImageDataset(VAL_DATA, VAL_LABELS)
    test_dataset = ImageDataset(TEST_DATA, TEST_LABELS)
    trainloader =, batch_size=1, shuffle=False, num_workers=0)
    valloader =, batch_size=1, shuffle=False, num_workers=0)
    testloader =, batch_size=1, shuffle=False, num_workers=0)
    trainloader_augmented =, batch_size=BATCH_SIZE, shuffle=True, num_workers=1)

    writer = SummaryWriter(log_dir=os.path.join(results_path, "tensorboard", "experiments", "2k_run"))

    print_stats_at = 20  # print status to tensorboard every x batch e.g after every 5 batches
    validate_at = 20  #  evaluate model on validation set and check for new best model every x batches
    update = 0  # current update counter
    best_validation_loss = np.inf  # best validation loss so far
    update_progess_bar = tqdm.tqdm(total=epochs, desc=f"loss: {np.nan:7.5f}", position=0)  # progressbar

    model = CustomCNN()
    optimizer = torch.optim.Adam(model.parameters(), lr=learningrate, weight_decay=weight_decay)
    loss_fn = MSELoss()
    running_loss, correct_predictions = 0.0, 0.0
    nr_samples = 0

    # Train until n epochs  have been reached
    reporting an averaged loss over N(print_Stats_at) mini-batches, where N is large enough to 
    smooth out the noise of individual batches but not so large that the model 
    performance is not comparable between the first and last batches.
    print(, " Training started.")
    while update < epochs:
        for i, data in enumerate(trainloader_augmented):
            inputs, targets = data
            inputs, targets =,
            # Reset gradients
            nr_samples += inputs.size(0)
            outputs = model(inputs)
            # Calculate loss, do backward pass, and update weights
            loss = loss_fn(outputs, targets)

            correct_predictions += outputs.argmax(dim=1).eq(targets.argmax(dim=1)).sum().item()
            running_loss += loss.item()

            if i % print_stats_at == 0 and update > 0:  # print every 2000 mini-batches
                print('[%d, %5d] loss: %.3f' %
                      (update + 1, i + 1, running_loss / print_stats_at))

                print('[%d, %5d] acc: %.3f' %
                      (update + 1, i + 1, 100 * (correct_predictions / nr_samples)))

                                  scalar_value=running_loss / print_stats_at,
                                  scalar_value=100 * (correct_predictions / nr_samples),

                running_loss = 0.0
                correct_predictions = 0.0
                nr_samples = 0

            if i % validate_at == 0 and update > 0:
                val_acc, val_loss = evaluate(model, valloader, loss_fn)

                print('[%d, %5d] val acc: %.3f' % (update + 1, i + 1, val_acc))
                print('[%d, %5d] val loss: %.3f' % (update + 1, i + 1, val_loss))
                writer.add_scalar(tag="validation/loss", scalar_value=val_loss, global_step=update)
                writer.add_scalar(tag="validation/acc", scalar_value=val_acc, global_step=update)

                # Save best model for early stopping
                if best_validation_loss > val_loss:
                    best_validation_loss = val_loss
          , os.path.join(results_path, f'best_{MODEL_PATH}'))

        update_progess_bar.set_description(f"avg_loss: {running_loss:7.5f}", refresh=True)

        update += 1
        if update >= epochs:

    writer.flush() #method to make sure that all pending events have been written to disk.
    print(f"{}: Finished Training!")

nn.MSELoss and a softmax output look a bit strange. Could you describe your use case a bit more, please?
I assume the face expression recognition project is a multi-class classification, so I would expect to see nn.CrossEntropyLoss as the criterion.

Thanks for your reply… yes it is a multi-class classification…i want the model to give me a probability value for each emotion…okey i didnt know that MSELoss is not optimal for my case…i will try it with CrossEntropyLoss now…thank you for the note! :+1:

Make sure to pass the logits to nn.CrossEntropyLoss, as internally F.log_softmax and F.nll_loss will be used. If you want to get the probabilities (e.g. to print them) you can use F.softmax(output, dim=1), but don’t pass them to the criterion.