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Bayesian Attention Belief Networks
Shujian Zhang · Xinjie Fan · Bo Chen · Mingyuan Zhou

Thu Jul 22 06:45 AM -- 06:50 AM (PDT) @

Attention-based neural networks have achieved state-of-the-art results on a wide range of tasks. Most such models use deterministic attention while stochastic attention is less explored due to the optimization difficulties or complicated model design. This paper introduces Bayesian attention belief networks, which construct a decoder network by modeling unnormalized attention weights with a hierarchy of gamma distributions, and an encoder network by stacking Weibull distributions with a deterministic-upward-stochastic-downward structure to approximate the posterior. The resulting auto-encoding networks can be optimized in a differentiable way with a variational lower bound. It is simple to convert any models with deterministic attention, including pretrained ones, to the proposed Bayesian attention belief networks. On a variety of language understanding tasks, we show that our method outperforms deterministic attention and state-of-the-art stochastic attention in accuracy, uncertainty estimation, generalization across domains, and robustness to adversarial attacks. We further demonstrate the general applicability of our method on neural machine translation and visual question answering, showing great potential of incorporating our method into various attention-related tasks.

Author Information

Shujian Zhang (UT Austin)
Xinjie Fan (UT Austin)
Bo Chen (School of Electronic Engineering, Xidian University)

Bo Chen, Ph.D., Professor. Before joining the Department of Electronic Engineering in Xidian University in 2013, I was a post-doc researcher, research scientist and senior research scientist at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Duke University. In 2013 and 2014, I was elected into the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University and the Program for Thousand Youth Talents respectively. I am interested in developing statistical machine learning methods for the complex and large-scale data. My current interests are in statistical signal processing, statistical machine learning, deep learning and their applications to radar target detection and recognition.

Mingyuan Zhou (University of Texas at Austin)

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