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Thursday July 16th

Poster Session 29 Wed 15 Jul 03:00 p.m.  

Time Series Deconfounder: Estimating Treatment Effects over Time in the Presence of Hidden Confounders
Ioana Bica, Ahmed Alaa, Mihaela van der Schaar

The estimation of treatment effects is a pervasive problem in medicine. Existing methods for estimating treatment effects from longitudinal observational data assume that there are no hidden confounders, an assumption that is not testable in practice and, if it does not hold, leads to biased estimates. In this paper, we develop the Time Series Deconfounder, a method that leverages the assignment of multiple treatments over time to enable the estimation of treatment effects in the presence of multi-cause hidden confounders. The Time Series Deconfounder uses a novel recurrent neural network architecture with multitask output to build a factor model over time and infer latent variables that render the assigned treatments conditionally independent; then, it performs causal inference using these latent variables that act as substitutes for the multi-cause unobserved confounders. We provide a theoretical analysis for obtaining unbiased causal effects of time-varying exposures using the Time Series Deconfounder. Using both simulated and real data we show the effectiveness of our method in deconfounding the estimation of treatment responses over time.

MetaFun: Meta-Learning with Iterative Functional Updates
Jin Xu, Jean-Francois Ton, Hyunjik Kim, Adam Kosiorek, Yee-Whye Teh

We develop a functional encoder-decoder approach to supervised meta-learning, where labeled data is encoded into an infinite-dimensional functional representation rather than a finite-dimensional one. Furthermore, rather than directly producing the representation, we learn a neural update rule resembling functional gradient descent which iteratively improves the representation. The final representation is used to condition the decoder to make predictions on unlabeled data. Our approach is the first to demonstrates the success of encoder-decoder style meta-learning methods like conditional neural processes on large-scale few-shot classification benchmarks such as miniImageNet and tieredImageNet, where it achieves state-of-the-art performance.

Haar Graph Pooling
Yu Guang Wang, Ming Li, Zheng Ma, Guido Montufar, Xiaosheng Zhuang, Yanan Fan

Deep Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) are useful models for graph classification and graph-based regression tasks. In these tasks, graph pooling is a critical ingredient by which GNNs adapt to input graphs of varying size and structure. We propose a new graph pooling operation based on compressive Haar transforms --- \emph{HaarPooling}. HaarPooling implements a cascade of pooling operations; it is computed by following a sequence of clusterings of the input graph. A HaarPooling layer transforms a given input graph to an output graph with a smaller node number and the same feature dimension; the compressive Haar transform filters out fine detail information in the Haar wavelet domain. In this way, all the HaarPooling layers together synthesize the features of any given input graph into a feature vector of uniform size. Such transforms provide a sparse characterization of the data and preserve the structure information of the input graph. GNNs implemented with standard graph convolution layers and HaarPooling layers achieve state of the art performance on diverse graph classification and regression problems.

XtarNet: Learning to Extract Task-Adaptive Representation for Incremental Few-Shot Learning
Sung Whan Yoon, Do-Yeon Kim, Jun Seo, Jaekyun Moon

Learning novel concepts while preserving prior knowledge is a long-standing challenge in machine learning. The challenge gets greater when a novel task is given with only a few labeled examples, a problem known as incremental few-shot learning. We propose XtarNet, which learns to extract task-adaptive representation (TAR) for facilitating incremental few-shot learning. The method utilizes a backbone network pretrained on a set of base categories while also employing additional modules that are meta-trained across episodes. Given a new task, the novel feature extracted from the meta-trained modules is mixed with the base feature obtained from the pretrained model. The process of combining two different features provides TAR and is also controlled by meta-trained modules. The TAR contains effective information for classifying both novel and base categories. The base and novel classifiers quickly adapt to a given task by utilizing the TAR. Experiments on standard image datasets indicate that XtarNet achieves state-of-the-art incremental few-shot learning performance. The concept of TAR can also be used in conjunction with existing incremental few-shot learning methods; extensive simulation results in fact show that applying TAR enhances the known methods significantly.

Orthogonalized SGD and Nested Architectures for Anytime Neural Networks
Chengcheng Wan, Henry (Hank) Hoffmann, Shan Lu, Michael Maire

We propose a novel variant of SGD customized for training network architectures that support anytime behavior: such networks produce a series of increasingly accurate outputs over time. Efficient architectural designs for these networks focus on re-using internal state; subnetworks must produce representations relevant for both imme- diate prediction as well as refinement by subse- quent network stages. We consider traditional branched networks as well as a new class of re- cursively nested networks. Our new optimizer, Orthogonalized SGD, dynamically re-balances task-specific gradients when training a multitask network. In the context of anytime architectures, this optimizer projects gradients from later out- puts onto a parameter subspace that does not in- terfere with those from earlier outputs. Experi- ments demonstrate that training with Orthogonal- ized SGD significantly improves generalization accuracy of anytime networks.

DINO: Distributed Newton-Type Optimization Method
Rixon Crane, Fred Roosta

We present a novel communication-efficient Newton-type algorithm for finite-sum optimization over a distributed computing environment. Our method, named DINO, overcomes both theoretical and practical shortcomings of similar existing methods. Under minimal assumptions, we guarantee global sub-linear convergence of DINO to a first-order stationary point for general non-convex functions and arbitrary data distribution over the network. Furthermore, for functions satisfying Polyak-Lojasiewicz (PL) inequality, we show that DINO enjoys a linear convergence rate. Our proposed algorithm is practically parameter free, in that it will converge regardless of the selected hyper-parameters, which are easy to tune. Additionally, its sub-problems are simple linear least-squares, for which efficient solvers exist, and numerical simulations demonstrate the efficiency of DINO as compared with similar alternatives.

Statistically Efficient Off-Policy Policy Gradients
Nathan Kallus, Masatoshi Uehara

Policy gradient methods in reinforcement learning update policy parameters by taking steps in the direction of an estimated gradient of policy value. In this paper, we consider the efficient estimation of policy gradients from off-policy data, where the estimation is particularly non-trivial. We derive the asymptotic lower bound on the feasible mean-squared error in both Markov and non-Markov decision processes and show that existing estimators fail to achieve it in general settings. We propose a meta-algorithm that achieves the lower bound without any parametric assumptions and exhibits a unique 4-way double robustness property. We discuss how to estimate nuisances that the algorithm relies on. Finally, we establish guarantees at the rate at which we approach a stationary point when we take steps in the direction of our new estimated policy gradient.

Agent57: Outperforming the Atari Human Benchmark
Adrià Puigdomenech Badia, Bilal Piot, Steven Kapturowski, Pablo Sprechmann, Alex Vitvitskyi, Zhaohan Guo, Charles Blundell

Atari games have been a long-standing benchmark in the reinforcement learning (RL) community for the past decade. This benchmark was proposed to test general competency of RL algorithms. Previous work has achieved good average performance by doing outstandingly well on many games of the set, but very poorly in several of the most challenging games. We propose Agent57, the first deep RL agent that outperforms the standard human benchmark on all 57 Atari games. To achieve this result, we train a neural network which parameterizes a family of policies ranging from very exploratory to purely exploitative. We propose an adaptive mechanism to choose which policy to prioritize throughout the training process. Additionally, we utilize a novel parameterization of the architecture that allows for more consistent and stable learning.

LP-SparseMAP: Differentiable Relaxed Optimization for Sparse Structured Prediction
Vlad Niculae, Andre Filipe Torres Martins

Structured predictors require solving a combinatorial optimization problem over a large number of structures, such as dependency trees or alignments. When embedded as structured hidden layers in a neural net, argmin differentiation and efficient gradient computation are further required. Recently, SparseMAP has been proposed as a differentiable, sparse alternative to maximum a posteriori (MAP) and marginal inference. SparseMAP returns an interpretable combination of a small number of structures; its sparsity being the key to efficient optimization. However, SparseMAP requires access to an exact MAP oracle in the structured model, excluding, e.g., loopy graphical models or logic constraints, which generally require approximate inference. In this paper, we introduce LP-SparseMAP, an extension of SparseMAP addressing this limitation via a local polytope relaxation. LP-SparseMAP uses the flexible and powerful language of factor graphs to define expressive hidden structures, supporting coarse decompositions, hard logic constraints, and higher-order correlations. We derive the forward and backward algorithms needed for using LP-SparseMAP as a structured hidden or output layer. Experiments in three structured tasks show benefits versus SparseMAP and Structured SVM.


Poster Session 30 Wed 15 Jul 04:00 p.m.  

Convolutional dictionary learning based auto-encoders for natural exponential-family distributions
Bahareh Tolooshams, Andrew Song, Simona Temereanca, Demba Ba

We introduce a class of auto-encoder neural networks tailored to data from the natural exponential family (e.g., count data). The architectures are inspired by the problem of learning the filters in a convolutional generative model with sparsity constraints, often referred to as convolutional dictionary learning (CDL). Our work is the first to combine ideas from convolutional generative models and deep learning for data that are naturally modeled with a non-Gaussian distribution (e.g., binomial and Poisson). This perspective provides us with a scalable and flexible framework that can be re-purposed for a wide range of tasks and assumptions on the generative model. Specifically, the iterative optimization procedure for solving CDL, an unsupervised task, is mapped to an unfolded and constrained neural network, with iterative adjustments to the inputs to account for the generative distribution. We also show that the framework can easily be extended for discriminative training, appropriate for a supervised task. We demonstrate 1) that fitting the generative model to learn, in an unsupervised fashion, the latent stimulus that underlies neural spiking data leads to better goodness-of-fit compared to other baselines, 2) competitive performance compared to state-of-the-art algorithms for supervised Poisson image denoising, with significantly fewer parameters, and 3) gradient …

Message Passing Least Squares Framework and its Application to Rotation Synchronization
Yunpeng Shi, Gilad Lerman

We propose an efficient algorithm for solving group synchronization under high levels of corruption and noise, while we focus on rotation synchronization. We first describe our recent theoretically guaranteed message passing algorithm that estimates the corruption levels of the measured group ratios. We then propose a novel reweighted least squares method to estimate the group elements, where the weights are initialized and iteratively updated using the estimated corruption levels. We demonstrate the superior performance of our algorithm over state-of-the-art methods for rotation synchronization using both synthetic and real data.

Learning Opinions in Social Networks
Vincent Conitzer, Debmalya Panigrahi, Hanrui Zhang

We study the problem of learning opinions in social networks. The learner observes the states of some sample nodes from a social network, and tries to infer the states of other nodes, based on the structure of the network. We show that sample-efficient learning is impossible when the network exhibits strong noise, and give a polynomial-time algorithm for the problem with nearly optimal sample complexity when the network is sufficiently stable.

Hierarchical Generation of Molecular Graphs using Structural Motifs
Wengong Jin, Regina Barzilay, Tommi Jaakkola

Graph generation techniques are increasingly being adopted for drug discovery. Previous graph generation approaches have utilized relatively small molecular building blocks such as atoms or simple cycles, limiting their effectiveness to smaller molecules. Indeed, as we demonstrate, their performance degrades significantly for larger molecules. In this paper, we propose a new hierarchical graph encoder-decoder that employs significantly larger and more flexible graph motifs as basic building blocks. Our encoder produces a multi-resolution representation for each molecule in a fine-to-coarse fashion, from atoms to connected motifs. Each level integrates the encoding of constituents below with the graph at that level. Our autoregressive coarse-to-fine decoder adds one motif at a time, interleaving the decision of selecting a new motif with the process of resolving its attachments to the emerging molecule. We evaluate our model on multiple molecule generation tasks, including polymers, and show that our model significantly outperforms previous state-of-the-art baselines.

Second-Order Provable Defenses against Adversarial Attacks
Sahil Singla, Soheil Feizi
A robustness certificate against adversarial examples is the minimum distance of a given input to the decision boundary of the classifier (or its lower bound). For {\it any} perturbation of the input with a magnitude smaller than the certificate value, the classification output will provably remain unchanged. Computing exact robustness certificates for neural networks is difficult in general since it requires solving a non-convex optimization. In this paper, we provide computationally-efficient robustness certificates for neural networks with differentiable activation functions in two steps. First, we show that if the eigenvalues of the Hessian of the network (curvatures of the network) are bounded (globally or locally), we can compute a robustness certificate in the $l_2$ norm efficiently using convex optimization. Second, we derive a computationally-efficient differentiable upper bound on the curvature of a deep network. We also use the curvature bound as a regularization term during the training of the network to boost its certified robustness. Putting these results together leads to our proposed {\bf C}urvature-based {\bf R}obustness {\bf C}ertificate (CRC) and {\bf C}urvature-based {\bf R}obust {\bf T}raining (CRT). Our numerical results show that CRT leads to significantly higher certified robust accuracy compared to interval-bound propagation based training.
Abstraction Mechanisms Predict Generalization in Deep Neural Networks
Alex Gain, Hava Siegelmann

A longstanding problem for Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) is understanding their puzzling ability to generalize well. We approach this problem through the unconventional angle of \textit{cognitive abstraction mechanisms}, drawing inspiration from recent neuroscience work, allowing us to define the Cognitive Neural Activation metric (CNA) for DNNs, which is the correlation between information complexity (entropy) of given input and the concentration of higher activation values in deeper layers of the network. The CNA is highly predictive of generalization ability, outperforming norm-and-sharpness-based generalization metrics on an extensive evaluation of close to 200 network instances comprising a breadth of dataset-architecture combinations, especially in cases where additive noise is present and/or training labels are corrupted. These strong empirical results show the usefulness of the CNA as a generalization metric and encourage further research on the connection between information complexity and representations in the deeper layers of networks in order to better understand the generalization capabilities of DNNs.

Robust and Stable Black Box Explanations
Hima Lakkaraju, Nino Arsov, Osbert Bastani

As machine learning black boxes are increasingly being deployed in real-world applications, there has been a growing interest in developing post hoc explanations that summarize the behaviors of these black boxes. However, existing algorithms for generating such explanations have been shown to lack stability and robustness to distribution shifts. We propose a novel framework for generating robust and stable explanations of black box models based on adversarial training. Our framework optimizes a minimax objective that aims to construct the highest fidelity explanation with respect to the worst-case over a set of adversarial perturbations. We instantiate this algorithm for explanations in the form of linear models and decision sets by devising the required optimization procedures. To the best of our knowledge, this work makes the first attempt at generating post hoc explanations that are robust to a general class of adversarial perturbations that are of practical interest. Experimental evaluation with real-world and synthetic datasets demonstrates that our approach substantially improves robustness of explanations without sacrificing their fidelity on the original data distribution.

Fast and Three-rious: Speeding Up Weak Supervision with Triplet Methods
Dan Fu, Mayee Chen, Fred Sala, Sarah Hooper, Kayvon Fatahalian, Christopher Re

Weak supervision is a popular method for building machine learning models without relying on ground truth annotations. Instead, it generates probabilistic training labels by estimating the accuracies of multiple noisy labeling sources (e.g., heuristics, crowd workers). Existing approaches use latent variable estimation to model the noisy sources, but these methods can be computationally expensive, scaling superlinearly in the data. In this work, we show that, for a class of latent variable models highly applicable to weak supervision, we can find a closed-form solution to model parameters, obviating the need for iterative solutions like stochastic gradient descent (SGD). We use this insight to build FlyingSquid, a weak supervision framework that runs orders of magnitude faster than previous weak supervision approaches and requires fewer assumptions. In particular, we prove bounds on generalization error without assuming that the latent variable model can exactly parameterize the underlying data distribution. Empirically, we validate FlyingSquid on benchmark weak supervision datasets and find that it achieves the same or higher quality compared to previous approaches without the need to tune an SGD procedure, recovers model parameters 170 times faster on average, and enables new video analysis and online learning applications.

Preference Modeling with Context-Dependent Salient Features
Amanda Bower, Laura Balzano

We consider the problem of estimating a ranking on a set of items from noisy pairwise comparisons given item features. We address the fact that pairwise comparison data often reflects irrational choice, e.g. intransitivity. Our key observation is that two items compared in isolation from other items may be compared based on only a salient subset of features. Formalizing this framework, we propose the salient feature preference model and prove a finite sample complexity result for learning the parameters of our model and the underlying ranking with maximum likelihood estimation. We also provide empirical results that support our theoretical bounds and illustrate how our model explains systematic intransitivity. Finally we demonstrate strong performance of maximum likelihood estimation of our model on both synthetic data and two real data sets: the UT Zappos50K data set and comparison data about the compactness of legislative districts in the US.

Optimal Bounds between f-Divergences and Integral Probability Metrics
Rohit Agrawal, Thibaut Horel

The families of f-divergences (e.g. the Kullback-Leibler divergence) and Integral Probability Metrics (e.g. total variation distance or maximum mean discrepancies) are commonly used in optimization and estimation. In this work, we systematically study the relationship between these two families from the perspective of convex duality. Starting from a tight variational representation of the f-divergence, we derive a generalization of the moment generating function, which we show exactly characterizes the best lower bound of the f-divergence as a function of a given IPM. Using this characterization, we obtain new bounds on IPMs defined by classes of unbounded functions, while also recovering in a unified manner well-known results for bounded and subgaussian functions (e.g. Pinsker's inequality and Hoeffding's lemma).

Learnable Group Transform For Time-Series
Romain Cosentino, Behnaam Aazhang

We propose a novel approach to filter bank learning for time-series by considering spectral decompositions of signals defined as a Group Transform. This framework allows us to generalize classical time-frequency transformations such as the Wavelet Transform, and to efficiently learn the representation of signals. While the creation of the wavelet transform filter-bank relies on affine transformations of a mother filter, our approach allows for non-linear transformations. The transformations induced by such maps enable us to span a larger class of signal representations, from wavelet to chirplet-like filters. We propose a parameterization of such a non-linear map such that its sampling can be optimized for a specific task and signal. The Learnable Group Transform can be cast into a Deep Neural Network. The experiments on diverse time-series datasets demonstrate the expressivity of this framework, which competes with state-of-the-art performances.

Fair k-Centers via Maximum Matching
Matthew Jones, Huy Nguyen, Thy Nguyen

The field of algorithms has seen a push for fairness, or the removal of inherent bias, in recent history. In data summarization, where a much smaller subset of a data set is chosen to represent the whole of the data, fairness can be introduced by guaranteeing each "demographic group" a specific portion of the representative subset. Specifically, this paper examines this fair variant of the k-centers problem, where a subset of the data with cardinality k is chosen to minimize distance to the rest of the data. Previous papers working on this problem presented both a 3-approximation algorithm with a super-linear runtime and a linear-time algorithm whose approximation factor is exponential in the number of demographic groups. This paper combines the best of each algorithm by presenting a linear-time algorithm with a guaranteed 3-approximation factor and provides empirical evidence of both the algorithm's runtime and effectiveness.

Privately Learning Markov Random Fields
Huanyu Zhang, Gautam Kamath, Janardhan Kulkarni, Steven Wu

We consider the problem of learning Markov Random Fields (including the prototypical example, the Ising model) under the constraint of differential privacy. Our learning goals include both \emph{structure learning}, where we try to estimate the underlying graph structure of the model, as well as the harder goal of \emph{parameter learning}, in which we additionally estimate the parameter on each edge. We provide algorithms and lower bounds for both problems under a variety of privacy constraints -- namely pure, concentrated, and approximate differential privacy. While non-privately, both learning goals enjoy roughly the same complexity, we show that this is not the case under differential privacy. In particular, only structure learning under approximate differential privacy maintains the non-private logarithmic dependence on the dimensionality of the data, while a change in either the learning goal or the privacy notion would necessitate a polynomial dependence. As a result, we show that the privacy constraint imposes a strong separation between these two learning problems in the high-dimensional data regime.

Eliminating the Invariance on the Loss Landscape of Linear Autoencoders
Reza Oftadeh, Jiayi Shen, Zhangyang Wang, Dylan Shell

This paper proposes a new loss function for linear autoencoders (LAEs) and analytically identifies the structure of the associated loss surface. Optimizing the conventional Mean Square Error (MSE) loss results in a decoder matrix that spans the principal subspace of the sample covariance of the data, but, owing to an invariance that cancels out in the global map, it will fail to identify the exact eigenvectors. We show here that our proposed loss function eliminates this issue, so the decoder converges to the exact ordered unnormalized eigenvectors of the sample covariance matrix. We characterize the full structure of the new loss landscape by establishing an analytical expression for the set of all critical points, showing that it is a subset of critical points of MSE, and that all local minima are still global. Specifically, the invariant global minima under MSE are shown to become saddle points under the new loss. Additionally, the computational complexity of the loss and its gradients are the same as MSE and, thus, the new loss is not only of theoretical importance but is of practical value, e.g., for low-rank approximation.

Consistent Estimators for Learning to Defer to an Expert
Hussein Mozannar, David Sontag

Learning algorithms are often used in conjunction with expert decision makers in practical scenarios, however this fact is largely ignored when designing these algorithms. In this paper we explore how to learn predictors that can either predict or choose to defer the decision to a downstream expert. Given only samples of the expert's decisions, we give a procedure based on learning a classifier and a rejector and analyze it theoretically. Our approach is based on a novel reduction to cost sensitive learning where we give a consistent surrogate loss for cost sensitive learning that generalizes the cross entropy loss. We show the effectiveness of our approach on a variety of experimental tasks.

TrajectoryNet: A Dynamic Optimal Transport Network for Modeling Cellular Dynamics
Alexander Tong, Jessie Huang, Guy Wolf, David van Dijk, Smita Krishnaswamy

It is increasingly common to encounter data in the form of cross-sectional population measurements over time, particularly in biomedical settings. Recent attempts to model individual trajectories from this data use optimal transport to create pairwise matchings between time points. However, these methods cannot model non-linear paths common in many underlying dynamic systems. We establish a link between continuous normalizing flows and dynamic optimal transport to model the expected paths of points over time. Continuous normalizing flows are generally under constrained, as they are allowed to take an arbitrary path from the source to the target distribution. We present {\em TrajectoryNet}, which controls the continuous paths taken between distributions. We show how this is particularly applicable for studying cellular dynamics in data from single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) technologies, and that TrajectoryNet improves upon recently proposed static optimal transport-based models that can be used for interpolating cellular distributions.

An Optimistic Perspective on Offline Deep Reinforcement Learning
Rishabh Agarwal, Dale Schuurmans, Mohammad Norouzi

Off-policy reinforcement learning (RL) using a fixed offline dataset of logged interactions is an important consideration in real world applications. This paper studies offline RL using the DQN replay dataset comprising the entire replay experience of a DQN agent on 60 Atari 2600 games. We demonstrate that recent off-policy deep RL algorithms, even when trained solely on this fixed dataset, outperform the fully trained DQN agent. To enhance generalization in the offline setting, we present Random Ensemble Mixture (REM), a robust Q-learning algorithm that enforces optimal Bellman consistency on random convex combinations of multiple Q-value estimates. Offline REM trained on the DQN replay dataset surpasses strong RL baselines. Ablation studies highlight the role of offline dataset size and diversity as well as the algorithm choice in our positive results. Overall, the results here present an optimistic view that robust RL algorithms trained on sufficiently large and diverse offline datasets can lead to high quality policies. The DQN replay dataset can serve as an offline RL benchmark and is open-sourced.

The Differentiable Cross-Entropy Method
Brandon Amos, Denis Yarats

We study the Cross-Entropy Method (CEM) for the non-convex optimization of a continuous and parameterized objective function and introduce a differentiable variant that enables us to differentiate the output of CEM with respect to the objective function's parameters. In the machine learning setting this brings CEM inside of the end-to-end learning pipeline where this has otherwise been impossible. We show applications in a synthetic energy-based structured prediction task and in non-convex continuous control. In the control setting we show how to embed optimal action sequences into a lower-dimensional space. This enables us to use policy optimization to fine-tune modeling components by differentiating through the CEM-based controller.

Measuring Non-Expert Comprehension of Machine Learning Fairness Metrics
Debjani Saha, Candice Schumann, Duncan McElfresh, John P Dickerson, Michelle Mazurek, Michael Tschantz

Bias in machine learning has manifested injustice in several areas, such as medicine, hiring, and criminal justice. In response, computer scientists have developed myriad definitions of fairness to correct this bias in fielded algorithms. While some definitions are based on established legal and ethical norms, others are largely mathematical. It is unclear whether the general public agrees with these fairness definitions, and perhaps more importantly, whether they understand these definitions. We take initial steps toward bridging this gap between ML researchers and the public, by addressing the question: does a lay audience understand a basic definition of ML fairness? We develop a metric to measure comprehension of three such definitions--demographic parity, equal opportunity, and equalized odds. We evaluate this metric using an online survey, and investigate the relationship between comprehension and sentiment, demographics, and the definition itself.

Accelerating Large-Scale Inference with Anisotropic Vector Quantization
Ruiqi Guo, Philip Sun, Erik Lindgren, Quan Geng, David Simcha, Felix Chern, Sanjiv Kumar

Quantization based techniques are the current state-of-the-art for scaling maximum inner product search to massive databases. Traditional approaches to quantization aim to minimize the reconstruction error of the database points. Based on the observation that for a given query, the database points that have the largest inner products are more relevant, we develop a family of anisotropic quantization loss functions. Under natural statistical assumptions, we show that quantization with these loss functions leads to a new variant of vector quantization that more greatly penalizes the parallel component of a datapoint's residual relative to its orthogonal component. The proposed approach, whose implementation is open-source, achieves state-of-the-art results on the public benchmarks available at ann-benchmarks.com.

Adaptive Estimator Selection for Off-Policy Evaluation
Yi Su, Pavithra Srinath, Akshay Krishnamurthy

We develop a generic data-driven method for estimator selection in off-policy policy evaluation settings. We establish a strong performance guarantee for the method, showing that it is competitive with the oracle estimator, up to a constant factor. Via in-depth case studies in contextual bandits and reinforcement learning, we demonstrate the generality and applicability of the method. We also perform comprehensive experiments, demonstrating the empirical efficacy of our approach and comparing with related approaches. In both case studies, our method compares favorably with existing methods.

On Learning Language-Invariant Representations for Universal Machine Translation
Han Zhao, Junjie Hu, Andrej Risteski

The goal of universal machine translation is to learn to translate between any pair of languages, given pairs of translated documents for \emph{some} of these languages. Despite impressive empirical results and an increasing interest in massively multilingual models, theoretical analysis on translation errors made by such universal machine translation models is only nascent. In this paper, we take one step towards better understanding of universal machine translation by first proving an impossibility theorem in the general case. In particular, we derive a lower bound on the translation error in the many-to-one translation setting, which shows that any algorithm aiming to learn shared sentence representations among multiple language pairs has to make a large translation error on at least one of the translation tasks, if no assumption on the structure of the languages is made. On the positive side, we show that if the documents follow a natural encoder-decoder generative process, then we can expect a natural notion of ``generalization'': a linear number of pairs, rather than quadratic, suffices. Our theory also explains what kinds of connection graphs between pairs of languages are better suited: ones with longer paths result in worse sample complexity in terms of the total number of …

Finite-Time Last-Iterate Convergence for Multi-Agent Learning in Games
Darren Lin, Zhengyuan Zhou, Panayotis Mertikopoulos, Michael Jordan
In this paper, we consider multi-agent learning via online gradient descent in a class of games called $\lambda$-cocoercive games, a fairly broad class of games that admits many Nash equilibria and that properly includes unconstrained strongly monotone games. We characterize the finite-time last-iterate convergence rate for joint OGD learning on $\lambda$-cocoercive games; further, building on this result, we develop a fully adaptive OGD learning algorithm that does not require any knowledge of problem parameter (e.g. cocoercive constant $\lambda$) and show, via a novel double-stopping time technique, that this adaptive algorithm achieves same finite-time last-iterate convergence rate as non-adaptive counterpart. Subsequently, we extend OGD learning to the noisy gradient feedback case and establish last-iterate convergence results--first qualitative almost sure convergence, then quantitative finite-time convergence rates-- all under non-decreasing step-sizes. To our knowledge, we provide the first set of results that fill in several gaps of the existing multi-agent online learning literature, where three aspects--finite-time convergence rates, non-decreasing step-sizes, and fully adaptive algorithms have been unexplored before.
Efficient Non-conjugate Gaussian Process Factor Models for Spike Count Data using Polynomial Approximations
Stephen Keeley, David Zoltowski, Yiyi Yu, Spencer Smith, Jonathan Pillow

Gaussian Process Factor Analysis (GPFA) has been broadly applied to the problem of identifying smooth, low-dimensional temporal structure underlying large-scale neural recordings. However, spike trains are non-Gaussian, which motivates combining GPFA with discrete observation models for binned spike count data. The drawback to this approach is that GPFA priors are not conjugate to count model likelihoods, which makes inference challenging. Here we address this obstacle by introducing a fast, approximate inference method for non-conjugate GPFA models. Our approach uses orthogonal second-order polynomials to approximate the nonlinear terms in the non-conjugate log-likelihood, resulting in a method we refer to as polynomial approximate log-likelihood (PAL) estimators. This approximation allows for accurate closed-form evaluation of marginal likelihoods and fast numerical optimization for parameters and hyperparameters. We derive PAL estimators for GPFA models with binomial, Poisson, and negative binomial observations and find the PAL estimation is highly accurate, and achieves faster convergence times compared to existing state-of-the-art inference methods. We also find that PAL hyperparameters can provide sensible initialization for black box variational inference (BBVI), which improves BBVI accuracy. We demonstrate that PAL estimators achieve fast and accurate extraction of latent structure from multi-neuron spike train data.

Efficient Intervention Design for Causal Discovery with Latents
Raghavendra Addanki, Shiva Kasiviswanathan, Andrew McGregor, Cameron Musco
We consider recovering a causal graph in presence of latent variables, where we seek to minimize the cost of interventions used in the recovery process. We consider two intervention cost models: (1) a linear cost model where the cost of an intervention on a subset of variables has a linear form, and (2) an identity cost model where the cost of an intervention is the same, regardless of what variables it is on, i.e., the goal is just to minimize the number of interventions. Under the linear cost model, we give an algorithm to identify the ancestral relations of the underlying causal graph, achieving within a $2$-factor of the optimal intervention cost. This approximation factor can be improved to $1+\eps$ for any $\eps > 0$ under some mild restrictions. Under the identity cost model, we bound the number of interventions needed to recover the entire causal graph, including the latent variables, using a parameterization of the causal graph through a special type of colliders. In particular, we introduce the notion of $p$-colliders, that are colliders between pair of nodes arising from a specific type of conditioning in the causal graph, and provide an upper bound on the number of interventions as …
InstaHide: Instance-hiding Schemes for Private Distributed Learning
Yangsibo Huang, Zhao Song, Kai Li, Sanjeev Arora

How can multiple distributed entities train a shared deep net on their private data while protecting data privacy? This paper introduces InstaHide, a simple encryption of training images. Encrypted images can be used in standard deep learning pipelines (PyTorch, Federated Learning etc.) with no additional setup or infrastructure. The encryption has a minor effect on test accuracy (unlike differential privacy).

Encryption consists of mixing the image with a set of other images (in the sense of Mixup data augmentation technique (Zhang et al., 2018)) followed by applying a random pixel-wise mask on the mixed image. Other contributions of this paper are: (a) Use of large public dataset of images (e.g. ImageNet) for mixing during encryption; this improves security. (b) Experiments demonstrating effectiveness in protecting privacy against known attacks while preserving model accuracy. (c) Theoretical analysis showing that successfully attacking privacy requires attackers to solve a difficult computational problem. (d) Demonstration that Mixup alone is insecure as (contrary to recent proposals), by showing some efficient attacks. (e) Release of a challenge dataset to allow design of new attacks.

Combining Differentiable PDE Solvers and Graph Neural Networks for Fluid Flow Prediction
Filipe de Avila Belbute-Peres, Thomas Economon, Zico Kolter

Solving large complex partial differential equations (PDEs), such as those that arise in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), is a computationally expensive process. This has motivated the use of deep learning approaches to approximate the PDE solutions, yet the simulation results predicted from these approaches typically do not generalize well to truly novel scenarios. In this work, we develop a hybrid (graph) neural network that combines a traditional graph convolutional network with an embedded differentiable fluid dynamics simulator inside the network itself. By combining an actual CFD simulator (run on a much coarser resolution representation of the problem) with the graph network, we show that we can both generalize well to new situations and benefit from the substantial speedup of neural network CFD predictions, while also substantially outperforming the coarse CFD simulation alone.

One Size Fits All: Can We Train One Denoiser for All Noise Levels?
Abhiram Gnanasambandam, Stanley Chan

When training an estimator such as a neural network for tasks like image denoising, it is often preferred to train one estimator and apply it to all noise levels. The de facto training protocol to achieve this goal is to train the estimator with noisy samples whose noise levels are uniformly distributed across the range of interest. However, why should we allocate the samples uniformly? Can we have more training samples that are less noisy, and fewer samples that are more noisy? What is the optimal distribution? How do we obtain such a distribution? The goal of this paper is to address this training sample distribution problem from a minimax risk optimization perspective. We derive a dual ascent algorithm to determine the optimal sampling distribution of which the convergence is guaranteed as long as the set of admissible estimators is closed and convex. For estimators with non-convex admissible sets such as deep neural networks, our dual formulation converges to a solution of the convex relaxation. We discuss how the algorithm can be implemented in practice. We evaluate the algorithm on linear estimators and deep networks.

The Cost-free Nature of Optimally Tuning Tikhonov Regularizers and Other Ordered Smoothers
Pierre C Bellec, Dana Yang
We consider the problem of selecting the best estimator among a family of Tikhonov regularized estimators, or, alternatively, to select a linear combination of these regularizers that is as good as the best regularizer in the family. Our theory reveals that if the Tikhonov regularizers share the same penalty matrix with different tuning parameters, a convex procedure based on $Q$-aggregation achieves the mean square error of the best estimator, up to a small error term no larger than $C\sigma^2$, where $\sigma^2$ is the noise level and $C>0$ is an absolute constant. Remarkably, the error term does not depend on the penalty matrix or the number of estimators as long as they share the same penalty matrix, i.e., it applies to any grid of tuning parameters, no matter how large the cardinality of the grid is. This reveals the surprising "cost-free" nature of optimally tuning Tikhonov regularizers, in striking contrast with the existing literature on aggregation of estimators where one typically has to pay a cost of $\sigma^2\log(M)$ where $M$ is the number of estimators in the family. The result holds, more generally, for any family of ordered linear smoothers; this encompasses Ridge regression as well as Principal Component Regression. …
Reinforcement Learning for Integer Programming: Learning to Cut
Yunhao Tang, Shipra Agrawal, Yuri Faenza

Integer programming is a general optimization framework with a wide variety of applications, e.g., in scheduling, production planning, and graph optimization. As Integer Programs (IPs) model many provably hard to solve problems, modern IP solvers rely on heuristics. These heuristics are often human-designed, and tuned over time using experience and data. The goal of this work is to show that the performance of those solvers can be greatly enhanced using reinforcement learning (RL). In particular, we investigate a specific methodology for solving IPs, known as the Cutting Plane Method. This method is employed as a subroutine by all modern IP solvers. We present a deep RL formulation, network architecture, and algorithms for intelligent adaptive selection of cutting planes (aka cuts). Across a wide range of IP tasks, we show that our trained RL agent significantly outperforms human-designed heuristics, and effectively generalizes to larger instances and across IP problem classes. The trained agent is also demonstrated to benefit the popular downstream application of cutting plane methods in Branch-and-Cut algorithm, which is the backbone of state-of-the-art commercial IP solvers.

Adversarial Risk via Optimal Transport and Optimal Couplings
Muni Sreenivas Pydi, Varun Jog

The accuracy of modern machine learning algorithms deteriorates severely on adversarially manipulated test data. Optimal adversarial risk quantifies the best error rate of any classifier in the presence of adversaries, and optimal adversarial classifiers are sought that minimize adversarial risk. In this paper, we investigate the optimal adversarial risk and optimal adversarial classifiers from an optimal transport perspective. We present a new and simple approach to show that the optimal adversarial risk for binary classification with 0 − 1 loss function is completely characterized by an optimal transport cost between the probability distributions of the two classes, for a suitably defined cost function. We propose a novel coupling strategy that achieves the optimal transport cost for several univariate distributions like Gaussian, uniform and triangular. Using the optimal couplings, we obtain the optimal adversarial classifiers in these settings and show how they differ from optimal classifiers in the absence of adversaries. Based on our analysis, we evaluate algorithm-independent fundamental limits on adversarial risk for CIFAR-10, MNIST, Fashion-MNIST and SVHN datasets, and Gaussian mixtures based on them.

Population-Based Black-Box Optimization for Biological Sequence Design
Christof Angermueller, David Belanger, Andreea Gane, Zelda Mariet, David Dohan, Kevin Murphy, Lucy Colwell, D. Sculley

The use of black-box optimization for the design of new biological sequences is an emerging research area with potentially revolutionary impact. The cost and latency of wet-lab experiments requires methods that find good sequences in few experimental rounds of large batches of sequences --- a setting that off-the-shelf black-box optimization methods are ill-equipped to handle. We find that the performance of existing methods varies drastically across optimization tasks, posing a significant obstacle to real-world applications. To improve robustness, we propose Population-Based Black-Box Optimization (P3BO), which generates batches of sequences by sampling from an ensemble of methods. The number of sequences sampled from any method is proportional to the quality of sequences it previously proposed, allowing P3BO to combine the strengths of individual methods while hedging against their innate brittleness. Adapting the hyper-parameters of each of the methods online using evolutionary optimization further improves performance. Through extensive experiments on in-silico optimization tasks, we show that P3BO outperforms any single method in its population, proposing higher quality sequences as well as more diverse batches. As such, P3BO and Adaptive-P3BO are a crucial step towards deploying ML to real-world sequence design.

What can I do here? A Theory of Affordances in Reinforcement Learning
Khimya Khetarpal, Zafarali Ahmed, Gheorghe Comanici, Dave Abel, Doina Precup

Reinforcement learning algorithms usually assume that all actions are always available to an agent. However, both people and animals understand the general link between the features of their environment and the actions that are feasible. Gibson (1977) coined the term "affordances" to describe the fact that certain states enable an agent to do certain actions, in the context of embodied agents. In this paper, we develop a theory of affordances for agents who learn and plan in Markov Decision Processes. Affordances play a dual role in this case. On one hand, they allow faster planning, by reducing the number of actions available in any given situation. On the other hand, they facilitate more efficient and precise learning of transition models from data, especially when such models require function approximation. We establish these properties through theoretical results as well as illustrative examples. We also propose an approach to learn affordances and use it to estimate transition models that are simpler and generalize better.

The Neural Tangent Kernel in High Dimensions: Triple Descent and a Multi-Scale Theory of Generalization
Ben Adlam, Jeffrey Pennington

Modern deep learning models employ considerably more parameters than required to fit the training data. Whereas conventional statistical wisdom suggests such models should drastically overfit, in practice these models generalize remarkably well. An emerging paradigm for describing this unexpected behavior is in terms of a \emph{double descent} curve, in which increasing a model's capacity causes its test error to first decrease, then increase to a maximum near the interpolation threshold, and then decrease again in the overparameterized regime. Recent efforts to explain this phenomenon theoretically have focused on simple settings, such as linear regression or kernel regression with unstructured random features, which we argue are too coarse to reveal important nuances of actual neural networks. We provide a precise high-dimensional asymptotic analysis of generalization under kernel regression with the Neural Tangent Kernel, which characterizes the behavior of wide neural networks optimized with gradient descent. Our results reveal that the test error has nonmonotonic behavior deep in the overparameterized regime and can even exhibit additional peaks and descents when the number of parameters scales quadratically with the dataset size.

Adaptive Droplet Routing in Digital Microfluidic Biochips Using Deep Reinforcement Learning
Tung-Che Liang, Zhanwei Zhong, Yaas Bigdeli, Tsung-Yi Ho, Krishnendu Chakrabarty, Richard Fair

We present and investigate a novel application domain for deep reinforcement learning (RL): droplet routing on digital microfluidic biochips (DMFBs). A DMFB, composed of a two-dimensional electrode array, manipulates discrete fluid droplets to automatically execute biochemical protocols such as high-throughput DNA sequencing and point-of-care clinical diagnosis. However, a major concern associated with the use of DMFBs is that electrodes in a biochip can degrade over time. Droplet-transportation operations associated with the degraded electrodes can fail, thereby compromising the integrity of the bioassay outcome. While it is not feasible to detect the degradation of an electrode by simply examining its appearance, we show that casting droplet transportation as an RL problem enables the training of deep network policies to capture the underlying health conditions of electrodes and to provide reliable fluidic operations. We propose a new RL-based droplet-routing flow that can be used for various sizes of DMFBs, and demonstrate reliable execution of an epigenetic bioassay with the RL droplet router on a fabricated DMFB. To facilitate further research, we also present a simulation environment based on the OpenAI Gym Interface for RL-guided droplet-routing problems on DMFBs.

Sub-linear Memory Sketches for Near Neighbor Search on Streaming Data
Benjamin Coleman, Richard Baraniuk, Anshumali Shrivastava
We present the first sublinear memory sketch that can be queried to find the nearest neighbors in a dataset. Our online sketching algorithm compresses an N element dataset to a sketch of size $O(N^b \log^3 N)$ in $O(N^{(b+1)} \log^3 N)$ time, where $b < 1$. This sketch can correctly report the nearest neighbors of any query that satisfies a stability condition parameterized by $b$. We achieve sublinear memory performance on stable queries by combining recent advances in locality sensitive hash (LSH)-based estimators, online kernel density estimation, and compressed sensing. Our theoretical results shed new light on the memory-accuracy tradeoff for nearest neighbor search, and our sketch, which consists entirely of short integer arrays, has a variety of attractive features in practice. We evaluate the memory-recall tradeoff of our method on a friend recommendation task in the Google plus social media network. We obtain orders of magnitude better compression than the random projection based alternative while retaining the ability to report the nearest neighbors of practical queries.
On Validation and Planning of An Optimal Decision Rule with Application in Healthcare Studies
Hengrui Cai, Wenbin Lu, Rui Song

In the current era of personalized recommendation, one major interest is to develop an optimal individualized decision rule that assigns individuals with the best treatment option according to their covariates. Estimation of optimal decision rules (ODR) has been extensively investigated recently, however, at present, no testing procedure is proposed to verify whether these ODRs are significantly better than the naive decision rule that always assigning individuals to a fixed treatment option. In this paper, we propose a testing procedure for detecting the existence of an ODR that is better than the naive decision rule under the randomized trials. We construct the proposed test based on the difference of estimated value functions using the augmented inverse probability weighted method. The asymptotic distributions of the proposed test statistic under the null and local alternative hypotheses are established. Based on the established asymptotic distributions, we further develop a sample size calculation formula for testing the existence of an ODR in designing A/B tests. Extensive simulations and a real data application to a schizophrenia clinical trial data are conducted to demonstrate the empirical validity of the proposed methods.

Learning Quadratic Games on Networks
Yan Leng, Xiaowen Dong, Junfeng Wu, Alex `Sandy' Pentland

Individuals, or organizations, cooperate with or compete against one another in a wide range of practical situations. Such strategic interactions are often modeled as games played on networks, where an individual's payoff depends not only on her action but also on that of her neighbors. The current literature has largely focused on analyzing the characteristics of network games in the scenario where the structure of the network, which is represented by a graph, is known beforehand. It is often the case, however, that the actions of the players are readily observable while the underlying interaction network remains hidden. In this paper, we propose two novel frameworks for learning, from the observations on individual actions, network games with linear-quadratic payoffs, and in particular, the structure of the interaction network. Our frameworks are based on the Nash equilibrium of such games and involve solving a joint optimization problem for the graph structure and the individual marginal benefits. Both synthetic and real-world experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed frameworks, which have theoretical as well as practical implications for understanding strategic interactions in a network environment.

Dynamics of Deep Neural Networks and Neural Tangent Hierarchy
Jiaoyang Huang, Horng-Tzer Yau
The evolution of a deep neural network trained by the gradient descent in the overparametrization regime can be described by its neural tangent kernel (NTK) \cite{jacot2018neural, du2018gradient1,du2018gradient2,arora2019fine}. It was observed \cite{arora2019exact} that there is a performance gap between the kernel regression using the limiting NTK and the deep neural networks. We study the dynamic of neural networks of finite width and derive an infinite hierarchy of differential equations, the neural tangent hierarchy (NTH). We prove that the NTH hierarchy truncated at the level $p\geq 2$ approximates the dynamic of the NTK up to arbitrary precision under certain conditions on the neural network width and the data set dimension. The assumptions needed for these approximations become weaker as $p$ increases. Finally, NTH can be viewed as higher order extensions of NTK. In particular, the NTH truncated at $p=2$ recovers the NTK dynamics.
Implicit Generative Modeling for Efficient Exploration
Neale Ratzlaff, Qinxun Bai, Fuxin Li, Wei Xu

Efficient exploration remains a challenging problem in reinforcement learning, especially for those tasks where rewards from environments are sparse. In this work, we introduce an exploration approach based on a novel implicit generative modeling algorithm to estimate a Bayesian uncertainty of the agent's belief of the environment dynamics. Each random draw from our generative model is a neural network that instantiates the dynamic function, hence multiple draws would approximate the posterior, and the variance in the predictions based on this posterior is used as an intrinsic reward for exploration. We design a training algorithm for our generative model based on the amortized Stein Variational Gradient Descent. In experiments, we demonstrate the effectiveness of this exploration algorithm in both pure exploration tasks and a downstream task, comparing with state-of-the-art intrinsic reward-based exploration approaches, including two recent approaches based on an ensemble of dynamic models. In challenging exploration tasks, our implicit generative model consistently outperforms competing approaches regarding data efficiency in exploration.

Learning Structured Latent Factors from Dependent Data:A Generative Model Framework from Information-Theoretic Perspective
Ruixiang ZHANG, Masanori Koyama, Katsuhiko Ishiguro

Learning controllable and generalizable representation of multivariate data with desired structural properties remains a fundamental problem in machine learning. In this paper, we present a novel framework for learning generative models with various underlying structures in the latent space. We represent the inductive bias in the form of mask variables to model the dependency structure in the graphical model and extend the theory of multivariate information bottleneck~\cite{mib} to enforce it. Our model provides a principled approach to learn a set of semantically meaningful latent factors that reflect various types of desired structures like capturing correlation or encoding invariance, while also offering the flexibility to automatically estimate the dependency structure from data. We show that our framework unifies many existing generative models and can be applied to a variety of tasks, including multi-modal data modeling, algorithmic fairness, and out-of-distribution generalization.

Schatten Norms in Matrix Streams: Hello Sparsity, Goodbye Dimension
Vladimir Braverman, Robert Krauthgamer, Aditya Krishnan, Roi Sinoff

Spectral functions of large matrices contains important structural information about the underlying data, and is thus becoming increasingly important. Many times, large matrices representing real-world data are sparse or doubly sparse (i.e., sparse in both rows and columns), and are accessed as a stream of updates, typically organized in row-order. In this setting, where space (memory) is the limiting resource, all known algorithms require space that is polynomial in the dimension of the matrix, even for sparse matrices. We address this challenge by providing the first algorithms whose space requirement is independent of the matrix dimension, assuming the matrix is doubly-sparse and presented in row-order. Our algorithms approximate the Schatten p-norms, which we use in turn to approximate other spectral functions, such as logarithm of the determinant, trace of matrix inverse, and Estrada index. We validate these theoretical performance bounds by numerical experiments on real-world matrices representing social networks. We further prove that multiple passes are unavoidable in this setting, and show extensions of our primary technique, including a trade-off between space requirements and number of passes.

Stabilizing Transformers for Reinforcement Learning
Emilio Parisotto, Francis Song, Jack Rae, Razvan Pascanu, Caglar Gulcehre, Siddhant Jayakumar, Max Jaderberg, Raphael Lopez Kaufman, Aidan Clark, Seb Noury, Matthew Botvinick, Nicolas Heess, Raia Hadsell

Owing to their ability to both effectively integrate information over long time horizons and scale to massive amounts of data, self-attention architectures have recently shown breakthrough success in natural language processing (NLP). Harnessing the transformer’s ability to process long time horizons of information could provide a similar performance boost in partially observable reinforcement learning (RL) domains, but the large-scale transformers used in NLP have yet to be successfully applied to the RL setting. In this work we demonstrate that the standard transformer architecture is difficult to optimize, which was previously observed in the supervised learning setting but becomes especially pronounced with RL objectives. We propose architectural modifications that substantially improve the stability and learning speed of the original Transformer and XL variant. The proposed architecture, the Gated Transformer-XL (GTrXL), surpasses LSTMs on challenging memory environments and achieves state-of-the-art results on the multi-task DMLab-30 benchmark suite, exceeding the performance of an external memory architecture. We show that the GTrXL has stability and performance that consistently matches or exceeds a competitive LSTM baseline, including on more reactive tasks where memory is less critical.

Improved Communication Cost in Distributed PageRank Computation – A Theoretical Study
Siqiang Luo
PageRank is a widely used approach for measuring the importance of a node in a graph. Due to the rapid growth of the graph size in the real world, the importance of computing PageRanks in a distributed environment has been increasingly recognized. However, only a few previous works can provide a provable complexity and accuracy for distributed PageRank computation. Given a constant $d\ge 1$ and a graph of $n$ nodes, the state-of-the-art approach, Radar-Push, uses $O(\log\log{n}+\log{d})$ communication rounds to approximate the PageRanks within a relative error $O(\frac{1}{\log^d{n}})$ under a generalized congested clique distributed model. However, Radar-Push entails as large as $O(\log^{2d+3}{n})$ bits of bandwidth (e.g., the communication cost between a pair of nodes per round) in the worst case. In this paper, we provide a new algorithm that uses asymptotically the same communication round complexity while using only $O(d\log^3{n})$ bits of bandwidth.
Online Bayesian Moment Matching based SAT Solver Heuristics
Haonan Duan, Saeed Nejati, George Trimponias, Pascal Poupart, Vijay Ganesh
In this paper, we present a Bayesian Moment Matching (BMM) based method aimed at solving the initialization problem in Boolean SAT solvers. The initialization problem can be stated as follows: given a SAT formula $\phi$, compute an initial order over the variables of $\phi$ and values/polarity for these variables such that the runtime of SAT solvers on input $\phi$ is minimized. At the start of a solver run, our BMM-based methods compute a posterior probability distribution for an assignment to the variables of the input formula after analyzing its clauses, which will then be used by the solver to initialize its search. We perform extensive experiments to evaluate the efficacy of our BMM-based heuristic against 4 other initialization methods (random, survey propagation, Jeroslow-Wang, and default) in state-of-the-art solvers, MapleCOMSPS and MapleLCMDistChronotBT over the SAT competition 2018 application benchmark, as well as the best-known solvers in the cryptographic category, namely, CryptoMiniSAT, Glucose, and MapleSAT. On the cryptographic benchmark, BMM-based solvers out-perform all other initialization methods. Further, the BMM-based MapleCOMSPS significantly out-perform the same solver using all other initialization methods by 12 additional instances solved and better average runtime, over the SAT 2018 competition benchmark.
Private Query Release Assisted by Public Data
Raef Bassily, Albert Cheu, Shay Moran, Sasho Nikolov, Jonathan Ullman, Steven Wu
We study the problem of differentially private query release assisted by access to public data. In this problem, the goal is to answer a large class $\mathcal{H}$ of statistical queries with error no more than $\alpha$ using a combination of public and private samples. The algorithm is required to satisfy differential privacy only with respect to the private samples. We study the limits of this task in terms of the private and public sample complexities. Our upper and lower bounds on the private sample complexity have matching dependence on the dual VC-dimension of $\mathcal{H}$. For a large category of query classes, our bounds on the public sample complexity have matching dependence on $\alpha$.
Robust Bayesian Classification Using An Optimistic Score Ratio
Viet Anh Nguyen, Nian Si, Jose Blanchet

We build a Bayesian contextual classification model using an optimistic score ratio for robust binary classification when there is limited information on the class-conditional, or contextual, distribution. The optimistic score searches for the distribution that is most plausible to explain the observed outcomes in the testing sample among all distributions belonging to the contextual ambiguity set which is prescribed using a limited structural constraint on the mean vector and the covariance matrix of the underlying contextual distribution. We show that the Bayesian classifier using the optimistic score ratio is conceptually attractive, delivers solid statistical guarantees and is computationally tractable. We showcase the power of the proposed optimistic score ratio classifier on both synthetic and empirical data.

Prediction-Guided Multi-Objective Reinforcement Learning for Continuous Robot Control
Jie Xu, Yunsheng Tian, Pingchuan Ma, Daniela Rus, Shinjiro Sueda, Wojciech Matusik

Many real-world control problems involve conflicting objectives where we desire a dense and high-quality set of control policies that are optimal for different objective preferences (called Pareto-optimal). While extensive research in multi-objective reinforcement learning (MORL) has been conducted to tackle such problems, multi-objective optimization for complex continuous robot control is still under-explored. In this work, we propose an efficient evolutionary learning algorithm to find the Pareto set approximation for continuous robot control problems, by extending a state-of-the-art RL algorithm and presenting a novel prediction model to guide the learning process. In addition to efficiently discovering the individual policies on the Pareto front, we construct a continuous set of Pareto-optimal solutions by Pareto analysis and interpolation. Furthermore, we design seven multi-objective RL environments with continuous action space, which is the first benchmark platform to evaluate MORL algorithms on various robot control problems. We test the previous methods on the proposed benchmark problems, and the experiments show that our approach is able to find a much denser and higher-quality set of Pareto policies than the existing algorithms.

On the Convergence of Nesterov's Accelerated Gradient Method in Stochastic Settings
Mido Assran, Mike Rabbat

We study Nesterov's accelerated gradient method with constant step-size and momentum parameters in the stochastic approximation setting (unbiased gradients with bounded variance) and the finite-sum setting (where randomness is due to sampling mini-batches). To build better insight into the behavior of Nesterov's method in stochastic settings, we focus throughout on objectives that are smooth, strongly-convex, and twice continuously differentiable. In the stochastic approximation setting, Nesterov's method converges to a neighborhood of the optimal point at the same accelerated rate as in the deterministic setting. Perhaps surprisingly, in the finite-sum setting, we prove that Nesterov's method may diverge with the usual choice of step-size and momentum, unless additional conditions on the problem related to conditioning and data coherence are satisfied. Our results shed light as to why Nesterov's method may fail to converge or achieve acceleration in the finite-sum setting.

Causal Modeling for Fairness In Dynamical Systems
Elliot Creager, David Madras, Toniann Pitassi, Richard Zemel

In many applications areas---lending, education, and online recommenders, for example---fairness and equity concerns emerge when a machine learning system interacts with a dynamically changing environment to produce both immediate and long-term effects for individuals and demographic groups. We discuss causal directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) as a unifying framework for the recent literature on fairness in such dynamical systems. We show that this formulation affords several new directions of inquiry to the modeler, where sound causal assumptions can be expressed and manipulated. We emphasize the importance of computing interventional quantities in the dynamical fairness setting, and show how causal assumptions enable simulation (when environment dynamics are known) and estimation by adjustment (when dynamics are unknown) of intervention on short- and long-term outcomes, at both the group and individual levels.

Identifying Statistical Bias in Dataset Replication
Logan Engstrom, Andrew Ilyas, Shibani Santurkar, Dimitris Tsipras, Jacob Steinhardt, Aleksander Madry

Dataset replication is a useful tool for assessing whether improvements in test accuracy on a specific benchmark correspond to improvements in models' ability to generalize reliably. In this work, we present unintuitive yet significant ways in which standard approaches to dataset replication introduce statistical bias, skewing the resulting observations. We study ImageNet-v2, a replication of the ImageNet dataset on which models exhibit a significant (11-14%) drop in accuracy, even after controlling for selection frequency, a human-in-the-loop measure of data quality. We show that after remeasuring selection frequencies and correcting for statistical bias, only an estimated 3.6% of the original 11.7% accuracy drop remains unaccounted for. We conclude with concrete recommendations for recognizing and avoiding bias in dataset replication. Code for our study is publicly available: https://git.io/data-rep-analysis.

Moniqua: Modulo Quantized Communication in Decentralized SGD
Yucheng Lu, Christopher De Sa
Running Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) in a decentralized fashion has shown promising results. In this paper we propose Moniqua, a technique that allows decentralized SGD to use quantized communication. We prove in theory that Moniqua communicates a provably bounded number of bits per iteration, while converging at the same asymptotic rate as the original algorithm does with full-precision communication. Moniqua improves upon prior works in that it (1) requires zero additional memory, (2) works with 1-bit quantization, and (3) is applicable to a variety of decentralized algorithms. We demonstrate empirically that Moniqua converges faster with respect to wall clock time than other quantized decentralized algorithms. We also show that Moniqua is robust to very low bit-budgets, allowing $1$-bit-per-parameter communication without compromising validation accuracy when training ResNet20 and ResNet110 on CIFAR10.
Don't Waste Your Bits! Squeeze Activations and Gradients for Deep Neural Networks via TinyScript
Fangcheng Fu, Yuzheng Hu, Yihan He, Jiawei Jiang, Yingxia Shao, Ce Zhang, Bin Cui

Recent years have witnessed intensive research interests on training deep neural networks (DNNs) more efficiently by quantization-based compression methods, which facilitate DNNs training in two ways: (1) activations are quantized to shrink the memory consumption, and (2) gradients are quantized to decrease the communication cost. However, existing methods mostly use a uniform mechanism that quantizes the values evenly. Such a scheme may cause a large quantization variance and slow down the convergence in practice.

In this work, we introduce TinyScript, which applies a non-uniform quantization algorithm to both activations and gradients. TinyScript models the original values by a family of Weibull distributions and searches for ''quantization knobs'' that minimize quantization variance. We also discuss the convergence of the non-uniform quantization algorithm on DNNs with varying depths, shedding light on the number of bits required for convergence. Experiments show that TinyScript always obtains lower quantization variance, and achieves comparable model qualities against full precision training using 1-2 bits less than the uniform-based counterpart.

Sequential Cooperative Bayesian Inference
Junqi Wang, Pei Wang, Patrick Shafto

Cooperation is often implicitly assumed when learning from other agents. Cooperation implies that the agent selecting the data, and the agent learning from the data, have the same goal, that the learner infer the intended hypothesis. Recent models in human and machine learning have demonstrated the possibility of cooperation. We seek foundational theoretical results for cooperative inference by Bayesian agents through sequential data. We develop novel approaches analyzing consistency, rate of convergence and stability of Sequential Cooperative Bayesian Inference (SCBI). Our analysis of the effectiveness, sample efficiency and robustness show that cooperation is not only possible but theoretically well-founded. We discuss implications for human-human and human-machine cooperation.

Causal Effect Identifiability under Partial-Observability
Sanghack Lee, Elias Bareinboim

Causal effect identifiability is concerned with establishing the effect of intervening on a set of variables on another set of variables from observational or interventional distributions under causal assumptions that are usually encoded in the form of a causal graph. Most of the results of this literature implicitly assume that every variable modeled in the graph is measured in the available distributions. In practice, however, the data collections of the different studies considered do not measure the same variables, consistently. In this paper, we study the causal effect identifiability problem when the available distributions encompass different sets of variables, which we refer to as identification under partial-observability. We study a number of properties of the factors that comprise a causal effect under various levels of abstraction, and then characterize the relationship between them with respect to their status relative to the identification of a targeted intervention. We establish a sufficient graphical criterion for determining whether the effects are identifiable from partially-observed distributions. Finally, building on these graphical properties, we develop an algorithm that returns a formula for a causal effect in terms of the available distributions.

Data preprocessing to mitigate bias: A maximum entropy based approach
L. Elisa Celis, Vijay Keswani, Nisheeth K. Vishnoi

Data containing human or social attributes may over- or under-represent groups with respect to salient social attributes such as gender or race, which can lead to biases in downstream applications. This paper presents an algorithmic framework that can be used as a data preprocessing method towards mitigating such bias. Unlike prior work, it can efficiently learn distributions over large domains, controllably adjust the representation rates of protected groups and achieve target fairness metrics such as statistical parity, yet remains close to the empirical distribution induced by the given dataset. Our approach leverages the principle of maximum entropy – amongst all distributions satisfying a given set of constraints, we should choose the one closest in KL-divergence to a given prior. While maximum entropy distributions can succinctly encode distributions over large domains, they can be difficult to compute. Our main contribution is an instantiation of this framework for our set of constraints and priors, which encode our bias mitigation goals, and that runs in time polynomial in the dimension of the data. Empirically, we observe that samples from the learned distribution have desired representation rates and statistical rates, and when used for training a classifier incurs only a slight loss in accuracy …

Safe Reinforcement Learning in Constrained Markov Decision Processes
Akifumi Wachi, Yanan Sui

Safe reinforcement learning has been a promising approach for optimizing the policy of an agent that operates in safety-critical applications. In this paper, we propose an algorithm, SNO-MDP, that explores and optimizes Markov decision processes under unknown safety constraints. Specifically, we take a step-wise approach for optimizing safety and cumulative reward. In our method, the agent first learns safety constraints by expanding the safe region, and then optimizes the cumulative reward in the certified safe region. We provide theoretical guarantees on both the satisfaction of the safety constraint and the near-optimality of the cumulative reward under proper regularity assumptions. In our experiments, we demonstrate the effectiveness of SNO-MDP through two experiments: one uses a synthetic data in a new, openly-available environment named GP-Safety-Gym, and the other simulates Mars surface exploration by using real observation data.

Adversarial Robustness via Runtime Masking and Cleansing
Yi-Hsuan Wu, Jimmy Yuan, Shan-Hung (Brandon) Wu

Deep neural networks are shown to be vulnerable to adversarial attacks. This motivates robust learning techniques, such as the adversarial training, whose goal is to learn a network that is robust against adversarial attacks. However, the sample complexity of robust learning can be significantly larger than that of “standard” learning. In this paper, we propose improving the adversarial robustness of a network by leveraging the potentially large test data seen at runtime. We devise a new defense method, called runtime masking and cleansing (RMC), that adapts the network at runtime before making a prediction to dynamically mask network gradients and cleanse the model of the non-robust features inevitably learned during the training process due to the size limit of the training set. We conduct experiments on real-world datasets and the results demonstrate the effectiveness of RMC empirically.

From Chaos to Order: Symmetry and Conservation Laws in Game Dynamics
Sai Ganesh Nagarajan, David Balduzzi, Georgios Piliouras

Games are an increasingly useful tool for training and testing learning algorithms. Recent examples include GANs, AlphaZero and the AlphaStar league. However, multi-agent learning can be extremely difficult to predict and control. Learning dynamics even in simple games can yield chaotic behavior. In this paper, we present basic \emph{mechanism design} tools for constructing games with predictable and controllable dynamics. We show that arbitrarily large and complex network games, encoding both cooperation (team play) and competition (zero-sum interaction), exhibit conservation laws when agents use the standard regret-minimizing dynamics known as Follow-the-Regularized-Leader. These laws persist when different agents use different dynamics and encode long-range correlations between agents' behavior, even though the agents may not interact directly. Moreover, we provide sufficient conditions under which the dynamics have multiple, linearly independent, conservation laws. Increasing the number of conservation laws results in more predictable dynamics, eventually making chaotic behavior formally impossible in some cases.

Graph-based, Self-Supervised Program Repair from Diagnostic Feedback
Michihiro Yasunaga, Percy Liang

We consider the problem of learning to repair programs from diagnostic feedback (e.g., compiler error messages). Program repair is challenging for two reasons: First, it requires reasoning and tracking symbols across source code and diagnostic feedback. Second, labeled datasets available for program repair are relatively small. In this work, we propose novel solutions to these two challenges. First, we introduce a program-feedback graph, which connects symbols relevant to program repair in source code and diagnostic feedback, and then apply a graph neural network on top to model the reasoning process. Second, we present a self-supervised learning paradigm for program repair that leverages unlabeled programs available online to create a large amount of extra program repair examples, which we use to pre-train our models. We evaluate our proposed approach on two applications: correcting introductory programming assignments (DeepFix dataset) and correcting the outputs of program synthesis (SPoC dataset). Our final system, DrRepair, significantly outperforms prior work, achieving 68.2\% full repair rate on DeepFix (+22.9\% over the prior best), and 48.4\% synthesis success rate on SPoC (+3.7\% over the prior best).

Bidirectional Model-based Policy Optimization
Hang Lai, Jian Shen, Weinan Zhang, Yong Yu

Model-based reinforcement learning approaches leverage a forward dynamics model to support planning and decision making, which, however, may fail catastrophically if the model is inaccurate. Although there are several existing methods dedicated to combating the model error, the potential of the single forward model is still limited. In this paper, we propose to additionally construct a backward dynamics model to reduce the reliance on accuracy in forward model predictions. We develop a novel method, called Bidirectional Model-based Policy Optimization (BMPO) to utilize both the forward model and backward model to generate short branched rollouts for policy optimization. Furthermore, we theoretically derive a tighter bound of return discrepancy, which shows the superiority of BMPO against the one using merely the forward model. Extensive experiments demonstrate that BMPO outperforms state-of-the-art model-based methods in terms of sample efficiency and asymptotic performance.

Unsupervised Transfer Learning for Spatiotemporal Predictive Networks
Zhiyu Yao, Yunbo Wang, Mingsheng Long, Jianmin Wang

This paper explores a new research problem of unsupervised transfer learning across multiple spatiotemporal prediction tasks. Unlike most existing transfer learning methods that focus on fixing the discrepancy between supervised tasks, we study how to transfer knowledge from a zoo of unsupervisedly learned models towards another predictive network. Our motivation is that models from different sources are expected to understand the complex spatiotemporal dynamics from different perspectives, thereby effectively supplementing the new task, even if the task has sufficient training samples. Technically, we propose a differentiable framework named transferable memory. It adaptively distills knowledge from a bank of memory states of multiple pretrained RNNs, and applies it to the target network via a novel recurrent structure called the Transferable Memory Unit (TMU). Compared with finetuning, our approach yields significant improvements on three benchmarks for spatiotemporal prediction, and benefits the target task even from less relevant pretext ones.

On Relativistic f-Divergences
Alexia Jolicoeur-Martineau
We take a more rigorous look at Relativistic Generative Adversarial Networks (RGANs) and prove that the objective function of the discriminator is a statistical divergence for any concave function $f$ with minimal properties ($f(0)=0$, $f'(0) \neq 0$, $\sup_x f(x)>0$). We devise additional variants of relativistic $f$-divergences. We show that the Wasserstein distance is weaker than $f$-divergences which are weaker than relativistic $f$-divergences. Given the good performance of RGANs, this suggests that Wasserstein GAN does not performs well primarily because of the weak metric, but rather because of regularization and the use of a relativistic discriminator. We introduce the minimum-variance unbiased estimator (MVUE) for Relativistic paired GANs (RpGANs; originally called RGANs which could bring confusion) and show that it does not perform better. We show that the estimator of Relativistic average GANs (RaGANs) is asymptotically unbiased and that the finite-sample bias is small; removing this bias does not improve performance.
On Lp-norm Robustness of Ensemble Decision Stumps and Trees
Yihan Wang, Huan Zhang, Hongge Chen, Duane Boning, Cho-Jui Hsieh
Recent papers have demonstrated that ensemble stumps and trees could be vulnerable to small input perturbations, so robustness verification and defense for those models have become an important research problem. However, due to the structure of decision trees, where each node makes decision purely based on one feature value, all the previous works only consider the $\ell_\infty$ norm perturbation. To study robustness with respect to a general $\ell_p$ norm perturbation, one has to consider the correlation between perturbations on different features, which has not been handled by previous algorithms. In this paper, we study the problem of robustness verification and certified defense with respect to general $\ell_p$ norm perturbations for ensemble decision stumps and trees. For robustness verification of ensemble stumps, we prove that complete verification is NP-complete for $p\in(0, \infty)$ while polynomial time algorithms exist for $p=0$ or $\infty$. For $p\in(0, \infty)$ we develop an efficient dynamic programming based algorithm for sound verification of ensemble stumps. For ensemble trees, we generalize the previous multi-level robustness verification algorithm to $\ell_p$ norm. We demonstrate the first certified defense method for training ensemble stumps and trees with respect to $\ell_p$ norm perturbations, and verify its effectiveness empirically on real datasets.
Boosted Histogram Transform for Regression
Yuchao Cai, Hanyuan Hang, Hanfang Yang, Zhouchen Lin
In this paper, we propose a boosting algorithm for regression problems called \textit{boosted histogram transform for regression} (BHTR) based on histogram transforms composed of random rotations, stretchings, and translations. From the theoretical perspective, we first prove fast convergence rates for BHTR under the assumption that the target function lies in the spaces $C^{0,\alpha}$. Moreover, if the target function resides in the subspace $C^{1,\alpha}$, by establishing the upper bound of the convergence rate for the boosted regressor, i.e. BHTR, and the lower bound for base regressors, i.e. histogram transform regressors (HTR), we manage to explain the benefits of the boosting procedure. In the experiments, compared with other state-of-the-art algorithms such as gradient boosted regression tree (GBRT), Breiman's forest, and kernel-based methods, our BHTR algorithm shows promising performance on both synthetic and real datasets.
Spread Divergence
Mingtian Zhang, Peter Hayes, Thomas Bird, Raza Habib, David Barber
For distributions $\mathbb{P}$ and $\mathbb{Q}$ with different supports or undefined densities, the divergence $\textrm{D}(\mathbb{P}||\mathbb{Q})$ may not exist. We define a Spread Divergence $\tilde{\textrm{D}}(\mathbb{P}||\mathbb{Q})$ on modified $\mathbb{P}$ and $\mathbb{Q}$ and describe sufficient conditions for the existence of such a divergence. We demonstrate how to maximize the discriminatory power of a given divergence by parameterizing and learning the spread. We also give examples of using a Spread Divergence to train implicit generative models, including linear models (Independent Components Analysis) and non-linear models (Deep Generative Networks).
Automated Synthetic-to-Real Generalization
Wuyang Chen, Zhiding Yu, Zhangyang Wang, Anima Anandkumar

Models trained on synthetic images often face degraded generalization to real data. As a convention, these models are often initialized with ImageNet pretrained representation. Yet the role of ImageNet knowledge is seldom discussed despite common practices that leverage this knowledge to maintain the generalization ability. An example is the careful hand-tuning of early stopping and layer-wise learning rates, which is shown to improve synthetic-to-real generalization but is also laborious and heuristic. In this work, we explicitly encourage the synthetically trained model to maintain similar representations with the ImageNet pretrained model, and propose a \textit{learning-to-optimize (L2O)} strategy to automate the selection of layer-wise learning rates. We demonstrate that the proposed framework can significantly improve the synthetic-to-real generalization performance without seeing and training on real data, while also benefiting downstream tasks such as domain adaptation. Code is available at: https://github.com/NVlabs/ASG.

Online Dense Subgraph Discovery via Blurred-Graph Feedback
Yuko Kuroki, Atsushi Miyauchi, Junya Honda, Masashi Sugiyama

\emph{Dense subgraph discovery} aims to find a dense component in edge-weighted graphs. This is a fundamental graph-mining task with a variety of applications and thus has received much attention recently. Although most existing methods assume that each individual edge weight is easily obtained, such an assumption is not necessarily valid in practice. In this paper, we introduce a novel learning problem for dense subgraph discovery in which a learner queries edge subsets rather than only single edges and observes a noisy sum of edge weights in a queried subset. For this problem, we first propose a polynomial-time algorithm that obtains a nearly-optimal solution with high probability. Moreover, to deal with large-sized graphs, we design a more scalable algorithm with a theoretical guarantee. Computational experiments using real-world graphs demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithms.

Feature-map-level Online Adversarial Knowledge Distillation
Inseop Chung, SeongUk Park, Kim Jangho, NOJUN KWAK

Feature maps contain rich information about image intensity and spatial correlation. However, previous online knowledge distillation methods only utilize the class probabilities. Thus in this paper, we propose an online knowledge distillation method that transfers not only the knowledge of the class probabilities but also that of the feature map using the adversarial training framework. We train multiple networks simultaneously by employing discriminators to distinguish the feature map distributions of different networks. Each network has its corresponding discriminator which discriminates the feature map from its own as fake while classifying that of the other network as real. By training a network to fool the corresponding discriminator, it can learn the other network's feature map distribution. We show that our method performs better than the conventional direct alignment method such as L1 and is more suitable for online distillation. Also, we propose a novel cyclic learning scheme for training more than two networks together. We have applied our method to various network architectures on the classification task and discovered a significant improvement of performance especially in the case of training a pair of a small network and a large one.

Optimization from Structured Samples for Coverage Functions
Wei Chen, Xiaoming Sun, Jialin Zhang, Zhijie Zhang
We revisit the optimization from samples (OPS) model, which studies the problem of optimizing objective functions directly from the sample data. Previous results showed that we cannot obtain a constant approximation ratio for the maximum coverage problem using polynomially many independent samples of the form $\{S_i, f(S_i)\}_{i=1}^t$ (Balkanski et al., 2017), even if coverage functions are $(1 - \epsilon)$-PMAC learnable using these samples (Badanidiyuru et al., 2012), which means most of the function values can be approximately learned very well with high probability. In this work, to circumvent the impossibility result of OPS, we propose a stronger model called optimization from structured samples (OPSS) for coverage functions, where the data samples encode the structural information of the functions. We show that under three general assumptions on the sample distributions, we can design efficient OPSS algorithms that achieve a constant approximation for the maximum coverage problem. We further prove a constant lower bound under these assumptions, which is tight when not considering computational efficiency. Moreover, we also show that if we remove any one of the three assumptions, OPSS for the maximum coverage problem has no constant approximation.
Non-separable Non-stationary random fields
Kangrui Wang, Ollie Hamelijnck, Theo Damoulas, Mark Steel

We describe a framework for constructing nonstationary nonseparable random fields based on an infinite mixture of convolved stochastic processes. When the mixing process is stationary but the convolution function is nonstationary we arrive at nonseparable kernels with constant non-separability that are available in closed form. When the mixing is nonstationary and the convolution function is stationary we arrive at nonseparable random fields that have varying nonseparability and better preserve local structure. These fields have natural interpretations through the spectral representation of stochastic differential equations (SDEs) and are demonstrated on a range of synthetic benchmarks and spatio-temporal applications in geostatistics and machine learning. We show how a single Gaussian process (GP) with these random fields can computationally and statistically outperform both separable and existing nonstationary nonseparable approaches such as treed GPs and deep GP constructions.


Poster Session 31 Wed 15 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Median Matrix Completion: from Embarrassment to Optimality
Weidong Liu, Xiaojun Mao, Raymond K. W. Wong

In this paper, we consider matrix completion with absolute deviation loss and obtain an estimator of the median matrix. Despite several appealing properties of median, the non-smooth absolute deviation loss leads to computational challenge for large-scale data sets which are increasingly common among matrix completion problems. A simple solution to large-scale problems is parallel computing. However, embarrassingly parallel fashion often leads to inefficient estimators. Based on the idea of pseudo data, we propose a novel refinement step, which turns such inefficient estimators into a rate (near-)optimal matrix completion procedure. The refined estimator is an approximation of a regularized least median estimator, and therefore not an ordinary regularized empirical risk estimator. This leads to a non-standard analysis of asymptotic behaviors. Empirical results are also provided to confirm the effectiveness of the proposed method.

Optimal approximation for unconstrained non-submodular minimization
Marwa El Halabi, Stefanie Jegelka

Submodular function minimization is well studied, and existing algorithms solve it exactly or up to arbitrary accuracy. However, in many applications, such as structured sparse learning or batch Bayesian optimization, the objective function is not exactly submodular, but close. In this case, no theoretical guarantees exist. Indeed, submodular minimization algorithms rely on intricate connections between submodularity and convexity. We show how these relations can be extended to obtain approximation guarantees for minimizing non-submodular functions, characterized by how close the function is to submodular. We also extend this result to noisy function evaluations. Our approximation results are the first for minimizing non-submodular functions, and are optimal, as established by our matching lower bound.

VFlow: More Expressive Generative Flows with Variational Data Augmentation
Jianfei Chen, Cheng Lu, Biqi Chenli, Jun Zhu, Tian Tian

Generative flows are promising tractable models for density modeling that define probabilistic distributions with invertible transformations. However, tractability imposes architectural constraints on generative flows. In this work, we study a previously overlooked constraint that all the intermediate representations must have the same dimensionality with the data due to invertibility, limiting the width of the network. We propose VFlow to tackle this constraint on dimensionality. VFlow augments the data with extra dimensions and defines a maximum evidence lower bound (ELBO) objective for estimating the distribution of augmented data jointly with the variational data augmentation distribution. Under mild assumptions, we show that the maximum ELBO solution of VFlow is always better than the original maximum likelihood solution. For image density modeling on the CIFAR-10 dataset, VFlow achieves a new state-of-the-art 2.98 bits per dimension.

Channel Equilibrium Networks for Learning Deep Representation
Wenqi Shao, Shitao Tang, Xingang Pan, Ping Tan, Xiaogang Wang, Ping Luo

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are typically constructed by stacking multiple building blocks, each of which contains a normalization layer such as batch normalization (BN) and a rectified linear function such as ReLU. However, this work shows that the combination of normalization and rectified linear function leads to inhibited channels, which have small magnitude and contribute little to the learned feature representation, impeding the generalization ability of CNNs. Unlike prior arts that simply removed the inhibited channels, we propose to ``wake them up'' during training by designing a novel neural building block, termed Channel Equilibrium (CE) block, which enables channels at the same layer to contribute equally to the learned representation. We show that CE is able to prevent inhibited channels both empirically and theoretically. CE has several appealing benefits. (1) It can be integrated into many advanced CNN architectures such as ResNet and MobileNet, outperforming their original networks. (2) CE has an interesting connection with the Nash Equilibrium, a well-known solution of a non-cooperative game. (3) Extensive experiments show that CE achieves state-of-the-art performance on various challenging benchmarks such as ImageNet and COCO.

On Unbalanced Optimal Transport: An Analysis of Sinkhorn Algorithm
Khiem Pham, Khang Le, Nhat Ho, Tung Pham, Hung Bui
We provide a computational complexity analysis for the Sinkhorn algorithm that solves the entropic regularized Unbalanced Optimal Transport (UOT) problem between two measures of possibly different masses with at most $n$ components. We show that the complexity of the Sinkhorn algorithm for finding an $\varepsilon$-approximate solution to the UOT problem is of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(n^2/ \varepsilon)$. To the best of our knowledge, this complexity is better than the best known complexity upper bound of the Sinkhorn algorithm for solving the Optimal Transport (OT) problem, which is of order $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(n^2/\varepsilon^2)$. Our proof technique is based on the geometric convergence rate of the Sinkhorn updates to the optimal dual solution of the entropic regularized UOT problem and scaling properties of the primal solution. It is also different from the proof technique used to establish the complexity of the Sinkhorn algorithm for approximating the OT problem since the UOT solution does not need to meet the marginal constraints of the measures.
SIGUA: Forgetting May Make Learning with Noisy Labels More Robust
Bo Han, Gang Niu, Xingrui Yu, QUANMING YAO, Miao Xu, Ivor Tsang, Masashi Sugiyama

Given data with noisy labels, over-parameterized deep networks can gradually memorize the data, and fit everything in the end. Although equipped with corrections for noisy labels, many learning methods in this area still suffer overfitting due to undesired memorization. In this paper, to relieve this issue, we propose stochastic integrated gradient underweighted ascent (SIGUA): in a mini-batch, we adopt gradient descent on good data as usual, and learning-rate-reduced gradient ascent} on bad data; the proposal is a versatile approach where data goodness or badness is w.r.t. desired or undesired memorization given a base learning method. Technically, SIGUA pulls optimization back for generalization when their goals conflict with each other; philosophically, SIGUA shows forgetting undesired memorization can reinforce desired memorization. Experiments demonstrate that SIGUA successfully robustifies two typical base learning methods, so that their performance is often significantly improved.

Label-Noise Robust Domain Adaptation
Xiyu Yu, Tongliang Liu, Mingming Gong, Kun Zhang, Kayhan Batmanghelich, Dacheng Tao
Domain adaptation aims to correct the classifiers when faced with distribution shift between source (training) and target (test) domains. State-of-the-art domain adaptation methods make use of deep networks to extract domain-invariant representations. However, existing methods assume that all the instances in the source domain are correctly labeled; while in reality, it is unsurprising that we may obtain a source domain with noisy labels. In this paper, we are the first to comprehensively investigate how label noise could adversely affect existing domain adaptation methods in various scenarios. Further, we theoretically prove that there exists a method that can essentially reduce the side-effect of noisy source labels in domain adaptation. Specifically, focusing on the generalized target shift scenario, where both label distribution $P_Y$ and the class-conditional distribution $P_{X|Y}$ can change, we discover that the denoising Conditional Invariant Component (DCIC) framework can provably ensures (1) extracting invariant representations given examples with noisy labels in the source domain and unlabeled examples in the target domain and (2) estimating the label distribution in the target domain with no bias. Experimental results on both synthetic and real-world data verify the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Learning What to Defer for Maximum Independent Sets
Sungsoo Ahn, Younggyo Seo, Jinwoo Shin

Designing efficient algorithms for combinatorial optimization appears ubiquitously in various scientific fields. Recently, deep reinforcement learning (DRL) frameworks have gained considerable attention as a new approach: they can automate the design of a solver while relying less on sophisticated domain knowledge of the target problem. However, the existing DRL solvers determine the solution using a number of stages proportional to the number of elements in the solution, which severely limits their applicability to large-scale graphs. In this paper, we seek to resolve this issue by proposing a novel DRL scheme, coined learning what to defer (LwD), where the agent adaptively shrinks or stretch the number of stages by learning to distribute the element-wise decisions of the solution at each stage. We apply the proposed framework to the maximum independent set (MIS) problem, and demonstrate its significant improvement over the current state-of-the-art DRL scheme. We also show that LwD can outperform the conventional MIS solvers on large-scale graphs having millions of vertices, under a limited time budget.

Best Arm Identification for Cascading Bandits in the Fixed Confidence Setting
Zixin Zhong, Wang Chi Cheung, Vincent Tan

We design and analyze CascadeBAI, an algorithm for finding the best set of K items, also called an arm, within the framework of cascading bandits. An upper bound on the time complexity of CascadeBAI is derived by overcoming a crucial analytical challenge, namely, that of probabilistically estimating the amount of available feedback at each step. To do so, we define a new class of random variables (r.v.'s) which we term as left-sided sub-Gaussian r.v.'s; these are r.v.'s whose cumulant generating functions (CGFs) can be bounded by a quadratic only for non-positive arguments of the CGFs. This enables the application of a sufficiently tight Bernstein-type concentration inequality. We show, through the derivation of a lower bound on the time complexity, that the performance of CascadeBAI is optimal in some practical regimes. Finally, extensive numerical simulations corroborate the efficacy of CascadeBAI as well as the tightness of our upper bound on its time complexity.

Can Stochastic Zeroth-Order Frank-Wolfe Method Converge Faster for Non-Convex Problems?
Hongchang Gao, Heng Huang
Frank-Wolfe algorithm is an efficient method for optimizing non-convex constrained problems. However, most of existing methods focus on the first-order case. In real-world applications, the gradient is not always available. To address the problem of lacking gradient in many applications, we propose two new stochastic zeroth-order Frank-Wolfe algorithms and theoretically proved that they have a faster convergence rate than existing methods for non-convex problems. Specifically, the function queries oracle of the proposed faster zeroth-order Frank-Wolfe (FZFW) method is $O(\frac{n^{1/2}d}{\epsilon^2})$ which can match the iteration complexity of the first-order counterpart approximately. As for the proposed faster zeroth-order conditional gradient sliding (FZCGS) method, its function queries oracle is improved to $O(\frac{n^{1/2}d}{\epsilon})$, indicating that its iteration complexity is even better than that of its first-order counterpart NCGS-VR. In other words, the iteration complelxity of the accelerated first-order Frank-Wolfe method NCGS-VR is suboptimal. Then, we proposed a new algorithm to improve its IFO (incremental first-order oracle) to $O(\frac{n^{1/2}}{\epsilon})$. At last, the empirical studies on benchmark datasets validate our theoretical results.
Operation-Aware Soft Channel Pruning using Differentiable Masks
Minsoo Kang, Bohyung Han

We propose a simple but effective data-driven channel pruning algorithm, which compresses deep neural networks in a differentiable way by exploiting the characteristics of operations. The proposed approach makes a joint consideration of batch normalization (BN) and rectified linear unit (ReLU) for channel pruning; it estimates how likely the two successive operations deactivate each feature map and prunes the channels with high probabilities. To this end, we learn differentiable masks for individual channels and make soft decisions throughout the optimization procedure, which facilitates to explore larger search space and train more stable networks. The proposed framework enables us to identify compressed models via a joint learning of model parameters and channel pruning without an extra procedure of fine-tuning. We perform extensive experiments and achieve outstanding performance in terms of the accuracy of output networks given the same amount of resources when compared with the state-of-the-art methods.

Complexity of Finding Stationary Points of Nonconvex Nonsmooth Functions
Jingzhao Zhang, Hongzhou Lin, Stefanie Jegelka, Suvrit Sra, Ali Jadbabaie

We provide the first non-asymptotic analysis for finding stationary points of nonsmooth, nonconvex functions. In particular, we study the class of Hadamard semi-differentiable functions, perhaps the largest class of nonsmooth functions for which the chain rule of calculus holds. This class contains important examples such as ReLU neural networks and others with non-differentiable activation functions. First, we show that finding an epsilon-stationary point with first-order methods is impossible in finite time. Therefore, we introduce the notion of (delta, epsilon)-stationarity, a generalization that allows for a point to be within distance delta of an epsilon-stationary point and reduces to epsilon-stationarity for smooth functions. We propose a series of randomized first-order methods and analyze their complexity of finding a (delta, epsilon)-stationary point. Furthermore, we provide a lower bound and show that our stochastic algorithm has min-max optimal dependence on delta. Empirically, our methods perform well for training ReLU neural networks.

Neural Architecture Search in A Proxy Validation Loss Landscape
Yanxi Li, Minjing Dong, Yunhe Wang, Chang Xu

This paper searches for the optimal neural architecture by minimizing a proxy of validation loss. Existing neural architecture search (NAS) methods used to discover the optimal neural architecture that best fits the validation examples given the up-to-date network weights. However, back propagation with a number of validation examples could be time consuming, especially when it needs to be repeated many times in NAS. Though these intermediate validation results are invaluable, they would be wasted if we cannot use them to predict the future from the past. In this paper, we propose to approximate the validation loss landscape by learning a mapping from neural architectures to their corresponding validate losses. The optimal neural architecture thus can be easily identified as the minimum of this proxy validation loss landscape. A novel sampling strategy is further developed for an efficient approximation of the loss landscape. Theoretical analysis indicates that our sampling strategy can reach a lower error rate and a lower label complexity compared with a uniform sampling. Experimental results on benchmarks demonstrate that the architecture searched by the proposed algorithm can achieve a satisfactory accuracy with less time cost.

Superpolynomial Lower Bounds for Learning One-Layer Neural Networks using Gradient Descent
Surbhi Goel, Aravind Gollakota, Zhihan Jin, Sushrut Karmalkar, Adam Klivans

We give the first superpolynomial lower bounds for learning one-layer neural networks with respect to the Gaussian distribution for a broad class of algorithms. In the regression setting, we prove that gradient descent run on any classifier with respect to square loss will fail to achieve small test error in polynomial time. Prior work held only for gradient descent run with small batch sizes and sufficiently smooth classifiers. For classification, we give a stronger result, namely that any statistical query (SQ) algorithm will fail to achieve small test error in polynomial time. Our lower bounds hold for commonly used activations such as ReLU and sigmoid. The core of our result relies on a novel construction of a simple family of neural networks that are exactly orthogonal with respect to all spherically symmetric distributions.

Fine-Grained Analysis of Stability and Generalization for Stochastic Gradient Descent
Yunwen Lei, Yiming Ying

Recently there are a considerable amount of work devoted to the study of the algorithmic stability and generalization for stochastic gradient descent (SGD). However, the existing stability analysis requires to impose restrictive assumptions on the boundedness of gradients, smoothness and convexity of loss functions. In this paper, we provide a fine-grained analysis of stability and generalization for SGD by substantially relaxing these assumptions. Firstly, we establish stability and generalization for SGD by removing the existing bounded gradient assumptions. The key idea is the introduction of a new stability measure called on-average model stability, for which we develop novel bounds controlled by the risks of SGD iterates. This yields generalization bounds depending on the behavior of the best model, and leads to the first-ever-known fast bounds in the low-noise setting using stability approach. Secondly, the smoothness assumption is relaxed by considering loss functions with Holder continuous (sub)gradients for which we show that optimal bounds are still achieved by balancing computation and stability. To our best knowledge, this gives the first-ever-known stability and generalization bounds for SGD with non-smooth loss functions (e.g., hinge loss). Finally, we study learning problems with (strongly) convex objectives but non-convex loss functions.

Learning and Evaluating Contextual Embedding of Source Code
Aditya Kanade, Petros Maniatis, Gogul Balakrishnan, Kensen Shi

Recent research has achieved impressive results on understanding and improving source code by building up on machine-learning techniques developed for natural languages. A significant advancement in natural-language understanding has come with the development of pre-trained contextual embeddings, such as BERT, which can be fine-tuned for downstream tasks with less labeled data and training budget, while achieving better accuracies. However, there is no attempt yet to obtain a high-quality contextual embedding of source code, and to evaluate it on multiple program-understanding tasks simultaneously; that is the gap that this paper aims to mitigate. Specifically, first, we curate a massive, deduplicated corpus of 6M Python files from GitHub, which we use to pre-train CuBERT, an open-sourced code-understanding BERT model; and, second, we create an open-sourced benchmark that comprises five classification tasks and one program-repair task, akin to code-understanding tasks proposed in the literature before. We fine-tune CuBERT on our benchmark tasks, and compare the resulting models to different variants of Word2Vec token embeddings, BiLSTM and Transformer models, as well as published state-of-the-art models, showing that CuBERT outperforms them all, even with shorter training, and with fewer labeled examples. Future work on source-code embedding can benefit from reusing our benchmark, and comparing against …

Sample Amplification: Increasing Dataset Size even when Learning is Impossible
Brian Axelrod, Shivam Garg, Vatsal Sharan, Gregory Valiant

Given data drawn from an unknown distribution, D, to what extent is it possible to amplify'' this dataset and faithfully output an even larger set of samples that appear to have been drawn from D? We formalize this question as follows: an (n,m) amplification procedure takes as input n independent draws from an unknown distribution D, and outputs a set of m > nsamples'' which must be indistinguishable from m samples drawn iid from D. We consider this sample amplification problem in two fundamental settings: the case where D is an arbitrary discrete distribution supported on k elements, and the case where D is a d-dimensional Gaussian with unknown mean, and fixed covariance matrix. Perhaps surprisingly, we show a valid amplification procedure exists for both of these settings, even in the regime where the size of the input dataset, n, is significantly less than what would be necessary to learn distribution D to non-trivial accuracy. We also show that our procedures are optimal up to constant factors. Beyond these results, we describe potential applications of such data amplification, and formalize a number of curious directions for future research along this vein.

Pretrained Generalized Autoregressive Model with Adaptive Probabilistic Label Clusters for Extreme Multi-label Text Classification
Hui Ye, Zhiyu Chen, Da-Han Wang, Brian D Davison

Extreme multi-label text classification (XMTC) is a task for tagging a given text with the most relevant labels from an extremely large label set. We propose a novel deep learning method called APLC-XLNet. Our approach fine-tunes the recently released generalized autoregressive pretrained model (XLNet) to learn a dense representation for the input text. We propose Adaptive Probabilistic Label Clusters (APLC) to approximate the cross entropy loss by exploiting the unbalanced label distribution to form clusters that explicitly reduce the computational time. Our experiments, carried out on five benchmark datasets, show that our approach significantly outperforms existing state-of-the-art methods. Our source code is available publicly at https://github.com/huiyegit/APLC_XLNet.

Inductive Relation Prediction by Subgraph Reasoning
Komal Teru, Etienne Denis, Will Hamilton

The dominant paradigm for relation prediction in knowledge graphs involves learning and operating on latent representations (i.e., embeddings) of entities and relations. However, these embedding-based methods do not explicitly capture the compositional logical rules underlying the knowledge graph, and they are limited to the transductive setting, where the full set of entities must be known during training. Here, we propose a graph neural network based relation prediction framework, GraIL, that reasons over local subgraph structures and has a strong inductive bias to learn entity-independent relational semantics. Unlike embedding-based models, GraIL is naturally inductive and can generalize to unseen entities and graphs after training. We provide theoretical proof and strong empirical evidence that GraIL can rep-resent a useful subset of first-order logic and show that GraIL outperforms existing rule-induction baselines in the inductive setting. We also demonstrate significant gains obtained by ensembling GraIL with various knowledge graph embedding methods in the transductive setting, highlighting the complementary inductive bias of our method.

Sparse Shrunk Additive Models
guodong liu, Hong Chen, Heng Huang

Most existing feature selection methods in literature are linear models, so that the nonlinear relations between features and response variables are not considered. Meanwhile, in these feature selection models, the interactions between features are often ignored or just discussed under prior structure information. To address these challenging issues, we consider the problem of sparse additive models for high-dimensional nonparametric regression with the allowance of the flexible interactions between features. A new method, called as sparse shrunk additive models (SSAM), is proposed to explore the structure information among features. This method bridges sparse kernel regression and sparse feature selection. Theoretical results on the convergence rate and sparsity characteristics of SSAM are established by the novel analysis techniques with integral operator and concentration estimate. In particular, our algorithm and theoretical analysis only require the component functions to be continuous and bounded, which are not necessary to be in reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces. Experiments on both synthetic and real-world data demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

On conditional versus marginal bias in multi-armed bandits
Jaehyeok Shin, Aaditya Ramdas, Alessandro Rinaldo

The bias of the sample means of the arms in multi-armed bandits is an important issue in adaptive data analysis that has recently received considerable attention in the literature. Existing results relate in precise ways the sign and magnitude of the bias to various sources of data adaptivity, but do not apply to the conditional inference setting in which the sample means are computed only if some specific conditions are satisfied. In this paper, we characterize the sign of the conditional bias of monotone functions of the rewards, including the sample mean. Our results hold for arbitrary conditioning events and leverage natural monotonicity properties of the data collection policy. We further demonstrate, through several examples from sequential testing and best arm identification, that the sign of the conditional and marginal bias of the sample mean of an arm can be different, depending on the conditioning event. Our analysis offers new and interesting perspectives on the subtleties of assessing the bias in data adaptive settings.

Reinforcement Learning for Non-Stationary Markov Decision Processes: The Blessing of (More) Optimism
Wang Chi Cheung, David Simchi-Levi, Ruihao Zhu

We consider un-discounted reinforcement learning (RL) in Markov decision processes (MDPs) under drifting non-stationarity, \ie, both the reward and state transition distributions are allowed to evolve over time, as long as their respective total variations, quantified by suitable metrics, do not exceed certain \emph{variation budgets}. We first develop the Sliding Window Upper-Confidence bound for Reinforcement Learning with Confidence Widening (\texttt{SWUCRL2-CW}) algorithm, and establish its dynamic regret bound when the variation budgets are known. In addition, we propose the Bandit-over-Reinforcement Learning (\texttt{BORL}) algorithm to adaptively tune the \sw~to achieve the same dynamic regret bound, but in a \emph{parameter-free} manner, \ie, without knowing the variation budgets. Notably, learning drifting MDPs via conventional optimistic exploration presents a unique challenge absent in existing (non-stationary) bandit learning settings. We overcome the challenge by a novel confidence widening technique that incorporates additional optimism.

Planning to Explore via Self-Supervised World Models
Ramanan Sekar, Oleg Rybkin, Kostas Daniilidis, Pieter Abbeel, Danijar Hafner, Deepak Pathak

Reinforcement learning allows solving complex tasks, however, the learning tends to be task-specific and the sample efficiency remains a challenge. We present Plan2Explore, a self-supervised reinforcement learning agent that tackles both these challenges through a new approach to self-supervised exploration and fast adaptation to new tasks, which need not be known during exploration. During exploration, unlike prior methods which retrospectively compute the novelty of observations after the agent has already reached them, our agent acts efficiently by leveraging planning to seek out expected future novelty. After exploration, the agent quickly adapts to multiple downstream tasks in a zero or a few-shot manner. We evaluate on challenging control tasks from high-dimensional image inputs. Without any training supervision or task-specific interaction, Plan2Explore outperforms prior self-supervised exploration methods, and in fact, almost matches the performances oracle which has access to rewards. Videos and code: https://ramanans1.github.io/plan2explore/

Frustratingly Simple Few-Shot Object Detection
Xin Wang, Thomas Huang, Joseph E Gonzalez, Prof. Darrell, Fisher Yu

Detecting rare objects from a few examples is an emerging problem. Prior works show meta-learning is a promising approach. But, fine-tuning techniques have drawn scant attention. We find that fine-tuning only the last layer of existing detectors on rare classes is crucial to the few-shot object detection task. Such a simple approach outperforms the meta-learning methods by roughly 2~20 points on current benchmarks and sometimes even doubles the accuracy of the prior methods. However, the high variance in the few samples often leads to the unreliability of existing benchmarks. We revise the evaluation protocols by sampling multiple groups of training examples to obtain stable comparisons and build new benchmarks based on three datasets: PASCAL VOC, COCO and LVIS. Again, our fine-tuning approach establishes a new state of the art on the revised benchmarks. The code as well as the pretrained models are available at https://github.com/ucbdrive/few-shot-object-detection.

Efficient Policy Learning from Surrogate-Loss Classification Reductions
Andrew Bennett, Nathan Kallus

Recent work on policy learning from observational data has highlighted the importance of efficient policy evaluation and has proposed reductions to weighted (cost-sensitive) classification. But, efficient policy evaluation need not yield efficient estimation of policy parameters. We consider the estimation problem given by a weighted surrogate-loss classification with any score function, either direct, inverse-propensity-weighted, or doubly robust. We show that, under a correct specification assumption, the weighted classification formulation need not be efficient for policy parameters. We draw a contrast to actual (possibly weighted) binary classification, where correct specification implies a parametric model, while for policy learning it only implies a semi-parametric model. In light of this, we instead propose an estimation approach based on generalized method of moments, which is efficient for the policy parameters. We propose a particular method based on recent developments on solving moment problems using neural networks and demonstrate the efficiency and regret benefits of this method empirically.

Online mirror descent and dual averaging: keeping pace in the dynamic case
Huang Fang, Nick Harvey, Victor Sanches Portella, Michael Friedlander

Online mirror descent (OMD) and dual averaging (DA)---two fundamental algorithms for online convex optimization---are known to have very similar (and sometimes identical) performance guarantees when used with a \emph{fixed} learning rate. Under \emph{dynamic} learning rates, however, OMD is provably inferior to DA and suffers a linear regret, even in common settings such as prediction with expert advice. We modify the OMD algorithm through a simple technique that we call \emph{stabilization}. We give essentially the same abstract regret bound for OMD with stabilization and for DA by modifying the classical OMD convergence analysis in a careful and modular way that allows for straightforward and flexible proofs. Simple corollaries of these bounds show that OMD with stabilization and DA enjoy the same performance guarantees in many applications---even under dynamic learning rates. We also shed light on the similarities between OMD and DA and show simple conditions under which stabilized-OMD and DA generate the same iterates.

Divide and Conquer: Leveraging Intermediate Feature Representations for Quantized Training of Neural Networks
Ahmed T. Elthakeb, Prannoy Pilligundla, FatemehSadat Mireshghallah, Alexander Cloninger, Hadi Esmaeilzadeh

The deep layers of modern neural networks extract a rather rich set of features as an input propagates through the network, this paper sets out to harvest these rich intermediate representations for quantization with minimal accuracy loss while significantly reducing the memory footprint and compute intensity of the DNN. This paper utilizes knowledge distillation through teacher-student paradigm (Hinton et al., 2015) in a novel setting that exploits the feature extraction capability of DNNs for higher accuracy quantization. As such, our algorithm logically divides a pretrained full-precision DNN to multiple sections, each of which exposes intermediate features to train a team of students independently in the quantized domain and simply stitching them afterwards. This divide and conquer strategy, makes the training of each student section possible in isolation, speeding up training by enabling parallelization. Experiments on various DNNs (AlexNet, LeNet, MobileNet, ResNet-18, ResNet-20, SVHN and VGG-11) show that, this approach—called DCQ (Divide and Conquer Quantization)—on average, improves the performance of a state-of-the-art quantized training technique, DoReFa-Net (Zhou et al., 2016) by 21.6% and 9.3% for binary and ternary quantization, respectively. Additionally, we show that incorporating DCQ to existing quantized training methods leads to improved accuracies as compared to previously reported by …

Safe screening rules for L0-regression from Perspective Relaxations
Alper Atamturk, Andres Gomez
We give safe screening rules to eliminate variables from regression with $\ell_0$ regularization or cardinality constraint. These rules are based on guarantees that a feature may or may not be selected in an optimal solution. The screening rules can be computed from a convex relaxation solution in linear time, without solving the L0-optimization problem. Thus, they can be used in a preprocessing step to safely remove variables from consideration apriori. Numerical experiments on real and synthetic data indicate that a significant number of the variables can be removed quickly, hence reducing the computational burden for optimization substantially. Therefore, the proposed fast and effective screening rules extend the scope of algorithms for L0-regression to larger data sets.
Private Outsourced Bayesian Optimization
Dmitrii Kharkovskii, Zhongxiang Dai, Bryan Kian Hsiang Low

This paper presents the private-outsourced-Gaussian process-upper confidence bound (PO-GP-UCB) algorithm, which is the first algorithm for privacy-preserving Bayesian optimization (BO) in the outsourced setting with a provable performance guarantee. We consider the outsourced setting where the entity holding the dataset and the entity performing BO are represented by different parties, and the dataset cannot be released non-privately. For example, a hospital holds a dataset of sensitive medical records and outsources the BO task on this dataset to an industrial AI company. The key idea of our approach is to make the BO performance of our algorithm similar to that of non-private GP-UCB run using the original dataset, which is achieved by using a random projection-based transformation that preserves both privacy and the pairwise distances between inputs. Our main theoretical contribution is to show that a regret bound similar to that of the standard GP-UCB algorithm can be established for our PO-GP-UCB algorithm. We empirically evaluate the performance of our PO-GP-UCB algorithm with synthetic and real-world datasets.

A Sequential Self Teaching Approach for Improving Generalization in Sound Event Recognition
Anurag Kumar, Vamsi Krishna Ithapu

An important problem in machine auditory perception is to recognize and detect sound events. In this paper, we propose a sequential self-teaching approach to learn sounds. Our main proposition is that it is harder to learn sounds in adverse situations such as from weakly labeled and/or noisy labeled data, and in these situations a single stage of learning is not sufficient. Our proposal is a sequential stage-wise learning process that improves generalization capabilities of a given modeling system. We justify this method via technical results and on Audioset, the largest sound events dataset, our sequential learning approach can lead to up to 9% improvement in performance. A comprehensive evaluation also shows that the method leads to improved transferability of knowledge from previously trained models, thereby leading to improved generalization capabilities on transfer learning tasks.

Polynomial Tensor Sketch for Element-wise Function of Low-Rank Matrix
Insu Han, Haim Avron, Jinwoo Shin

This paper studies how to sketch element-wise functions of low-rank matrices. Formally, given low-rank matrix A = [Aij] and scalar non-linear function f, we aim for finding an approximated low-rank representation of the (possibly high-rank) matrix [f(Aij)]. To this end, we propose an efficient sketching-based algorithm whose complexity is significantly lower than the number of entries of A, i.e., it runs without accessing all entries of [f(Aij)] explicitly. The main idea underlying our method is to combine a polynomial approximation of f with the existing tensor sketch scheme for approximating monomials of entries of A. To balance the errors of the two approximation components in an optimal manner, we propose a novel regression formula to find polynomial coefficients given A and f. In particular, we utilize a coreset-based regression with a rigorous approximation guarantee. Finally, we demonstrate the applicability and superiority of the proposed scheme under various machine learning tasks.

Representing Unordered Data Using Complex-Weighted Multiset Automata
Justin DeBenedetto, David Chiang

Unordered, variable-sized inputs arise in many settings across multiple fields. The ability for set- and multiset-oriented neural networks to handle this type of input has been the focus of much work in recent years. We propose to represent multisets using complex-weighted \emph{multiset automata} and show how the multiset representations of certain existing neural architectures can be viewed as special cases of ours. Namely, (1) we provide a new theoretical and intuitive justification for the Transformer model's representation of positions using sinusoidal functions, and (2) we extend the DeepSets model to use complex numbers, enabling it to outperform the existing model on an extension of one of their tasks.

Budgeted Online Influence Maximization
Pierre Perrault, Jen Healey, Zheng Wen, Michal Valko

We introduce a new budgeted framework for online influence maximization, considering the total cost of an advertising campaign instead of the common cardinality constraint on a chosen influencer set. Our approach models better the real-world setting where the cost of influencers varies and advertizers want to find the best value for their overall social advertising budget. We propose an algorithm assuming an independent cascade diffusion model and edge-level semi-bandit feedback, and provide both theoretical and experimental results. Our analysis is also valid for the cardinality-constraint setting and improves the state of the art regret bound in this case.

A general recurrent state space framework for modeling neural dynamics during decision-making
David Zoltowski, Jonathan Pillow, Scott Linderman

An open question in systems and computational neuroscience is how neural circuits accumulate evidence towards a decision. Fitting models of decision-making theory to neural activity helps answer this question, but current approaches limit the number of these models that we can fit to neural data. Here we propose a general framework for modeling neural activity during decision-making. The framework includes the canonical drift-diffusion model and enables extensions such as multi-dimensional accumulators, variable and collapsing boundaries, and discrete jumps. Our framework is based on constraining the parameters of recurrent state space models, for which we introduce a scalable variational Laplace EM inference algorithm. We applied the modeling approach to spiking responses recorded from monkey parietal cortex during two decision-making tasks. We found that a two-dimensional accumulator better captured the responses of a set of parietal neurons than a single accumulator model, and we identified a variable lower boundary in the responses of a parietal neuron during a random dot motion task. We expect this framework will be useful for modeling neural dynamics in a variety of decision-making settings.

Imputer: Sequence Modelling via Imputation and Dynamic Programming
William Chan, Chitwan Saharia, Geoffrey Hinton, Mohammad Norouzi, Navdeep Jaitly

This paper presents the Imputer, a neural sequence model that generates output sequences iteratively via imputations. The Imputer is an iterative generation model, requiring only a constant number of generation steps independent of the number of input or output tokens. The Imputer can be trained to approximately marginalize over all possible alignments between the input and output sequences, and all possible generation orders. We present a tractable dynamic programming training algorithm, which yields a lower bound on the log marginal likelihood. When applied to end-to-end speech recognition, the Imputer outperforms prior non-autoregressive models and achieves competitive results to autoregressive models. On LibriSpeech test-other, the Imputer achieves 11.1 WER, outperforming CTC at 13.0 WER and seq2seq at 12.5 WER.

Robust Outlier Arm Identification
Yinglun Zhu, Sumeet Katariya, Robert Nowak
We study the problem of Robust Outlier Arm Identification (ROAI), where the goal is to identify arms whose expected rewards deviate substantially from the majority, by adaptively sampling from their reward distributions. We compute the outlier threshold using the median and median absolute deviation of the expected rewards. This is a robust choice for the threshold compared to using the mean and standard deviation, since it can correctly identify outlier arms even in the presence of extreme outlier values. Our setting is different from existing pure exploration problems where the threshold is pre-specified as a given value or rank. This is useful in applications where the goal is to identify the set of promising items but the cardinality of this set is unknown, such as finding promising drugs for a new disease or identifying items favored by a population. We propose two computationally efficient $\delta$-PAC algorithms for ROAI, which includes the first UCB-style algorithm for outlier detection, and derive upper bounds on their sample complexity. We also prove a matching, up to logarithmic factors, worst case lower bound for the problem, indicating that our upper bounds are generally unimprovable. Experimental results show that our algorithms are both robust and at …
Decoupled Greedy Learning of CNNs
Eugene Belilovsky, Michael Eickenberg, Edouard Oyallon

A commonly cited inefficiency of neural network training by back-propagation is the update locking problem: each layer must wait for the signal to propagate through the network before updating. In recent years multiple authors have considered alternatives that can alleviate this issue. In this context, we consider a simpler, but more effective, substitute that uses minimal feedback, which we call Decoupled Greedy Learning (DGL). It is based on a greedy relaxation of the joint training objective, recently shown to be effective in the context of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) on large-scale image classification. We consider an optimization of this objective that permits us to decouple the layer training, allowing for layers or modules in networks to be trained with a potentially linear parallelization in layers. We show theoretically and empirically that this approach converges. Then, we empirically find that it can lead to better generalization than sequential greedy optimization and sometimes end-to-end back-propagation. We show an extension of this approach to asynchronous settings, where modules can operate with large communication delays, is possible with the use of a replay buffer. We demonstrate the effectiveness of DGL on the CIFAR-10 dataset against alternatives and on the large-scale ImageNet dataset.

Predicting deliberative outcomes
Vikas K Garg, Tommi Jaakkola

We extend structured prediction to deliberative outcomes. Specifically, we learn parameterized games that can map any inputs to equilibria as the outcomes. Standard structured prediction models rely heavily on global scoring functions and are therefore unable to model individual player preferences or how they respond to others asymmetrically. Our games take as input, e.g., UN resolution to be voted on, and map such contexts to initial strategies, player utilities, and interactions. Players are then thought to repeatedly update their strategies in response to weighted aggregates of other players' choices towards maximizing their individual utilities. The output from the game is a sample from the resulting (near) equilibrium mixed strategy profile. We characterize conditions under which players' strategies converge to an equilibrium in such games and when the game parameters can be provably recovered from observations. Empirically, we demonstrate on two real voting datasets that our games can recover interpretable strategic interactions, and predict strategies for players in new settings.

Adversarial Mutual Information for Text Generation
Boyuan Pan, Yazheng Yang, Kaizhao Liang, Bhavya Kailkhura, Zhongming Jin, Xian-Sheng Hua, Deng Cai, Bo Li

Recent advances in maximizing mutual information (MI) between the source and target have demonstrated its effectiveness in text generation. However, previous works paid little attention to modeling the backward network of MI (i.e., dependency from the target to the source), which is crucial to the tightness of the variational information maximization lower bound. In this paper, we propose Adversarial Mutual Information (AMI): a text generation framework which is formed as a novel saddle point (min-max) optimization aiming to identify joint interactions between the source and target. Within this framework, the forward and backward networks are able to iteratively promote or demote each other's generated instances by comparing the real and synthetic data distributions. We also develop a latent noise sampling strategy that leverages random variations at the high-level semantic space to enhance the long term dependency in the generation process. Extensive experiments based on different text generation tasks demonstrate that the proposed AMI framework can significantly outperform several strong baselines, and we also show that AMI has potential to lead to a tighter lower bound of maximum mutual information for the variational information maximization problem.

Identifying the Reward Function by Anchor Actions
Sinong Geng, Houssam Nassif, Charlie Manzanares, Max Reppen, Ronnie Sircar
We propose a reward function estimation framework for inverse reinforcement learning with deep energy-based policies. We name our method PQR, as it sequentially estimates the Policy, the $Q$-function, and the Reward function. PQR does not assume that the reward solely depends on the state, instead it allows for a dependency on the choice of action. Moreover, PQR allows for stochastic state transitions. To accomplish this, we assume the existence of one anchor action whose reward is known, typically the action of doing nothing, yielding no reward. We present both estimators and algorithms for the PQR method. When the environment transition is known, we prove that the PQR reward estimator uniquely recovers the true reward. With unknown transitions, we bound the estimation error of PQR. Finally, the performance of PQR is demonstrated by synthetic and real-world datasets.
Scaling up Hybrid Probabilistic Inference with Logical and Arithmetic Constraints via Message Passing
Zhe Zeng, Paolo Morettin, Fanqi Yan, Antonio Vergari, Guy Van den Broeck

Weighted model integration (WMI) is an appealing framework for probabilistic inference: it allows for expressing the complex dependencies in real-world problems, where variables are both continuous and discrete, via the language of Satisfiability Modulo Theories (SMT), as well as to compute probabilistic queries with complex logical and arithmetic constraints. Yet, existing WMI solvers are not ready to scale to these problems. They either ignore the intrinsic dependency structure of the problem entirely, or they are limited to overly restrictive structures. To narrow this gap, we derive a factorized WMI computation enabling us to devise a scalable WMI solver based on message passing, called MP-WMI. Namely, MP-WMI is the first WMI solver that can (i) perform exact inference on the full class of tree-structured WMI problems, and (ii) perform inter-query amortization, e.g., to compute all marginal densities simultaneously. Experimental results show that our solver dramatically outperforms the existingWMI solvers on a large set of benchmarks.

Approximation Capabilities of Neural ODEs and Invertible Residual Networks
Han Zhang, Xi Gao, Jacob Unterman, Tom Arodz
Recent interest in invertible models and normalizing flows has resulted in new architectures that ensure invertibility of the network model. Neural ODEs and i-ResNets are two recent techniques for constructing models that are invertible, but it is unclear if they can be used to approximate any continuous invertible mapping. Here, we show that out of the box, both of these architectures are limited in their approximation capabilities. We then show how to overcome this limitation: we prove that any homeomorphism on a $p$-dimensional Euclidean space can be approximated by a Neural ODE or an i-ResNet operating on a $2p$-dimensional Euclidean space. We conclude by showing that capping a Neural ODE or an i-ResNet with a single linear layer is sufficient to turn the model into a universal approximator for non-invertible continuous functions.
Boosting Deep Neural Network Efficiency with Dual-Module Inference
Liu Liu, Lei Deng, Zhaodong Chen, yuke wang, Shuangchen Li, Jingwei Zhang, Yihua Yang, Zhenyu Gu, Yufei Ding, Yuan Xie

Using Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) in machine learning tasks is promising in delivering high-quality results but challenging to meet stringent latency requirements and energy constraints because of the memory-bound and the compute-bound execution pattern of DNNs. We propose a big-little dual-module inference to dynamically skip unnecessary memory access and computation to speedup DNN inference. Leveraging the error-resilient feature of nonlinear activation functions used in DNNs, we propose to use a lightweight little module that approximates the original DNN layer, which is referred to as the big module, to compute activations of the insensitive region that are more error-resilient. The expensive memory access and computation of the big module can be reduced as the results are only used in the sensitive region. For memory-bound models, our method can reduce the overall memory access by 40% on average and achieve 1.54x to 1.75x speedup on a commodity CPU-based server platform with a negligible impact on model quality. In addition, our method can reduce the operations of the compute-bound ResNet model by 3.02x, with only a 0.5% accuracy drop.

Context-aware Dynamics Model for Generalization in Model-Based Reinforcement Learning
Kimin Lee, Younggyo Seo, Seunghyun Lee, Honglak Lee, Jinwoo Shin

Model-based reinforcement learning (RL) enjoys several benefits, such as data-efficiency and planning, by learning a model of the environment's dynamics. However, learning a global model that can generalize across different dynamics remains a challenge. To tackle this problem, we decompose the task of learning a global dynamics model into two stages: (a) learning a context latent vector that captures the local dynamics, then (b) predicting the next state conditioned on it. In order to encode dynamics-specific information into the context latent vector, we introduce a novel loss function that encourages the context latent vector to be useful for predicting both forward and backward dynamics. The proposed method achieves superior generalization ability across various simulated robotics and control tasks, compared to existing RL schemes.

Learning to Score Behaviors for Guided Policy Optimization
Aldo Pacchiano, Jack Parker-Holder, Yunhao Tang, Krzysztof Choromanski, Anna Choromanska, Michael Jordan

We introduce a new approach for comparing reinforcement learning policies, using Wasserstein distances (WDs) in a newly defined latent behavioral space. We show that by utilizing the dual formulation of the WD, we can learn score functions over policy behaviors that can in turn be used to lead policy optimization towards (or away from) (un)desired behaviors. Combined with smoothed WDs, the dual formulation allows us to devise efficient algorithms that take stochastic gradient descent steps through WD regularizers. We incorporate these regularizers into two novel on-policy algorithms, Behavior-Guided Policy Gradient and Behavior-Guided Evolution Strategies, which we demonstrate can outperform existing methods in a variety of challenging environments. We also provide an open source demo.

Individual Calibration with Randomized Forecasting
Shengjia Zhao, Tengyu Ma, Stefano Ermon

Machine learning applications often require calibrated predictions, e.g. a 90\% credible interval should contain the true outcome 90\% of the times. However, typical definitions of calibration only require this to hold on average, and offer no guarantees on predictions made on individual samples. Thus, predictions can be systematically over or under confident on certain subgroups, leading to issues of fairness and potential vulnerabilities. We show that calibration for individual samples is possible in the regression setup if and only if the predictions are randomized, i.e. outputting randomized credible intervals. Randomization removes systematic bias by trading off bias with variance. We design a training objective to enforce individual calibration and use it to train randomized regression functions. The resulting models are more calibrated for arbitrarily chosen subgroups of the data, and can achieve higher utility in decision making against adversaries that exploit miscalibrated predictions.

Predictive Multiplicity in Classification
Charles Marx, Flavio Calmon, Berk Ustun

Prediction problems often admit competing models that perform almost equally well. This effect challenges key assumptions in machine learning when competing models assign conflicting predictions. In this paper, we define predictive multiplicity as the ability of a prediction problem to admit competing models with conflicting predictions. We introduce measures to evaluate the severity of predictive multiplicity, and develop integer programming tools to compute these measures exactly for linear classification problems. We apply our tools to measure predictive multiplicity in recidivism prediction problems. Our results show that real-world datasets may admit competing models that assign wildly conflicting predictions, and motivate the need to report predictive multiplicity in model development.

Black-box Certification and Learning under Adversarial Perturbations
Hassan Ashtiani, Vinayak Pathak, Ruth Urner

We formally study the problem of classification under adversarial perturbations, both from the learner's perspective, and from the viewpoint of a third-party who aims at certifying the robustness of a given black-box classifier. We analyze a PAC-type framework of semi-supervised learning and identify possibility and impossibility results for proper learning of VC-classes in this setting. We further introduce and study a new setting of black-box certification under limited query budget. We analyze this for various classes of predictors and types of perturbation. We also consider the viewpoint of a black-box adversary that aims at finding adversarial examples, showing that the existence of an adversary with polynomial query complexity implies the existence of a robust learner with small sample complexity.

Negative Sampling in Semi-Supervised learning
John Chen, Vatsal Shah, Tasos Kyrillidis

We introduce Negative Sampling in Semi-Supervised Learning (NS^3L), a simple, fast, easy to tune algorithm for semi-supervised learning (SSL). NS^3L is motivated by the success of negative sampling/contrastive estimation. We demonstrate that adding the NS^3L loss to state-of-the-art SSL algorithms, such as the Virtual Adversarial Training (VAT), significantly improves upon vanilla VAT and its variant, VAT with Entropy Minimization. By adding the NS^3L loss to MixMatch, the current state-of-the-art approach on semi-supervised tasks, we observe significant improvements over vanilla MixMatch. We conduct extensive experiments on the CIFAR10, CIFAR100, SVHN and STL10 benchmark datasets. Finally, we perform an ablation study for NS3L regarding its hyperparameter tuning.


Poster Session 32 Wed 15 Jul 08:00 p.m.  

A Markov Decision Process Model for Socio-Economic Systems Impacted by Climate Change
Salman Sadiq Shuvo, Yasin Yilmaz, Alan Bush, Mark Hafen

Coastal communities are at high risk of natural hazards due to unremitting global warming and sea level rise. Both the catastrophic impacts, e.g., tidal flooding and storm surges, and the long-term impacts, e.g., beach erosion, inundation of low lying areas, and saltwater intrusion into aquifers, cause economic, social, and ecological losses. Creating policies through appropriate modeling of the responses of stakeholders€™, such as government, businesses, and residents, to climate change and sea level rise scenarios can help to reduce these losses. In this work, we propose a Markov decision process (MDP) formulation for an agent (government) which interacts with the environment (nature and residents) to deal with the impacts of climate change, in particular sea level rise. Through theoretical analysis we show that a reasonable government's policy on infrastructure development ought to be proactive and based on detected sea levels in order to minimize the expected total cost, as opposed to a straightforward government that reacts to observed costs from nature. We also provide a deep reinforcement learning-based scenario planning tool considering different government and resident types in terms of cooperation, and different sea level rise projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

On Semi-parametric Inference for BART
Veronika Rockova

There has been a growing realization of the potential of Bayesian machine learning as a platform that can provide both flexible modeling, accurate predictions as well as coherent uncertainty statements. In particular, Bayesian Additive Regression Trees (BART) have emerged as one of today’s most effective general approaches to predictive modeling under minimal assumptions. Statistical theoretical developments for machine learning have been mostly concerned with approximability or rates of estimation when recovering infinite dimensional objects (curves or densities). Despite the impressive array of available theoretical results, the literature has been largely silent about uncertainty quantification. In this work, we continue the theoretical investigation of BART initiated recently by Rockova and van der Pas (2017). We focus on statistical inference questions. In particular, we study the Bernstein-von Mises (BvM) phenomenon (i.e. asymptotic normality) for smooth linear functionals of the regression surface within the framework of non-parametric regression with fixed covariates. Our semi-parametric BvM results show that, beyond rate-optimal estimation, BART can be also used for valid statistical inference.

Context Aware Local Differential Privacy
Jayadev Acharya, Kallista Bonawitz, Peter Kairouz, Daniel Ramage, Ziteng Sun

Local differential privacy (LDP) is a strong notion of privacy that often leads to a significant drop in utility. The original definition of LDP assumes that all the elements in the data domain are equally sensitive. However, in many real-life applications, some elements are more sensitive than others. We propose a context-aware framework for LDP that allows the privacy level to vary across the data domain, enabling system designers to place privacy constraints where they matter without paying the cost where they do not. For binary data domains, we provide a universally optimal privatization scheme and highlight its connections to Warner’s randomized response and Mangat’s improved response. Motivated by geo-location and web search applications, for k-ary data domains, we consider two special cases of context-aware LDP: block-structured LDP and high-low LDP. We study minimax discrete distribution estimation under both cases and provide communication-efficient, sample-optimal schemes, and information-theoretic lower bounds. We show, using worst-case analyses and experiments on Gowalla’s 3.6 million check-ins to 43,750 locations, that context-aware LDP achieves a far better accuracy under the same number of samples.

Description Based Text Classification with Reinforcement Learning
Duo Chai, Wei Wu, Qinghong Han, Fei Wu, Jiwei Li

The task of text classification is usually divided into two stages: text feature extraction and classification. In this standard formalization, categories are merely represented as indexes in the label vocabulary, and the model lacks for explicit instructions on what to classify. Inspired by the current trend of formalizing NLP problems as question answering tasks, we propose a new framework for text classification, in which each category label is associated with a category description. Descriptions are generated by hand-crafted templates or using abstractive/extractive models from reinforcement learning. The concatenation of the description and the text is fed to the classifier to decide whether or not the current label should be assigned to the text. The proposed strategy forces the model to attend to the most salient texts with respect to the label, which can be regarded as a hard version of attention, leading to better performances. We observe significant performance boosts over strong baselines on a wide range of text classification tasks including single-label classification, multi-label classification and multi-aspect sentiment analysis.

Variance Reduction in Stochastic Particle-Optimization Sampling
Jianyi Zhang, Yang Zhao, Changyou Chen
Stochastic particle-optimization sampling (SPOS) is a recently-developed scalable Bayesian sampling framework unifying stochastic gradient MCMC (SG-MCMC) and Stein variational gradient descent (SVGD) algorithms based on Wasserstein gradient flows. With a rigorous non-asymptotic convergence theory developed, SPOS can avoid the particle-collapsing pitfall of SVGD. However, the variance-reduction effect in SPOS has not been clear. In this paper, we address this gap by presenting several variance-reduction techniques for SPOS. Specifically, we propose three variants of variance-reduced SPOS, called SAGA particle-optimization sampling (SAGA-POS), SVRG particle-optimization sampling (SVRG-POS) and a variant of SVRG-POS which avoids full gradient computations, denoted as SVRG-POS$^+$. Importantly, we provide non-asymptotic convergence guarantees for these algorithms in terms of the 2-Wasserstein metric and analyze their complexities. The results show our algorithms yield better convergence rates than existing variance-reduced variants of stochastic Langevin dynamics, though more space is required to store the particles in training. Our theory aligns well with experimental results on both synthetic and real datasets.
Deep k-NN for Noisy Labels
Dara Bahri, Heinrich Jiang, Maya Gupta
Modern machine learning models are often trained on examples with noisy labels that hurt performance and are hard to identify. In this paper, we provide an empirical study showing that a simple $k$-nearest neighbor-based filtering approach on the logit layer of a preliminary model can remove mislabeled training data and produce more accurate models than many recently proposed methods. We also provide new statistical guarantees into its efficacy.
Inverse Active Sensing: Modeling and Understanding Timely Decision-Making
Daniel Jarrett, Mihaela van der Schaar

Evidence-based decision-making entails collecting (costly) observations about an underlying phenomenon of interest, and subsequently committing to an (informed) decision on the basis of accumulated evidence. In this setting, active sensing is the goal-oriented problem of efficiently selecting which acquisitions to make, and when and what decision to settle on. As its complement, inverse active sensing seeks to uncover an agent's preferences and strategy given their observable decision-making behavior. In this paper, we develop an expressive, unified framework for the general setting of evidence-based decision-making under endogenous, context-dependent time pressure---which requires negotiating (subjective) tradeoffs between accuracy, speediness, and cost of information. Using this language, we demonstrate how it enables modeling intuitive notions of surprise, suspense, and optimality in decision strategies (the forward problem). Finally, we illustrate how this formulation enables understanding decision-making behavior by quantifying preferences implicit in observed decision strategies (the inverse problem).

Progressive Graph Learning for Open-Set Domain Adaptation
Yadan Luo, Zijian Wang, Zi Huang, Mahsa Baktashmotlagh

Domain shift is a fundamental problem in visual recognition which typically arises when the source and target data follow different distributions. The existing domain adaptation approaches which tackle this problem work in the "closed-set" setting with the assumption that the source and the target data share exactly the same classes of objects. In this paper, we tackle a more realistic problem of the "open-set" domain shift where the target data contains additional classes that were not present in the source data. More specifically, we introduce an end-to-end Progressive Graph Learning (PGL) framework where a graph neural network with episodic training is integrated to suppress underlying conditional shift and adversarial learning is adopted to close the gap between the source and target distributions. Compared to the existing open-set adaptation approaches, our approach guarantees to achieve a tighter upper bound of the target error. Extensive experiments on three standard open-set benchmarks evidence that our approach significantly outperforms the state-of-the-arts in open-set domain adaptation.

Variational Label Enhancement
Ning Xu, Jun Shu, Yun-Peng Liu, Xin Geng

Label distribution covers a certain number of labels, representing the degree to which each label describes the instance. The learning process on the instances labeled by label distributions is called label distribution learning (LDL). Unfortunately, many training sets only contain simple logical labels rather than label distributions due to the difficulty of obtaining the label distributions directly. To solve this problem, we consider the label distributions as the latent vectors and infer the label distributions from the logical labels in the training datasets by using variational inference. After that, we induce a predictive model to train the label distribution data by employing the multi-output regression technique. The recovery experiment on thirteen real-world LDL datasets and the predictive experiment on ten multi-label learning datasets validate the advantage of our approach over the state-of-the-art approaches.

An Accelerated DFO Algorithm for Finite-sum Convex Functions
Yuwen Chen, Antonio Orvieto, Aurelien Lucchi

Derivative-free optimization (DFO) has recently gained a lot of momentum in machine learning, spawning interest in the community to design faster methods for problems where gradients are not accessible. While some attention has been given to the concept of acceleration in the DFO literature, existing stochastic algorithms for objective functions with a finite-sum structure have not been shown theoretically to achieve an accelerated rate of convergence. Algorithms that use acceleration in such a setting are prone to instabilities, making it difficult to reach convergence. In this work, we exploit the finite-sum structure of the objective in order to design a variance-reduced DFO algorithm that provably yields acceleration. We prove rates of convergence for both smooth convex and strongly-convex finite-sum objective functions. Finally, we validate our theoretical results empirically on several tasks and datasets.

On Coresets for Regularized Regression
Rachit Chhaya, Supratim Shit, Anirban Dasgupta
We study the effect of norm based regularization on the size of coresets for regression problems. Specifically, given a matrix $ \mathbf{A} \in {\mathbb{R}}^{n \times d}$ with $n\gg d$ and a vector $\mathbf{b} \in \mathbb{R} ^ n $ and $\lambda > 0$, we analyze the size of coresets for regularized versions of regression of the form $\|\mathbf{Ax}-\mathbf{b}\|_p^r + \lambda\|{\mathbf{x}}\|_q^s$. Prior work has shown that for ridge regression (where $p,q,r,s=2$) we can obtain a coreset that is smaller than the coreset for the unregularized counterpart i.e. least squares regression~\cite{avron2017sharper}. We show that when $r \neq s$, no coreset for regularized regression can have size smaller than the optimal coreset of the unregularized version. The well known lasso problem falls under this category and hence does not allow a coreset smaller than the one for least squares regression. We propose a modified version of the lasso problem and obtain for it a coreset of size smaller than the least square regression. We empirically show that the modified version of lasso also induces sparsity in solution, similar to the original lasso. We also obtain smaller coresets for $\ell_p$ regression with $\ell_p$ regularization. We extend our methods to multi response regularized regression. Finally, we empirically …
Choice Set Optimization Under Discrete Choice Models of Group Decisions
Kiran Tomlinson, Austin Benson

The way that people make choices or exhibit preferences can be strongly affected by the set of available alternatives, often called the choice set. Furthermore, there are usually heterogeneous preferences, either at an individual level within small groups or within sub-populations of large groups. Given the availability of choice data, there are now many models that capture this behavior in order to make effective predictions---however, there is little work in understanding how directly changing the choice set can be used to influence the preferences of a collection of decision-makers. Here, we use discrete choice modeling to develop an optimization framework of such interventions for several problems of group influence, namely maximizing agreement or disagreement and promoting a particular choice. We show that these problems are NP-hard in general, but imposing restrictions reveals a fundamental boundary: promoting a choice can be easier than encouraging consensus or sowing discord. We design approximation algorithms for the hard problems and show that they work well on real-world choice data.

InfoGAN-CR and ModelCentrality: Self-supervised Model Training and Selection for Disentangling GANs
Zinan Lin, Kiran Thekumparampil, Giulia Fanti, Sewoong Oh

Disentangled generative models map a latent code vector to a target space, while enforcing that a subset of the learned latent codes are interpretable and associated with distinct properties of the target distribution. Recent advances have been dominated by Variational AutoEncoder (VAE)-based methods, while training disentangled generative adversarial networks (GANs) remains challenging. In this work, we show that the dominant challenges facing disentangled GANs can be mitigated through the use of self-supervision. We make two main contributions: first, we design a novel approach for training disentangled GANs with self-supervision. We propose contrastive regularizer, which is inspired by a natural notion of disentanglement: latent traversal. This achieves higher disentanglement scores than state-of-the-art VAE- and GAN-based approaches. Second, we propose an unsupervised model selection scheme called ModelCentrality, which uses generated synthetic samples to compute the medoid (multi-dimensional generalization of median) of a collection of models. Perhaps surprisingly, this unsupervised ModelCentrality is able to select a model that outperforms those trained with existing supervised hyper-parameter selection techniques. Combining contrastive regularization with ModelCentrality, we obtain state-of-the-art disentanglement scores by a substantial margin, without requiring supervised hyper-parameter selection.

Sets Clustering
Ibrahim Jubran, Murad Tukan, Alaa Maalouf, Dan Feldman
The input to the \emph{sets-$k$-means} problem is an integer $k\geq 1$ and a set $\mathcal{P}=\{P_1,\cdots,P_n\}$ of fixed sized sets in $\mathbb{R}^d$. The goal is to compute a set $C$ of $k$ centers (points) in $\mathbb{R}^d$ that minimizes the sum $\sum_{P\in \mathcal{P}} \min_{p\in P, c\in C}\left\| p-c \right\|^2$ of squared distances to these sets. An \emph{$\varepsilon$-core-set} for this problem is a weighted subset of $\mathcal{P}$ that approximates this sum up to $1\pm\varepsilon$ factor, for \emph{every} set $C$ of $k$ centers in $\mathbb{R}^d$. We prove that such a core-set of $O(\log^2{n})$ sets always exists, and can be computed in $O(n\log{n})$ time, for every input $\mathcal{P}$ and every fixed $d,k\geq 1$ and $\varepsilon \in (0,1)$. The result easily generalized for any metric space, distances to the power of $z>0$, and M-estimators that handle outliers. Applying an inefficient but optimal algorithm on this coreset allows us to obtain the first PTAS ($1+\varepsilon$ approximation) for the sets-$k$-means problem that takes time near linear in $n$. This is the first result even for sets-mean on the plane ($k=1$, $d=2$). Open source code and experimental results for document classification and facility locations are also provided.
Coresets for Clustering in Graphs of Bounded Treewidth
Daniel Baker, Vladimir Braverman, Lingxiao Huang, Shaofeng H.-C. Jiang, Robert Krauthgamer, Xuan Wu
We initiate the study of coresets for clustering in graph metrics, i.e., the shortest-path metric of edge-weighted graphs. Such clustering problems are essential to data analysis and used for example in road networks and data visualization. A coreset is a compact summary of the data that approximately preserves the clustering objective for every possible center set, and it offers significant efficiency improvements in terms of running time, storage, and communication, including in streaming and distributed settings. Our main result is a near-linear time construction of a coreset for k-Median in a general graph $G$, with size $O_{\epsilon, k}(\mathrm{tw}(G))$ where $\mathrm{tw}(G)$ is the treewidth of $G$, and we complement the construction with a nearly-tight size lower bound. The construction is based on the framework of Feldman and Langberg [STOC 2011], and our main technical contribution, as required by this framework, is a uniform bound of $O(\mathrm{tw}(G))$ on the shattering dimension under any point weights. We validate our coreset on real-world road networks, and our scalable algorithm constructs tiny coresets with high accuracy, which translates to a massive speedup of existing approximation algorithms such as local search for graph k-Median.
Fundamental Tradeoffs between Invariance and Sensitivity to Adversarial Perturbations
Florian Tramer, Jens Behrmann, Nicholas Carlini, Nicolas Papernot, Jörn Jacobsen

Adversarial examples are malicious inputs crafted to induce misclassification. Commonly studied \emph{sensitivity-based} adversarial examples introduce semantically-small changes to an input that result in a different model prediction. This paper studies a complementary failure mode, \emph{invariance-based} adversarial examples, that introduce minimal semantic changes that modify an input's true label yet preserve the model's prediction. We demonstrate fundamental tradeoffs between these two types of adversarial examples. We show that defenses against sensitivity-based attacks actively harm a model's accuracy on invariance-based attacks, and that new approaches are needed to resist both attack types. In particular, we break state-of-the-art adversarially-trained and \emph{certifiably-robust} models by generating small perturbations that the models are (provably) robust to, yet that change an input's class according to human labelers. Finally, we formally show that the existence of excessively invariant classifiers arises from the presence of \emph{overly-robust} predictive features in standard datasets.

Self-Modulating Nonparametric Event-Tensor Factorization
Zheng Wang, Xinqi Chu, Shandian Zhe

Tensor factorization is a fundamental framework to analyze high-order interactions in data. Despite the success of the existing methods, the valuable temporal information are severely underused. The timestamps of the interactions are either ignored or discretized into crude steps. The recent work although formulates event-tensors to keep the timestamps in factorization and can capture mutual excitation effects among the interaction events, it overlooks another important type of temporal influence, inhibition. In addition, it uses a local window to exclude all the long-term dependencies. To overcome these limitations, we propose a self-modulating nonparametric Bayesian factorization model. We use the latent factors to construct mutually governed, general random point processes, which can capture various short-term/long-term, excitation/inhibition effects, so as to encode the complex temporal dependencies into factor representations. In addition, our model couples with a latent Gaussian process to estimate and fuse nonlinear yet static relationships between the entities. For efficient inference, we derive a fully decomposed model evidence lower bound to dispense with the huge kernel matrix and costly summations inside the rate and log rate functions. We then develop an efficient stochastic optimization algorithm. We show the advantage of our method in four real-world applications.

Spectral Graph Matching and Regularized Quadratic Relaxations: Algorithm and Theory
Zhou Fan, Cheng Mao, Yihong Wu, Jiaming Xu
Graph matching, also known as network alignment, aims at recovering the latent vertex correspondence between two unlabeled, edge-correlated weighted graphs. To tackle this task, we propose a spectral method, GRAph Matching by Pairwise eigen-Alignments (GRAMPA), which first constructs a similarity matrix as a weighted sum of outer products between all pairs of eigenvectors of the two graphs, and then outputs a matching by a simple rounding procedure. For a universality class of correlated Wigner models, GRAMPA achieves exact recovery of the latent matching between two graphs with edge correlation $1 - 1/\mathrm{polylog}(n)$ and average degree at least $\mathrm{polylog}(n)$. This matches the state-of-the-art guarantees for polynomial-time algorithms established for correlated Erd\H{o}s-R\'{e}nyi graphs, and significantly improves over existing spectral methods. The superiority of GRAMPA is also demonstrated on a variety of synthetic and real datasets, in terms of both statistical accuracy and computational efficiency.
Communication-Efficient Distributed PCA by Riemannian Optimization
Long-Kai Huang, Sinno Jialin Pan

In this paper, we study the leading eigenvector problem in a statistically distributed setting and propose a communication-efficient algorithm based on Riemannian optimization, which trades local computation for global communication. Theoretical analysis shows that the proposed algorithm linearly converges to the centralized empirical risk minimization solution regarding the number of communication rounds. When the number of data points in local machines is sufficiently large, the proposed algorithm achieves a significant reduction of communication cost over existing distributed PCA algorithms. Superior performance in terms of communication cost of the proposed algorithm is verified on real-world and synthetic datasets.

Approximating Stacked and Bidirectional Recurrent Architectures with the Delayed Recurrent Neural Network
Javier Turek, Shailee Jain, Vy Vo, Mihai Capotă, Alexander Huth, Theodore Willke

Recent work has shown that topological enhancements to recurrent neural networks (RNNs) can increase their expressiveness and representational capacity. Two popular enhancements are stacked RNNs, which increases the capacity for learning non-linear functions, and bidirectional processing, which exploits acausal information in a sequence. In this work, we explore the delayed-RNN, which is a single-layer RNN that has a delay between the input and output. We prove that a weight-constrained version of the delayed-RNN is equivalent to a stacked-RNN. We also show that the delay gives rise to partial acausality, much like bidirectional networks. Synthetic experiments confirm that the delayed-RNN can mimic bidirectional networks, solving some acausal tasks similarly, and outperforming them in others. Moreover, we show similar performance to bidirectional networks in a real-world natural language processing task. These results suggest that delayed-RNNs can approximate topologies including stacked RNNs, bidirectional RNNs, and stacked bidirectional RNNs -- but with equivalent or faster runtimes for the delayed-RNNs.

Proper Network Interpretability Helps Adversarial Robustness in Classification
Akhilan Boopathy, Sijia Liu, Gaoyuan Zhang, Cynthia Liu, Pin-Yu Chen, Shiyu Chang, Luca Daniel

Recent works have empirically shown that there exist adversarial examples that can be hidden from neural network interpretability (namely, making network interpretation maps visually similar), or interpretability is itself susceptible to adversarial attacks. In this paper, we theoretically show that with a proper measurement of interpretation, it is actually difficult to prevent prediction-evasion adversarial attacks from causing interpretation discrepancy, as confirmed by experiments on MNIST, CIFAR-10 and Restricted ImageNet. Spurred by that, we develop an interpretability-aware defensive scheme built only on promoting robust interpretation (without the need for resorting to adversarial loss minimization). We show that our defense achieves both robust classification and robust interpretation, outperforming state-of-the-art adversarial training methods against attacks of large perturbation in particular.

Understanding Self-Training for Gradual Domain Adaptation
Ananya Kumar, Tengyu Ma, Percy Liang

Machine learning systems must adapt to data distributions that evolve over time, in applications ranging from sensor networks and self-driving car perception modules to brain-machine interfaces. Traditional domain adaptation is only guaranteed to work when the distribution shift is small; empirical methods combine several heuristics for larger shifts but can be dataset specific. To adapt to larger shifts we consider gradual domain adaptation, where the goal is to adapt an initial classifier trained on a source domain given only unlabeled data that shifts gradually in distribution towards a target domain. We prove the first non-vacuous upper bound on the error of self-training with gradual shifts, under settings where directly adapting to the target domain can result in unbounded error. The theoretical analysis leads to algorithmic insights, highlighting that regularization and label sharpening are essential even when we have infinite data. Leveraging the gradual shift structure leads to higher accuracies on a rotating MNIST dataset, a forest Cover Type dataset, and a realistic Portraits dataset.

Adversarial Filters of Dataset Biases
Ronan Le Bras, Swabha Swayamdipta, Chandra Bhagavatula, Rowan Zellers, Matthew Peters, Ashish Sabharwal, Yejin Choi

Large neural models have demonstrated human-level performance on language and vision benchmarks, while their performance degrades considerably on adversarial or out-of-distribution samples. This raises the question of whether these models have learned to solve a dataset rather than the underlying task by overfitting to spurious dataset biases. We investigate one recently proposed approach, AFLITE, which adversarially filters such dataset biases, as a means to mitigate the prevalent overestimation of machine performance. We provide a theoretical understanding for AFLITE, by situating it in the generalized framework for optimum bias reduction. We present extensive supporting evidence that AFLITE is broadly applicable for reduction of measurable dataset biases, and that models trained on the filtered datasets yield better generalization to out-of-distribution tasks. Finally, filtering results in a large drop in model performance (e.g., from 92% to 62% for SNLI), while human performance still remains high. Our work thus shows that such filtered datasets can pose new research challenges for robust generalization by serving as upgraded benchmarks.

Optimal transport mapping via input convex neural networks
Ashok Makkuva, Amir Taghvaei, Sewoong Oh, Jason Lee

In this paper, we present a novel and principled approach to learn the optimal transport between two distributions, from samples. Guided by the optimal transport theory, we learn the optimal Kantorovich potential which induces the optimal transport map. This involves learning two convex functions, by solving a novel minimax optimization. Building upon recent advances in the field of input convex neural networks, we propose a new framework to estimate the optimal transport mapping as the gradient of a convex function that is trained via minimax optimization. Numerical experiments confirm the accuracy of the learned transport map. Our approach can be readily used to train a deep generative model. When trained between a simple distribution in the latent space and a target distribution, the learned optimal transport map acts as a deep generative model. Although scaling this to a large dataset is challenging, we demonstrate two important strengths over standard adversarial training: robustness and discontinuity. As we seek the optimal transport, the learned generative model provides the same mapping regardless of how we initialize the neural networks. Further, a gradient of a neural network can easily represent discontinuous mappings, unlike standard neural networks that are constrained to be continuous. This allows …

The Usual Suspects? Reassessing Blame for VAE Posterior Collapse
Bin Dai, Ziyu Wang, David Wipf

In narrow asymptotic settings Gaussian VAE models of continuous data have been shown to possess global optima aligned with ground-truth distributions. Even so, it is well known that poor solutions whereby the latent posterior collapses to an uninformative prior are sometimes obtained in practice. However, contrary to conventional wisdom that largely assigns blame for this phenomena on the undue influence of KL-divergence regularization, we will argue that posterior collapse is, at least in part, a direct consequence of bad local minima inherent to the loss surface of deep autoencoder networks. In particular, we prove that even small nonlinear perturbations of affine VAE decoder models can produce such minima, and in deeper models, analogous minima can force the VAE to behave like an aggressive truncation operator, provably discarding information along all latent dimensions in certain circumstances. Regardless, the underlying message here is not meant to undercut valuable existing explanations of posterior collapse, but rather, to refine the discussion and elucidate alternative risk factors that may have been previously underappreciated.

Implicit Euler Skip Connections: Enhancing Adversarial Robustness via Numerical Stability
Mingjie Li, Lingshen He, Zhouchen Lin

Deep neural networks have achieved great success in various areas, but recent works have found that neural networks are vulnerable to adversarial attacks, which leads to a hot topic nowadays. Although many approaches have been proposed to enhance the robustness of neural networks, few of them explored robust architectures for neural networks. On this account, we try to address such an issue from the perspective of dynamic system in this work. By viewing ResNet as an explicit Euler discretization of an ordinary differential equation~(ODE), for the first time, we find that the adversarial robustness of ResNet is connected to the numerical stability of the corresponding dynamic system, i.e., more stable numerical schemes may correspond to more robust deep networks. Furthermore, inspired by the implicit Euler method for solving numerical ODE problems, we propose Implicit Euler skip connections~(IE-Skips) by modifying the original skip connection in ResNet or its variants. Then we theoretically prove its advantages under the adversarial attack and the experimental results show that our ResNet with IE-Skips can largely improve the robustness and the generalization ability under adversarial attacks when compared with the vanilla ResNet of the same parameter size.

Accountable Off-Policy Evaluation With Kernel Bellman Statistics
Yihao Feng, Tongzheng Ren, Ziyang Tang, Qiang Liu

Off-policy evaluation plays an important role in modern reinforcement learning. However, most existing off-policy evaluation algorithms focus on point estimation, without providing an account- able confidence interval, that can reflect the uncertainty caused by limited observed data and algorithmic errors. In this work, we propose a new optimization-based framework, which can find a feasible set that contains the true value function with high probability, by leveraging the statistical properties of the recent proposed kernel Bellman loss (Feng et al., 2019). We further utilize the feasible set to construct accountable confidence intervals for off-policy evaluations, and propose a post-hoc diagnosis for existing estimators. Empirical results show that our methods yield tight yet accountable confidence intervals in different settings, which demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

SDE-Net: Equipping Deep Neural Networks with Uncertainty Estimates
Lingkai Kong, Jimeng Sun, Chao Zhang

Uncertainty quantification is a fundamental yet unsolved problem for deep learning. The Bayesian framework provides a principled way of uncertainty estimation but is often not scalable to modern deep neural nets (DNNs) that have a large number of parameters. Non-Bayesian methods are simple to implement but often conflate different sources of uncertainties and require huge computing resources. We propose a new method for quantifying uncertainties of DNNs from a dynamical system perspective. The core of our method is to view DNN transformations as state evolution of a stochastic dynamical system and introduce a Brownian motion term for capturing epistemic uncertainty. Based on this perspective, we propose a neural stochastic differential equation model (SDE-Net) which consists of (1) a drift net that controls the system to fit the predictive function; and (2) a diffusion net that captures epistemic uncertainty. We theoretically analyze the existence and uniqueness of the solution to SDE-Net. Our experiments demonstrate that the SDE-Net model can outperform existing uncertainty estimation methods across a series of tasks where uncertainty plays a fundamental role.

Cooperative Multi-Agent Bandits with Heavy Tails
Abhimanyu Dubey, Alex `Sandy' Pentland

We study the heavy-tailed stochastic bandit problem in the cooperative multi-agent setting, where a group of agents interact with a common bandit problem, while communicating on a network with delays. Existing algorithms for the stochastic bandit in this setting utilize confidence intervals arising from an averaging-based communication protocol known as running consensus, that does not lend itself to robust estimation for heavy-tailed settings. We propose MP-UCB, a decentralized multi-agent algorithm for the cooperative stochastic bandit that incorporates robust estimation with a message-passing protocol. We prove optimal regret bounds for MP-UCB for several problem settings, and also demonstrate its superiority to existing methods. Furthermore, we establish the first lower bounds for the cooperative bandit problem, in addition to providing efficient algorithms for robust bandit estimation of location.

Learning for Dose Allocation in Adaptive Clinical Trials with Safety Constraints
Cong Shen, Zhiyang Wang, Sofia Villar, Mihaela van der Schaar

Phase I dose-finding trials are increasingly challenging as the relationship between efficacy and toxicity of new compounds (or combination of them) becomes more complex. Despite this, most commonly used methods in practice focus on identifying a Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD) by learning only from toxicity events. We present a novel adaptive clinical trial methodology, called Safe Efficacy Exploration Dose Allocation (SEEDA), that aims at maximizing the cumulative efficacies while satisfying the toxicity safety constraint with high probability. We evaluate performance objectives that have operational meanings in practical clinical trials, including cumulative efficacy, recommendation/allocation success probabilities, toxicity violation probability, and sample efficiency. An extended SEEDA-Plateau algorithm that is tailored for the increase-then-plateau efficacy behavior of molecularly targeted agents (MTA) is also presented. Through numerical experiments using both synthetic and real-world datasets, we show that SEEDA outperforms state-of-the-art clinical trial designs by finding the optimal dose with higher success rate and fewer patients.

Dual Mirror Descent for Online Allocation Problems
Santiago Balseiro, Haihao Lu, Vahab Mirrokni

We consider online allocation problems with concave revenue functions and resource constraints, which are central problems in revenue management and online advertising. In these settings, requests arrive sequentially during a finite horizon and, for each request, a decision maker needs to choose an action that consumes a certain amount of resources and generates revenue. The revenue function and resource consumption of each request are drawn independently and at random from a probability distribution that is unknown to the decision maker. The objective is to maximize cumulative revenues subject to a constraint on the total consumption of resources.

We design a general class of algorithms that achieve sub-linear expected regret compared to the hindsight optimal allocation. Our algorithms operate in the Lagrangian dual space: they maintain a dual multiplier for each resource that is updated using online mirror descent. By choosing the reference function accordingly, we recover dual sub-gradient descent and dual exponential weights algorithm. The resulting algorithms are simple, efficient, and shown to attain the optimal order of regret when the length of the horizon and the initial number of resources are scaled proportionally. We discuss applications to online bidding in repeated auctions with budget constraints and online proportional matching …

On the consistency of top-k surrogate losses
Forest Yang, Sanmi Koyejo
The top-$k$ error is often employed to evaluate performance for challenging classification tasks in computer vision as it is designed to compensate for ambiguity in ground truth labels. This practical success motivates our theoretical analysis of consistent top-$k$ classification. To this end, we provide a characterization of Bayes optimality by defining a top-$k$ preserving property, which is new and fixes a non-uniqueness gap in prior work. Then, we define top-$k$ calibration and show it is necessary and sufficient for consistency. Based on the top-$k$ calibration analysis, we propose a rich class of top-$k$ calibrated Bregman divergence surrogates. Our analysis continues by showing previously proposed hinge-like top-$k$ surrogate losses are not top-$k$ calibrated and thus inconsistent. On the other hand, we propose two new hinge-like losses, one which is similarly inconsistent, and one which is consistent. Our empirical results highlight theoretical claims, confirming our analysis of the consistency of these losses.
Leveraging Procedural Generation to Benchmark Reinforcement Learning
Karl Cobbe, Chris Hesse, Jacob Hilton, John Schulman

We introduce Procgen Benchmark, a suite of 16 procedurally generated game-like environments designed to benchmark both sample efficiency and generalization in reinforcement learning. We believe that the community will benefit from increased access to high quality training environments, and we provide detailed experimental protocols for using this benchmark. We empirically demonstrate that diverse environment distributions are essential to adequately train and evaluate RL agents, thereby motivating the extensive use of procedural content generation. We then use this benchmark to investigate the effects of scaling model size, finding that larger models significantly improve both sample efficiency and generalization.

Optimal Sequential Maximization: One Interview is Enough!
Moein Falahatgar, Alon Orlitsky, Venkatadheeraj Pichapati

Maximum selection under probabilistic queries \emph{(probabilistic maximization)} is a fundamental algorithmic problem arising in numerous theoretical and practical contexts. We derive the first query-optimal sequential algorithm for probabilistic-maximization. Departing from previous assumptions, the algorithm and performance guarantees apply even for infinitely many items, hence in particular do not require a-priori knowledge of the number of items. The algorithm has linear query complexity, and is optimal also in the streaming setting.

To derive these results we consider a probabilistic setting where several candidates for a position are asked multiple questions with the goal of finding who has the highest probability of answering interview questions correctly. Previous work minimized the total number of questions asked by alternating back and forth between the best performing candidates, in a sense, inviting them to multiple interviews. We show that the same order-wise selection accuracy can be achieved by querying the candidates sequentially, never returning to a previously queried candidate. Hence one interview is enough!

Optimization Theory for ReLU Neural Networks Trained with Normalization Layers
Yonatan Dukler, Quanquan Gu, Guido Montufar

The current paradigm of deep neural networks has been successful in part due to the use of normalization layers. Normalization layers like Batch Normalization, Layer Normalization and Weight Normalization are ubiquitous in practice as they improve the generalization performance and training speed of neural networks significantly. Nonetheless, the vast majority of current deep learning theory and non-convex optimization literature focuses on the un-normalized setting. We bridge this gap by providing the first global convergence result for 2 layer non-linear neural networks with ReLU activations trained with a normalization layer, namely Weight Normalization. The analysis shows how the introduction of normalization layers changes the optimization landscape and in some settings enables faster convergence as compared with un-normalized neural networks.


Poster Session 33 Wed 15 Jul 09:00 p.m.  

The Non-IID Data Quagmire of Decentralized Machine Learning
Kevin Hsieh, Amar Phanishayee, Onur Mutlu, Phil Gibbons

Many large-scale machine learning (ML) applications need to perform decentralized learning over datasets generated at different devices and locations. Such datasets pose a significant challenge to decentralized learning because their different contexts result in significant data distribution skew across devices/locations. In this paper, we take a step toward better understanding this challenge by presenting a detailed experimental study of decentralized DNN training on a common type of data skew: skewed distribution of data labels across locations/devices. Our study shows that: (i) skewed data labels are a fundamental and pervasive problem for decentralized learning, causing significant accuracy loss across many ML applications, DNN models, training datasets, and decentralized learning algorithms; (ii) the problem is particularly challenging for DNN models with batch normalization layers; and (iii) the degree of skewness is a key determinant of the difficulty of the problem. Based on these findings, we present SkewScout, a system-level approach that adapts the communication frequency of decentralized learning algorithms to the (skew-induced) accuracy loss between data partitions. We also show that group normalization can recover much of the skew-induced accuracy loss of batch normalization.

Optimizing Black-box Metrics with Adaptive Surrogates
Qijia Jiang, Olaoluwa Adigun, Harikrishna Narasimhan, Mahdi Milani Fard, Maya Gupta

We address the problem of training models with black-box and hard-to-optimize metrics by expressing the metric as a monotonic function of a small number of easy-to-optimize surrogates. We pose the training problem as an optimization over a relaxed surrogate space, which we solve by estimating local gradients for the metric and performing inexact convex projections. We analyze gradient estimates based on finite differences and local linear interpolations, and show convergence of our approach under smoothness assumptions with respect to the surrogates. Experimental results on classification and ranking problems verify the proposal performs on par with methods that know the mathematical formulation, and adds notable value when the form of the metric is unknown.

Class-Weighted Classification: Trade-offs and Robust Approaches
Neil Xu, Chen Dan, Justin Khim, Pradeep Ravikumar

We consider imbalanced classification, the problem in which a label may have low marginal probability relative to other labels, by weighting losses according to the correct class. First, we examine the convergence rates of the expected excess weighted risk of plug-in classifiers where the weighting for the plug-in classifier and the risk may be different. This leads to irreducible errors that do not converge to the weighted Bayes risk, which motivates our consideration of robust risks. We define a robust risk that minimizes risk over a set of weightings, show excess risk bounds for this problem, and demonstrate that particular choices of the weighting set leads to a special instance of conditional value at risk (CVaR) from stochastic programming, which we call label conditional value at risk (LCVaR). Additionally, we generalize this weighting to derive a new robust risk problem that we call label heterogeneous conditional value at risk (LHCVaR). Finally, we empirically demonstrate the efficacy of LCVaR and LHCVaR on improving class conditional risks.

Cautious Adaptation For Reinforcement Learning in Safety-Critical Settings
Jesse Zhang, Brian Cheung, Chelsea Finn, Sergey Levine, Dinesh Jayaraman

Reinforcement learning (RL) in real-world safety-critical target settings like urban driving is hazardous, imperiling the RL agent, other agents, and the environment. To overcome this difficulty, we propose a "safety-critical adaptation" task setting: an agent first trains in non-safety-critical "source" environments such as in a simulator, before it adapts to the target environment where failures carry heavy costs. We propose a solution approach, CARL, that builds on the intuition that prior experience in diverse environments equips an agent to estimate risk, which in turn enables relative safety through risk-averse, cautious adaptation. CARL first employs model-based RL to train a probabilistic model to capture uncertainty about transition dynamics and catastrophic states across varied source environments. Then, when exploring a new safety-critical environment with unknown dynamics, the CARL agent plans to avoid actions that could lead to catastrophic states. In experiments on car driving, cartpole balancing, and half-cheetah locomotion, CARL successfully acquires cautious exploration behaviors, yielding higher rewards with fewer failures than strong RL adaptation baselines.

Strength from Weakness: Fast Learning Using Weak Supervision
Joshua Robinson, Stefanie Jegelka, Suvrit Sra

We study generalization properties of weakly supervised learning, that is, learning where only a few "strong" labels (the actual target for prediction) are present but many more "weak" labels are available. In particular, we show that pretraining using weak labels and finetuning using strong can accelerate the learning rate for the strong task to the fast rate of O(1/n), where n is the number of strongly labeled data points. This acceleration can happen even if, by itself, the strongly labeled data admits only the slower O(1/\sqrt{n}) rate. The acceleration depends continuously on the number of weak labels available, and on the relation between the two tasks. Our theoretical results are reflected empirically across a range of tasks and illustrate how weak labels speed up learning on the strong task.

Exploration Through Reward Biasing: Reward-Biased Maximum Likelihood Estimation for Stochastic Multi-Armed Bandits
Xi Liu, Ping-Chun Hsieh, Yu Heng Hung, Anirban Bhattacharya, P. Kumar
Inspired by the Reward-Biased Maximum Likelihood Estimate method of adaptive control, we propose RBMLE -- a novel family of learning algorithms for stochastic multi-armed bandits (SMABs). For a broad range of SMABs including both the parametric Exponential Family as well as the non-parametric sub-Gaussian/Exponential family, we show that RBMLE yields an index policy. To choose the bias-growth rate $\alpha(t)$ in RBMLE, we reveal the nontrivial interplay between $\alpha(t)$ and the regret bound that generally applies in both the Exponential Family as well as the sub-Gaussian/Exponential family bandits. To quantify the finite-time performance, we prove that RBMLE attains order-optimality by adaptively estimating the unknown constants in the expression of $\alpha(t)$ for Gaussian and sub-Gaussian bandits. Extensive experiments demonstrate that the proposed RBMLE achieves empirical regret performance competitive with the state-of-the-art methods, while being more computationally efficient and scalable in comparison to the best-performing ones among them.
Randomly Projected Additive Gaussian Processes for Regression
Ian Delbridge, dbindel S Bindel, Andrew Wilson

Gaussian processes (GPs) provide flexible distributions over functions, with inductive biases controlled by a kernel. However, in many applications Gaussian processes can struggle with even moderate input dimensionality. Learning a low dimensional projection can help alleviate this curse of dimensionality, but introduces many trainable hyperparameters, which can be cumbersome, especially in the small data regime. We use additive sums of kernels for GP regression, where each kernel operates on a different random projection of its inputs. Surprisingly, we find that as the number of random projections increases, the predictive performance of this approach quickly converges to the performance of a kernel operating on the original full dimensional inputs, over a wide range of data sets, even if we are projecting into a single dimension. As a consequence, many problems can remarkably be reduced to one dimensional input spaces, without learning a transformation. We prove this convergence and its rate, and additionally propose a deterministic approach that converges more quickly than purely random projections. Moreover, we demonstrate our approach can achieve faster inference and improved predictive accuracy for high-dimensional inputs compared to kernels in the original input space.

Alleviating Privacy Attacks via Causal Learning
Shruti Tople, Amit Sharma, Aditya Nori

Machine learning models, especially deep neural networks have been shown to be susceptible to privacy attacks such as membership inference where an adversary can detect whether a data point was used for training a black-box model. Such privacy risks are exacerbated when a model's predictions are used on an unseen data distribution. To alleviate privacy attacks, we demonstrate the benefit of predictive models that are based on the causal relationship between input features and the outcome. We first show that models learnt using causal structure generalize better to unseen data, especially on data from different distributions than the train distribution. Based on this generalization property, we establish a theoretical link between causality and privacy: compared to associational models, causal models provide stronger differential privacy guarantees and are more robust to membership inference attacks. Experiments on simulated Bayesian networks and the colored-MNIST dataset show that associational models exhibit up to 80% attack accuracy under different test distributions and sample sizes whereas causal models exhibit attack accuracy close to a random guess.

(Locally) Differentially Private Combinatorial Semi-Bandits
Xiaoyu Chen, Kai Zheng, Zixin(Jack) Zhou, Yunchang Yang, Wei Chen, Liwei Wang
In this paper, we study Combinatorial Semi-Bandits (CSB) that is an extension of classic Multi-Armed Bandits (MAB) under Differential Privacy (DP) and stronger Local Differential Privacy (LDP) setting. Since the server receives more information from users in CSB, it usually causes additional dependence on the dimension of data, which is a notorious side-effect for privacy preserving learning. However for CSB under two common smoothness assumptions, we show it is possible to remove this side-effect. In detail, for $B_{\infty}$-bounded smooth CSB under either $\varepsilon$-LDP or $\varepsilon$-DP, we prove the optimal regret bound is $\Theta(\frac{mB^2_{\infty}\ln T } {\Delta\varepsilon^2})$ or $\tilde{\Theta}(\frac{mB^2_{\infty}\ln T} { \Delta\varepsilon})$ respectively, where $T$ is time period, $\Delta$ is the gap of rewards and $m$ is the number of base arms, by proposing novel algorithms and matching lower bounds. For $B_1$-bounded smooth CSB under $\varepsilon$-DP, we also prove the optimal regret bound is $\tilde{\Theta}(\frac{mKB^2_1\ln T} {\Delta\varepsilon})$ with both upper bound and lower bound, where $K$ is the maximum number of feedback in each round. All above results nearly match corresponding non-private optimal rates, which imply there is no additional price for (locally) differentially private CSB in above common settings.
Breaking the Curse of Space Explosion: Towards Efficient NAS with Curriculum Search
Yong Guo, Yaofo Chen, Yin Zheng, Peilin Zhao, Jian Chen, Junzhou Huang, Mingkui Tan

Neural architecture search (NAS) has become an important approach to automatically find effective architectures. To cover all possible good architectures, we need to search in an extremely large search space with billions of candidate architectures. More critically, given a large search space, we may face a very challenging issue of space explosion. However, due to the limitation of computational resources, we can only sample a very small proportion of the architectures, which provides insufficient information for the training. As a result, existing methods may often produce suboptimal architectures. To alleviate this issue, we propose a curriculum search method that starts from a small search space and gradually incorporates the learned knowledge to guide the search in a large space. With the proposed search strategy, our Curriculum Neural Architecture Search (CNAS) method significantly improves the search efficiency and finds better architectures than existing NAS methods. Extensive experiments on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.

Structure Adaptive Algorithms for Stochastic Bandits
Rémy Degenne, Han Shao, Wouter Koolen

We study reward maximisation in a wide class of structured stochastic multi-armed bandit problems, where the mean rewards of arms satisfy some given structural constraints, e.g. linear, unimodal, sparse, etc. Our aim is to develop methods that are \emph{flexible} (in that they easily adapt to different structures), \emph{powerful} (in that they perform well empirically and/or provably match instance-dependent lower bounds) and \emph{efficient} in that the per-round computational burden is small. We develop asymptotically optimal algorithms from instance-dependent lower-bounds using iterative saddle-point solvers. Our approach generalises recent iterative methods for pure exploration to reward maximisation, where a major challenge arises from the estimation of the sub-optimality gaps and their reciprocals. Still we manage to achieve all the above desiderata. Notably, our technique avoids the computational cost of the full-blown saddle point oracle employed by previous work, while at the same time enabling finite-time regret bounds. Our experiments reveal that our method successfully leverages the structural assumptions, while its regret is at worst comparable to that of vanilla UCB.

Stochastic Gradient and Langevin Processes
Xiang Cheng, Dong Yin, Peter Bartlett, Michael Jordan

We prove quantitative convergence rates at which discrete Langevin-like processes converge to the invariant distribution of a related stochastic differential equation. We study the setup where the additive noise can be non-Gaussian and state-dependent and the potential function can be non-convex. We show that the key properties of these processes depend on the potential function and the second moment of the additive noise. We apply our theoretical findings to studying the convergence of Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) for non-convex problems and corroborate them with experiments using SGD to train deep neural networks on the CIFAR-10 dataset.

Structured Linear Contextual Bandits: A Sharp and Geometric Smoothed Analysis
Vidyashankar Sivakumar, Steven Wu, Arindam Banerjee
Bandit learning algorithms typically involve the balance of exploration and exploitation. However, in many practical applications, worst-case scenarios needing systematic exploration are seldom encountered. In this work, we consider a smoothed setting for structured linear contextual bandits where the adversarial contexts are perturbed by Gaussian noise and the unknown parameter $\theta^*$ has structure, e.g., sparsity, group sparsity, low rank, etc. We propose simple greedy algorithms for both the single- and multi-parameter (i.e., different parameter for each context) settings and provide a unified regret analysis for $\theta^*$ with any assumed structure. The regret bounds are expressed in terms of geometric quantities such as Gaussian widths associated with the structure of $\theta^*$. We also obtain sharper regret bounds compared to earlier work for the unstructured $\theta^*$ setting as a consequence of our improved analysis. We show there is implicit exploration in the smoothed setting where a simple greedy algorithm works.
Undirected Graphical Models as Approximate Posteriors
Arash Vahdat, Evgeny Andriyash, William Macready

The representation of the approximate posterior is a critical aspect of effective variational autoencoders (VAEs). Poor choices for the approximate posterior have a detrimental impact on the generative performance of VAEs due to the mismatch with the true posterior. We extend the class of posterior models that may be learned by using undirected graphical models. We develop an efficient method to train undirected approximate posteriors by showing that the gradient of the training objective with respect to the parameters of the undirected posterior can be computed by backpropagation through Markov chain Monte Carlo updates. We apply these gradient estimators for training discrete VAEs with Boltzmann machines as approximate posteriors and demonstrate that undirected models outperform previous results obtained using directed graphical models. Our implementation is publicly available.

Circuit-Based Intrinsic Methods to Detect Overfitting
Satrajit Chatterjee, Alan Mishchenko

The focus of this paper is on intrinsic methods to detect overfitting. By intrinsic methods, we mean methods that rely only on the model and the training data, as opposed to traditional methods (we call them extrinsic methods) that rely on performance on a test set or on bounds from model complexity. We propose a family of intrinsic methods called Counterfactual Simulation (CFS) which analyze the flow of training examples through the model by identifying and perturbing rare patterns. By applying CFS to logic circuits we get a method that has no hyper-parameters and works uniformly across different types of models such as neural networks, random forests and lookup tables. Experimentally, CFS can separate models with different levels of overfit using only their logic circuit representations without any access to the high level structure. By comparing lookup tables, neural networks, and random forests using CFS, we get insight into why neural networks generalize. In particular, we find that stochastic gradient descent in neural nets does not lead to "brute force" memorization, but finds common patterns (whether we train with actual or randomized labels), and neural networks are not unlike forests in this regard. Finally, we identify a limitation with our …

Retro*: Learning Retrosynthetic Planning with Neural Guided A* Search
Binghong Chen, Chengtao Li, Hanjun Dai, Le Song

Retrosynthetic planning is a critical task in organic chemistry which identifies a series of reactions that can lead to the synthesis of a target product. The vast number of possible chemical transformations makes the size of the search space very big, and retrosynthetic planning is challenging even for experienced chemists. However, existing methods either require expensive return estimation by rollout with high variance, or optimize for search speed rather than the quality. In this paper, we propose Retro, a neural-based A-like algorithm that finds high-quality synthetic routes efficiently. It maintains the search as an AND-OR tree, and learns a neural search bias with off-policy data. Then guided by this neural network, it performs best-first search efficiently during new planning episodes. Experiments on benchmark USPTO datasets show that, our proposed method outperforms existing state-of-the-art with respect to both the success rate and solution quality, while being more efficient at the same time.

Low-Variance and Zero-Variance Baselines for Extensive-Form Games
Trevor Davis, Martin Schmid, Michael Bowling

Extensive-form games (EFGs) are a common model of multi-agent interactions with imperfect information. State-of-the-art algorithms for solving these games typically perform full walks of the game tree that can prove prohibitively slow in large games. Alternatively, sampling-based methods such as Monte Carlo Counterfactual Regret Minimization walk one or more trajectories through the tree, touching only a fraction of the nodes on each iteration, at the expense of requiring more iterations to converge due to the variance of sampled values. In this paper, we extend recent work that uses baseline estimates to reduce this variance. We introduce a framework of baseline-corrected values in EFGs that generalizes the previous work. Within our framework, we propose new baseline functions that result in significantly reduced variance compared to existing techniques. We show that one particular choice of such a function --- predictive baseline --- is provably optimal under certain sampling schemes. This allows for efficient computation of zero-variance value estimates even along sampled trajectories.

Hallucinative Topological Memory for Zero-Shot Visual Planning
Kara Liu, Thanard Kurutach, Christine Tung, Pieter Abbeel, Aviv Tamar

In visual planning (VP), an agent learns to plan goal-directed behavior from observations of a dynamical system obtained offline, e.g., images obtained from self-supervised robot interaction. Most previous works on VP approached the problem by planning in a learned latent space, resulting in low-quality visual plans, and difficult training algorithms. Here, instead, we propose a simple VP method that plans directly in image space and displays competitive performance. We build on the semi-parametric topological memory (SPTM) method: image samples are treated as nodes in a graph, the graph connectivity is learned from image sequence data, and planning can be performed using conventional graph search methods. We propose two modifications on SPTM. First, we train an energy-based graph connectivity function using contrastive predictive coding that admits stable training. Second, to allow zero-shot planning in new domains, we learn a conditional VAE model that generates images given a context describing the domain, and use these hallucinated samples for building the connectivity graph and planning. We show that this simple approach significantly outperform the SOTA VP methods, in terms of both plan interpretability and success rate when using the plan to guide a trajectory-following controller. Interestingly, our method can pick up non-trivial visual …

Adversarial Robustness Against the Union of Multiple Perturbation Models
Pratyush Maini, Eric Wong, Zico Kolter
Owing to the susceptibility of deep learning systems to adversarial attacks, there has been a great deal of work in developing (both empirically and certifiably) robust classifiers. While most work has defended against a single type of attack, recent work has looked at defending against multiple perturbation models using simple aggregations of multiple attacks. However, these methods can be difficult to tune, and can easily result in imbalanced degrees of robustness to individual perturbation models, resulting in a sub-optimal worst-case loss over the union. In this work, we develop a natural generalization of the standard PGD-based procedure to incorporate multiple perturbation models into a single attack, by taking the worst-case over all steepest descent directions. This approach has the advantage of directly converging upon a trade-off between different perturbation models which minimizes the worst-case performance over the union. With this approach, we are able to train standard architectures which are simultaneously robust against $\ell_\infty$, $\ell_2$, and $\ell_1$ attacks, outperforming past approaches on the MNIST and CIFAR10 datasets and achieving adversarial accuracy of 46.1% against the union of ($\ell_\infty$, $\ell_2$, $\ell_1$) perturbations with radius = (0.03, 0.5, 12) on the latter, improving upon previous approaches which achieve 40.6% accuracy.
Quantized Decentralized Stochastic Learning over Directed Graphs
Hossein Taheri, Aryan Mokhtari, Hamed Hassani, Ramtin Pedarsani

We consider a decentralized stochastic learning problem where data points are distributed among computing nodes communicating over a directed graph. As the model size gets large, decentralized learning faces a major bottleneck that is the heavy communication load due to each node transmitting large messages (model updates) to its neighbors. To tackle this bottleneck, we propose the quantized decentralized stochastic learning algorithm over directed graphs that is based on the push-sum algorithm in decentralized consensus optimization. More importantly, we prove that our algorithm achieves the same convergence rates of the decentralized stochastic learning algorithm with exact-communication for both convex and non-convex losses. Furthermore, our numerical results illustrate significant speed-up compared to the exact-communication methods.

Data Valuation using Reinforcement Learning
Jinsung Yoon, Sercan Arik, Tomas Pfister

Quantifying the value of data is a fundamental problem in machine learning and has multiple important use cases: (1) building insights about the dataset and task, (2) domain adaptation, (3) corrupted sample discovery, and (4) robust learning. We propose Data Valuation using Reinforcement Learning (DVRL), to adaptively learn data values jointly with the predictor model. DVRL uses a data value estimator (DVE) to learn how likely each datum is used in training of the predictor model. DVE is trained using a reinforcement signal that reflects performance on the target task. We demonstrate that DVRL yields superior data value estimates compared to alternative methods across numerous datasets and application scenarios. The corrupted sample discovery performance of DVRL is close to optimal in many regimes (i.e. as if the noisy samples were known apriori), and for domain adaptation and robust learning DVRL significantly outperforms state-of-the-art by 14.6% and 10.8%, respectively.

Provable Representation Learning for Imitation Learning via Bi-level Optimization
Sanjeev Arora, Simon Du, Sham Kakade, Yuping Luo, Nikunj Saunshi

A common strategy in modern learning systems is to learn a representation that is useful for many tasks, a.k.a. representation learning. We study this strategy in the imitation learning setting for Markov decision processes (MDPs) where multiple experts' trajectories are available. We formulate representation learning as a bi-level optimization problem where the outer" optimization tries to learn the joint representation and theinner" optimization encodes the imitation learning setup and tries to learn task-specific parameters. We instantiate this framework for the imitation learning settings of behavior cloning and observation-alone. Theoretically, we show using our framework that representation learning can provide sample complexity benefits for imitation learning in both settings. We also provide proof-of-concept experiments to verify our theory.

Learning Representations that Support Extrapolation
Taylor Webb, Zachary Dulberg, Steven Frankland, Alexander Petrov, Randall O'Reilly, Jonathan Cohen

Extrapolation -- the ability to make inferences that go beyond the scope of one's experiences -- is a hallmark of human intelligence. By contrast, the generalization exhibited by contemporary neural network algorithms is largely limited to interpolation between data points in their training corpora. In this paper, we consider the challenge of learning representations that support extrapolation. We introduce a novel visual analogy benchmark that allows the graded evaluation of extrapolation as a function of distance from the convex domain defined by the training data. We also introduce a simple technique, context normalization, that encourages representations that emphasize the relations between objects. We find that this technique enables a significant improvement in the ability to extrapolate, considerably outperforming a number of competitive techniques.

Efficiently Solving MDPs with Stochastic Mirror Descent
Yujia Jin, Aaron Sidford
In this paper we present a unified framework based on primal-dual stochastic mirror descent for approximately solving infinite-horizon Markov decision processes (MDPs) given a generative model. When applied to an average-reward MDP with $A_{tot}$ total actions and mixing time bound $t_{mix}$ our method computes an $\epsilon$-optimal policy with an expected $\widetilde{O}(t_{mix}^2 A_{tot} \epsilon^{-2})$ samples from the state-transition matrix, removing the ergodicity dependence of prior art. When applied to a $\gamma$-discounted MDP with $A_{tot}$ total actions our method computes an $\epsilon$-optimal policy with an expected $\widetilde{O}((1-\gamma)^{-4} A_{tot} \epsilon^{-2})$ samples, improving over the best-known primal-dual methods while matching the state-of-the-art up to a $(1-\gamma)^{-1}$ factor. Both methods are model-free, update state values and policy simultaneously, and run in time linear in the number of samples taken.
Causal Effect Estimation and Optimal Dose Suggestions in Mobile Health
Liangyu Zhu, Wenbin Lu, Rui Song

In this article, we propose novel structural nested models to estimate causal effects of continuous treatments based on mobile health data. To find the treatment regime which optimizes the short-term outcomes for the patients, we define the weighted lag K advantage. The optimal treatment regime is then defined to be the one which maximizes this advantage. This method imposes minimal assumptions on the data generating process. Statistical inference can also be provided for the estimated parameters. Simulation studies and an application to the Ohio type 1 diabetes dataset show that our method could provide meaningful insights for dose suggestions with mobile health data.

Hierarchical Verification for Adversarial Robustness
Cong Han Lim, Raquel Urtasun, Ersin Yumer

We introduce a new framework for the exact point-wise ℓp robustness verification problem that exploits the layer-wise geometric structure of deep feed-forward networks with rectified linear activations (ReLU networks). The activation regions of the network partition the input space, and one can verify the ℓp robustness around a point by checking all the activation regions within the desired radius. The GeoCert algorithm (Jordan et al., NeurIPS 2019) treats this partition as a generic polyhedral complex in order to detect which region to check next. In contrast, our LayerCert framework considers the nested hyperplane arrangement structure induced by the layers of the ReLU network and explores regions in a hierarchical manner. We show that, under certain conditions on the algorithm parameters, LayerCert provably reduces the number and size of the convex programs that one needs to solve compared to GeoCert. Furthermore, our LayerCert framework allows the incorporation of lower bounding routines based on convex relaxations to further improve performance. Experimental results demonstrate that LayerCert can significantly reduce both the number of convex programs solved and the running time over the state-of-the-art.

Handling the Positive-Definite Constraint in the Bayesian Learning Rule
Wu Lin, Mark Schmidt, Emti Khan

The Bayesian learning rule is a natural-gradient variational inference method, which not only contains many existing learning algorithms as special cases but also enables the design of new algorithms. Unfortunately, when variational parameters lie in an open constraint set, the rule may not satisfy the constraint and requires line-searches which could slow down the algorithm. In this work, we address this issue for positive-definite constraints by proposing an improved rule that naturally handles the constraints. Our modification is obtained by using Riemannian gradient methods, and is valid when the approximation attains a block-coordinate natural parameterization (e.g., Gaussian distributions and their mixtures). Our method outperforms existing methods without any significant increase in computation. Our work makes it easier to apply the rule in the presence of positive-definite constraints in parameter spaces.

Learning Calibratable Policies using Programmatic Style-Consistency
Eric Zhan, Albert Tseng, Yisong Yue, Adith Swaminathan, Matthew Hausknecht
We study the problem of controllable generation of long-term sequential behaviors, where the goal is to calibrate to multiple behavior styles simultaneously. In contrast to the well-studied areas of controllable generation of images, text, and speech, there are two questions that pose significant challenges when generating long-term behaviors: how should we specify the factors of variation to control, and how can we ensure that the generated behavior faithfully demonstrates combinatorially many styles? We leverage programmatic labeling functions to specify controllable styles, and derive a formal notion of style-consistency as a learning objective, which can then be solved using conventional policy learning approaches. We evaluate our framework using demonstrations from professional basketball players and agents in the MuJoCo physics environment, and show that existing approaches that do not explicitly enforce style-consistency fail to generate diverse behaviors whereas our learned policies can be calibrated for up to $4^5 (1024)$ distinct style combinations.
The Sample Complexity of Best-$k$ Items Selection from Pairwise Comparisons
Wenbo Ren, Jia Liu, Ness Shroff
This paper studies the sample complexity (aka number of comparisons) bounds for the active best-$k$ items selection from pairwise comparisons. From a given set of items, the learner can make pairwise comparisons on every pair of items, and each comparison returns an independent noisy result about the preferred item. At any time, the learner can adaptively choose a pair of items to compare according to past observations (i.e., active learning). The learner's goal is to find the (approximately) best-$k$ items with a given confidence, while trying to use as few comparisons as possible. In this paper, we study two problems: (i) finding the probably approximately correct (PAC) best-$k$ items and (ii) finding the exact best-$k$ items, both under strong stochastic transitivity and stochastic triangle inequality. For PAC best-$k$ items selection, we first show a lower bound and then propose an algorithm whose sample complexity upper bound matches the lower bound up to a constant factor. For the exact best-$k$ items selection, we first prove a worst-instance lower bound. We then propose two algorithms based on our PAC best items selection algorithms: one works for $k=1$ and is sample complexity optimal up to a loglog factor, and the other works for …
A Game Theoretic Framework for Model Based Reinforcement Learning
Aravind Rajeswaran, Igor Mordatch, Vikash Kumar

Designing stable and efficient algorithms for model-based reinforcement learning (MBRL) with function approximation has remained challenging despite growing interest in the field. To help expose the practical challenges in MBRL and simplify algorithm design from the lens of abstraction, we develop a new framework that casts MBRL as a game between: (1)~a policy player, which attempts to maximize rewards under the learned model; (2)~a model player, which attempts to fit the real-world data collected by the policy player. We show that a near-optimal policy for the environment can be obtained by finding an approximate equilibrium for aforementioned game, and we develop two families of algorithms to find the game equilibrium by drawing upon ideas from Stackelberg games. Experimental studies suggest that the proposed algorithms achieve state of the art sample efficiency, match the asymptotic performance of model-free policy gradient, and scale gracefully to high-dimensional tasks like dexterous hand manipulation.

Being Bayesian, Even Just a Bit, Fixes Overconfidence in ReLU Networks
Agustinus Kristiadi, Matthias Hein, Philipp Hennig

The point estimates of ReLU classification networks---arguably the most widely used neural network architecture---have been shown to yield arbitrarily high confidence far away from the training data. This architecture, in conjunction with a maximum a posteriori estimation scheme, is thus not calibrated nor robust. Approximate Bayesian inference has been empirically demonstrated to improve predictive uncertainty in neural networks, although the theoretical analysis of such Bayesian approximations is limited. We theoretically analyze approximate Gaussian distributions on the weights of ReLU networks and show that they fix the overconfidence problem. Furthermore, we show that even a simplistic, thus cheap, Bayesian approximation, also fixes these issues. This indicates that a sufficient condition for a calibrated uncertainty on a ReLU network is ``to be a bit Bayesian''. These theoretical results validate the usage of last-layer Bayesian approximation and motivate a range of a fidelity-cost trade-off. We further validate these findings empirically via various standard experiments using common deep ReLU networks and Laplace approximations.

Efficient and Scalable Bayesian Neural Nets with Rank-1 Factors
Mike Dusenberry, Ghassen Jerfel, Yeming Wen, Yian Ma, Jasper Snoek, Katherine Heller, Balaji Lakshminarayanan, Dustin Tran

Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) demonstrate promising success in improving the robustness and uncertainty quantification of modern deep learning. However, they generally struggle with underfitting at scale and parameter efficiency. On the other hand, deep ensembles have emerged as alternatives for uncertainty quantification that, while outperforming BNNs on certain problems, also suffer from efficiency issues. It remains unclear how to combine the strengths of these two approaches and remediate their common issues. To tackle this challenge, we propose a rank-1 parameterization of BNNs, where each weight matrix involves only a distribution on a rank-1 subspace. We also revisit the use of mixture approximate posteriors to capture multiple modes, where unlike typical mixtures, this approach admits a significantly smaller memory increase (e.g., only a 0.4% increase for a ResNet-50 mixture of size 10). We perform a systematic empirical study on the choices of prior, variational posterior, and methods to improve training. For ResNet-50 on ImageNet, Wide ResNet 28-10 on CIFAR-10/100, and an RNN on MIMIC-III, rank-1 BNNs achieve state-of-the-art performance across log-likelihood, accuracy, and calibration on the test sets and out-of-distribution variants.

Small-GAN: Speeding up GAN Training using Core-Sets
Samrath Sinha, Han Zhang, Anirudh Goyal, Yoshua Bengio, Hugo Larochelle, Augustus Odena

Recent work suggests that Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) benefit disproportionately from large mini-batch sizes. This finding is interesting but also discouraging -- large batch sizes are slow and expensive to emulate on conventional hardware. Thus, it would be nice if there were some trick by which we could generate batches that were effectively big though small in practice. In this work, we propose such a trick, inspired by the use of Coreset-selection in active learning. When training a GAN, we draw a large batch of samples from the prior and then compress that batch using Coreset-selection. To create effectively large batches of real images, we create a cached dataset of Inception activations of each training image, randomly project them down to a smaller dimension, and then use Coreset-selection on those projected embeddings at training time. We conduct experiments showing that this technique substantially reduces training time and memory usage for modern GAN variants, that it reduces the fraction of dropped modes in a synthetic dataset, and that it helps us use GANs to reach a new state of the art in anomaly detection.

Single Point Transductive Prediction
Nilesh Tripuraneni, Lester Mackey
Standard methods in supervised learning separate training and prediction: the model is fit independently of any test points it may encounter. However, can knowledge of the next test point $\mathbf{x}_{\star}$ be exploited to improve prediction accuracy? We address this question in the context of linear prediction, showing how techniques from semi-parametric inference can be used transductively to combat regularization bias. We first lower bound the $\mathbf{x}_{\star}$ prediction error of ridge regression and the Lasso, showing that they must incur significant bias in certain test directions. We then provide non-asymptotic upper bounds on the $\mathbf{x}_{\star}$ prediction error of two transductive prediction rules. We conclude by showing the efficacy of our methods on both synthetic and real data, highlighting the improvements single point transductive prediction can provide in settings with distribution shift.
Correlation Clustering with Asymmetric Classification Errors
Jafar Jafarov, Sanchit Kalhan, Kostya Makarychev, Yury Makarychev
In the Correlation Clustering problem, we are given a weighted graph $G$ with its edges labelled as "similar" or "dissimilar" by a binary classifier. The goal is to produce a clustering that minimizes the weight of "disagreements": the sum of the weights of "similar" edges across clusters and "dissimilar" edges within clusters. We study the correlation clustering problem under the following assumption: Every "similar" edge $e$ has weight $w_e \in [ \alpha w, w ]$ and every "dissimilar" edge $e$ has weight $w_e \geq \alpha w$ (where $\alpha \leq 1$ and $w > 0$ is a scaling parameter). We give a $(3 + 2 \log_e (1/\alpha))$ approximation algorithm for this problem. This assumption captures well the scenario when classification errors are asymmetric. Additionally, we show an asymptotically matching Linear Programming integrality gap of $\Omega(\log 1/\alpha)$.
Batch Stationary Distribution Estimation
Junfeng Wen, Bo Dai, Lihong Li, Dale Schuurmans

We consider the problem of approximating the stationary distribution of an ergodic Markov chain given a set of sampled transitions. Classical simulation-based approaches assume access to the underlying process so that trajectories of sufficient length can be gathered to approximate stationary sampling. Instead, we consider an alternative setting where a \emph{fixed} set of transitions has been collected beforehand, by a separate, possibly unknown procedure. The goal is still to estimate properties of the stationary distribution, but without additional access to the underlying system. We propose a consistent estimator that is based on recovering a correction ratio function over the given data. In particular, we develop a variational power method (VPM) that provides provably consistent estimates under general conditions. In addition to unifying a number of existing approaches from different subfields, we also find that VPM yields significantly better estimates across a range of problems, including queueing, stochastic differential equations, post-processing MCMC, and off-policy evaluation.


Poster Session 34 Wed 15 Jul 10:00 p.m.  

Structural Language Models of Code
Uri Alon, Roy Sadaka, Omer Levy, Eran Yahav

We address the problem of any-code completion - generating a missing piece of source code in a given program without any restriction on the vocabulary or structure. We introduce a new approach to any-code completion that leverages the strict syntax of programming languages to model a code snippet as a tree - structural language modeling (SLM). SLM estimates the probability of the program's abstract syntax tree (AST) by decomposing it into a product of conditional probabilities over its nodes. We present a neural model that computes these conditional probabilities by considering all AST paths leading to a target node. Unlike previous techniques that have severely restricted the kinds of expressions that can be generated in this task, our approach can generate arbitrary code in any programming language. Our model significantly outperforms both seq2seq and a variety of structured approaches in generating Java and C# code. Our code, data, and trained models are available at http://github.com/tech-srl/slm-code-generation/. An online demo is available at http://AnyCodeGen.org.

Mix-n-Match : Ensemble and Compositional Methods for Uncertainty Calibration in Deep Learning
Jize Zhang, Bhavya Kailkhura, T. Yong-Jin Han

This paper studies the problem of post-hoc calibration of machine learning classifiers. We introduce the following desiderata for uncertainty calibration: (a) accuracy-preserving, (b) data-efficient, and (c) high expressive power. We show that none of the existing methods satisfy all three requirements, and demonstrate how Mix-n-Match calibration strategies (i.e., ensemble and composition) can help achieve remarkably better data-efficiency and expressive power while provably maintaining the classification accuracy of the original classifier. Mix-n-Match strategies are generic in the sense that they can be used to improve the performance of any off-the-shelf calibrator. We also reveal potential issues in standard evaluation practices. Popular approaches (e.g., histogram-based expected calibration error (ECE)) may provide misleading results especially in small-data regime. Therefore, we propose an alternative data-efficient kernel density-based estimator for a reliable evaluation of the calibration performance and prove its asymptotically unbiasedness and consistency. Our approaches outperform state-of-the-art solutions on both the calibration as well as the evaluation tasks in most of the experimental settings. Our codes are available at https://github.com/zhang64- llnl/Mix-n-Match-Calibration.

Margin-aware Adversarial Domain Adaptation with Optimal Transport
Sofien Dhouib, Ievgen Redko, Carole Lartizien

In this paper, we propose a new theoretical analysis of unsupervised domain adaptation that relates notions of large margin separation, adversarial learning and optimal transport. This analysis generalizes previous work on the subject by providing a bound on the target margin violation rate, thus reflecting a better control of the quality of separation between classes in the target domain than bounding the misclassification rate. The bound also highlights the benefit of a large margin separation on the source domain for adaptation and introduces an optimal transport (OT) based distance between domains that has the virtue of being task-dependent, contrary to other approaches. From the obtained theoretical results, we derive a novel algorithmic solution for domain adaptation that introduces a novel shallow OT-based adversarial approach and outperforms other OT-based DA baselines on several simulated and real-world classification tasks.

A Mean Field Analysis Of Deep ResNet And Beyond: Towards Provably Optimization Via Overparameterization From Depth
Yiping Lu, Chao Ma, Yulong Lu, Jianfeng Lu, Lexing Ying

Training deep neural networks with stochastic gradient descent (SGD) can often achieve zero training loss on real-world tasks although the optimization landscape is known to be highly non-convex. To understand the success of SGD for training deep neural networks, this work presents a mean-field analysis of deep residual networks, based on a line of works which interpret the continuum limit of the deep residual network as an ordinary differential equation as the the network capacity tends to infinity. Specifically, we propose a \textbf{new continuum limit} of deep residual networks, which enjoys a good landscape in the sense that \textbf{every local minimizer is global}. This characterization enables us to derive the first global convergence result for multilayer neural networks in the mean-field regime. Furthermore, our proof does not rely on the convexity of the loss landscape, but instead, an assumption on the global minimizer should achieve zero loss which can be achieved when the model shares a universal approximation property. Key to our result is the observation that a deep residual network resembles a shallow network ensemble~\cite{veit2016residual}, \emph{i.e.} a two-layer network. We bound the difference between the shallow network and our ResNet model via the adjoint sensitivity method, which enables us …

Set Functions for Time Series
Max Horn, Michael Moor, Christian Bock, Bastian Rieck, Karsten Borgwardt

Despite the eminent successes of deep neural networks, many architectures are often hard to transfer to irregularly-sampled and asynchronous time series that commonly occur in real-world datasets, especially in healthcare applications. This paper proposes a novel approach for classifying irregularly-sampled time series with unaligned measurements, focusing on high scalability and data efficiency. Our method SeFT (Set Functions for Time Series) is based on recent advances in differentiable set function learning, extremely parallelizable with a beneficial memory footprint, thus scaling well to large datasets of long time series and online monitoring scenarios. Furthermore, our approach permits quantifying per-observation contributions to the classification outcome. We extensively compare our method with existing algorithms on multiple healthcare time series datasets and demonstrate that it performs competitively whilst significantly reducing runtime.

Fast and Consistent Learning of Hidden Markov Models by Incorporating Non-Consecutive Correlations
Robert Mattila, Cristian R. Rojas, Eric Moulines, Vikram Krishnamurthy, Bo Wahlberg

Can the parameters of a hidden Markov model (HMM) be estimated from a single sweep through the observations -- and additionally, without being trapped at a local optimum in the likelihood surface? That is the premise of recent method of moments algorithms devised for HMMs. In these, correlations between consecutive pair- or triplet-wise observations are empirically estimated and used to compute estimates of the HMM parameters. Albeit computationally very attractive, the main drawback is that by restricting to only low-order correlations in the data, information is being neglected which results in a loss of accuracy (compared to standard maximum likelihood schemes). In this paper, we propose extending these methods (both pair- and triplet-based) by also including non-consecutive correlations in a way which does not significantly increase the computational cost (which scales linearly with the number of additional lags included). We prove strong consistency of the new methods, and demonstrate an improved performance in numerical experiments on both synthetic and real-world financial time-series datasets.

Balancing Competing Objectives with Noisy Data: Score-Based Classifiers for Welfare-Aware Machine Learning
Esther Rolf, Max Simchowitz, Sarah Dean, Lydia T. Liu, Daniel Bjorkegren, Moritz Hardt, Joshua Blumenstock

While real-world decisions involve many competing objectives, algorithmic decisions are often evaluated with a single objective function. In this paper, we study algorithmic policies which explicitly trade off between a private objective (such as profit) and a public objective (such as social welfare). We analyze a natural class of policies which trace an empirical Pareto frontier based on learned scores, and focus on how such decisions can be made in noisy or data-limited regimes. Our theoretical results characterize the optimal strategies in this class, bound the Pareto errors due to inaccuracies in the scores, and show an equivalence between optimal strategies and a rich class of fairness-constrained profit-maximizing policies. We then present empirical results in two different contexts --- online content recommendation and sustainable abalone fisheries --- to underscore the generality of our approach to a wide range of practical decisions. Taken together, these results shed light on inherent trade-offs in using machine learning for decisions that impact social welfare.

Provable Self-Play Algorithms for Competitive Reinforcement Learning
Yu Bai, Chi Jin
Self-play, where the algorithm learns by playing against itself without requiring any direct supervision, has become the new weapon in modern Reinforcement Learning (RL) for achieving superhuman performance in practice. However, the majority of exisiting theory in reinforcement learning only applies to the setting where the agent plays against a fixed environment; it remains largely open whether self-play algorithms can be provably effective, especially when it is necessary to manage the exploration/exploitation tradeoff. We study self-play in competitive reinforcement learning under the setting of Markov games, a generalization of Markov decision processes to the two-player case. We introduce a self-play algorithm---Value Iteration with Upper/Lower Confidence Bound (VI-ULCB)---and show that it achieves regret $\mathcal{\tilde{O}}(\sqrt{T})$ after playing $T$ steps of the game, where the regret is measured by the agent's performance against a fully adversarial opponent who can exploit the agent's strategy at any step. We also introduce an explore-then-exploit style algorithm, which achieves a slightly worse regret of $\mathcal{\tilde{O}}(T^{2/3})$, but is guaranteed to run in polynomial time even in the worst case. To the best of our knowledge, our work presents the first line of provably sample-efficient self-play algorithms for competitive reinforcement learning.
Flexible and Efficient Long-Range Planning Through Curious Exploration
Aidan Curtis, Minjian Xin, Dilip Arumugam, Kevin Feigelis, Daniel Yamins

Identifying algorithms that flexibly and efficiently discover temporally-extended multi-phase plans is an essential step for the advancement of robotics and model-based reinforcement learning. The core problem of long-range planning is finding an efficient way to search through the tree of possible action sequences. Existing non-learned planning solutions from the Task and Motion Planning (TAMP) literature rely on the existence of logical descriptions for the effects and preconditions for actions. This constraint allows TAMP methods to efficiently reduce the tree search problem but limits their ability to generalize to unseen and complex physical environments. In contrast, deep reinforcement learning (DRL) methods use flexible neural-network-based function approximators to discover policies that generalize naturally to unseen circumstances. However, DRL methods struggle to handle the very sparse reward landscapes inherent to long-range multi-step planning situations. Here, we propose the Curious Sample Planner (CSP), which fuses elements of TAMP and DRL by combining a curiosity-guided sampling strategy with imitation learning to accelerate planning. We show that CSP can efficiently discover interesting and complex temporally-extended plans for solving a wide range of physically realistic 3D tasks. In contrast, standard planning and learning methods often fail to solve these tasks at all or do so only with …

Ordinal Non-negative Matrix Factorization for Recommendation
Olivier Gouvert, Thomas Oberlin, Cedric Fevotte

We introduce a new non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) method for ordinal data, called OrdNMF. Ordinal data are categorical data which exhibit a natural ordering between the categories. In particular, they can be found in recommender systems, either with explicit data (such as ratings) or implicit data (such as quantized play counts). OrdNMF is a probabilistic latent factor model that generalizes Bernoulli-Poisson factorization (BePoF) and Poisson factorization (PF) applied to binarized data. Contrary to these methods, OrdNMF circumvents binarization and can exploit a more informative representation of the data. We design an efficient variational algorithm based on a suitable model augmentation and related to variational PF. In particular, our algorithm preserves the scalability of PF and can be applied to huge sparse datasets. We report recommendation experiments on explicit and implicit datasets, and show that OrdNMF outperforms BePoF and PF applied to binarized data.

NetGAN without GAN: From Random Walks to Low-Rank Approximations
Luca Rendsburg, Holger Heidrich, Ulrike von Luxburg

A graph generative model takes a graph as input and is supposed to generate new graphs that ``look like'' the input graph. While most classical models focus on few, hand-selected graph statistics and are too simplistic to reproduce real-world graphs, NetGAN recently emerged as an attractive alternative: by training a GAN to learn the random walk distribution of the input graph, the algorithm is able to reproduce a large number of important network patterns simultaneously, without explicitly specifying any of them. In this paper, we investigate the implicit bias of NetGAN. We find that the root of its generalization properties does not lie in the GAN architecture, but in an inconspicuous low-rank approximation of the logits random walk transition matrix. Step by step we can strip NetGAN of all unnecessary parts, including the GAN, and obtain a highly simplified reformulation that achieves comparable generalization results, but is orders of magnitudes faster and easier to adapt. Being much simpler on the conceptual side, we reveal the implicit inductive bias of the algorithm --- an important step towards increasing the interpretability, transparency and acceptance of machine learning systems.

Learning to Simulate and Design for Structural Engineering
Kai-Hung Chang, Chin-Yi Cheng

The structural design process for buildings is time-consuming and laborious. To automate this process, structural engineers combine optimization methods with simulation tools to find an optimal design with minimal building mass subject to building regulations. However, structural engineers in practice often avoid optimization and compromise on a suboptimal design for the majority of buildings, due to the large size of the design space, the iterative nature of the optimization methods, and the slow simulation tools. In this work, we formulate the building structures as graphs and create an end-to-end pipeline that can learn to propose the optimal cross-sections of columns and beams by training together with a pre-trained differentiable structural simulator. The performance of the proposed structural designs is comparable to the ones optimized by genetic algorithm (GA), with all the constraints satisfied. The optimal structural design with the reduced the building mass can not only lower the material cost, but also decrease the carbon footprint.

How to Solve Fair k-Center in Massive Data Models
Ashish Chiplunkar, Sagar Kale, Sivaramakrishnan Natarajan Ramamoorthy

Fueled by massive data, important decision making is being automated with the help of algorithms, therefore, fairness in algorithms has become an especially important research topic. In this work, we design new streaming and distributed algorithms for the fair k-center problem that models fair data summarization. The streaming and distributed models of computation have an attractive feature of being able to handle massive data sets that do not fit into main memory. Our main contributions are: (a) the first distributed algorithm; which has provably constant approximation ratio and is extremely parallelizable, and (b) a two-pass streaming algorithm with a provable approximation guarantee matching the best known algorithm (which is not a streaming algorithm). Our algorithms have the advantages of being easy to implement in practice, being fast with linear running times, having very small working memory and communication, and outperforming existing algorithms on several real and synthetic data sets. To complement our distributed algorithm, we also give a hardness result for natural distributed algorithms, which holds for even the special case of k-center.

Continuous-time Lower Bounds for Gradient-based Algorithms
Michael Muehlebach, Michael Jordan

This article derives lower bounds on the convergence rate of continuous-time gradient-based optimization algorithms. The algorithms are subjected to a time-normalization constraint that avoids a reparametrization of time in order to make the discussion of continuous-time convergence rates meaningful. We reduce the multi-dimensional problem to a single dimension, recover well-known lower bounds from the discrete-time setting, and provide insights into why these lower bounds occur. We further explicitly provide algorithms that achieve the proposed lower bounds, even when the function class under consideration includes certain non-convex functions.

Revisiting Fundamentals of Experience Replay
William Fedus, Prajit Ramachandran, Rishabh Agarwal, Yoshua Bengio, Hugo Larochelle, Mark Rowland, Will Dabney

Experience replay is central to off-policy algorithms in deep reinforcement learning (RL), but there remain significant gaps in our understanding. We therefore present a systematic and extensive analysis of experience replay in Q-learning methods, focusing on two fundamental properties: the replay capacity and the ratio of learning updates to experience collected (replay ratio). Our additive and ablative studies upend conventional wisdom around experience replay — greater capacity is found to substantially increase the performance of certain algorithms, while leaving others unaffected. Counterintuitively we show that theoretically ungrounded, uncorrected n-step returns are uniquely beneficial while other techniques confer limited benefit for sifting through larger memory. Separately, by directly controlling the replay ratio we contextualize previous observations in the literature and empirically measure its importance across a variety of deep RL algorithms. Finally, we conclude by testing a set of hypotheses on the nature of these performance benefits.

On the Number of Linear Regions of Convolutional Neural Networks
Huan Xiong, Lei Huang, Mengyang Yu, Li Liu, Fan Zhu, Ling Shao

One fundamental problem in deep learning is understanding the outstanding performance of deep Neural Networks (NNs) in practice. One explanation for the superiority of NNs is that they can realize a large class of complicated functions, i.e., they have powerful expressivity. The expressivity of a ReLU NN can be quantified by the maximal number of linear regions it can separate its input space into. In this paper, we provide several mathematical results needed for studying the linear regions of CNNs, and use them to derive the maximal and average numbers of linear regions for one-layer ReLU CNNs. Furthermore, we obtain upper and lower bounds for the number of linear regions of multi-layer ReLU CNNs. Our results suggest that deeper CNNs have more powerful expressivity than their shallow counterparts, while CNNs have more expressivity than fully-connected NNs per parameter.

Statistically Preconditioned Accelerated Gradient Method for Distributed Optimization
Hadrien Hendrikx, Lin Xiao, Sebastien Bubeck, Francis Bach, Laurent Massoulié

We consider the setting of distributed empirical risk minimization where multiple machines compute the gradients in parallel and a centralized server updates the model parameters. In order to reduce the number of communications required to reach a given accuracy, we propose a preconditioned accelerated gradient method where the preconditioning is done by solving a local optimization problem over a subsampled dataset at the server. The convergence rate of the method depends on the square root of the relative condition number between the global and local loss functions. We estimate the relative condition number for linear prediction models by studying uniform concentration of the Hessians over a bounded domain, which allows us to derive improved convergence rates for existing preconditioned gradient methods and our accelerated method. Experiments on real-world datasets illustrate the benefits of acceleration in the ill-conditioned regime.

The Shapley Taylor Interaction Index
Mukund Sundararajan, Kedar Dhamdhere, Ashish Agarwal
The attribution problem, that is the problem of attributing a model's prediction to its base features, is well-studied. We extend the notion of attribution to also apply to feature interactions. The Shapley value is a commonly used method to attribute a model's prediction to its base features. We propose a generalization of the Shapley value called Shapley-Taylor index that attributes the model's prediction to interactions of subsets of features up to some size $k$. The method is analogous to how the truncated Taylor Series decomposes the function value at a certain point using its derivatives at a different point. In fact, we show that the Shapley Taylor index is equal to the Taylor Series of the multilinear extension of the set-theoretic behavior of the model. We axiomatize this method using the standard Shapley axioms---linearity, dummy, symmetry and efficiency---and an additional axiom that we call the interaction distribution axiom. This new axiom explicitly characterizes how interactions are distributed for a class of functions that model pure interaction. We contrast the Shapley-Taylor index against the previously proposed Shapley Interaction index from the cooperative game theory literature. We also apply the Shapley Taylor index to three models and identify interesting qualitative insights.
A Finite-Time Analysis of Q-Learning with Neural Network Function Approximation
Pan Xu, Quanquan Gu
Q-learning with neural network function approximation (neural Q-learning for short) is among the most prevalent deep reinforcement learning algorithms. Despite its empirical success, the non-asymptotic convergence rate of neural Q-learning remains virtually unknown. In this paper, we present a finite-time analysis of a neural Q-learning algorithm, where the data are generated from a Markov decision process, and the action-value function is approximated by a deep ReLU neural network. We prove that neural Q-learning finds the optimal policy with $O(1/\sqrt{T})$ convergence rate if the neural function approximator is sufficiently overparameterized, where $T$ is the number of iterations. To our best knowledge, our result is the first finite-time analysis of neural Q-learning under non-i.i.d. data assumption.
Robust Graph Representation Learning via Neural Sparsification
Cheng Zheng, Bo Zong, Wei Cheng, Dongjin Song, Jingchao Ni, Wenchao Yu, Haifeng Chen, Wei Wang

Graph representation learning serves as the core of important prediction tasks, ranging from product recommendation to fraud detection. Real-life graphs usually have complex information in the local neighborhood, where each node is described by a rich set of features and connects to dozens or even hundreds of neighbors. Despite the success of neighborhood aggregation in graph neural networks, task-irrelevant information is mixed into nodes' neighborhood, making learned models suffer from sub-optimal generalization performance. In this paper, we present NeuralSparse, a supervised graph sparsification technique that improves generalization power by learning to remove potentially task-irrelevant edges from input graphs. Our method takes both structural and non-structural information as input, utilizes deep neural networks to parameterize sparsification processes, and optimizes the parameters by feedback signals from downstream tasks. Under the NeuralSparse framework, supervised graph sparsification could seamlessly connect with existing graph neural networks for more robust performance. Experimental results on both benchmark and private datasets show that NeuralSparse can yield up to 7.2% improvement in testing accuracy when working with existing graph neural networks on node classification tasks.

The Implicit and Explicit Regularization Effects of Dropout
Colin Wei, Sham Kakade, Tengyu Ma

Dropout is a widely-used regularization technique, often required to obtain state-of-the-art for a number of architectures. This work demonstrates that dropout introduces two distinct but entangled regularization effects: an explicit effect (also studied in prior work) which occurs since dropout modifies the expected training objective, and, perhaps surprisingly, an additional implicit effect from the stochasticity in the dropout training update. This implicit regularization effect is analogous to the effect of stochasticity in small mini-batch stochastic gradient descent. We disentangle these two effects through controlled experiments. We then derive analytic simplifications which characterize each effect in terms of the derivatives of the model and the loss, for deep neural networks. We demonstrate these simplified, analytic regularizers accurately capture the important aspects of dropout, showing they faithfully replace dropout in practice.

Multidimensional Shape Constraints
Maya Gupta, Erez Louidor, Oleksandr Mangylov, Nobu Morioka, Taman Narayan, Sen Zhao

We propose new multi-input shape constraints across four intuitive categories: complements, diminishers, dominance, and unimodality constraints. We show these shape constraints can be checked and even enforced when training machine-learned models for linear models, generalized additive models, and the nonlinear function class of multi-layer lattice models. Toy examples and real-world experiments illustrate how the different shape constraints can be used to increase interpretability and better regularize machine-learned models.

Encoding Musical Style with Transformer Autoencoders
Kristy Choi, Curtis "Fjord" Hawthorne, Ian Simon, Monica Dinculescu, JesseEngel Engel

We consider the problem of learning high-level controls over the global structure of generated sequences, particularly in the context of symbolic music generation with complex language models. In this work, we present the Transformer autoencoder, which aggregates encodings of the input data across time to obtain a global representation of style from a given performance. We show it is possible to combine this global representation with other temporally distributed embeddings, enabling improved control over the separate aspects of performance style and melody. Empirically, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on various music generation tasks on the MAESTRO dataset and a YouTube dataset with 10,000+ hours of piano performances, where we achieve improvements in terms of log-likelihood and mean listening scores as compared to baselines.

“Other-Play” for Zero-Shot Coordination
Hengyuan Hu, Alexander Peysakhovich, Adam Lerer, Jakob Foerster

We consider the problem of zero-shot coordination - constructing AI agents that can coordinate with novel partners they have not seen before (e.g.humans). Standard Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) methods typically focus on the self-play (SP) setting where agents construct strategies by playing the game with themselves repeatedly. Unfortunately, applying SP naively to the zero-shot coordination problem can produce agents that establish highly specialized conventions that do not carry over to novel partners they have not been trained with. We introduce a novel learning algorithm called other-play (OP), that enhances self-play by looking for more robust strategies. We characterize OP theoretically as well as experimentally. We study the cooperative card game Hanabi and show that OP agents achieve higher scores when paired with independently trained agents as well as with human players than SP agents.

Deep Gaussian Markov Random Fields
Per Sidén, Fredrik Lindsten

Gaussian Markov random fields (GMRFs) are probabilistic graphical models widely used in spatial statistics and related fields to model dependencies over spatial structures. We establish a formal connection between GMRFs and convolutional neural networks (CNNs). Common GMRFs are special cases of a generative model where the inverse mapping from data to latent variables is given by a 1-layer linear CNN. This connection allows us to generalize GMRFs to multi-layer CNN architectures, effectively increasing the order of the corresponding GMRF in a way which has favorable computational scaling. We describe how well-established tools, such as autodiff and variational inference, can be used for simple and efficient inference and learning of the deep GMRF. We demonstrate the flexibility of the proposed model and show that it outperforms the state-of-the-art on a dataset of satellite temperatures, in terms of prediction and predictive uncertainty.

Proving the Lottery Ticket Hypothesis: Pruning is All You Need
Eran Malach, Gilad Yehudai, Shai Shalev-Schwartz, Ohad Shamir

The lottery ticket hypothesis (Frankle and Carbin, 2018), states that a randomly-initialized network contains a small subnetwork such that, when trained in isolation, can compete with the performance of the original network. We prove an even stronger hypothesis (as was also conjectured in Ramanujan et al., 2019), showing that for every bounded distribution and every target network with bounded weights, a sufficiently over-parameterized neural network with random weights contains a subnetwork with roughly the same accuracy as the target network, without any further training.

Learning Near Optimal Policies with Low Inherent Bellman Error
Andrea Zanette, Alessandro Lazaric, Mykel Kochenderfer, Emma Brunskill
We study the exploration problem with approximate linear action-value functions in episodic reinforcement learning under the notion of low inherent Bellman error, a condition normally employed to show convergence of approximate value iteration. First we relate this condition to other common frameworks and show that it is strictly more general than the low rank (or linear) MDP assumption of prior work. Second we provide an algorithm with a high probability regret bound $\widetilde O(\sum_{t=1}^H d_t \sqrt{K} + \sum_{t=1}^H \sqrt{d_t} \IBE K)$ where $H$ is the horizon, $K$ is the number of episodes, $\IBE$ is the value if the inherent Bellman error and $d_t$ is the feature dimension at timestep $t$. In addition, we show that the result is unimprovable beyond constants and logs by showing a matching lower bound. This has two important consequences: 1) it shows that exploration is possible using only \emph{batch assumptions} with an algorithm that achieves the optimal statistical rate for the setting we consider, which is more general than prior work on low-rank MDPs 2) the lack of closedness (measured by the inherent Bellman error) is only amplified by $\sqrt{d_t}$ despite working in the online setting. Finally, the algorithm reduces to the celebrated \textsc{LinUCB} when …

Poster Session 35 Wed 15 Jul 11:00 p.m.  

Self-supervised Label Augmentation via Input Transformations
Hankook Lee, Sung Ju Hwang, Jinwoo Shin

Self-supervised learning, which learns by constructing artificial labels given only the input signals, has recently gained considerable attention for learning representations with unlabeled datasets, i.e., learning without any human-annotated supervision. In this paper, we show that such a technique can be used to significantly improve the model accuracy even under fully-labeled datasets. Our scheme trains the model to learn both original and self-supervised tasks, but is different from conventional multi-task learning frameworks that optimize the summation of their corresponding losses. Our main idea is to learn a single unified task with respect to the joint distribution of the original and self-supervised labels, i.e., we augment original labels via self-supervision. This simple, yet effective approach allows to train models easier by relaxing a certain invariant constraint during learning the original and self-supervised tasks simultaneously. It also enables an aggregated inference which combines the predictions from different augmentations to improve the prediction accuracy. Furthermore, we propose a novel knowledge transfer technique, which we refer to as self-distillation, that has the effect of the aggregated inference in a single (faster) inference. We demonstrate the large accuracy improvement and wide applicability of our framework on various fully-supervised settings, e.g., the few-shot and imbalanced classification …

Test-Time Training with Self-Supervision for Generalization under Distribution Shifts
Yu Sun, Xiaolong Wang, Zhuang Liu, John Miller, Alexei Efros, Moritz Hardt

In this paper, we propose Test-Time Training, a general approach for improving the performance of predictive models when training and test data come from different distributions. We turn a single unlabeled test sample into a self-supervised learning problem, on which we update the model parameters before making a prediction. This also extends naturally to data in an online stream. Our simple approach leads to improvements on diverse image classification benchmarks aimed at evaluating robustness to distribution shifts.

Hypernetwork approach to generating point clouds
Przemysław Spurek, Sebastian Winczowski, Jacek Tabor, Maciej Zamorski, Maciej Zieba, Tomasz Trzcinski

In this work, we propose a novel method for generating 3D point clouds that leverage properties of hyper networks. Contrary to the existing methods that learn only the representation of a 3D object, our approach simultaneously finds a representation of the object and its 3D surfaces. The main idea of our HyperCloud method is to build a hyper network that returns weights of a particular neural network (target network) trained to map points from a uniform unit ball distribution into a 3D shape. As a consequence, a particular 3D shape can be generated using point-by-point sampling from the assumed prior distribution and transforming sampled points with the target network. Since the hyper network is based on an auto-encoder architecture trained to reconstruct realistic 3D shapes, the target network weights can be considered a parametrisation of the surface of a 3D shape, and not a standard representation of point cloud usually returned by competitive approaches. The proposed architecture allows to find mesh-based representation of 3D objects in a generative manner, while providing point clouds en pair in quality with the state-of-the-art methods.

Time-Consistent Self-Supervision for Semi-Supervised Learning
Tianyi Zhou, Shengjie Wang, Jeff Bilmes

Semi-supervised learning (SSL) leverages unlabeled data when training a model with insufficient labeled data. A common strategy for SSL is to enforce the consistency of model outputs between similar samples, e.g., neighbors or data augmentations of the same sample. However, model outputs can vary dramatically on unlabeled data over different training stages, e.g., when using large learning rates. This can introduce harmful noises and inconsistent objectives over time that may lead to concept drift and catastrophic forgetting. In this paper, we study the dynamics of neural net outputs in SSL and show that selecting and using first the unlabeled samples with more consistent outputs over the course of training (i.e., "time-consistency") can improve the final test accuracy and save computation. Under the time-consistent data selection, we design an SSL objective composed of two self-supervised losses, i.e., a consistency loss between a sample and its augmentation, and a contrastive loss encouraging different samples to have different outputs. Our approach achieves SOTA on several SSL benchmarks with much fewer computations.

Neural Networks are Convex Regularizers: Exact Polynomial-time Convex Optimization Formulations for Two-layer Networks
Mert Pilanci, Tolga Ergen
We develop exact representations of two-layer neural networks with rectified linear units in terms of a single convex program with number of variables polynomial in the number of training samples and number of hidden neurons. Our theory utilizes semi-infinite duality and minimum norm regularization. Moreover, we show that certain standard convolutional linear networks are equivalent to $\ell_1$ regularized linear models in a polynomial sized discrete Fourier feature space.
Can Autonomous Vehicles Identify, Recover From, and Adapt to Distribution Shifts?
Angelos Filos, Panagiotis Tigas, Rowan McAllister, Nicholas Rhinehart, Sergey Levine, Yarin Gal

Out-of-training-distribution (OOD) scenarios are a common challenge of learning agents at deployment, typically leading to arbitrary deductions and poorly-informed decisions. In principle, detection of and adaptation to OOD scenes can mitigate their adverse effects. In this paper, we highlight the limitations of current approaches to novel driving scenes and propose an epistemic uncertainty-aware planning method, called \emph{robust imitative planning} (RIP). Our method can detect and recover from some distribution shifts, reducing the overconfident and catastrophic extrapolations in OOD scenes. If the model's uncertainty is too great to suggest a safe course of action, the model can instead query the expert driver for feedback, enabling sample-efficient online adaptation, a variant of our method we term \emph{adaptive robust imitative planning} (AdaRIP). Our methods outperform current state-of-the-art approaches in the nuScenes \emph{prediction} challenge, but since no benchmark evaluating OOD detection and adaption currently exists to assess \emph{control}, we introduce an autonomous car novel-scene benchmark, \texttt{CARNOVEL}, to evaluate the robustness of driving agents to a suite of tasks with distribution shifts.

Temporal Phenotyping using Deep Predictive Clustering of Disease Progression
Changhee Lee, Mihaela van der Schaar

Due to the wider availability of modern electronic health records, patient care data is often being stored in the form of time-series. Clustering such time-series data is crucial for patient phenotyping, anticipating patients’ prognoses by identifying “similar” patients, and designing treatment guidelines that are tailored to homogeneous patient subgroups. In this paper, we develop a deep learning approach for clustering time-series data, where each cluster comprises patients who share similar future outcomes of interest (e.g., adverse events, the onset of comorbidities). To encourage each cluster to have homogeneous future outcomes, the clustering is carried out by learning discrete representations that best describe the future outcome distribution based on novel loss functions. Experiments on two real-world datasets show that our model achieves superior clustering performance over state-of-the-art benchmarks and identifies meaningful clusters that can be translated into actionable information for clinical decision-making.

AdaScale SGD: A User-Friendly Algorithm for Distributed Training
Tyler Johnson, Pulkit Agrawal, Haijie Gu, Carlos Guestrin

When using large-batch training to speed up stochastic gradient descent, learning rates must adapt to new batch sizes in order to maximize speed-ups and preserve model quality. Re-tuning learning rates is resource intensive, while fixed scaling rules often degrade model quality. We propose AdaScale SGD, an algorithm that reliably adapts learning rates to large-batch training. By continually adapting to the gradient's variance, AdaScale automatically achieves speed-ups for a wide range of batch sizes. We formally describe this quality with AdaScale’s convergence bound, which maintains final objective values, even as batch sizes grow large and the number of iterations decreases. In empirical comparisons, AdaScale trains well beyond the batch size limits of popular “linear learning rate scaling” rules. This includes large-batch training with no model degradation for machine translation, image classification, object detection, and speech recognition tasks. AdaScale's qualitative behavior is similar to that of "warm-up" heuristics, but unlike warm-up, this behavior emerges naturally from a principled mechanism. The algorithm introduces negligible computational overhead and no new hyperparameters, making AdaScale an attractive choice for large-scale training in practice.

Stochastic bandits with arm-dependent delays
Anne Gael Manegueu, Claire Vernade, Alexandra Carpentier, Michal Valko

Significant work has been recently dedicated to the stochastic delayed bandit setting because of its relevance in applications. The applicability of existing algorithms is however restricted by the fact that strong assumptions are often made on the delay distributions, such as full observability, restrictive shape constraints, or uniformity over arms. In this work, we weaken them significantly and only assume that there is a bound on the tail of the delay. In particular, we cover the important case where the delay distributions vary across arms, and the case where the delays are heavy-tailed. Addressing these difficulties, we propose a simple but efficient UCB-based algorithm called the PATIENTBANDITS. We provide both problem-dependent and problem-independent bounds on the regret as well as performance lower bounds.

The Impact of Neural Network Overparameterization on Gradient Confusion and Stochastic Gradient Descent
Karthik Abinav Sankararaman, Soham De, Zheng Xu, W. Ronny Huang, Tom Goldstein

This paper studies how neural network architecture affects the speed of training. We introduce a simple concept called gradient confusion to help formally analyze this. When gradient confusion is high, stochastic gradients produced by different data samples may be negatively correlated, slowing down convergence. But when gradient confusion is low, data samples interact harmoniously, and training proceeds quickly. Through theoretical and experimental results, we demonstrate how the neural network architecture affects gradient confusion, and thus the efficiency of training. Our results show that, for popular initialization techniques, increasing the width of neural networks leads to lower gradient confusion, and thus faster model training. On the other hand, increasing the depth of neural networks has the opposite effect. Our results indicate that alternate initialization techniques or networks using both batch normalization and skip connections help reduce the training burden of very deep networks.

Evolutionary Topology Search for Tensor Network Decomposition
Chao Li, Zhun Sun

Tensor network (TN) decomposition is a promising framework to represent extremely high-dimensional problems with few parameters. However, it is challenging to search the (near-)optimal topological structure for TN decomposition, since the number of candidate solutions exponentially grows with increasing the order of a tensor. In this paper, we claim that this issue can be practically tackled by evolutionary algorithms in an affordable manner. We encode the complex topological structures into binary strings, and develop a simple genetic meta-algorithm to search the optimal topology on Hamming space. The experimental results by both synthetic and real-world data demonstrate that our method can effectively discover the ground-truth topology or even better structures with few number of generations, and significantly boost the representational power of TN decomposition compared with well-known tensor-train (TT) or tensor-ring (TR) models.

Fast computation of Nash Equilibria in Imperfect Information Games
Remi Munos, Julien Perolat, Jean-Baptiste Lespiau, Mark Rowland, Bart De Vylder, Marc Lanctot, Finbarr Timbers, Daniel Hennes, Shayegan Omidshafiei, Audrunas Gruslys, Mohammad Gheshlaghi Azar, Edward Lockhart, Karl Tuyls

We introduce and analyze a class of algorithms, called Mirror Ascent against an Improved Opponent (MAIO), for computing Nash equilibria in two-player zero-sum games, both in normal form and in sequential form with imperfect information. These algorithms update the policy of each player with a mirror-ascent step to maximize the value of playing against an improved opponent. An improved opponent can be a best response, a greedy policy, a policy improved by policy gradient, or by any other reinforcement learning or search techniques. We establish a convergence result of the last iterate to the set of Nash equilibria and show that the speed of convergence depends on the amount of improvement offered by these improved policies. In addition, we show that under some condition, if we use a best response as improved policy, then an exponential convergence rate is achieved.

Option Discovery in the Absence of Rewards with Manifold Analysis
Amitay Bar, Ronen Talmon, Ron Meir

Options have been shown to be an effective tool in reinforcement learning, facilitating improved exploration and learning. In this paper, we present an approach based on spectral graph theory and derive an algorithm that systematically discovers options without access to a specific reward or task assignment. As opposed to the common practice used in previous methods, our algorithm makes full use of the spectrum of the graph Laplacian. Incorporating modes associated with higher graph frequencies unravels domain subtleties, which are shown to be useful for option discovery. Using geometric and manifold-based analysis, we present a theoretical justification for the algorithm. In addition, we showcase its performance in several domains, demonstrating clear improvements compared to competing methods.

DeBayes: a Bayesian Method for Debiasing Network Embeddings
Maarten Buyl, Tijl De Bie

As machine learning algorithms are increasingly deployed for high-impact automated decision making, ethical and increasingly also legal standards demand that they treat all individuals fairly, without discrimination based on their age, gender, race or other sensitive traits. In recent years much progress has been made on ensuring fairness and reducing bias in standard machine learning settings. Yet, for network embedding, with applications in vulnerable domains ranging from social network analysis to recommender systems, current options remain limited both in number and performance. We thus propose DeBayes: a conceptually elegant Bayesian method that is capable of learning debiased embeddings by using a biased prior. Our experiments show that these representations can then be used to perform link prediction that is significantly more fair in terms of popular metrics such as demographic parity and equalized opportunity.

Feature Selection using Stochastic Gates
Yutaro Yamada, Ofir Lindenbaum, Sahand Negahban, Yuval Kluger
Feature selection problems have been extensively studied in the setting of linear estimation (e.g. LASSO), but less emphasis has been placed on feature selection for non-linear functions. In this study, we propose a method for feature selection in neural network estimation problems. The new procedure is based on probabilistic relaxation of the $\ell_0$ norm of features, or the count of the number of selected features. Our $\ell_0$-based regularization relies on a continuous relaxation of the Bernoulli distribution; such relaxation allows our model to learn the parameters of the approximate Bernoulli distributions via gradient descent. The proposed framework simultaneously learns either a nonlinear regression or classification function while selecting a small subset of features. We provide an information-theoretic justification for incorporating Bernoulli distribution into feature selection. Furthermore, we evaluate our method using synthetic and real-life data to demonstrate that our approach outperforms other commonly used methods in both predictive performance and feature selection.
Acceleration for Compressed Gradient Descent in Distributed and Federated Optimization
Zhize Li, Dmitry Kovalev, Xun Qian, Peter Richtarik
Due to the high communication cost in distributed and federated learning problems, methods relying on compression of communicated messages are becoming increasingly popular. While in other contexts the best performing gradient-type methods invariably rely on some form of acceleration/momentum to reduce the number of iterations, there are no methods which combine the benefits of both gradient compression and acceleration. In this paper, we remedy this situation and propose the first {\em accelerated compressed gradient descent (ACGD)} methods. In the single machine regime, we prove that ACGD enjoys the rate $O\Big((1+\omega)\sqrt{\frac{L}{\mu}}\log \frac{1}{\epsilon}\Big)$ for $\mu$-strongly convex problems and $O\Big((1+\omega)\sqrt{\frac{L}{\epsilon}}\Big)$ for convex problems, respectively, where $\omega$ is the compression parameter. Our results improve upon the existing non-accelerated rates $O\Big((1+\omega)\frac{L}{\mu}\log \frac{1}{\epsilon}\Big)$ and $O\Big((1+\omega)\frac{L}{\epsilon}\Big)$, respectively, and recover the optimal rates of accelerated gradient descent as a special case when no compression ($\omega=0$) is applied. We further propose a distributed variant of ACGD (called ADIANA) and prove the convergence rate $\widetilde{O}\Big(\omega+\sqrt{\frac{L}{\mu}}+\sqrt{\big(\frac{\omega}{n}+\sqrt{\frac{\omega}{n}}\big)\frac{\omega L}{\mu}}\Big)$, where $n$ is the number of devices/workers and $\widetilde{O}$ hides the logarithmic factor $\log \frac{1}{\epsilon}$. This improves upon the previous best result $\widetilde{O}\Big(\omega + \frac{L}{\mu}+\frac{\omega L}{n\mu} \Big)$ achieved by the DIANA method. Finally, we conduct several experiments on real-world datasets which corroborate our theoretical …
Too Relaxed to Be Fair
Michael Lohaus, Michaël Perrot, Ulrike von Luxburg

We address the problem of classification under fairness constraints. Given a notion of fairness, the goal is to learn a classifier that is not discriminatory against a group of individuals. In the literature, this problem is often formulated as a constrained optimization problem and solved using relaxations of the fairness constraints. We show that many existing relaxations are unsatisfactory: even if a model satisfies the relaxed constraint, it can be surprisingly unfair. We propose a principled framework to solve this problem. This new approach uses a strongly convex formulation and comes with theoretical guarantees on the fairness of its solution. In practice, we show that this method gives promising results on real data.

Adversarial Nonnegative Matrix Factorization
lei luo, yanfu Zhang, Heng Huang

Nonnegative Matrix Factorization (NMF) has become an increasingly important research topic in machine learning. Despite all the practical success, most of existing NMF models are still vulnerable to adversarial attacks. To overcome this limitation, we propose a novel Adversarial NMF (ANMF) approach in which an adversary can exercise some control over the perturbed data generation process. Different from the traditional NMF models which focus on either the regular input or certain types of noise, our model considers potential test adversaries that are beyond the pre-defined constraints, which can cope with various noises (or perturbations). We formulate the proposed model as a bilevel optimization problem and use Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers (ADMM) to solve it with convergence analysis. Theoretically, the robustness analysis of ANMF is established under mild conditions dedicating asymptotically unbiased prediction. Extensive experiments verify that ANMF is robust to a broad categories of perturbations, and achieves state-of-the-art performances on distinct real-world benchmark datasets.

Towards a General Theory of Infinite-Width Limits of Neural Classifiers
Eugene Golikov

Obtaining theoretical guarantees for neural networks training appears to be a hard problem in a general case. Recent research has been focused on studying this problem in the limit of infinite width and two different theories have been developed: a mean-field (MF) and a constant kernel (NTK) limit theories. We propose a general framework that provides a link between these seemingly distinct theories. Our framework out of the box gives rise to a discrete-time MF limit which was not previously explored in the literature. We prove a convergence theorem for it, and show that it provides a more reasonable approximation for finite-width nets compared to the NTK limit if learning rates are not very small. Also, our framework suggests a limit model that coincides neither with the MF limit nor with the NTK one. We show that for networks with more than two hidden layers RMSProp training has a non-trivial MF limit but GD training does not have one. Overall, our framework demonstrates that both MF and NTK limits have considerable limitations in approximating finite-sized neural nets, indicating the need for designing more accurate infinite-width approximations for them.

Efficient Optimistic Exploration in Linear-Quadratic Regulators via Lagrangian Relaxation
Marc Abeille, Alessandro Lazaric
We study the exploration-exploitation dilemma in the linear quadratic regulator (LQR) setting. Inspired by the extended value iteration algorithm used in optimistic algorithms for finite MDPs, we propose to relax the optimistic optimization of \ofulq and cast it into a constrained \textit{extended} LQR problem, where an additional control variable implicitly selects the system dynamics within a confidence interval. We then move to the corresponding Lagrangian formulation for which we prove strong duality. As a result, we show that an $\epsilon$-optimistic controller can be computed efficiently by solving at most $O\big(\log(1/\epsilon)\big)$ Riccati equations. Finally, we prove that relaxing the original \ofu problem does not impact the learning performance, thus recovering the $\wt O(\sqrt{T})$ regret of \ofulq. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first computationally efficient confidence-based algorithm for LQR with worst-case optimal regret guarantees.
Curvature-corrected learning dynamics in deep neural networks
Dongsung Huh

Deep neural networks exhibit complex learning dynamics due to the non-convexity of loss landscapes. Second-order optimization methods facilitate learning dynamics by compensating for ill-conditioned curvature. We provide analytical description of how curvature-correction changes the learning dynamics in deep linear neural networks. It reveals that curvature-correction preserves the path of parameter dynamics, and thus only modifies the temporal profile along the path. This accelerates the convergence dynamics by reducing the nonlinear effect of depth on the learning dynamics of the input-output map. Our analysis also reveals an undesirable effect of curvature correction that compromises stability of parameters dynamics during learning, especially with block-diagonal approximation of natural gradient. We introduce fractional curvature-correction, which resolves the vanishing/exploding update problem while exhibiting most of the acceleration benefit of full curvature correction.

My Fair Bandit: Distributed Learning of Max-Min Fairness with Multi-player Bandits
Ilai Bistritz, Tavor Z Baharav, Amir Leshem, Nicholas Bambos

Consider N cooperative but non-communicating players where each plays one out of M arms for T turns. Players have different utilities for each arm, representable as an NxM matrix. These utilities are unknown to the players. In each turn players receive noisy observations of their utility for their selected arm. However, if any other players selected the same arm that turn, they will all receive zero utility due to the conflict. No other communication or coordination between the players is possible. Our goal is to design a distributed algorithm that learns the matching between players and arms that achieves max-min fairness while minimizing the regret. We present an algorithm and prove that it is regret optimal up to a \log\log T factor. This is the first max-min fairness multi-player bandit algorithm with (near) order optimal regret.

Transformation of ReLU-based recurrent neural networks from discrete-time to continuous-time
Zahra Monfared, Daniel Durstewitz

Recurrent neural networks (RNN) as used in machine learning are commonly formulated in discrete time, i.e. as recursive maps. This brings a lot of advantages for training models on data, e.g. for the purpose of time series prediction or dynamical systems identification, as powerful and efficient inference algorithms exist for discrete time systems and numerical integration of differential equations is not necessary. On the other hand, mathematical analysis of dynamical systems inferred from data is often more convenient and enables additional insights if these are formulated in continuous time, i.e. as systems of ordinary (or partial) differential equations (ODE). Here we show how to perform such a translation from discrete to continuous time for a particular class of ReLU-based RNN. We prove three theorems on the mathematical equivalence between the discrete and continuous time formulations under a variety of conditions, and illustrate how to use our mathematical results on different machine learning and nonlinear dynamical systems examples.

Inductive-bias-driven Reinforcement Learning For Efficient Schedules in Heterogeneous Clusters
Subho Banerjee, Saurabh Jha, Zbigniew Kalbarczyk, Ravishankar Iyer

The problem of scheduling of workloads onto heterogeneous processors (e.g., CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs) is of fundamental importance in modern data centers. Current system schedulers rely on application/system-specific heuristics that have to be built on a case-by-case basis. Recent work has demonstrated ML techniques for automating the heuristic search by using black-box approaches which require significant training data and time, which make them challenging to use in practice. This paper presents Symphony, a scheduling framework that addresses the challenge in two ways: (i) a domain-driven Bayesian reinforcement learning (RL) model for scheduling, which inherently models the resource dependencies identified from the system architecture; and (ii) a sampling-based technique to compute the gradients of a Bayesian model without performing full probabilistic inference. Together, these techniques reduce both the amount of training data and the time required to produce scheduling policies that significantly outperform black-box approaches by up to 2.2×.

Private Counting from Anonymous Messages: Near-Optimal Accuracy with Vanishing Communication Overhead
Badih Ghazi, Ravi Kumar, Pasin Manurangsi, Rasmus Pagh

Differential privacy (DP) is a formal notion for quantifying the privacy loss of algorithms. Algorithms in the central model of DP achieve high accuracy but make the strongest trust assumptions whereas those in the local DP model make the weakest trust assumptions but incur substantial accuracy loss. The shuffled DP model [Bittau et al 2017, Erlingsson et al 2019, Cheu et al 19] has recently emerged as a feasible middle ground between the central and local models, providing stronger trust assumptions than the former while promising higher accuracies than the latter. In this paper, we obtain practical communication-efficient algorithms in the shuffled DP model for two basic aggregation primitives used in machine learning: 1) binary summation, and 2) histograms over a moderate number of buckets. Our algorithms achieve accuracy that is arbitrarily close to that of central DP algorithms with an expected communication per user essentially matching what is needed without any privacy constraints! We demonstrate the practicality of our algorithms by experimentally evaluating them and comparing their performance to several widely-used protocols such as Randomized Response [Warner 1965] and RAPPOR [Erlingsson et al. 2014].

Learning to Encode Position for Transformer with Continuous Dynamical Model
Xuanqing Liu, Hsiang-Fu Yu, Inderjit Dhillon, Cho-Jui Hsieh

We introduce a new way of learning to encode position information for non-recurrent models, such as Transformer models. Unlike RNN and LSTM, which contain inductive bias by loading the input tokens sequentially, non-recurrent models are less sensitive to position. The main reason is that position information among input units is not encoded inherently, i.e., they are permutation equivalent, this problem justifies why all of the existing models are accompanied by position encoding/embedding layer at the input. However, this solution has clear limitations: the sinusoidal position encoding is not flexible enough as it is manually designed and does not contain any learnable parameters, whereas the position embedding restricts the maximum length of input sequences. It is thus desirable to design a new position layer that contains learnable parameters to adjust to different datasets and different architectures. At the same time, we would also like it to extrapolate in accordance with the variable length of inputs. In our proposed solution, we borrow from the recent Neural ODE approach, which may be viewed as a versatile continuous version of a ResNet. This model is capable of modeling many kinds of dynamical systems. We model the evolution of encoded results along position index by …


Poster Session 36 Thu 16 Jul 12:00 a.m.  

Adaptive Gradient Descent without Descent
Yura Malitsky, Konstantin Mishchenko

We present a strikingly simple proof that two rules are sufficient to automate gradient descent: 1) don't increase the stepsize too fast and 2) don't overstep the local curvature. No need for functional values, no line search, no information about the function except for the gradients. By following these rules, you get a method adaptive to the local geometry, with convergence guarantees depending only on smoothness in a neighborhood of a solution. Given that the problem is convex, our method will converge even if the global smoothness constant is infinity. As an illustration, it can minimize arbitrary continuously twice-differentiable convex function. We examine its performance on a range of convex and nonconvex problems, including logistic regression and matrix factorization.

From Local SGD to Local Fixed-Point Methods for Federated Learning
Grigory Malinovsky, Dmitry Kovalev, Elnur Gasanov, Laurent CONDAT, Peter Richtarik

Most algorithms for solving optimization problems or finding saddle points of convex-concave functions are fixed-point algorithms. In this work we consider the generic problem of finding a fixed point of an average of operators, or an approximation thereof, in a distributed setting. Our work is motivated by the needs of federated learning. In this context, each local operator models the computations done locally on a mobile device. We investigate two strategies to achieve such a consensus: one based on a fixed number of local steps, and the other based on randomized computations. In both cases, the goal is to limit communication of the locally-computed variables, which is often the bottleneck in distributed frameworks. We perform convergence analysis of both methods and conduct a number of experiments highlighting the benefits of our approach.

A Geometric Approach to Archetypal Analysis via Sparse Projections
Vinayak Abrol, Pulkit Sharma

Archetypal analysis (AA) aims to extract patterns using self-expressive decomposition of data as convex combinations of extremal points (on the convex hull) of the data. This work presents a computationally efficient greedy AA (GAA) algorithm. GAA leverages the underlying geometry of AA, is scalable to larger datasets, and has significantly faster convergence rate. To achieve this, archetypes are learned via sparse projection of data. In the transformed space, GAA employs an iterative subset selection approach to identify archetypes based on the sparsity of convex representations. The work further presents the use of GAA algorithm for extended AA models such as robust and kernel AA. Experimental results show that GAA is considerably faster while performing comparable to existing methods for tasks such as classification, data visualization/categorization.

Fairwashing explanations with off-manifold detergent
Christopher Anders, Plamen Pasliev, Ann-Kathrin Dombrowski, Klaus-robert Mueller, Pan Kessel
Explanation methods promise to make black-box classifiers more transparent. As a result, it is hoped that they can act as proof for a sensible, fair and trustworthy decision-making process of the algorithm and thereby increase its acceptance by the end-users. In this paper, we show both theoretically and experimentally that these hopes are presently unfounded. Specifically, we show that, for any classifier $g$, one can always construct another classifier $\tilde{g}$ which has the same behavior on the data (same train, validation, and test error) but has arbitrarily manipulated explanation maps. We derive this statement theoretically using differential geometry and demonstrate it experimentally for various explanation methods, architectures, and datasets. Motivated by our theoretical insights, we then propose a modification of existing explanation methods which makes them significantly more robust.
PackIt: A Virtual Environment for Geometric Planning
Ankit Goyal, Jia Deng

The ability to jointly understand the geometry of objects and plan actions for manipulating them is crucial for intelligent agents. We refer to this ability as geometric planning. Recently, many interactive environments have been proposed to evaluate intelligent agents on various skills, however, none of them cater to the needs of geometric planning. We present PackIt, a virtual environment to evaluate and potentially learn the ability to do geometric planning, where an agent needs to take a sequence of actions to pack a set of objects into a box with limited space. We also construct a set of challenging packing tasks using an evolutionary algorithm. Further, we study various baselines for the task that include model-free learning-based and heuristic-based methods, as well as search-based optimization methods that assume access to the model of the environment.

Multilinear Latent Conditioning for Generating Unseen Attribute Combinations
Markos Georgopoulos, Grigorios Chrysos, Maja Pantic, Yannis Panagakis

Deep generative models rely on their inductive bias to facilitate generalization, especially for problems with high dimensional data, like images. However, empirical studies have shown that variational autoencoders (VAE) and generative adversarial networks (GAN) lack the generalization ability that occurs naturally in human perception. For example, humans can visualize a woman smiling after only seeing a smiling man. On the contrary, the standard conditional VAE (cVAE) is unable to generate unseen attribute combinations. To this end, we extend cVAE by introducing a multilinear latent conditioning framework that captures the multiplicative interactions between the attributes. We implement two variants of our model and demonstrate their efficacy on MNIST, Fashion-MNIST and CelebA. Altogether, we design a novel conditioning framework that can be used with any architecture to synthesize unseen attribute combinations.

PolyGen: An Autoregressive Generative Model of 3D Meshes
Charlie Nash, Yaroslav Ganin, S. M. Ali Eslami, Peter Battaglia

Polygon meshes are an efficient representation of 3D geometry, and are of central importance in computer graphics, robotics and games development. Existing learning-based approaches for object synthesis have avoided the challenges of working with 3D meshes, instead using alternative object representations that are more compatible with neural architectures and training approaches. We present PolyGen, a generative model of 3D objects which models the mesh directly, predicting vertices and faces sequentially using a Transformer-based architecture. Our model can condition on a range of inputs, including object classes, voxels, and images, and because the model is probabilistic it can produce samples that capture uncertainty in ambiguous scenarios. We show that the model is capable of producing high-quality, usable meshes, and establish log-likelihood benchmarks for the mesh-modelling task. We also evaluate the conditional models on surface reconstruction metrics against alternative methods, and demonstrate competitive performance despite not training directly on this task.

Gamification of Pure Exploration for Linear Bandits
Rémy Degenne, Pierre Menard, Xuedong Shang, Michal Valko

We investigate an active \emph{pure-exploration} setting, that includes \emph{best-arm identification}, in the context of \emph{linear stochastic bandits}. While asymptotically optimal algorithms exist for standard \emph{multi-armed bandits}, the existence of such algorithms for the best-arm identification in linear bandits has been elusive despite several attempts to address it. First, we provide a thorough comparison and new insight over different notions of optimality in the linear case, including G-optimality, transductive optimality from optimal experimental design and asymptotic optimality. Second, we design the first asymptotically optimal algorithm for fixed-confidence pure exploration in linear bandits. As a consequence, our algorithm naturally bypasses the pitfall caused by a simple but difficult instance, that most prior algorithms had to be engineered to deal with explicitly. Finally, we avoid the need to fully solve an optimal design problem by providing an approach that entails an efficient implementation.

Double Trouble in Double Descent: Bias and Variance(s) in the Lazy Regime
Stéphane d'Ascoli, Maria Refinetti, Giulio Biroli, Florent Krzakala
Deep neural networks can achieve remarkable generalization performances while interpolating the training data. Rather than the U-curve emblematic of the bias-variance trade-off, their test error often follows a ``double descent"---a mark of the beneficial role of overparametrization. In this work, we develop a quantitative theory for this phenomenon in the so-called lazy learning regime of neural networks, by considering the problem of learning a high-dimensional function with random features regression. We obtain a precise asymptotic expression for the bias-variance decomposition of the test error, and show that the bias displays a phase transition at the interpolation threshold, beyond it which it remains constant. We disentangle the variances stemming from the sampling of the dataset, from the additive noise corrupting the labels, and from the initialization of the weights. We demonstrate that the latter two contributions are the crux of the double descent: they lead to the overfitting peak at the interpolation threshold and to the decay of the test error upon overparametrization. We quantify how they are suppressed by ensembling the outputs of $K$ independently initialized estimators. For $K\rightarrow \infty$, the test error is monotonously decreasing and remains constant beyond the interpolation threshold. We further compare the effects of overparametrizing, …
Training Linear Neural Networks: Non-Local Convergence and Complexity Results
Armin Eftekhari

Linear networks provide valuable insights into the workings of neural networks in general. This paper identifies conditions under which the gradient flow provably trains a linear network, in spite of the non-strict saddle points present in the optimization landscape. This paper also provides the computational complexity of training linear networks with gradient flow. To achieve these results, this work develops a machinery to provably identify the stable set of gradient flow, which then enables us to improve over the state of the art in the literature of linear networks (Bah et al., 2019;Arora et al., 2018a). Crucially, our results appear to be the first to break away from the lazy training regime which has dominated the literature of neural networks. This work requires the network to have a layer with one neuron, which subsumes the networks with a scalar output, but extending the results of this theoretical work to all linear networks remains a challenging open problem.

DeepMatch: Balancing Deep Covariate Representations for Causal Inference Using Adversarial Training
Nathan Kallus

We study optimal covariate balance for causal inferences from observational data when rich covariates and complex relationships necessitate flexible modeling with neural networks. Standard approaches such as propensity weighting and matching/balancing fail in such settings due to miscalibrated propensity nets and inappropriate covariate representations, respectively. We propose a new method based on adversarial training of a weighting and a discriminator network that effectively addresses this methodological gap. This is demonstrated through new theoretical characterizations and empirical results on both synthetic and clinical data showing how causal analyses can be salvaged in such challenging settings.

A new regret analysis for Adam-type algorithms
Ahmet Alacaoglu, Yura Malitsky, Panayotis Mertikopoulos, Volkan Cevher
In this paper, we focus on a theory-practice gap for Adam and its variants (AMSGrad, AdamNC, etc.). In practice, these algorithms are used with a constant first-order moment parameter $\beta_{1}$ (typically between $0.9$ and $0.99$). In theory, regret guarantees for online convex optimization require a rapidly decaying $\beta_{1}\to0$ schedule. We show that this is an artifact of the standard analysis, and we propose a novel framework that allows us to derive optimal, data-dependent regret bounds with a constant $\beta_{1}$, without further assumptions. We also demonstrate the flexibility of our analysis on a wide range of different algorithms and settings.
Estimating Model Uncertainty of Neural Networks in Sparse Information Form
Jongseok Lee, Matthias Humt, Jianxiang Feng, Rudolph Triebel

We present a sparse representation of model uncertainty for Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) where the parameter posterior is approximated with an inverse formulation of the Multivariate Normal Distribution (MND), also known as the information form. The key insight of our work is that the information matrix, i.e. the inverse of the covariance matrix tends to be sparse in its spectrum. Therefore, dimensionality reduction techniques such as low rank approximations (LRA) can be effectively exploited. To achieve this, we develop a novel sparsification algorithm and derive a cost-effective analytical sampler. As a result, we show that the information form can be scalably applied to represent model uncertainty in DNNs. Our exhaustive theoretical analysis and empirical evaluations on various benchmarks show the competitiveness of our approach over the current methods.

Boosting Frank-Wolfe by Chasing Gradients
Cyrille W. Combettes, Sebastian Pokutta
The Frank-Wolfe algorithm has become a popular first-order optimization algorithm for it is simple and projection-free, and it has been successfully applied to a variety of real-world problems. Its main drawback however lies in its convergence rate, which can be excessively slow due to naive descent directions. We propose to speed up the Frank-Wolfe algorithm by better aligning the descent direction with that of the negative gradient via a subroutine. This subroutine chases the negative gradient direction in a matching pursuit-style while still preserving the projection-free property. Although the approach is reasonably natural, it produces very significant results. We derive convergence rates $\mathcal{O}(1/t)$ to $\mathcal{O}(e^{-\omega t})$ of our method and we demonstrate its competitive advantage both per iteration and in CPU time over the state-of-the-art in a series of computational experiments.
Estimating the Error of Randomized Newton Methods: A Bootstrap Approach
Miles Lopes, Jessie X.T. Chen

Randomized Newton methods have recently become the focus of intense research activity in large-scale and distributed optimization. In general, these methods are based on a computation-accuracy trade-off'', which allows the user to gain scalability in exchange for error in the solution. However, the user does not know how much error is created by the randomized approximation, which can be detrimental in two ways: On one hand, the user may try to assess the unknown error with theoretical worst-case error bounds, but this approach is impractical when the bounds involve unknown constants, and it often leads to excessive computation. On the other hand, the user may select thesketch size'' and stopping criteria in a heuristic manner, but this can lead to unreliable results. Motivated by these difficulties, we show how bootstrapping can be used to directly estimate the unknown error, which prevents excessive computation, and offers more confidence about the quality of a randomized solution. Furthermore, we show that the error estimation adds little computational cost to existing randomized Newton methods (e.g. \textsc{newton sketch} and \textsc{giant}), and it performs well empirically.

Up or Down? Adaptive Rounding for Post-Training Quantization
Markus Nagel, Rana Ali Amjad, Mart van Baalen, Christos Louizos, Tijmen Blankevoort

When quantizing neural networks, assigning each floating-point weight to its nearest fixed-point value is the predominant approach. We find that, perhaps surprisingly, this is not the best we can do. In this paper, we propose AdaRound, a better weight-rounding mechanism for post-training quantization that adapts to the data and the task loss. AdaRound is fast, does not require fine-tuning of the network, and only uses a small amount of unlabelled data. We start by theoretically analyzing the rounding problem for a pre-trained neural network. By approximating the task loss with a Taylor series expansion, the rounding task is posed as a quadratic unconstrained binary optimization problem. We simplify this to a layer-wise local loss and propose to optimize this loss with a soft relaxation. AdaRound not only outperforms rounding-to-nearest by a significant margin but also establishes a new state-of-the-art for post-training quantization on several networks and tasks. Without fine-tuning, we can quantize the weights of Resnet18 and Resnet50 to 4 bits while staying within an accuracy loss of 1%.

Attentive Group Equivariant Convolutional Networks
David Romero, Erik Bekkers, Jakub Tomczak, Mark Hoogendoorn

Although group convolutional networks are able to learn powerful representations based on symmetry patterns, they lack explicit means to learn meaningful relationships among them (e.g., relative positions and poses). In this paper, we present attentive group equivariant convolutions, a generalization of the group convolution, in which attention is applied during the course of convolution to accentuate meaningful symmetry combinations and suppress non-plausible, misleading ones. We indicate that prior work on visual attention can be described as special cases of our proposed framework and show empirically that our attentive group equivariant convolutional networks consistently outperform conventional group convolutional networks on benchmark image datasets. Simultaneously, we provide interpretability to the learned concepts through the visualization of equivariant attention maps.


Poster Session 37 Thu 16 Jul 01:00 a.m.  

Dissecting Non-Vacuous Generalization Bounds based on the Mean-Field Approximation
Konstantinos Pitas

Explaining how overparametrized neural networks simultaneously achieve low risk and zero empirical risk on benchmark datasets is an open problem. PAC-Bayes bounds optimized using variational inference (VI) have been recently proposed as a promising direction in obtaining non-vacuous bounds. We show empirically that this approach gives negligible gains when modelling the posterior as a Gaussian with diagonal covariance---known as the mean-field approximation. We investigate common explanations, such as the failure of VI due to problems in optimization or choosing a suboptimal prior. Our results suggest that investigating richer posteriors is the most promising direction forward.

Scalable Differential Privacy with Certified Robustness in Adversarial Learning
Hai Phan, My T. Thai, Han Hu, Ruoming Jin, Tong Sun, Dejing Dou

In this paper, we aim to develop a scalable algorithm to preserve differential privacy (DP) in adversarial learning for deep neural networks (DNNs), with certified robustness to adversarial examples. By leveraging the sequential composition theory in DP, we randomize both input and latent spaces to strengthen our certified robustness bounds. To address the trade-off among model utility, privacy loss, and robustness, we design an original adversarial objective function, based on the post-processing property in DP, to tighten the sensitivity of our model. A new stochastic batch training is proposed to apply our mechanism on large DNNs and datasets, by bypassing the vanilla iterative batch-by-batch training in DP DNNs. An end-to-end theoretical analysis and evaluations show that our mechanism notably improves the robustness and scalability of DP DNNs.

Einsum Networks: Fast and Scalable Learning of Tractable Probabilistic Circuits
Robert Peharz, Steven Lang, Antonio Vergari, Karl Stelzner, Alejandro Molina, Martin Trapp, Guy Van den Broeck, Kristian Kersting, Zoubin Ghahramani

Probabilistic circuits (PCs) are a promising avenue for probabilistic modeling, as they permit a wide range of exact and efficient inference routines. Recent ``deep-learning-style'' implementations of PCs strive for a better scalability, but are still difficult to train on real-world data, due to their sparsely connected computational graphs. In this paper, we propose Einsum Networks (EiNets), a novel implementation design for PCs, improving prior art in several regards. At their core, EiNets combine a large number of arithmetic operations in a single monolithic einsum-operation, leading to speedups and memory savings of up to two orders of magnitude, in comparison to previous implementations. As an algorithmic contribution, we show that the implementation of Expectation-Maximization (EM) can be simplified for PCs, by leveraging automatic differentiation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that EiNets scale well to datasets which were previously out of reach, such as SVHN and CelebA, and that they can be used as faithful generative image models.

Neuro-Symbolic Visual Reasoning: Disentangling "Visual" from "Reasoning"
Saeed Amizadeh, Hamid Palangi, Alex Polozov, Yichen Huang, Kazuhito Koishida

Visual reasoning tasks such as visual question answering (VQA) require an interplay of visual perception with reasoning about the question semantics grounded in perception. However, recent advances in this area are still primarily driven by perception improvements (e.g. scene graph generation) rather than reasoning. Neuro-symbolic models such as Neural Module Networks bring the benefits of compositional reasoning to VQA, but they are still entangled with visual representation learning, and thus neural reasoning is hard to improve and assess on its own. To address this, we propose (1) a framework to isolate and evaluate the reasoning aspect of VQA separately from its perception, and (2) a novel top-down calibration technique that allows the model to answer reasoning questions even with imperfect perception. To this end, we introduce a Differentiable First-Order Logic formalism for VQA that explicitly decouples question answering from visual perception. On the challenging GQA dataset, this framework is used to perform in-depth, disentangled comparisons between well-known VQA models leading to informative insights regarding the participating models as well as the task.

Adaptive Sketching for Fast and Convergent Canonical Polyadic Decomposition
Alex Gittens, Kareem Aggour, Bülent Yener

This work considers the canonical polyadic decomposition (CPD) of tensors using proximally regularized sketched alternating least squares algorithms. First, it establishes a sublinear rate of convergence for proximally regularized sketched CPD algorithms under two natural conditions that are known to be satisfied by many popular forms of sketching. Second, it demonstrates that the iterative nature of CPD algorithms can be exploited algorithmically to choose more performant sketching rates. This is accomplished by introducing CPD-MWU, a proximally-regularized sketched alternating least squares algorithm that adaptively selects the sketching rate at each iteration. On both synthetic and real data we observe that for noisy tensors CPD-MWU produces decompositions of comparable accuracy to the standard CPD decomposition in less time, often half the time; for ill-conditioned tensors, given the same time budget, CPD-MWU produces decompositions with an order-of-magnitude lower relative error. For a representative real-world dataset CPD-MWU produces residual errors on average 20% lower than CPRAND-MIX and 44% lower than SPALS, two recent sketched CPD algorithms.

Reserve Pricing in Repeated Second-Price Auctions with Strategic Bidders
Alexey Drutsa
We study revenue optimization learning algorithms for repeated second-price auctions with reserve where a seller interacts with multiple strategic bidders each of which holds a fixed private valuation for a good and seeks to maximize his expected future cumulative discounted surplus. We propose a novel algorithm that has strategic regret upper bound of $O(\log\log T)$ for worst-case valuations. This pricing is based on our novel transformation that upgrades an algorithm designed for the setup with a single buyer to the multi-buyer case. We provide theoretical guarantees on the ability of a transformed algorithm to learn the valuation of a strategic buyer, which has uncertainty about the future due to the presence of rivals.
Scalable Exact Inference in Multi-Output Gaussian Processes
Wessel Bruinsma, Eric Perim Martins, William Tebbutt, Scott Hosking, Arno Solin, Richard E Turner
Multi-output Gaussian processes (MOGPs) leverage the flexibility and interpretability of GPs while capturing structure across outputs, which is desirable, for example, in spatio-temporal modelling. The key problem with MOGPs is their computational scaling $O(n^3 p^3)$, which is cubic in the number of both inputs $n$ (e.g., time points or locations) and outputs $p$. For this reason, a popular class of MOGPs assumes that the data live around a low-dimensional linear subspace, reducing the complexity to $O(n^3 m^3)$. However, this cost is still cubic in the dimensionality of the subspace $m$, which is still prohibitively expensive for many applications. We propose the use of a sufficient statistic of the data to accelerate inference and learning in MOGPs with orthogonal bases. The method achieves linear scaling in $m$ in practice, allowing these models to scale to large $m$ without sacrificing significant expressivity or requiring approximation. This advance opens up a wide range of real-world tasks and can be combined with existing GP approximations in a plug-and-play way. We demonstrate the efficacy of the method on various synthetic and real-world data sets.
k-means++: few more steps yield constant approximation
Davin Choo, Christoph Grunau, Julian Portmann, Vaclav Rozhon

The k-means++ algorithm of Arthur and Vassilvitskii (SODA 2007) is a state-of-the-art algorithm for solving the k-means clustering problem and is known to give an O(log k) approximation. Recently, Lattanzi and Sohler (ICML 2019) proposed augmenting k-means++ with O(k log log k) local search steps to yield a constant approximation (in expectation) to the k-means clustering problem. In this paper, we improve their analysis to show that, for any arbitrarily small constant epsilon > 0, with only epsilon * k additional local search steps, one can achieve a constant approximation guarantee (with high probability in k), resolving an open problem in their paper.

Doubly Stochastic Variational Inference for Neural Processes with Hierarchical Latent Variables
Q. Wang, Herke van Hoof

Neural processes (NPs) constitute a family of variational approximate models for stochastic processes with promising properties in computational efficiency and uncertainty quantification. These processes use neural networks with latent variable inputs to induce a predictive distribution. However, the expressiveness of vanilla NPs is limited as they only use a global latent variable, while target-specific local variation may be crucial sometimes. To address this challenge, we investigate NPs systematically and present a new variant of NP model that we call Doubly Stochastic Variational Neural Process (DSVNP). This model combines the global latent variable and local latent variables for prediction. We evaluate this model in several experiments, and our results demonstrate competitive prediction performance in multi-output regression and uncertainty estimation in classification.

Relaxing Bijectivity Constraints with Continuously Indexed Normalising Flows
Rob Cornish, Anthony Caterini, George Deligiannidis, Arnaud Doucet

We show that normalising flows become pathological when used to model targets whose supports have complicated topologies. In this scenario, we prove that a flow must become arbitrarily numerically noninvertible in order to approximate the target closely. This result has implications for all flow-based models, and especially residual flows (ResFlows), which explicitly control the Lipschitz constant of the bijection used. To address this, we propose continuously indexed flows (CIFs), which replace the single bijection used by normalising flows with a continuously indexed family of bijections, and which can intuitively "clean up" mass that would otherwise be misplaced by a single bijection. We show theoretically that CIFs are not subject to the same topological limitations as normalising flows, and obtain better empirical performance on a variety of models and benchmarks.

Equivariant Neural Rendering
Emilien Dupont, Miguel Angel Bautista Martin, Alex Colburn, Aditya Sankar, Josh M Susskind, Qi Shan

We propose a framework for learning neural scene representations directly from images, without 3D supervision. Our key insight is that 3D structure can be imposed by ensuring that the learned representation transforms like a real 3D scene. Specifically, we introduce a loss which enforces equivariance of the scene representation with respect to 3D transformations. Our formulation allows us to infer and render scenes in real time while achieving comparable results to models requiring minutes for inference. In addition, we introduce two challenging new datasets for scene representation and neural rendering, including scenes with complex lighting and backgrounds. Through experiments, we show that our model achieves compelling results on these datasets as well as on standard ShapeNet benchmarks.

Optimal Continual Learning has Perfect Memory and is NP-hard
Jeremias Knoblauch, Hisham Husain, Tom Diethe

Continual Learning (CL) algorithms incrementally learn a predictor or representation across multiple sequentially observed tasks. Designing CL algorithms that perform reliably and avoid so-called catastrophic forgetting has proven a persistent challenge. The current paper develops a theoretical approach that explains why. In particular, we derive the computational properties which CL algorithms would have to possess in order to avoid catastrophic forgetting. Our main finding is that such optimal CL algorithms generally solve an NP-hard problem and will require perfect memory to do so. The findings are of theoretical interest, but also explain the excellent performance of CL algorithms using experience replay, episodic memory and core sets relative to regularization-based approaches.

Subspace Fitting Meets Regression: The Effects of Supervision and Orthonormality Constraints on Double Descent of Generalization Errors
Yehuda Dar, Paul Mayer, Lorenzo Luzi, Richard Baraniuk

We study the linear subspace fitting problem in the overparameterized setting, where the estimated subspace can perfectly interpolate the training examples. Our scope includes the least-squares solutions to subspace fitting tasks with varying levels of supervision in the training data (i.e., the proportion of input-output examples of the desired low-dimensional mapping) and orthonormality of the vectors defining the learned operator. This flexible family of problems connects standard, unsupervised subspace fitting that enforces strict orthonormality with a corresponding regression task that is fully supervised and does not constrain the linear operator structure. This class of problems is defined over a supervision-orthonormality plane, where each coordinate induces a problem instance with a unique pair of supervision level and softness of orthonormality constraints. We explore this plane and show that the generalization errors of the corresponding subspace fitting problems follow double descent trends as the settings become more supervised and less orthonormally constrained.

On Convergence-Diagnostic based Step Sizes for Stochastic Gradient Descent
Scott Pesme, Aymeric Dieuleveut, Nicolas Flammarion

Constant step-size Stochastic Gradient Descent exhibits two phases: a transient phase during which iterates make fast progress towards the optimum, followed by a stationary phase during which iterates oscillate around the optimal point. In this paper, we show that efficiently detecting this transition and appropriately decreasing the step size can lead to fast convergence rates. We analyse the classical statistical test proposed by Pflug (1983), based on the inner product between consecutive stochastic gradients. Even in the simple case where the objective function is quadratic we show that this test cannot lead to an adequate convergence diagnostic. We then propose a novel and simple statistical procedure that accurately detects stationarity and we provide experimental results showing state-of-the-art performance on synthetic and real-word datasets.

Deep Coordination Graphs
Wendelin Boehmer, Vitaly Kurin, Shimon Whiteson

This paper introduces the deep coordination graph (DCG) for collaborative multi-agent reinforcement learning. DCG strikes a flexible trade-off between representational capacity and generalization by factoring the joint value function of all agents according to a coordination graph into payoffs between pairs of agents. The value can be maximized by local message passing along the graph, which allows training of the value function end-to-end with Q-learning. Payoff functions are approximated with deep neural networks that employ parameter sharing and low-rank approximations to significantly improve sample efficiency. We show that DCG can solve predator-prey tasks that highlight the relative overgeneralization pathology, as well as challenging StarCraft II micromanagement tasks.

Divide, Conquer, and Combine: a New Inference Strategy for Probabilistic Programs with Stochastic Support
Yuan Zhou, Hongseok Yang, Yee-Whye Teh, Tom Rainforth

Universal probabilistic programming systems (PPSs) provide a powerful framework for specifying rich probabilistic models. They further attempt to automate the process of drawing inferences from these models, but doing this successfully is severely hampered by the wide range of non--standard models they can express. As a result, although one can specify complex models in a universal PPS, the provided inference engines often fall far short of what is required. In particular, we show that they produce surprisingly unsatisfactory performance for models where the support varies between executions, often doing no better than importance sampling from the prior. To address this, we introduce a new inference framework: Divide, Conquer, and Combine, which remains efficient for such models, and show how it can be implemented as an automated and generic PPS inference engine. We empirically demonstrate substantial performance improvements over existing approaches on three examples.

Automatic Reparameterisation of Probabilistic Programs
Maria Gorinova, Dave Moore, Matt Hoffman

Probabilistic programming has emerged as a powerful paradigm in statistics, applied science, and machine learning: by decoupling modelling from inference, it promises to allow modellers to directly reason about the processes generating data. However, the performance of inference algorithms can be dramatically affected by the parameterisation used to express a model, requiring users to transform their programs in non-intuitive ways. We argue for automating these transformations, and demonstrate that mechanisms available in recent modelling frameworks can implement non-centring and related reparameterisations. This enables new inference algorithms, and we propose two: a simple approach using interleaved sampling and a novel variational formulation that searches over a continuous space of parameterisations. We show that these approaches enable robust inference across a range of models, and can yield more efficient samplers than the best fixed parameterisation.

T-Basis: a Compact Representation for Neural Networks
Anton Obukhov, Maxim Rakhuba, Stamatios Georgoulis, Menelaos Kanakis, Dengxin Dai, Luc Van Gool

We introduce T-Basis, a novel concept for a compact representation of a set of tensors, each of an arbitrary shape, which is often seen in Neural Networks. Each of the tensors in the set is modeled using Tensor Rings, though the concept applies to other Tensor Networks. Owing its name to the T-shape of nodes in diagram notation of Tensor Rings, T-Basis is simply a list of equally shaped three-dimensional tensors, used to represent Tensor Ring nodes. Such representation allows us to parameterize the tensor set with a small number of parameters (coefficients of the T-Basis tensors), scaling logarithmically with each tensor's size in the set and linearly with the dimensionality of T-Basis. We evaluate the proposed approach on the task of neural network compression and demonstrate that it reaches high compression rates at acceptable performance drops. Finally, we analyze memory and operation requirements of the compressed networks and conclude that T-Basis networks are equally well suited for training and inference in resource-constrained environments and usage on the edge devices. Project website: obukhov.io/tbasis.

Radioactive data: tracing through training
Alexandre Sablayrolles, Douze Matthijs, Cordelia Schmid, Herve Jegou

Data tracing determines whether a particular image dataset has been used to train a model. We propose a new technique, radioactive data, that makes imperceptible changes to this dataset such that any model trained on it will bear an identifiable mark. Given a trained model, our technique detects the use of radioactive data and provides a level of confidence (p-value). Experiments on large-scale benchmarks (Imagenet), with standard architectures (Resnet-18, VGG-16, Densenet-121) and training procedures, show that we detect radioactive data with high confidence (p<0.0001) when only 1% of the data used to trained a model is radioactive. Our radioactive mark is resilient to strong data augmentations and variations of the model architecture. As a result, it offers a much higher signal-to-noise ratio than data poisoning and backdoor methods.

Convergence Rates of Variational Inference in Sparse Deep Learning
Badr-Eddine Chérief-Abdellatif

Variational inference is becoming more and more popular for approximating intractable posterior distributions in Bayesian statistics and machine learning. Meanwhile, a few recent works have provided theoretical justification and new insights on deep neural networks for estimating smooth functions in usual settings such as nonparametric regression. In this paper, we show that variational inference for sparse deep learning retains precisely the same generalization properties than exact Bayesian inference. In particular, we show that a wise choice of the neural network architecture leads to near-minimax rates of convergence for H\"older smooth functions. Additionally, we show that the model selection framework over the architecture of the network via ELBO maximization does not overfit and adaptively achieves the optimal rate of convergence.

Interpretable Off-Policy Evaluation in Reinforcement Learning by Highlighting Influential Transitions
Omer Gottesman, Joseph Futoma, Yao Liu, Sonali Parbhoo, Leo Celi, Emma Brunskill, Finale Doshi-Velez

Off-policy evaluation in reinforcement learning offers the chance of using observational data to improve future outcomes in domains such as healthcare and education, but safe deployment in high stakes settings requires ways of assessing its validity. Traditional measures such as confidence intervals may be insufficient due to noise, limited data and confounding. In this paper we develop a method that could serve as a hybrid human-AI system, to enable human experts to analyze the validity of policy evaluation estimates. This is accomplished by highlighting observations in the data whose removal will have a large effect on the OPE estimate, and formulating a set of rules for choosing which ones to present to domain experts for validation. We develop methods to compute exactly the influence functions for fitted Q-evaluation with two different function classes: kernel-based and linear least squares, as well as importance sampling methods. Experiments on medical simulations and real-world intensive care unit data demonstrate that our method can be used to identify limitations in the evaluation process and make evaluation more robust.

Implicit Regularization of Random Feature Models
Arthur Jacot, Berfin Simsek, Francesco Spadaro, Clement Hongler, Franck Gabriel
Random Features (RF) models are used as efficient parametric approximations of kernel methods. We investigate, by means of random matrix theory, the connection between Gaussian RF models and Kernel Ridge Regression (KRR). For a Gaussian RF model with $P$ features, $N$ data points, and a ridge $\lambda$, we show that the average (i.e. expected) RF predictor is close to a KRR predictor with an \textit{effective ridge} $\tilde{\lambda}$. We show that $\tilde{\lambda} > \lambda$ and $\tilde{\lambda} \searrow \lambda$ monotonically as $P$ grows, thus revealing the \textit{implicit regularization effect} of finite RF sampling. We then compare the risk (i.e. test error) of the $\tilde{\lambda}$-KRR predictor with the average risk of the $\lambda$-RF predictor and obtain a precise and explicit bound on their difference. Finally, we empirically find an extremely good agreement between the test errors of the average $\lambda$-RF predictor and $\tilde{\lambda}$-KRR predictor.
No-Regret Exploration in Goal-Oriented Reinforcement Learning
Jean Tarbouriech, Evrard Garcelon, Michal Valko, Matteo Pirotta, Alessandro Lazaric
Many popular reinforcement learning problems (e.g., navigation in a maze, some Atari games, mountain car) are instances of the episodic setting under its stochastic shortest path (SSP) formulation, where an agent has to achieve a goal state while minimizing the cumulative cost. Despite the popularity of this setting, the exploration-exploitation dilemma has been sparsely studied in general SSP problems, with most of the theoretical literature focusing on different problems (i.e., fixed-horizon and infinite-horizon) or making the restrictive loop-free SSP assumption (i.e., no state can be visited twice during an episode). In this paper, we study the general SSP problem with no assumption on its dynamics (some policies may actually never reach the goal). We introduce UC-SSP, the first no-regret algorithm in this setting, and prove a regret bound scaling as $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}( D S \sqrt{ A D K})$ after $K$ episodes for any unknown SSP with $S$ states, $A$ actions, positive costs and SSP-diameter $D$, defined as the smallest expected hitting time from any starting state to the goal. We achieve this result by crafting a novel stopping rule, such that UC-SSP may interrupt the current policy if it is taking too long to achieve the goal and switch to alternative …
CoMic: Complementary Task Learning & Mimicry for Reusable Skills
Leonard Hasenclever, Fabio Pardo, Raia Hadsell, Nicolas Heess, Josh Merel

Learning to control complex bodies and reuse learned behaviors is a longstanding challenge in continuous control. We study the problem of learning reusable humanoid skills by imitating motion capture data and joint training with complementary tasks. We show that it is possible to learn reusable skills through reinforcement learning on 50 times more motion capture data than prior work. We systematically compare a variety of different network architectures across different data regimes both in terms of imitation performance as well as transfer to challenging locomotion tasks. Finally we show that it is possible to interleave the motion capture tracking with training on complementary tasks, enriching the resulting skill space, and enabling the reuse of skills not well covered by the motion capture data such as getting up from the ground or catching a ball.

Unique Properties of Flat Minima in Deep Networks
Rotem Mulayoff, Tomer Michaeli

It is well known that (stochastic) gradient descent has an implicit bias towards flat minima. In deep neural network training, this mechanism serves to screen out minima. However, the precise effect that this has on the trained network is not yet fully understood. In this paper, we characterize the flat minima in linear neural networks trained with a quadratic loss. First, we show that linear ResNets with zero initialization necessarily converge to the flattest of all minima. We then prove that these minima correspond to nearly balanced networks whereby the gain from the input to any intermediate representation does not change drastically from one layer to the next. Finally, we show that consecutive layers in flat minima solutions are coupled. That is, one of the left singular vectors of each weight matrix, equals one of the right singular vectors of the next matrix. This forms a distinct path from input to output, that, as we show, is dedicated to the signal that experiences the largest gain end-to-end. Experiments indicate that these properties are characteristic of both linear and nonlinear models trained in practice.

On the Generalization Benefit of Noise in Stochastic Gradient Descent
Samuel Smith, Erich Elsen, Soham De

It has long been argued that minibatch stochastic gradient descent can generalize better than large batch gradient descent in deep neural networks. However recent papers have questioned this claim, arguing that this effect is simply a consequence of suboptimal hyperparameter tuning or insufficient compute budgets when the batch size is large. In this paper, we perform carefully designed experiments and rigorous hyperparameter sweeps on a range of popular models, which verify that small or moderately large batch sizes can substantially outperform very large batches on the test set. This occurs even when both models are trained for the same number of iterations and large batches achieve smaller training losses. Our results confirm that the noise in stochastic gradients can enhance generalization. We study how the optimal learning rate schedule changes as the epoch budget grows, and we provide a theoretical account of our observations based on the stochastic differential equation perspective of SGD dynamics.

Interpretations are Useful: Penalizing Explanations to Align Neural Networks with Prior Knowledge
Laura Rieger, Chandan Singh, William Murdoch, Bin Yu

For an explanation of a deep learning model to be effective, it must provide both insight into a model and suggest a corresponding action in order to achieve some objective. Too often, the litany of proposed explainable deep learning methods stop at the first step, providing practitioners with insight into a model, but no way to act on it. In this paper, we propose contextual decomposition explanation penalization (CDEP), a method which enables practitioners to leverage existing explanation methods to increase the predictive accuracy of a deep learning model. In particular, when shown that a model has incorrectly assigned importance to some features, CDEP enables practitioners to correct these errors by inserting domain knowledge into the model via explanations. We demonstrate the ability of CDEP to increase performance on an array of toy and real datasets.

Student-Teacher Curriculum Learning via Reinforcement Learning: Predicting Hospital Inpatient Admission Location
Rasheed El-Bouri, David Eyre, Peter Watkinson, Tingting Zhu, David Clifton

Accurate and reliable prediction of hospital admission location is important due to resource-constraints and space availability in a clinical setting, particularly when dealing with patients who come from the emergency department. In this work we propose a student-teacher network via reinforcement learning to deal with this specific problem. A representation of the weights of the student network is treated as the state and is fed as an input to the teacher network. The teacher network's action is to select the most appropriate batch of data to train the student network on from a training set sorted according to entropy. By validating on three datasets, not only do we show that our approach outperforms state-of-the-art methods on tabular data and performs competitively on image recognition, but also that novel curricula are learned by the teacher network. We demonstrate experimentally that the teacher network can actively learn about the student network and guide it to achieve better performance than if trained alone.

Discriminative Adversarial Search for Abstractive Summarization
Thomas Scialom, Paul-Alexis Dray, Sylvain Lamprier, Benjamin Piwowarski, Jacopo Staiano

We introduce a novel approach for sequence decoding, Discriminative Adversarial Search (DAS), which has the desirable properties of alleviating the effects of exposure bias without requiring external metrics. Inspired by Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), wherein a discriminator is used to improve the generator, our method differs from GANs in that the generator parameters are not updated at training time and the discriminator is used to drive sequence generation at inference time. We investigate the effectiveness of the proposed approach on the task of Abstractive Summarization: the results obtained show that a naive application of DAS improves over the state-of-the-art methods, with further gains obtained via discriminator retraining. Moreover, we show how DAS can be effective for cross-domain adaptation. Finally, all results reported are obtained without additional rule-based filtering strategies, commonly used by the best performing systems available: this indicates that DAS can effectively be deployed without relying on post-hoc modifications of the generated outputs.

Adding seemingly uninformative labels helps in low data regimes
Christos Matsoukas, Albert Bou Hernandez, Yue Liu, Karin Dembrower, Gisele Miranda, Emir Konuk, Johan Fredin Haslum, Athanasios Zouzos, Peter Lindholm, Fredrik Strand, Kevin Smith

Evidence suggests that networks trained on large datasets generalize well not solely because of the numerous training examples, but also class diversity which encourages learning of enriched features. This raises the question of whether this remains true when data is scarce - is there an advantage to learning with additional labels in low-data regimes? In this work, we consider a task that requires difficult-to-obtain expert annotations: tumor segmentation in mammography images. We show that, in low-data settings, performance can be improved by complementing the expert annotations with seemingly uninformative labels from non-expert annotators, turning the task into a multi-class problem. We reveal that these gains increase when less expert data is available, and uncover several interesting properties through further studies. We demonstrate our findings on CSAW-S, a new dataset that we introduce here, and confirm them on two public datasets.

Self-Attentive Hawkes Process
Qiang Zhang, Aldo Lipani, Omer Kirnap, Emine Yilmaz

Capturing the occurrence dynamics is crucial to predicting which type of events will happen next and when. A common method to do this is through Hawkes processes. To enhance their capacity, recurrent neural networks (RNNs) have been incorporated due to RNNs' successes in processing sequential data such as languages. Recent evidence suggests that self-attention is more competent than RNNs in dealing with languages. However, we are unaware of the effectiveness of self-attention in the context of Hawkes processes. This study aims to fill the gap by designing a self-attentive Hawkes process (SAHP). SAHP employs self-attention to summarise the influence of history events and compute the probability of the next event. One deficit of the conventional self-attention when applied to event sequences is that its positional encoding only considers the order of a sequence ignoring the time intervals between events. To overcome this deficit, we modify its encoding by translating time intervals into phase shifts of sinusoidal functions. Experiments on goodness-of-fit and prediction tasks show the improved capability of SAHP. Furthermore, SAHP is more interpretable than RNN-based counterparts because the learnt attention weights reveal contributions of one event type to the happening of another type. To the best of our knowledge, …

Transformers are RNNs: Fast Autoregressive Transformers with Linear Attention
Angelos Katharopoulos, Apoorv Vyas, Nikolaos Pappas, François Fleuret
Transformers achieve remarkable performance in several tasks but due to their quadratic complexity, with respect to the input's length, they are prohibitively slow for very long sequences. To address this limitation, we express the self-attention as a linear dot-product of kernel feature maps and make use of the associativity property of matrix products to reduce the complexity from $\bigO{N^2}$ to $\bigO{N}$, where $N$ is the sequence length. We show that this formulation permits an iterative implementation that dramatically accelerates autoregressive transformers and reveals their relationship to recurrent neural networks. Our \textit{Linear Transformers} achieve similar performance to vanilla Transformers and they are up to 4000x faster on autoregressive prediction of very long sequences.
Super-efficiency of automatic differentiation for functions defined as a minimum
Pierre Ablin, Gabriel Peyré, Thomas Moreau

In min-min optimization or max-min optimization, one has to compute the gradient of a function defined as a minimum. In most cases, the minimum has no closed-form, and an approximation is obtained via an iterative algorithm. There are two usual ways of estimating the gradient of the function: using either an analytic formula obtained by assuming exactness of the approximation, or automatic differentiation through the algorithm. In this paper, we study the asymptotic error made by these estimators as a function of the optimization error. We find that the error of the automatic estimator is close to the square of the error of the analytic estimator, reflecting a super-efficiency phenomenon. The convergence of the automatic estimator greatly depends on the convergence of the Jacobian of the algorithm. We analyze it for gradient descent and stochastic gradient descent and derive convergence rates for the estimators in these cases. Our analysis is backed by numerical experiments on toy problems and on Wasserstein barycenter computation. Finally, we discuss the computational complexity of these estimators and give practical guidelines to chose between them.

Involutive MCMC: a Unifying Framework
Kirill Neklyudov, Max Welling, Evgenii Egorov, Dmitry Vetrov

Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) is a computational approach to fundamental problems such as inference, integration, optimization, and simulation. The field has developed a broad spectrum of algorithms, varying in the way they are motivated, the way they are applied and how efficiently they sample. Despite all the differences, many of them share the same core principle, which we unify as the Involutive MCMC (iMCMC) framework. Building upon this, we describe a wide range of MCMC algorithms in terms of iMCMC, and formulate a number of "tricks" which one can use as design principles for developing new MCMC algorithms. Thus, iMCMC provides a unified view of many known MCMC algorithms, which facilitates the derivation of powerful extensions. We demonstrate the latter with two examples where we transform known reversible MCMC algorithms into more efficient irreversible ones.

Explicit Gradient Learning for Black-Box Optimization
Elad Sarafian, Mor Sinay, yoram louzoun, Noa Agmon, Sarit Kraus

Black-Box Optimization (BBO) methods can find optimal policies for systems that interact with complex environments with no analytical representation. As such, they are of interest in many Artificial Intelligence (AI) domains. Yet classical BBO methods fall short in high-dimensional non-convex problems. They are thus often overlooked in real-world AI tasks. Here we present a BBO method, termed Explicit Gradient Learning (EGL), that is designed to optimize high-dimensional ill-behaved functions. We derive EGL by finding weak spots in methods that fit the objective function with a parametric Neural Network (NN) model and obtain the gradient signal by calculating the parametric gradient. Instead of fitting the function, EGL trains a NN to estimate the objective gradient directly. We prove the convergence of EGL to a stationary point and its robustness in the optimization of integrable functions. We evaluate EGL and achieve state-of-the-art results in two challenging problems: (1) the COCO test suite against an assortment of standard BBO methods; and (2) in a high-dimensional non-convex image generation task.

VideoOneNet: Bidirectional Convolutional Recurrent OneNet with Trainable Data Steps for Video Processing
Zoltán Á. Milacski, Barnabás Póczos, Andras Lorincz

Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) achieve the state-of-the-art results on a wide range of image processing tasks, however, the majority of such solutions are problem-specific, like most AI algorithms. The One Network to Solve Them All (OneNet) procedure has been suggested to resolve this issue by exploiting a DNN as the proximal operator in Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers (ADMM) solvers for various imaging problems. In this work, we make two contributions, both facilitating end-to-end learning using backpropagation. First, we generalize OneNet to videos by augmenting its convolutional prior network with bidirectional recurrent connections; second, we extend the fixed fully connected linear ADMM data step with another trainable bidirectional convolutional recurrent network. In our computational experiments on the Rotated MNIST, Scanned CIFAR-10 and UCF-101 data sets, the proposed modifications improve performance by a large margin compared to end-to-end convolutional OneNet and 3D Wavelet sparsity on several video processing problems: pixelwise inpainting-denoising, blockwise inpainting, scattered inpainting, super resolution, compressive sensing, deblurring, frame interpolation, frame prediction and colorization. Our two contributions are complementary, and using them together yields the best results.

Sparse Gaussian Processes with Spherical Harmonic Features
Vincent Dutordoir, Nicolas Durrande, James Hensman

We introduce a new class of inter-domain variational Gaussian processes (GP) where data is mapped onto the unit hypersphere in order to use spherical harmonic representations. Our inference scheme is comparable to variational Fourier features, but it does not suffer from the curse of dimensionality, and leads to diagonal covariance matrices between inducing variables. This enables a speed-up in inference, because it bypasses the need to invert large covariance matrices. Our experiments show that our model is able to fit a regression model for a dataset with 6 million entries two orders of magnitude faster compared to standard sparse GPs, while retaining state of the art accuracy. We also demonstrate competitive performance on classification with non-conjugate likelihoods.

Multi-Precision Policy Enforced Training (MuPPET) : A Precision-Switching Strategy for Quantised Fixed-Point Training of CNNs
Aditya Rajagopal, Diederik Vink, Stylianos Venieris, Christos-Savvas Bouganis

Large-scale convolutional neural networks (CNNs) suffer from very long training times, spanning from hours to weeks, limiting the productivity and experimentation of deep learning practitioners. As networks grow in size and complexity, training time can be reduced through low-precision data representations and computations, however, in doing so the final accuracy suffers due to the problem of vanishing gradients. Existing state-of-the-art methods combat this issue by means of a mixed-precision approach utilising two different precision levels, FP32 (32-bit floating-point) and FP16/FP8 (16-/8-bit floating-point), leveraging the hardware support of recent GPU architectures for FP16 operations to obtain performance gains. This work pushes the boundary of quantised training by employing a multilevel optimisation approach that utilises multiple precisions including low-precision fixed-point representations resulting in a novel training strategy MuPPET; it combines the use of multiple number representation regimes together with a precision-switching mechanism that decides at run time the transition point between precision regimes. Overall, the proposed strategy tailors the training process to the hardware-level capabilities of the target hardware architecture and yields improvements in training time and energy efficiency compared to state-of-the-art approaches. Applying MuPPET on the training of AlexNet, ResNet18 and GoogLeNet on ImageNet (ILSVRC12) and targeting an NVIDIA Turing GPU, …

Reliable evaluation of adversarial robustness with an ensemble of diverse parameter-free attacks
Francesco Croce, Matthias Hein

The field of defense strategies against adversarial attacks has significantly grown over the last years, but progress is hampered as the evaluation of adversarial defenses is often insufficient and thus gives a wrong impression of robustness. Many promising defenses could be broken later on, making it difficult to identify the state-of-the-art. Frequent pitfalls in the evaluation are improper tuning of hyperparameters of the attacks, gradient obfuscation or masking. In this paper we first propose two extensions of the PGD-attack overcoming failures due to suboptimal step size and problems of the objective function. We then combine our novel attacks with two complementary existing ones to form a parameter-free, computationally affordable and user-independent ensemble of attacks to test adversarial robustness. We apply our ensemble to over 50 models from papers published at recent top machine learning and computer vision venues. In all except one of the cases we achieve lower robust test accuracy than reported in these papers, often by more than 10\%, identifying several broken defenses.

DeepCoDA: personalized interpretability for compositional health data
Thomas Quinn, Dang Nguyen, Santu Rana, Sunil Gupta, Svetha Venkatesh

Abstract Interpretability allows the domain-expert to directly evaluate the model's relevance and reliability, a practice that offers assurance and builds trust. In the healthcare setting, interpretable models should implicate relevant biological mechanisms independent of technical factors like data pre-processing. We define personalized interpretability as a measure of sample-specific feature attribution, and view it as a minimum requirement for a precision health model to justify its conclusions. Some health data, especially those generated by high-throughput sequencing experiments, have nuances that compromise precision health models and their interpretation. These data are compositional, meaning that each feature is conditionally dependent on all other features. We propose the Deep Compositional Data Analysis (DeepCoDA) framework to extend precision health modelling to high-dimensional compositional data, and to provide personalized interpretability through patient-specific weights. Our architecture maintains state-of-the-art performance across 25 real-world data sets, all while producing interpretations that are both personalized and fully coherent for compositional data.


Poster Session 38 Thu 16 Jul 02:00 a.m.  

Leveraging Frequency Analysis for Deep Fake Image Recognition
Joel Frank, Thorsten Eisenhofer, Lea Schönherr, Asja Fischer, Dorothea Kolossa, Thorsten Holz

Deep neural networks can generate images that are astonishingly realistic, so much so that it is often hard for humans to distinguish them from actual photos. These achievements have been largely made possible by Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). While deep fake images have been thoroughly investigated in the image domain—a classical approach from the area of image forensics—an analysis in the frequency domain has been missing so far. In this paper,we address this shortcoming and our results reveal that in frequency space, GAN-generated images exhibit severe artifacts that can be easily identified. We perform a comprehensive analysis, showing that these artifacts are consistent across different neural network architectures, data sets, and resolutions. In a further investigation, we demonstrate that these artifacts are caused by upsampling operations found in all current GAN architectures, indicating a structural and fundamental problem in the way images are generated via GANs. Based on this analysis, we demonstrate how the frequency representation can be used to identify deep fake images in an automated way, surpassing state-of-the-art methods.

Convergence of a Stochastic Gradient Method with Momentum for Non-Smooth Non-Convex Optimization
Vien Mai, Mikael Johansson

Stochastic gradient methods with momentum are widely used in applications and at the core of optimization subroutines in many popular machine learning libraries. However, their sample complexities have not been obtained for problems beyond those that are convex or smooth. This paper establishes the convergence rate of a stochastic subgradient method with a momentum term of Polyak type for a broad class of non-smooth, non-convex, and constrained optimization problems. Our key innovation is the construction of a special Lyapunov function for which the proven complexity can be achieved without any tuning of the momentum parameter. For smooth problems, we extend the known complexity bound to the constrained case and demonstrate how the unconstrained case can be analyzed under weaker assumptions than the state-of-the-art. Numerical results confirm our theoretical developments.

State Space Expectation Propagation: Efficient Inference Schemes for Temporal Gaussian Processes
William Wilkinson, Paul Chang, Michael Andersen, Arno Solin

We formulate approximate Bayesian inference in non-conjugate temporal and spatio-temporal Gaussian process models as a simple parameter update rule applied during Kalman smoothing. This viewpoint encompasses most inference schemes, including expectation propagation (EP), the classical (Extended, Unscented, \etc) Kalman smoothers, and variational inference. We provide a unifying perspective on these algorithms, showing how replacing the power EP moment matching step with linearisation recovers the classical smoothers. EP provides some benefits over the traditional methods via introduction of the so-called cavity distribution, and we combine these benefits with the computational efficiency of linearisation, providing extensive empirical analysis demonstrating the efficacy of various algorithms under this unifying framework. We provide a fast implementation of all methods in JAX.

Bayesian Learning from Sequential Data using Gaussian Processes with Signature Covariances
Csaba Toth, Harald Oberhauser

We develop a Bayesian approach to learning from sequential data by using Gaussian processes (GPs) with so-called signature kernels as covariance functions. This allows to make sequences of different length comparable and to rely on strong theoretical results from stochastic analysis. Signatures capture sequential structure with tensors that can scale unfavourably in sequence length and state space dimension. To deal with this, we introduce a sparse variational approach with inducing tensors. We then combine the resulting GP with LSTMs and GRUs to build larger models that leverage the strengths of each of these approaches and benchmark the resulting GPs on multivariate time series (TS) classification datasets.

On the Sample Complexity of Adversarial Multi-Source PAC Learning
Nikola Konstantinov, Elias Frantar, Dan Alistarh, Christoph H. Lampert

We study the problem of learning from multiple untrusted data sources, a scenario of increasing practical relevance given the recent emergence of crowdsourcing and collaborative learning paradigms. Specifically, we analyze the situation in which a learning system obtains datasets from multiple sources, some of which might be biased or even adversarially perturbed. It is known that in the single-source case, an adversary with the power to corrupt a fixed fraction of the training data can prevent PAC-learnability, that is, even in the limit of infinitely much training data, no learning system can approach the optimal test error. In this work we show that, surprisingly, the same is not true in the multi-source setting, where the adversary can arbitrarily corrupt a fixed fraction of the data sources. Our main results are a generalization bound that provides finite-sample guarantees for this learning setting, as well as corresponding lower bounds. Besides establishing PAC-learnability our results also show that in a cooperative learning setting sharing data with other parties has provable benefits, even if some participants are malicious.

Generalisation error in learning with random features and the hidden manifold model
Federica Gerace, Bruno Loureiro, Florent Krzakala, Marc Mezard, Lenka Zdeborova

We study generalised linear regression and classification for a synthetically generated dataset encompassing different problems of interest, such as learning with random features, neural networks in the lazy training regime, and the hidden manifold model. We consider the high-dimensional regime and using the replica method from statistical physics, we provide a closed-form expression for the asymptotic generalisation performance in these problems, valid in both the under- and over-parametrised regimes and for a broad choice of generalised linear model loss functions. In particular, we show how to obtain analytically the so-called double descent behaviour for logistic regression with a peak at the interpolation threshold, we illustrate the superiority of orthogonal against random Gaussian projections in learning with random features, and discuss the role played by correlations in the data generated by the hidden manifold model. Beyond the interest in these particular problems, the theoretical formalism introduced in this manuscript provides a path to further extensions to more complex tasks.

Fast Adaptation to New Environments via Policy-Dynamics Value Functions
Roberta Raileanu, Max Goldstein, Arthur Szlam, Facebook Rob Fergus

Standard RL algorithms assume fixed environment dynamics and require a significant amount of interaction to adapt to new environments. We introduce Policy-Dynamics Value Functions (PD-VF), a novel approach for rapidly adapting to dynamics different from those previously seen in training. PD-VF explicitly estimates the cumulative reward in a space of policies and environments. An ensemble of conventional RL policies is used to gather experience on training environments, from which embeddings of both policies and environments can be learned. Then, a value function conditioned on both embeddings is trained. At test time, a few actions are sufficient to infer the environment embedding, enabling a policy to be selected by maximizing the learned value function (which requires no additional environment interaction). We show that our method can rapidly adapt to new dynamics on a set of MuJoCo domains.

Interference and Generalization in Temporal Difference Learning
Emmanuel Bengio, Joelle Pineau, Doina Precup
We study the link between generalization and interference in temporal-difference (TD) learning. Interference is defined as the inner product of two different gradients, representing their alignment; this quantity emerges as being of interest from a variety of observations about neural networks, parameter sharing and the dynamics of learning. We find that TD easily leads to low-interference, under-generalizing parameters, while the effect seems reversed in supervised learning. We hypothesize that the cause can be traced back to the interplay between the dynamics of interference and bootstrapping. This is supported empirically by several observations: the negative relationship between the generalization gap and interference in TD, the negative effect of bootstrapping on interference and the local coherence of targets, and the contrast between the propagation rate of information in TD(0) versus TD($\lambda$) and regression tasks such as Monte-Carlo policy evaluation. We hope that these new findings can guide the future discovery of better bootstrapping methods.
Scalable and Efficient Comparison-based Search without Features
Daniyar Chumbalov, Lucas Maystre, Matt Grossglauser

We consider the problem of finding a target object t using pairwise comparisons, by asking an oracle questions of the form “Which object from the pair (i,j) is more similar to t?”. Objects live in a space of latent features, from which the oracle generates noisy answers. First, we consider the non-blind setting where these features are accessible. We propose a new Bayesian comparison-based search algorithm with noisy answers; it has low computational complexity yet is efficient in the number of queries. We provide theoretical guarantees, deriving the form of the optimal query and proving almost sure convergence to the target t. Second, we consider the blind setting, where the object features are hidden from the search algorithm. In this setting, we combine our search method and a new distributional triplet embedding algorithm into one scalable learning framework called Learn2Search. We show that the query complexity of our approach on two real-world datasets is on par with the non-blind setting, which is not achievable using any of the current state-of-the-art embedding methods. Finally, we demonstrate the efficacy of our framework by conducting a movie actors search experiment with real users.

A Natural Lottery Ticket Winner: Reinforcement Learning with Ordinary Neural Circuits
Ramin Hasani, Mathias Lechner, Alexander Amini, Daniela Rus, Radu Grosu

We propose a neural information processing system obtained by re-purposing the function of a biological neural circuit model to govern simulated and real-world control tasks. Inspired by the structure of the nervous system of the soil-worm, C. elegans, we introduce ordinary neural circuits (ONCs), defined as the model of biological neural circuits reparameterized for the control of alternative tasks. We first demonstrate that ONCs realize networks with higher maximum flow compared to arbitrary wired networks. We then learn instances of ONCs to control a series of robotic tasks, including the autonomous parking of a real-world rover robot. For reconfiguration of the purpose of the neural circuit, we adopt a search-based optimization algorithm. Ordinary neural circuits perform on par and, in some cases, significantly surpass the performance of contemporary deep learning models. ONC networks are compact, 77% sparser than their counterpart neural controllers, and their neural dynamics are fully interpretable at the cell-level.

Growing Adaptive Multi-hyperplane Machines
Nemanja Djuric, Zhuang Wang, Slobodan Vucetic

Adaptive Multi-hyperplane Machine (AMM) is an online algorithm for learning Multi-hyperplane Machine (MM), a classification model which allows multiple hyperplanes per class. AMM is based on Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD), with training time comparable to linear Support Vector Machine (SVM) and significantly higher accuracy. On the other hand, empirical results indicate there is a large accuracy gap between AMM and non-linear SVMs. In this paper we show that this performance gap is not due to limited representability of the MM model, as it can represent arbitrary concepts. We set to explain the connection between the AMM and Learning Vector Quantization (LVQ) algorithms, and introduce a novel Growing AMM (GAMM) classifier motivated by Growing LVQ, that imputes duplicate hyperplanes into the MM model during SGD training. We provide theoretical results showing that GAMM has favorable convergence properties, and analyze the generalization bound of the MM models. Experiments indicate that GAMM achieves significantly improved accuracy on non-linear problems, with only slightly slower training compared to AMM. On some tasks GAMM comes close to non-linear SVM, and outperforms other popular classifiers such as Neural Networks and Random Forests.

A Unified Theory of Decentralized SGD with Changing Topology and Local Updates
Anastasia Koloskova, Nicolas Loizou, Sadra Boreiri, Martin Jaggi, Sebastian Stich

Decentralized stochastic optimization methods have gained a lot of attention recently, mainly because of their cheap per iteration cost, data locality, and their communication-efficiency. In this paper we introduce a unified convergence analysis that covers a large variety of decentralized SGD methods which so far have required different intuitions, have different applications, and which have been developed separately in various communities.

Our algorithmic framework covers local SGD updates and synchronous and pairwise gossip updates on adaptive network topology. We derive universal convergence rates for smooth (convex and non-convex) problems and the rates interpolate between the heterogeneous (non-identically distributed data) and iid-data settings, recovering linear convergence rates in many special cases, for instance for over-parametrized models. Our proofs rely on weak assumptions (typically improving over prior work in several aspects) and recover (and improve) the best known complexity results for a host of important scenarios, such as for instance coorperative SGD and federated averaging (local SGD).

Continuous Time Bayesian Networks with Clocks
Nicolai Engelmann, Dominik Linzner, Heinz Koeppl

Structured stochastic processes evolving in continuous time present a widely adopted framework to model phenomena occurring in nature and engineering. However, such models are often chosen to satisfy the Markov property to maintain tractability. One of the more popular of such memoryless models are Continuous Time Bayesian Networks (CTBNs). In this work, we lift its restriction to exponential survival times to arbitrary distributions. Current extensions achieve this via auxiliary states, which hinder tractability. To avoid that, we introduce a set of node-wise clocks to construct a collection of graph-coupled semi-Markov chains. We provide algorithms for parameter and structure inference, which make use of local dependencies and conduct experiments on synthetic data and a data-set generated through a benchmark tool for gene regulatory networks. In doing so, we point out advantages compared to current CTBN extensions.

Quantum Boosting
Srinivasan Arunachalam, Reevu Maity

Boosting is a technique that boosts a weak and inaccurate machine learning algorithm into a strong accurate learning algorithm. The AdaBoost algorithm by Freund and Schapire (for which they were awarded the G{\"o}del prize in 2003) is one of the widely used boosting algorithms, with many applications in theory and practice. Suppose we have a gamma-weak learner for a Boolean concept class C that takes time R(C), then the time complexity of AdaBoost scales as VC(C)poly(R(C), 1/gamma), where VC(C) is the VC-dimension of C. In this paper, we show how quantum techniques can improve the time complexity of classical AdaBoost. To this end, suppose we have a gamma-weak quantum learning algorithm for a Boolean concept class C that takes time Q(C), we introduce a quantum boosting algorithm whose complexity scales as sqrt{VC(C)}poly(Q(C),1/gamma); thereby achieving quadratic quantum improvement over classical AdaBoost in terms of  VC(C). 

Implicit Geometric Regularization for Learning Shapes
Amos Gropp, Lior Yariv, Niv Haim, Matan Atzmon, Yaron Lipman

Representing shapes as level-sets of neural networks has been recently proved to be useful for different shape analysis and reconstruction tasks. So far, such representations were computed using either: (i) pre-computed implicit shape representations; or (ii) loss functions explicitly defined over the neural level-sets.

In this paper we offer a new paradigm for computing high fidelity implicit neural representations directly from raw data (i.e., point clouds, with or without normal information). We observe that a rather simple loss function, encouraging the neural network to vanish on the input point cloud and to have a unit norm gradient, possesses an implicit geometric regularization property that favors smooth and natural zero level-set surfaces, avoiding bad zero-loss solutions. We provide a theoretical analysis of this property for the linear case, and show that, in practice, our method leads to state-of-the-art implicit neural representations with higher level-of-details and fidelity compared to previous methods.

Time Series Deconfounder: Estimating Treatment Effects over Time in the Presence of Hidden Confounders
Ioana Bica, Ahmed Alaa, Mihaela van der Schaar

The estimation of treatment effects is a pervasive problem in medicine. Existing methods for estimating treatment effects from longitudinal observational data assume that there are no hidden confounders, an assumption that is not testable in practice and, if it does not hold, leads to biased estimates. In this paper, we develop the Time Series Deconfounder, a method that leverages the assignment of multiple treatments over time to enable the estimation of treatment effects in the presence of multi-cause hidden confounders. The Time Series Deconfounder uses a novel recurrent neural network architecture with multitask output to build a factor model over time and infer latent variables that render the assigned treatments conditionally independent; then, it performs causal inference using these latent variables that act as substitutes for the multi-cause unobserved confounders. We provide a theoretical analysis for obtaining unbiased causal effects of time-varying exposures using the Time Series Deconfounder. Using both simulated and real data we show the effectiveness of our method in deconfounding the estimation of treatment responses over time.

MetaFun: Meta-Learning with Iterative Functional Updates
Jin Xu, Jean-Francois Ton, Hyunjik Kim, Adam Kosiorek, Yee-Whye Teh

We develop a functional encoder-decoder approach to supervised meta-learning, where labeled data is encoded into an infinite-dimensional functional representation rather than a finite-dimensional one. Furthermore, rather than directly producing the representation, we learn a neural update rule resembling functional gradient descent which iteratively improves the representation. The final representation is used to condition the decoder to make predictions on unlabeled data. Our approach is the first to demonstrates the success of encoder-decoder style meta-learning methods like conditional neural processes on large-scale few-shot classification benchmarks such as miniImageNet and tieredImageNet, where it achieves state-of-the-art performance.

Haar Graph Pooling
Yu Guang Wang, Ming Li, Zheng Ma, Guido Montufar, Xiaosheng Zhuang, Yanan Fan

Deep Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) are useful models for graph classification and graph-based regression tasks. In these tasks, graph pooling is a critical ingredient by which GNNs adapt to input graphs of varying size and structure. We propose a new graph pooling operation based on compressive Haar transforms --- \emph{HaarPooling}. HaarPooling implements a cascade of pooling operations; it is computed by following a sequence of clusterings of the input graph. A HaarPooling layer transforms a given input graph to an output graph with a smaller node number and the same feature dimension; the compressive Haar transform filters out fine detail information in the Haar wavelet domain. In this way, all the HaarPooling layers together synthesize the features of any given input graph into a feature vector of uniform size. Such transforms provide a sparse characterization of the data and preserve the structure information of the input graph. GNNs implemented with standard graph convolution layers and HaarPooling layers achieve state of the art performance on diverse graph classification and regression problems.

XtarNet: Learning to Extract Task-Adaptive Representation for Incremental Few-Shot Learning
Sung Whan Yoon, Do-Yeon Kim, Jun Seo, Jaekyun Moon

Learning novel concepts while preserving prior knowledge is a long-standing challenge in machine learning. The challenge gets greater when a novel task is given with only a few labeled examples, a problem known as incremental few-shot learning. We propose XtarNet, which learns to extract task-adaptive representation (TAR) for facilitating incremental few-shot learning. The method utilizes a backbone network pretrained on a set of base categories while also employing additional modules that are meta-trained across episodes. Given a new task, the novel feature extracted from the meta-trained modules is mixed with the base feature obtained from the pretrained model. The process of combining two different features provides TAR and is also controlled by meta-trained modules. The TAR contains effective information for classifying both novel and base categories. The base and novel classifiers quickly adapt to a given task by utilizing the TAR. Experiments on standard image datasets indicate that XtarNet achieves state-of-the-art incremental few-shot learning performance. The concept of TAR can also be used in conjunction with existing incremental few-shot learning methods; extensive simulation results in fact show that applying TAR enhances the known methods significantly.

Orthogonalized SGD and Nested Architectures for Anytime Neural Networks
Chengcheng Wan, Henry (Hank) Hoffmann, Shan Lu, Michael Maire

We propose a novel variant of SGD customized for training network architectures that support anytime behavior: such networks produce a series of increasingly accurate outputs over time. Efficient architectural designs for these networks focus on re-using internal state; subnetworks must produce representations relevant for both imme- diate prediction as well as refinement by subse- quent network stages. We consider traditional branched networks as well as a new class of re- cursively nested networks. Our new optimizer, Orthogonalized SGD, dynamically re-balances task-specific gradients when training a multitask network. In the context of anytime architectures, this optimizer projects gradients from later out- puts onto a parameter subspace that does not in- terfere with those from earlier outputs. Experi- ments demonstrate that training with Orthogonal- ized SGD significantly improves generalization accuracy of anytime networks.

Agent57: Outperforming the Atari Human Benchmark
Adrià Puigdomenech Badia, Bilal Piot, Steven Kapturowski, Pablo Sprechmann, Alex Vitvitskyi, Zhaohan Guo, Charles Blundell

Atari games have been a long-standing benchmark in the reinforcement learning (RL) community for the past decade. This benchmark was proposed to test general competency of RL algorithms. Previous work has achieved good average performance by doing outstandingly well on many games of the set, but very poorly in several of the most challenging games. We propose Agent57, the first deep RL agent that outperforms the standard human benchmark on all 57 Atari games. To achieve this result, we train a neural network which parameterizes a family of policies ranging from very exploratory to purely exploitative. We propose an adaptive mechanism to choose which policy to prioritize throughout the training process. Additionally, we utilize a novel parameterization of the architecture that allows for more consistent and stable learning.

LP-SparseMAP: Differentiable Relaxed Optimization for Sparse Structured Prediction
Vlad Niculae, Andre Filipe Torres Martins

Structured predictors require solving a combinatorial optimization problem over a large number of structures, such as dependency trees or alignments. When embedded as structured hidden layers in a neural net, argmin differentiation and efficient gradient computation are further required. Recently, SparseMAP has been proposed as a differentiable, sparse alternative to maximum a posteriori (MAP) and marginal inference. SparseMAP returns an interpretable combination of a small number of structures; its sparsity being the key to efficient optimization. However, SparseMAP requires access to an exact MAP oracle in the structured model, excluding, e.g., loopy graphical models or logic constraints, which generally require approximate inference. In this paper, we introduce LP-SparseMAP, an extension of SparseMAP addressing this limitation via a local polytope relaxation. LP-SparseMAP uses the flexible and powerful language of factor graphs to define expressive hidden structures, supporting coarse decompositions, hard logic constraints, and higher-order correlations. We derive the forward and backward algorithms needed for using LP-SparseMAP as a structured hidden or output layer. Experiments in three structured tasks show benefits versus SparseMAP and Structured SVM.


Poster Session 39 Thu 16 Jul 03:00 a.m.  

Control Frequency Adaptation via Action Persistence in Batch Reinforcement Learning
Alberto Maria Metelli, Flavio Mazzolini, Lorenzo Bisi, Luca Sabbioni, Marcello Restelli

The choice of the control frequency of a system has a relevant impact on the ability of reinforcement learning algorithms to learn a highly performing policy. In this paper, we introduce the notion of action persistence that consists in the repetition of an action for a fixed number of decision steps, having the effect of modifying the control frequency. We start analyzing how action persistence affects the performance of the optimal policy, and then we present a novel algorithm, Persistent Fitted Q-Iteration (PFQI), that extends FQI, with the goal of learning the optimal value function at a given persistence. After having provided a theoretical study of PFQI and a heuristic approach to identify the optimal persistence, we present an experimental campaign on benchmark domains to show the advantages of action persistence and proving the effectiveness of our persistence selection method.

It's Not What Machines Can Learn, It's What We Cannot Teach
Gal Yehuda, Moshe Gabel, Assaf Schuster

Can deep neural networks learn to solve any task, and in particular problems of high complexity? This question attracts a lot of interest, with recent works tackling computationally hard tasks such as the traveling salesman problem and satisfiability. In this work we offer a different perspective on this question. Given the common assumption that NP != coNP we prove that any polynomial-time sample generator for an NP-hard problem samples, in fact, from an easier sub-problem. We empirically explore a case study, Conjunctive Query Containment, and show how common data generation techniques generate biased data-sets that lead practitioners to over-estimate model accuracy. Our results suggest that machine learning approaches that require training on a dense uniform sampling from the target distribution cannot be used to solve computationally hard problems, the reason being the difficulty of generating sufficiently large and unbiased training sets.

Let's Agree to Agree: Neural Networks Share Classification Order on Real Datasets
Guy Hacohen, Leshem Choshen, Daphna Weinshall

We report a series of robust empirical observations, demonstrating that deep Neural Networks learn the examples in both the training and test sets in a similar order. This phenomenon is observed in all the commonly used benchmarks we evaluated, including many image classification benchmarks, and one text classification benchmark. While this phenomenon is strongest for models of the same architecture, it also crosses architectural boundaries -- models of different architectures start by learning the same examples, after which the more powerful model may continue to learn additional examples. We further show that this pattern of results reflects the interplay between the way neural networks learn benchmark datasets. Thus, when fixing the architecture, we show synthetic datasets where this pattern ceases to exist. When fixing the dataset, we show that other learning paradigms may learn the data in a different order. We hypothesize that our results reflect how neural networks discover structure in natural datasets.

Model-free Reinforcement Learning in Infinite-horizon Average-reward Markov Decision Processes
Chen-Yu Wei, Mehdi Jafarnia, Haipeng Luo, Hiteshi Sharma, Rahul Jain
Model-free reinforcement learning is known to be memory and computation efficient and more amendable to large scale problems. In this paper, two model-free algorithms are introduced for learning infinite-horizon average-reward Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). The first algorithm reduces the problem to the discounted-reward version and achieves $\mathcal{O}(T^{2/3})$ regret after $T$ steps, under the minimal assumption of weakly communicating MDPs. To our knowledge, this is the first model-free algorithm for general MDPs in this setting. The second algorithm makes use of recent advances in adaptive algorithms for adversarial multi-armed bandits and improves the regret to $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T})$, albeit with a stronger ergodic assumption. This result significantly improves over the $\mathcal{O}(T^{3/4})$ regret achieved by the only existing model-free algorithm by Abbasi-Yadkori et al. (2019) for ergodic MDPs in the infinite-horizon average-reward setting.
Small Data, Big Decisions: Model Selection in the Small-Data Regime
Jorg Bornschein, Francesco Visin, Simon Osindero

Highly overparametrized neural networks can display curiously strong generalization performance -- a phenomenon that has recently garnered a wealth of theoretical and empirical research in order to better understand it. In contrast to most previous work, which typically considers the performance as a function of the model size, in this paper we empirically study the generalization performance as the size of the training set varies over multiple orders of magnitude. These systematic experiments lead to some interesting and potentially very useful observations; perhaps most notably that training on smaller subsets of the data can lead to more reliable model selection decisions whilst simultaneously enjoying smaller computational overheads. Our experiments furthermore allow us to estimate Minimum Description Lengths for common datasets given modern neural network architectures, thereby paving the way for principled model selection taking into account Occams-razor.

Healing Products of Gaussian Process Experts
samuel cohen, Rendani Mbuvha, Tshilidzi Marwala, Marc Deisenroth

Gaussian processes (GPs) are nonparametric Bayesian models that have been applied to regression and classification problems. One of the approaches to alleviate their cubic training cost is the use of local GP experts trained on subsets of the data. In particular, product-of-expert models combine the predictive distributions of local experts through a tractable product operation. While these expert models allow for massively distributed computation, their predictions typically suffer from erratic behaviour of the mean or uncalibrated uncertainty quantification. By calibrating predictions via a tempered softmax weighting, we provide a solution to these problems for multiple product-of-expert models, including the generalised product of experts and the robust Bayesian committee machine. Furthermore, we leverage the optimal transport literature and propose a new product-of-expert model that combines predictions of local experts by computing their Wasserstein barycenter, which can be applied to both regression and classification.

Variance Reduced Coordinate Descent with Acceleration: New Method With a Surprising Application to Finite-Sum Problems
Filip Hanzely, Dmitry Kovalev, Peter Richtarik

We propose an accelerated version of stochastic variance reduced coordinate descent -- ASVRCD. As other variance reduced coordinate descent methods such as SEGA or SVRCD, our method can deal with problems that include a non-separable and non-smooth regularizer, while accessing a random block of partial derivatives in each iteration only. However, ASVRCD incorporates Nesterov's momentum, which offers favorable iteration complexity guarantees over both SEGA and SVRCD. As a by-product of our theory, we show that a variant of Katyusha (Allen-Zhu, 2017) is a specific case of ASVRCD, recovering the optimal oracle complexity for the finite sum objective.

Lifted Disjoint Paths with Application in Multiple Object Tracking
Andrea Hornakova, Roberto Henschel, Bodo Rosenhahn, Paul Swoboda

We present an extension to the disjoint paths problem in which additional lifted edges are introduced to provide path connectivity priors. We call the resulting optimization problem the lifted disjoint paths problem. We show that this problem is NP-hard by reduction from integer multicommodity flow and 3-SAT. To enable practical global optimization, we propose several classes of linear inequalities that produce a high-quality LP-relaxation. Additionally, we propose efficient cutting plane algorithms for separating the proposed linear inequalities. The lifted disjoint path problem is a natural model for multiple object tracking and allows an elegant mathematical formulation for long range temporal interactions. Lifted edges help to prevent id switches and to re-identify persons. Our lifted disjoint paths tracker achieves nearly optimal assignments with respect to input detections. As a consequence, it leads on all three main benchmarks of the MOT challenge, improving significantly over state-of-the-art.

Bidirectional Model-based Policy Optimization
Hang Lai, Jian Shen, Weinan Zhang, Yong Yu

Model-based reinforcement learning approaches leverage a forward dynamics model to support planning and decision making, which, however, may fail catastrophically if the model is inaccurate. Although there are several existing methods dedicated to combating the model error, the potential of the single forward model is still limited. In this paper, we propose to additionally construct a backward dynamics model to reduce the reliance on accuracy in forward model predictions. We develop a novel method, called Bidirectional Model-based Policy Optimization (BMPO) to utilize both the forward model and backward model to generate short branched rollouts for policy optimization. Furthermore, we theoretically derive a tighter bound of return discrepancy, which shows the superiority of BMPO against the one using merely the forward model. Extensive experiments demonstrate that BMPO outperforms state-of-the-art model-based methods in terms of sample efficiency and asymptotic performance.

On Relativistic f-Divergences
Alexia Jolicoeur-Martineau
We take a more rigorous look at Relativistic Generative Adversarial Networks (RGANs) and prove that the objective function of the discriminator is a statistical divergence for any concave function $f$ with minimal properties ($f(0)=0$, $f'(0) \neq 0$, $\sup_x f(x)>0$). We devise additional variants of relativistic $f$-divergences. We show that the Wasserstein distance is weaker than $f$-divergences which are weaker than relativistic $f$-divergences. Given the good performance of RGANs, this suggests that Wasserstein GAN does not performs well primarily because of the weak metric, but rather because of regularization and the use of a relativistic discriminator. We introduce the minimum-variance unbiased estimator (MVUE) for Relativistic paired GANs (RpGANs; originally called RGANs which could bring confusion) and show that it does not perform better. We show that the estimator of Relativistic average GANs (RaGANs) is asymptotically unbiased and that the finite-sample bias is small; removing this bias does not improve performance.
On Lp-norm Robustness of Ensemble Decision Stumps and Trees
Yihan Wang, Huan Zhang, Hongge Chen, Duane Boning, Cho-Jui Hsieh
Recent papers have demonstrated that ensemble stumps and trees could be vulnerable to small input perturbations, so robustness verification and defense for those models have become an important research problem. However, due to the structure of decision trees, where each node makes decision purely based on one feature value, all the previous works only consider the $\ell_\infty$ norm perturbation. To study robustness with respect to a general $\ell_p$ norm perturbation, one has to consider the correlation between perturbations on different features, which has not been handled by previous algorithms. In this paper, we study the problem of robustness verification and certified defense with respect to general $\ell_p$ norm perturbations for ensemble decision stumps and trees. For robustness verification of ensemble stumps, we prove that complete verification is NP-complete for $p\in(0, \infty)$ while polynomial time algorithms exist for $p=0$ or $\infty$. For $p\in(0, \infty)$ we develop an efficient dynamic programming based algorithm for sound verification of ensemble stumps. For ensemble trees, we generalize the previous multi-level robustness verification algorithm to $\ell_p$ norm. We demonstrate the first certified defense method for training ensemble stumps and trees with respect to $\ell_p$ norm perturbations, and verify its effectiveness empirically on real datasets.
Boosted Histogram Transform for Regression
Yuchao Cai, Hanyuan Hang, Hanfang Yang, Zhouchen Lin
In this paper, we propose a boosting algorithm for regression problems called \textit{boosted histogram transform for regression} (BHTR) based on histogram transforms composed of random rotations, stretchings, and translations. From the theoretical perspective, we first prove fast convergence rates for BHTR under the assumption that the target function lies in the spaces $C^{0,\alpha}$. Moreover, if the target function resides in the subspace $C^{1,\alpha}$, by establishing the upper bound of the convergence rate for the boosted regressor, i.e. BHTR, and the lower bound for base regressors, i.e. histogram transform regressors (HTR), we manage to explain the benefits of the boosting procedure. In the experiments, compared with other state-of-the-art algorithms such as gradient boosted regression tree (GBRT), Breiman's forest, and kernel-based methods, our BHTR algorithm shows promising performance on both synthetic and real datasets.
Spread Divergence
Mingtian Zhang, Peter Hayes, Thomas Bird, Raza Habib, David Barber
For distributions $\mathbb{P}$ and $\mathbb{Q}$ with different supports or undefined densities, the divergence $\textrm{D}(\mathbb{P}||\mathbb{Q})$ may not exist. We define a Spread Divergence $\tilde{\textrm{D}}(\mathbb{P}||\mathbb{Q})$ on modified $\mathbb{P}$ and $\mathbb{Q}$ and describe sufficient conditions for the existence of such a divergence. We demonstrate how to maximize the discriminatory power of a given divergence by parameterizing and learning the spread. We also give examples of using a Spread Divergence to train implicit generative models, including linear models (Independent Components Analysis) and non-linear models (Deep Generative Networks).