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Oral: Probabilistic Methods 4 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Probabilistic Generating Circuits
Honghua Zhang, Brendan Juba, Guy Van den Broeck

Generating functions, which are widely used in combinatorics and probability theory, encode function values into the coefficients of a polynomial. In this paper, we explore their use as a tractable probabilistic model, and propose probabilistic generating circuits (PGCs) for their efficient representation. PGCs are strictly more expressive efficient than many existing tractable probabilistic models, including determinantal point processes (DPPs), probabilistic circuits (PCs) such as sum-product networks, and tractable graphical models. We contend that PGCs are not just a theoretical framework that unifies vastly different existing models, but also show great potential in modeling realistic data. We exhibit a simple class of PGCs that are not trivially subsumed by simple combinations of PCs and DPPs, and obtain competitive performance on a suite of density estimation benchmarks. We also highlight PGCs' connection to the theory of strongly Rayleigh distributions.

Model Fusion for Personalized Learning
Thanh Lam, Nghia Hoang, Bryan Kian Hsiang Low, Patrick Jaillet

Production systems operating on a growing domain of analytic services often require generating warm-start solution models for emerging tasks with limited data. One potential approach to address this warm-start challenge is to adopt meta learning to generate a base model that can be adapted to solve unseen tasks with minimal fine-tuning. This however requires the training processes of previous solution models of existing tasks to be synchronized. This is not possible if these models were pre-trained separately on private data owned by different entities and cannot be synchronously re-trained. To accommodate for such scenarios, we develop a new personalized learning framework that synthesizes customized models for unseen tasks via fusion of independently pre-trained models of related tasks. We establish performance guarantee for the proposed framework and demonstrate its effectiveness on both synthetic and real datasets.

Pareto GAN: Extending the Representational Power of GANs to Heavy-Tailed Distributions
Todd Huster, Jeremy Cohen, Zinan Lin, Kevin Chan, Charles Kamhoua, Nandi O. Leslie, Cho-Yu Chiang, Vyas Sekar

Generative adversarial networks (GANs) are often billed as "universal distribution learners", but precisely what distributions they can represent and learn is still an open question. Heavy-tailed distributions are prevalent in many different domains such as financial risk-assessment, physics, and epidemiology. We observe that existing GAN architectures do a poor job of matching the asymptotic behavior of heavy-tailed distributions, a problem that we show stems from their construction. Additionally, common loss functions produce unstable or near-zero gradients when faced with the infinite moments and large distances between outlier points characteristic of heavy-tailed distributions. We address these problems with the Pareto GAN. A Pareto GAN leverages extreme value theory and the functional properties of neural networks to learn a distribution that matches the asymptotic behavior of the marginal distributions of the features. We identify issues with standard loss functions and propose the use of alternative metric spaces that enable stable and efficient learning. Finally, we evaluate our proposed approach on a variety of heavy-tailed datasets.

Run-Sort-ReRun: Escaping Batch Size Limitations in Sliced Wasserstein Generative Models
José Lezama, Wei Chen, Qiang Qiu

When training an implicit generative model, ideally one would like the generator to reproduce all the different modes and subtleties of the target distribution. Naturally, when comparing two empirical distributions, the larger the sample population, the more these statistical nuances can be captured. However, existing objective functions are computationally constrained in the amount of samples they can consider by the memory required to process a batch of samples. In this paper, we build upon recent progress in sliced Wasserstein distances, a family of differentiable metrics for distribution discrepancy based on the Optimal Transport paradigm. We introduce a procedure to train these distances with virtually any batch size, allowing the discrepancy measure to capture richer statistics and better approximating the distance between the underlying continuous distributions. As an example, we demonstrate the matching of the distribution of Inception features with batches of tens of thousands of samples, achieving FID scores that outperform state-of-the-art implicit generative models.

Statistical Estimation from Dependent Data
Vardis Kandiros, Yuval Dagan, Nishanth Dikkala, Surbhi Goel, Constantinos Daskalakis

We consider a general statistical estimation problem wherein binary labels across different observations are not independent conditioning on their feature vectors, but dependent, capturing settings where e.g. these observations are collected on a spatial domain, a temporal domain, or a social network, which induce dependencies. We model these dependencies in the language of Markov Random Fields and, importantly, allow these dependencies to be substantial, i.e. do not assume that the Markov Random Field capturing these dependencies is in high temperature. As our main contribution we provide algorithms and statistically efficient estimation rates for this model, giving several instantiations of our bounds in logistic regression, sparse logistic regression, and neural network regression settings with dependent data. Our estimation guarantees follow from novel results for estimating the parameters (i.e. external fields and interaction strengths) of Ising models from a single sample.

Context-Aware Online Collective Inference for Templated Graphical Models
Charles Dickens, Connor Pryor, Eriq Augustine, Alexander Miller, Lise Getoor

In this work, we examine online collective inference, the problem of maintaining and performing inference over a sequence of evolving graphical models. We utilize templated graphical models (TGM), a general class of graphical models expressed via templates and instantiated with data. A key challenge is minimizing the cost of instantiating the updated model. To address this, we define a class of exact and approximate context-aware methods for updating an existing TGM. These methods avoid a full re-instantiation by using the context of the updates to only add relevant components to the graphical model. Further, we provide stability bounds for the general online inference problem and regret bounds for a proposed approximation. Finally, we implement our approach in probabilistic soft logic, and test it on several online collective inference tasks. Through these experiments we verify the bounds on regret and stability, and show that our approximate online approach consistently runs two to five times faster than the offline alternative while, surprisingly, maintaining the quality of the predictions.

Causality-aware counterfactual confounding adjustment as an alternative to linear residualization in anticausal prediction tasks based on linear learners
Elias Chaibub Neto

Linear residualization is a common practice for confounding adjustment in machine learning applications. Recently, causality-aware predictive modeling has been proposed as an alternative causality-inspired approach for adjusting for confounders. In this paper, we compare the linear residualization approach against the causality-aware confounding adjustment in anticausal prediction tasks. Our comparisons include both the settings where the training and test sets come from the same distributions, as well as, when the training and test sets are shifted due to selection biases. In the absence of dataset shifts, we show that the causality-aware approach tends to (asymptotically) outperform the residualization adjustment in terms of predictive performance in linear learners. Importantly, our results still holds even when the true model generating the data is not linear. We illustrate our results in both regression and classification tasks. Furthermore, in the presence of dataset shifts in the joint distribution of the confounders and outcome variables, we show that the causality-aware approach is more stable than linear residualization.

Q&A

RL Social Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Dibya Ghosh · Hager Radi · Derek Li · Alex Ayoub · Erfan Miahi · Rishabh Agarwal · Charline Le Lan · Abhishek Naik · John Martin · Shruti Mishra · Adrien Ali Taiga

We invite anyone interested in reinforcement learning to join us in a GatherTown-format social. The goal is to connect both new and experienced RL researchers, to share ideas and discuss their recent work. Folks from anywhere in the world are welcome to participate, provided the timing is compatible with their schedule.


Oral: Representation Learning 4 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Commutative Lie Group VAE for Disentanglement Learning
Xinqi Zhu, Chang Xu, Dacheng Tao

We view disentanglement learning as discovering an underlying structure that equivariantly reflects the factorized variations shown in data. Traditionally, such a structure is fixed to be a vector space with data variations represented by translations along individual latent dimensions. We argue this simple structure is suboptimal since it requires the model to learn to discard the properties (e.g. different scales of changes, different levels of abstractness) of data variations, which is an extra work than equivariance learning. Instead, we propose to encode the data variations with groups, a structure not only can equivariantly represent variations, but can also be adaptively optimized to preserve the properties of data variations. Considering it is hard to conduct training on group structures, we focus on Lie groups and adopt a parameterization using Lie algebra. Based on the parameterization, some disentanglement learning constraints are naturally derived. A simple model named Commutative Lie Group VAE is introduced to realize the group-based disentanglement learning. Experiments show that our model can effectively learn disentangled representations without supervision, and can achieve state-of-the-art performance without extra constraints.

Self-supervised Graph-level Representation Learning with Local and Global Structure
Minghao Xu, Hang Wang, Bingbing Ni, Hongyu Guo, Jian Tang

This paper studies unsupervised/self-supervised whole-graph representation learning, which is critical in many tasks such as molecule properties prediction in drug and material discovery. Existing methods mainly focus on preserving the local similarity structure between different graph instances but fail to discover the global semantic structure of the entire data set. In this paper, we propose a unified framework called Local-instance and Global-semantic Learning (GraphLoG) for self-supervised whole-graph representation learning. Specifically, besides preserving the local similarities, GraphLoG introduces the hierarchical prototypes to capture the global semantic clusters. An efficient online expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm is further developed for learning the model. We evaluate GraphLoG by pre-training it on massive unlabeled graphs followed by fine-tuning on downstream tasks. Extensive experiments on both chemical and biological benchmark data sets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

Generalization Error Bound for Hyperbolic Ordinal Embedding
Atsushi Suzuki, Atsushi Nitanda, Jing Wang, Linchuan Xu, Kenji Yamanishi, Marc Cavazza
Hyperbolic ordinal embedding (HOE) represents entities as points in hyperbolic space so that they agree as well as possible with given constraints in the form of entity $i$ is more similar to entity $j$ than to entity $k$. It has been experimentally shown that HOE can obtain representations of hierarchical data such as a knowledge base and a citation network effectively, owing to hyperbolic space's exponential growth property. However, its theoretical analysis has been limited to ideal noiseless settings, and its generalization error in compensation for hyperbolic space's exponential representation ability has not been guaranteed. The difficulty is that existing generalization error bound derivations for ordinal embedding based on the Gramian matrix are not applicable in HOE, since hyperbolic space is not inner-product space. In this paper, through our novel characterization of HOE with decomposed Lorentz Gramian matrices, we provide a generalization error bound of HOE for the first time, which is at most exponential with respect to the embedding space's radius. Our comparison between the bounds of HOE and Euclidean ordinal embedding shows that HOE's generalization error comes at a reasonable cost considering its exponential representation ability.
Neighborhood Contrastive Learning Applied to Online Patient Monitoring
Hugo Yèche, Gideon Dresdner, Francesco Locatello, Matthias Hüser, Gunnar Rätsch

Intensive care units (ICU) are increasingly looking towards machine learning for methods to provide online monitoring of critically ill patients. In machine learning, online monitoring is often formulated as a supervised learning problem. Recently, contrastive learning approaches have demonstrated promising improvements over competitive supervised benchmarks. These methods rely on well-understood data augmentation techniques developed for image data which do not apply to online monitoring. In this work, we overcome this limitation by supplementing time-series data augmentation techniques with a novel contrastive learning objective which we call neighborhood contrastive learning (NCL). Our objective explicitly groups together contiguous time segments from each patient while maintaining state-specific information. Our experiments demonstrate a marked improvement over existing work applying contrastive methods to medical time-series.

Simple and Effective VAE Training with Calibrated Decoders
Oleg Rybkin, Kostas Daniilidis, Sergey Levine

Variational autoencoders (VAEs) provide an effective and simple method for modeling complex distributions. However, training VAEs often requires considerable hyperparameter tuning to determine the optimal amount of information retained by the latent variable. We study the impact of calibrated decoders, which learn the uncertainty of the decoding distribution and can determine this amount of information automatically, on the VAE performance. While many methods for learning calibrated decoders have been proposed, many of the recent papers that employ VAEs rely on heuristic hyperparameters and ad-hoc modifications instead. We perform the first comprehensive comparative analysis of calibrated decoder and provide recommendations for simple and effective VAE training. Our analysis covers a range of datasets and several single-image and sequential VAE models. We further propose a simple but novel modification to the commonly used Gaussian decoder, which computes the prediction variance analytically. We observe empirically that using heuristic modifications is not necessary with our method.

Decomposed Mutual Information Estimation for Contrastive Representation Learning
Alessandro Sordoni, Nouha Dziri, Hannes Schulz, Geoff Gordon, Philip Bachman, Remi Tachet des Combes

Recent contrastive representation learning methods rely on estimating mutual information (MI) between multiple views of an underlying context. E.g., we can derive multiple views of a given image by applying data augmentation, or we can split a sequence into views comprising the past and future of some step in the sequence. Contrastive lower bounds on MI are easy to optimize, but have a strong underestimation bias when estimating large amounts of MI. We propose decomposing the full MI estimation problem into a sum of smaller estimation problems by splitting one of the views into progressively more informed subviews and by applying the chain rule on MI between the decomposed views. This expression contains a sum of unconditional and conditional MI terms, each measuring modest chunks of the total MI, which facilitates approximation via contrastive bounds. To maximize the sum, we formulate a contrastive lower bound on the conditional MI which can be approximated efficiently. We refer to our general approach as Decomposed Estimation of Mutual Information (DEMI). We show that DEMI can capture a larger amount of MI than standard non-decomposed contrastive bounds in a synthetic setting, and learns better representations in a vision domain and for dialogue generation.

Structured World Belief for Reinforcement Learning in POMDP
Gautam Singh, Skand Peri, Junghyun Kim, Hyunseok Kim, Sungjin Ahn

Object-centric world models provide structured representation of the scene and can be an important backbone in reinforcement learning and planning. However, existing approaches suffer in partially-observable environments due to the lack of belief states. In this paper, we propose Structured World Belief, a model for learning and inference of object-centric belief states. Inferred by Sequential Monte Carlo (SMC), our belief states provide multiple object-centric scene hypotheses. To synergize the benefits of SMC particles with object representations, we also propose a new object-centric dynamics model that considers the inductive bias of object permanence. This enables tracking of object states even when they are invisible for a long time. To further facilitate object tracking in this regime, we allow our model to attend flexibly to any spatial location in the image which was restricted in previous models. In experiments, we show that object-centric belief provides a more accurate and robust performance for filtering and generation. Furthermore, we show the efficacy of structured world belief in improving the performance of reinforcement learning, planning and supervised reasoning.

Q&A

Oral: Semisupervised and Unsupervised Learning 2 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Leveraged Weighted Loss for Partial Label Learning
Hongwei Wen, Jingyi Cui, Hanyuan Hang, Jiabin Liu, Yisen Wang, Zhouchen Lin
As an important branch of weakly supervised learning, partial label learning deals with data where each instance is assigned with a set of candidate labels, whereas only one of them is true. Despite many methodology studies on learning from partial labels, there still lacks theoretical understandings of their risk consistent properties under relatively weak assumptions, especially on the link between theoretical results and the empirical choice of parameters. In this paper, we propose a family of loss functions named \textit{Leveraged Weighted} (LW) loss, which for the first time introduces the leverage parameter $\beta$ to consider the trade-off between losses on partial labels and non-partial ones. From the theoretical side, we derive a generalized result of risk consistency for the LW loss in learning from partial labels, based on which we provide guidance to the choice of the leverage parameter $\beta$. In experiments, we verify the theoretical guidance, and show the high effectiveness of our proposed LW loss on both benchmark and real datasets compared with other state-of-the-art partial label learning algorithms.
Unitary Branching Programs: Learnability and Lower Bounds
Fidel Ernesto Diaz Andino, Maria Kokkou, Mateus de Oliveira Oliveira, Farhad Vadiee

Bounded width branching programs are a formalism that can be used to capture the notion of non-uniform constant-space computation. In this work, we study a generalized version of bounded width branching programs where instructions are defined by unitary matrices of bounded dimension. We introduce a new learning framework for these branching programs that leverages on a combination of local search techniques with gradient descent over Riemannian manifolds. We also show that gapped, read-once branching programs of bounded dimension can be learned with a polynomial number of queries in the presence of a teacher. Finally, we provide explicit near-quadratic size lower-bounds for bounded-dimension unitary branching programs, and exponential size lower-bounds for bounded-dimension read-once gapped unitary branching programs. The first lower bound is proven using a combination of Neciporuk’s lower bound technique with classic results from algebraic geometry. The second lower bound is proven within the framework of communication complexity theory.

Provably End-to-end Label-noise Learning without Anchor Points
Xuefeng Li, Tongliang Liu, Bo Han, Gang Niu, Masashi Sugiyama

In label-noise learning, the transition matrix plays a key role in building statistically consistent classifiers. Existing consistent estimators for the transition matrix have been developed by exploiting anchor points. However, the anchor-point assumption is not always satisfied in real scenarios. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end framework for solving label-noise learning without anchor points, in which we simultaneously optimize two objectives: the cross entropy loss between the noisy label and the predicted probability by the neural network, and the volume of the simplex formed by the columns of the transition matrix. Our proposed framework can identify the transition matrix if the clean class-posterior probabilities are sufficiently scattered. This is by far the mildest assumption under which the transition matrix is provably identifiable and the learned classifier is statistically consistent. Experimental results on benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed method.

MorphVAE: Generating Neural Morphologies from 3D-Walks using a Variational Autoencoder with Spherical Latent Space
Sophie Laturnus, Philipp Berens

For the past century, the anatomy of a neuron has been considered one of its defining features: The shape of a neuron's dendrites and axon fundamentally determines what other neurons it can connect to. These neurites have been described using mathematical tools e.g. in the context of cell type classification, but generative models of these structures have only rarely been proposed and are often computationally inefficient. Here we propose MorphVAE, a sequence-to-sequence variational autoencoder with spherical latent space as a generative model for neural morphologies. The model operates on walks within the tree structure of a neuron and can incorporate expert annotations on a subset of the data using semi-supervised learning. We develop our model on artificially generated toy data and evaluate its performance on dendrites of excitatory cells and axons of inhibitory cells of mouse motor cortex (M1) and dendrites of retinal ganglion cells. We show that the learned latent feature space allows for better cell type discrimination than other commonly used features. By sampling new walks from the latent space we can easily construct new morphologies with a specified degree of similarity to their reference neuron, providing an efficient generative model for neural morphologies.

Unsupervised Embedding Adaptation via Early-Stage Feature Reconstruction for Few-Shot Classification
Dong Hoon Lee, Sae-Young Chung

We propose unsupervised embedding adaptation for the downstream few-shot classification task. Based on findings that deep neural networks learn to generalize before memorizing, we develop Early-Stage Feature Reconstruction (ESFR) --- a novel adaptation scheme with feature reconstruction and dimensionality-driven early stopping that finds generalizable features. Incorporating ESFR consistently improves the performance of baseline methods on all standard settings, including the recently proposed transductive method. ESFR used in conjunction with the transductive method further achieves state-of-the-art performance on mini-ImageNet, tiered-ImageNet, and CUB; especially with 1.2%~2.0% improvements in accuracy over the previous best performing method on 1-shot setting.

Improved Algorithms for Agnostic Pool-based Active Classification
Julian Katz-Samuels, Jifan Zhang, Lalit Jain, Kevin Jamieson

We consider active learning for binary classification in the agnostic pool-based setting. The vast majority of works in active learning in the agnostic setting are inspired by the CAL algorithm where each query is uniformly sampled from the disagreement region of the current version space. The sample complexity of such algorithms is described by a quantity known as the disagreement coefficient which captures both the geometry of the hypothesis space as well as the underlying probability space. To date, the disagreement coefficient has been justified by minimax lower bounds only, leaving the door open for superior instance dependent sample complexities. In this work we propose an algorithm that, in contrast to uniform sampling over the disagreement region, solves an experimental design problem to determine a distribution over examples from which to request labels. We show that the new approach achieves sample complexity bounds that are never worse than the best disagreement coefficient-based bounds, but in specific cases can be dramatically smaller. From a practical perspective, the proposed algorithm requires no hyperparameters to tune (e.g., to control the aggressiveness of sampling), and is computationally efficient by means of assuming access to an empirical risk minimization oracle (without any constraints). Empirically, we …

Adversarial Multi Class Learning under Weak Supervision with Performance Guarantees
Alessio Mazzetto, Cyrus Cousins, Dylan Sam, Stephen Bach, Eli Upfal

We develop a rigorous approach for using a set of arbitrarily correlated weak supervision sources in order to solve a multiclass classification task when only a very small set of labeled data is available. Our learning algorithm provably converges to a model that has minimum empirical risk with respect to an adversarial choice over feasible labelings for a set of unlabeled data, where the feasibility of a labeling is computed through constraints defined by rigorously estimated statistics of the weak supervision sources. We show theoretical guarantees for this approach that depend on the information provided by the weak supervision sources. Notably, this method does not require the weak supervision sources to have the same labeling space as the multiclass classification task. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach with experiments on various image classification tasks.

Q&A

Oral: Bayesian Learning 2 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Exponential Reduction in Sample Complexity with Learning of Ising Model Dynamics
Arkopal Dutt, Andrey Lokhov, Marc Vuffray, Sidhant Misra

The usual setting for learning the structure and parameters of a graphical model assumes the availability of independent samples produced from the corresponding multivariate probability distribution. However, for many models the mixing time of the respective Markov chain can be very large and i.i.d. samples may not be obtained. We study the problem of reconstructing binary graphical models from correlated samples produced by a dynamical process, which is natural in many applications. We analyze the sample complexity of two estimators that are based on the interaction screening objective and the conditional likelihood loss. We observe that for samples coming from a dynamical process far from equilibrium, the sample complexity reduces exponentially compared to a dynamical process that mixes quickly.

Objective Bound Conditional Gaussian Process for Bayesian Optimization
Taewon Jeong, Heeyoung Kim

A Gaussian process is a standard surrogate model for an unknown objective function in Bayesian optimization. In this paper, we propose a new surrogate model, called the objective bound conditional Gaussian process (OBCGP), to condition a Gaussian process on a bound on the optimal function value. The bound is obtained and updated as the best observed value during the sequential optimization procedure. Unlike the standard Gaussian process, the OBCGP explicitly incorporates the existence of a point that improves the best known bound. We treat the location of such a point as a model parameter and estimate it jointly with other parameters by maximizing the likelihood using variational inference. Within the standard Bayesian optimization framework, the OBCGP can be combined with various acquisition functions to select the next query point. In particular, we derive cumulative regret bounds for the OBCGP combined with the upper confidence bound acquisition algorithm. Furthermore, the OBCGP can inherently incorporate a new type of prior knowledge, i.e., the bounds on the optimum, if it is available. The incorporation of this type of prior knowledge into a surrogate model has not been studied previously. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the OBCGP through its application to Bayesian optimization tasks, …

Automatic variational inference with cascading flows
Luca Ambrogioni, Gianluigi Silvestri, Marcel van Gerven

The automation of probabilistic reasoning is one of the primary aims of machine learning. Recently, the confluence of variational inference and deep learning has led to powerful and flexible automatic inference methods that can be trained by stochastic gradient descent. In particular, normalizing flows are highly parameterized deep models that can fit arbitrarily complex posterior densities. However, normalizing flows struggle in highly structured probabilistic programs as they need to relearn the forward-pass of the program. Automatic structured variational inference (ASVI) remedies this problem by constructing variational programs that embed the forward-pass. Here, we combine the flexibility of normalizing flows and the prior-embedding property of ASVI in a new family of variational programs, which we named cascading flows. A cascading flows program interposes a newly designed highway flow architecture in between the conditional distributions of the prior program such as to steer it toward the observed data. These programs can be constructed automatically from an input probabilistic program and can also be amortized automatically. We evaluate the performance of the new variational programs in a series of structured inference problems. We find that cascading flows have much higher performance than both normalizing flows and ASVI in a large set of structured …

Estimating Identifiable Causal Effects on Markov Equivalence Class through Double Machine Learning
Yonghan Jung, Jin Tian, Elias Bareinboim

General methods have been developed for estimating causal effects from observational data under causal assumptions encoded in the form of a causal graph. Most of this literature assumes that the underlying causal graph is completely specified. However, only observational data is available in most practical settings, which means that one can learn at most a Markov equivalence class (MEC) of the underlying causal graph. In this paper, we study the problem of causal estimation from a MEC represented by a partial ancestral graph (PAG), which is learnable from observational data. We develop a general estimator for any identifiable causal effects in a PAG. The result fills a gap for an end-to-end solution to causal inference from observational data to effects estimation. Specifically, we develop a complete identification algorithm that derives an influence function for any identifiable causal effects from PAGs. We then construct a double/debiased machine learning (DML) estimator that is robust to model misspecification and biases in nuisance function estimation, permitting the use of modern machine learning techniques. Simulation results corroborate with the theory.

Bias-Free Scalable Gaussian Processes via Randomized Truncations
Andres Potapczynski, Luhuan Wu, Dan Biderman, Geoff Pleiss, John Cunningham

Scalable Gaussian Process methods are computationally attractive, yet introduce modeling biases that require rigorous study. This paper analyzes two common techniques: early truncated conjugate gradients (CG) and random Fourier features (RFF). We find that both methods introduce a systematic bias on the learned hyperparameters: CG tends to underfit while RFF tends to overfit. We address these issues using randomized truncation estimators that eliminate bias in exchange for increased variance. In the case of RFF, we show that the bias-to-variance conversion is indeed a trade-off: the additional variance proves detrimental to optimization. However, in the case of CG, our unbiased learning procedure meaningfully outperforms its biased counterpart with minimal additional computation. Our code is available at https://github.com/ cunningham-lab/RTGPS.

SG-PALM: a Fast Physically Interpretable Tensor Graphical Model
Yu Wang, Alfred Hero

We propose a new graphical model inference procedure, called SG-PALM, for learning conditional dependency structure of high-dimensional tensor-variate data. Unlike most other tensor graphical models the proposed model is interpretable and computationally scalable to high dimension. Physical interpretability follows from the Sylvester generative (SG) model on which SG-PALM is based: the model is exact for any observation process that is a solution of a partial differential equation of Poisson type. Scalability follows from the fast proximal alternating linearized minimization (PALM) procedure that SG-PALM uses during training. We establish that SG-PALM converges linearly (i.e., geometric convergence rate) to a global optimum of its objective function. We demonstrate scalability and accuracy of SG-PALM for an important but challenging climate prediction problem: spatio-temporal forecasting of solar flares from multimodal imaging data.

Black-box density function estimation using recursive partitioning
Erik Bodin, Zhenwen Dai, Neill Campbell, Carl Henrik Ek

We present a novel approach to Bayesian inference and general Bayesian computation that is defined through a sequential decision loop. Our method defines a recursive partitioning of the sample space. It neither relies on gradients nor requires any problem-specific tuning, and is asymptotically exact for any density function with a bounded domain. The output is an approximation to the whole density function including the normalisation constant, via partitions organised in efficient data structures. Such approximations may be used for evidence estimation or fast posterior sampling, but also as building blocks to treat a larger class of estimation problems. The algorithm shows competitive performance to recent state-of-the-art methods on synthetic and real-world problems including parameter inference for gravitational-wave physics.

Q&A

Oral: Adversarial Learning 3 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Sparse and Imperceptible Adversarial Attack via a Homotopy Algorithm
Mingkang Zhu, Tianlong Chen, Zhangyang Wang
Sparse adversarial attacks can fool deep neural networks (DNNs) by only perturbing a few pixels (regularized by $\ell_0$ norm). Recent efforts combine it with another $\ell_\infty$ imperceptible on the perturbation magnitudes. The resultant sparse and imperceptible attacks are practically relevant, and indicate an even higher vulnerability of DNNs that we usually imagined. However, such attacks are more challenging to generate due to the optimization difficulty by coupling the $\ell_0$ regularizer and box constraints with a non-convex objective. In this paper, we address this challenge by proposing a homotopy algorithm, to jointly tackle the sparsity and the perturbation bound in one unified framework. Each iteration, the main step of our algorithm is to optimize an $\ell_0$-regularized adversarial loss, by leveraging the nonmonotone Accelerated Proximal Gradient Method (nmAPG) for nonconvex programming; it is followed by an $\ell_0$ change control step, and an optional post-attack step designed to escape bad local minima. We also extend the algorithm to handling the structural sparsity regularizer. We extensively examine the effectiveness of our proposed \textbf{homotopy attack} for both targeted and non-targeted attack scenarios, on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet datasets. Compared to state-of-the-art methods, our homotopy attack leads to significantly fewer perturbations, e.g., reducing 42.91\% on CIFAR-10 and …
Maximum Mean Discrepancy Test is Aware of Adversarial Attacks
Ruize Gao, Feng Liu, Jingfeng Zhang, Bo Han, Tongliang Liu, Gang Niu, Masashi Sugiyama

The maximum mean discrepancy (MMD) test could in principle detect any distributional discrepancy between two datasets. However, it has been shown that the MMD test is unaware of adversarial attacks--the MMD test failed to detect the discrepancy between natural data and adversarial data. Given this phenomenon, we raise a question: are natural and adversarial data really from different distributions? The answer is affirmative--the previous use of the MMD test on the purpose missed three key factors, and accordingly, we propose three components. Firstly, the Gaussian kernel has limited representation power, and we replace it with an effective deep kernel. Secondly, the test power of the MMD test was neglected, and we maximize it following asymptotic statistics. Finally, adversarial data may be non-independent, and we overcome this issue with the help of wild bootstrap. By taking care of the three factors, we verify that the MMD test is aware of adversarial attacks, which lights up a novel road for adversarial data detection based on two-sample tests.

Learning Diverse-Structured Networks for Adversarial Robustness
Xuefeng Du, Jingfeng Zhang, Bo Han, Tongliang Liu, Yu Rong, Gang Niu, Junzhou Huang, Masashi Sugiyama

In adversarial training (AT), the main focus has been the objective and optimizer while the model has been less studied, so that the models being used are still those classic ones in standard training (ST). Classic network architectures (NAs) are generally worse than searched NA in ST, which should be the same in AT. In this paper, we argue that NA and AT cannot be handled independently, since given a dataset, the optimal NA in ST would be no longer optimal in AT. That being said, AT is time-consuming itself; if we directly search NAs in AT over large search spaces, the computation will be practically infeasible. Thus, we propose diverse-structured network (DS-Net), to significantly reduce the size of the search space: instead of low-level operations, we only consider predefined atomic blocks, where an atomic block is a time-tested building block like the residual block. There are only a few atomic blocks and thus we can weight all atomic blocks rather than find the best one in a searched block of DS-Net, which is an essential tradeoff between exploring diverse structures and exploiting the best structures. Empirical results demonstrate the advantages of DS-Net, i.e., weighting the atomic blocks.

PopSkipJump: Decision-Based Attack for Probabilistic Classifiers
Carl-Johann Simon-Gabriel, Noman Ahmed Sheikh, Andreas Krause

Most current classifiers are vulnerable to adversarial examples, small input perturbations that change the classification output. Many existing attack algorithms cover various settings, from white-box to black-box classifiers, but usually assume that the answers are deterministic and often fail when they are not. We therefore propose a new adversarial decision-based attack specifically designed for classifiers with probabilistic outputs. It is based on the HopSkipJump attack by Chen et al. (2019), a strong and query efficient decision-based attack originally designed for deterministic classifiers. Our P(robabilisticH)opSkipJump attack adapts its amount of queries to maintain HopSkipJump’s original output quality across various noise levels, while converging to its query efficiency as the noise level decreases. We test our attack on various noise models, including state-of-the-art off-the-shelf randomized defenses, and show that they offer almost no extra robustness to decision-based attacks. Code is available at https://github.com/cjsg/PopSkipJump.

Towards Better Robust Generalization with Shift Consistency Regularization
Shufei Zhang, Zhuang Qian, Kaizhu Huang, Qiufeng Wang, Rui Zhang, Xinping Yi

While adversarial training becomes one of the most promising defending approaches against adversarial attacks for deep neural networks, the conventional wisdom through robust optimization may usually not guarantee good generalization for robustness. Concerning with robust generalization over unseen adversarial data, this paper investigates adversarial training from a novel perspective of shift consistency in latent space. We argue that the poor robust generalization of adversarial training is owing to the significantly dispersed latent representations generated by training and test adversarial data, as the adversarial perturbations push the latent features of natural examples in the same class towards diverse directions. This is underpinned by the theoretical analysis of the robust generalization gap, which is upper-bounded by the standard one over the natural data and a term of feature inconsistent shift caused by adversarial perturbation – a measure of latent dispersion. Towards better robust generalization, we propose a new regularization method – shift consistency regularization (SCR) – to steer the same-class latent features of both natural and adversarial data into a common direction during adversarial training. The effectiveness of SCR in adversarial training is evaluated through extensive experiments over different datasets, such as CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, and SVHN, against several competitive methods.

Robust Learning for Data Poisoning Attacks
Yunjuan Wang, Poorya Mianjy, Raman Arora

We investigate the robustness of stochastic approximation approaches against data poisoning attacks. We focus on two-layer neural networks with ReLU activation and show that under a specific notion of separability in the RKHS induced by the infinite-width network, training (finite-width) networks with stochastic gradient descent is robust against data poisoning attacks. Interestingly, we find that in addition to a lower bound on the width of the network, which is standard in the literature, we also require a distribution-dependent upper bound on the width for robust generalization. We provide extensive empirical evaluations that support and validate our theoretical results.

Mind the Box: $l_1$-APGD for Sparse Adversarial Attacks on Image Classifiers
Francesco Croce, Matthias Hein
We show that when taking into account also the image domain $[0,1]^d$, established $l_1$-projected gradient descent (PGD) attacks are suboptimal as they do not consider that the effective threat model is the intersection of the $l_1$-ball and $[0,1]^d$. We study the expected sparsity of the steepest descent step for this effective threat model and show that the exact projection onto this set is computationally feasible and yields better performance. Moreover, we propose an adaptive form of PGD which is highly effective even with a small budget of iterations. Our resulting $l_1$-APGD is a strong white-box attack showing that prior works overestimated their $l_1$-robustness. Using $l_1$-APGD for adversarial training we get a robust classifier with SOTA $l_1$-robustness. Finally, we combine $l_1$-APGD and an adaptation of the Square Attack to $l_1$ into $l_1$-AutoAttack, an ensemble of attacks which reliably assesses adversarial robustness for the threat model of $l_1$-ball intersected with $[0,1]^d$.
Q&A

Oral: Applications 3 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Straight to the Gradient: Learning to Use Novel Tokens for Neural Text Generation
Xiang Lin, Simeng Han, Shafiq Joty

Advanced large-scale neural language models have led to significant success in many language generation tasks. However, the most commonly used training objective, Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE), has been shown problematic, where the trained model prefers using dull and repetitive phrases. In this work, we introduce ScaleGrad, a modification straight to the gradient of the loss function, to remedy the degeneration issue of the standard MLE objective. By directly maneuvering the gradient information, ScaleGrad makes the model learn to use novel tokens. Empirical results show the effectiveness of our method not only in open-ended generation, but also in directed generation tasks. With the simplicity in architecture, our method can serve as a general training objective that is applicable to most of the neural text generation tasks.

Backpropagated Neighborhood Aggregation for Accurate Training of Spiking Neural Networks
Yukun Yang, Wenrui Zhang, Peng Li

While Backpropagation (BP) has been applied to spiking neural networks (SNNs) achieving encouraging results, a key challenge involved is to backpropagate a differentiable continuous-valued loss over layers of spiking neurons exhibiting discontinuous all-or-none firing activities. Existing methods deal with this difficulty by introducing compromises that come with their own limitations, leading to potential performance degradation. We propose a novel BP-like method, called neighborhood aggregation (NA), which computes accurate error gradients guiding weight updates that may lead to discontinuous modifications of firing activities. NA achieves this goal by aggregating the error gradient over multiple spike trains in the neighborhood of the present spike train of each neuron. The employed aggregation is based on a generalized finite difference approximation with a proposed distance metric quantifying the similarity between a given pair of spike trains. Our experiments show that the proposed NA algorithm delivers state-of-the-art performance for SNN training on several datasets including CIFAR10.

Crystallization Learning with the Delaunay Triangulation
Jiaqi Gu, Guosheng Yin

Based on the Delaunay triangulation, we propose the crystallization learning to estimate the conditional expectation function in the framework of nonparametric regression. By conducting the crystallization search for the Delaunay simplices closest to the target point in a hierarchical way, the crystallization learning estimates the conditional expectation of the response by fitting a local linear model to the data points of the constructed Delaunay simplices. Instead of conducting the Delaunay triangulation for the entire feature space which would encounter enormous computational difficulty, our approach focuses only on the neighborhood of the target point and thus greatly expedites the estimation for high-dimensional cases. Because the volumes of Delaunay simplices are adaptive to the density of feature data points, our method selects neighbor data points uniformly in all directions and thus is more robust to the local geometric structure of the data than existing nonparametric regression methods. We develop the asymptotic properties of the crystallization learning and conduct numerical experiments on both synthetic and real data to demonstrate the advantages of our method in estimation of the conditional expectation function and prediction of the response.

Group Fisher Pruning for Practical Network Compression
Liyang Liu, Shilong Zhang, Zhanghui Kuang, Aojun Zhou, Jing-Hao Xue, Xinjiang Wang, Yimin Chen, Wenming Yang, Qingmin Liao, Wayne Zhang

Network compression has been widely studied since it is able to reduce the memory and computation cost during inference. However, previous methods seldom deal with complicated structures like residual connections, group/depth-wise convolution and feature pyramid network, where channels of multiple layers are coupled and need to be pruned simultaneously. In this paper, we present a general channel pruning approach that can be applied to various complicated structures. Particularly, we propose a layer grouping algorithm to find coupled channels automatically. Then we derive a unified metric based on Fisher information to evaluate the importance of a single channel and coupled channels. Moreover, we find that inference speedup on GPUs is more correlated with the reduction of memory rather than FLOPs, and thus we employ the memory reduction of each channel to normalize the importance. Our method can be used to prune any structures including those with coupled channels. We conduct extensive experiments on various backbones, including the classic ResNet and ResNeXt, mobile-friendly MobileNetV2, and the NAS-based RegNet, both on image classification and object detection which is under-explored. Experimental results validate that our method can effectively prune sophisticated networks, boosting inference speed without sacrificing accuracy.

BASE Layers: Simplifying Training of Large, Sparse Models
Mike Lewis, Shruti Bhosale, Tim Dettmers, Naman Goyal, Luke Zettlemoyer

We introduce a new balanced assignment of experts (BASE) layer for large language models that greatly simplifies existing high capacity sparse layers. Sparse layers can dramatically improve the efficiency of training and inference by routing each token to specialized expert modules that contain only a small fraction of the model parameters. However, it can be difficult to learn balanced routing functions that make full use of the available experts; existing approaches typically use routing heuristics or auxiliary expert-balancing loss functions. In contrast, we formulate token-to-expert allocation as a linear assignment problem, allowing an optimal assignment in which each expert receives an equal number of tokens.
This optimal assignment scheme improves efficiency by guaranteeing balanced compute loads, and also simplifies training by not requiring any new hyperparameters or auxiliary losses. Code is publicly released.

STRODE: Stochastic Boundary Ordinary Differential Equation
Huang Hengguan, Hongfu Liu, Hao Wang, Chang Xiao, Ye Wang

Perception of time from sequentially acquired sensory inputs is rooted in everyday behaviors of individual organisms. Yet, most algorithms for time-series modeling fail to learn dynamics of random event timings directly from visual or audio inputs, requiring timing annotations during training that are usually unavailable for real-world applications. For instance, neuroscience perspectives on postdiction imply that there exist variable temporal ranges within which the incoming sensory inputs can affect the earlier perception, but such temporal ranges are mostly unannotated for real applications such as automatic speech recognition (ASR). In this paper, we present a probabilistic ordinary differential equation (ODE), called STochastic boundaRy ODE (STRODE), that learns both the timings and the dynamics of time series data without requiring any timing annotations during training. STRODE allows the usage of differential equations to sample from the posterior point processes, efficiently and analytically. We further provide theoretical guarantees on the learning of STRODE. Our empirical results show that our approach successfully infers event timings of time series data. Our method achieves competitive or superior performances compared to existing state-of-the-art methods for both synthetic and real-world datasets.

A Zeroth-Order Block Coordinate Descent Algorithm for Huge-Scale Black-Box Optimization
HanQin Cai, Yuchen Lou, Daniel Mckenzie, Wotao Yin

We consider the zeroth-order optimization problem in the huge-scale setting, where the dimension of the problem is so large that performing even basic vector operations on the decision variables is infeasible. In this paper, we propose a novel algorithm, coined ZO-BCD, that exhibits favorable overall query complexity and has a much smaller per-iteration computational complexity. In addition, we discuss how the memory footprint of ZO-BCD can be reduced even further by the clever use of circulant measurement matrices. As an application of our new method, we propose the idea of crafting adversarial attacks on neural network based classifiers in a wavelet domain, which can result in problem dimensions of over one million. In particular, we show that crafting adversarial examples to audio classifiers in a wavelet domain can achieve the state-of-the-art attack success rate of 97.9% with significantly less distortion.

Q&A

Oral: Applications (NLP) 2 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Global Prosody Style Transfer Without Text Transcriptions
Kaizhi Qian, Yang Zhang, Shiyu Chang, Jinjun Xiong, Chuang Gan, David Cox, Mark Hasegawa-Johnson

Prosody plays an important role in characterizing the style of a speaker or an emotion, but most non-parallel voice or emotion style transfer algorithms do not convert any prosody information. Two major components of prosody are pitch and rhythm. Disentangling the prosody information, particularly the rhythm component, from the speech is challenging because it involves breaking the synchrony between the input speech and the disentangled speech representation. As a result, most existing prosody style transfer algorithms would need to rely on some form of text transcriptions to identify the content information, which confines their application to high-resource languages only. Recently, SpeechSplit has made sizeable progress towards unsupervised prosody style transfer, but it is unable to extract high-level global prosody style in an unsupervised manner. In this paper, we propose AutoPST, which can disentangle global prosody style from speech without relying on any text transcriptions. AutoPST is an Autoencoder-based Prosody Style Transfer framework with a thorough rhythm removal module guided by the self-expressive representation learning. Experiments on different style transfer tasks show that AutoPST can effectively convert prosody that correctly reflects the styles of the target domains.

SoundDet: Polyphonic Moving Sound Event Detection and Localization from Raw Waveform
Yuhang He, Niki Trigoni, Andrew Markham

We present a new framework SoundDet, which is an end-to-end trainable and light-weight framework, for polyphonic moving sound event detection and localization. Prior methods typically approach this problem by preprocessing raw waveform into time-frequency representations, which is more amenable to process with well-established image processing pipelines. Prior methods also detect in segment-wise manner, leading to incomplete and partial detections. SoundDet takes a novel approach and directly consumes the raw, multichannel waveform and treats the spatio-temporal sound event as a complete ``sound-object" to be detected. Specifically, SoundDet consists of a backbone neural network and two parallel heads for temporal detection and spatial localization, respectively. Given the large sampling rate of raw waveform, the backbone network first learns a set of phase-sensitive and frequency-selective bank of filters to explicitly retain direction-of-arrival information, whilst being highly computationally and parametrically efficient than standard 1D/2D convolution. A dense sound event proposal map is then constructed to handle the challenges of predicting events with large varying temporal duration. Accompanying the dense proposal map are a temporal overlapness map and a motion smoothness map that measure a proposal's confidence to be an event from temporal detection accuracy and movement consistency perspective. Involving the two maps guarantees SoundDet …

EfficientTTS: An Efficient and High-Quality Text-to-Speech Architecture
Chenfeng Miao, Liang Shuang, Zhengchen Liu, Chen Minchuan, Jun Ma, Shaojun Wang, Jing Xiao

In this work, we address the Text-to-Speech (TTS) task by proposing a non-autoregressive architecture called EfficientTTS. Unlike the dominant non-autoregressive TTS models, which are trained with the need of external aligners, EfficientTTS optimizes all its parameters with a stable, end-to-end training procedure, allowing for synthesizing high quality speech in a fast and efficient manner. EfficientTTS is motivated by a new monotonic alignment modeling approach, which specifies monotonic constraints to the sequence alignment with almost no increase of computation. By combining EfficientTTS with different feed-forward network structures, we develop a family of TTS models, including both text-to-melspectrogram and text-to-waveform networks. We experimentally show that the proposed models significantly outperform counterpart models such as Tacotron 2 and Glow-TTS in terms of speech quality, training efficiency and synthesis speed, while still producing the speeches of strong robustness and great diversity. In addition, we demonstrate that proposed approach can be easily extended to autoregressive models such as Tacotron 2.

Conditional Variational Autoencoder with Adversarial Learning for End-to-End Text-to-Speech
Jaehyeon Kim, Jungil Kong, Juhee Son

Several recent end-to-end text-to-speech (TTS) models enabling single-stage training and parallel sampling have been proposed, but their sample quality does not match that of two-stage TTS systems. In this work, we present a parallel end-to-end TTS method that generates more natural sounding audio than current two-stage models. Our method adopts variational inference augmented with normalizing flows and an adversarial training process, which improves the expressive power of generative modeling. We also propose a stochastic duration predictor to synthesize speech with diverse rhythms from input text. With the uncertainty modeling over latent variables and the stochastic duration predictor, our method expresses the natural one-to-many relationship in which a text input can be spoken in multiple ways with different pitches and rhythms. A subjective human evaluation (mean opinion score, or MOS) on the LJ Speech, a single speaker dataset, shows that our method outperforms the best publicly available TTS systems and achieves a MOS comparable to ground truth.

Learning de-identified representations of prosody from raw audio
Jack Weston, Raphael Lenain, Udeepa Meepegama, Emil Fristed

We propose a method for learning de-identified prosody representations from raw audio using a contrastive self-supervised signal. Whereas prior work has relied on conditioning models with bottlenecks, we introduce a set of inductive biases that exploit the natural structure of prosody to minimize timbral information and decouple prosody from speaker representations. Despite aggressive downsampling of the input and having no access to linguistic information, our model performs comparably to state-of-the-art speech representations on DAMMP, a new benchmark we introduce for spoken language understanding. We use minimum description length probing to show that our representations have selectively learned the subcomponents of non-timbral prosody, and that the product quantizer naturally disentangles them without using bottlenecks. We derive an information-theoretic definition of speech de-identifiability and use it to demonstrate that our prosody representations are less identifiable than the other speech representations.

UniSpeech: Unified Speech Representation Learning with Labeled and Unlabeled Data
Chengyi Wang, Yu Wu, Yao Qian, Kenichi Kumatani, Shujie Liu, Furu Wei, Michael Zeng, Xuedong Huang

In this paper, we propose a unified pre-training approach called UniSpeech to learn speech representations with both labeled and unlabeled data, in which supervised phonetic CTC learning and phonetically-aware contrastive self-supervised learning are conducted in a multi-task learning manner. The resultant representations can capture information more correlated with phonetic structures and improve the generalization across languages and domains. We evaluate the effectiveness of UniSpeech for cross-lingual representation learning on public CommonVoice corpus. The results show that UniSpeech outperforms self-supervised pretraining and supervised transfer learning for speech recognition by a maximum of 13.4\% and 26.9\% relative phone error rate reductions respectively (averaged over all testing languages). The transferability of UniSpeech is also verified on a domain-shift speech recognition task, i.e., a relative word error rate reduction of 6\% against the previous approach.

You Only Sample (Almost) Once: Linear Cost Self-Attention Via Bernoulli Sampling
Zhanpeng Zeng, Yunyang Xiong, Sathya Ravi, Shailesh Acharya, Glenn Fung, Vikas Singh

Transformer-based models are widely used in natural language processing (NLP). Central to the transformer model is the self-attention mechanism, which captures the interactions of token pairs in the input sequences and depends quadratically on the sequence length. Training such models on longer sequences is expensive. In this paper, we show that a Bernoulli sampling attention mechanism based on Locality Sensitive Hashing (LSH), decreases the quadratic complexity of such models to linear. We bypass the quadratic cost by considering self-attention as a sum of individual tokens associated with Bernoulli random variables that can, in principle, be sampled at once by a single hash (although in practice, this number may be a small constant). This leads to an efficient sampling scheme to estimate self-attention which relies on specific modifications of LSH (to enable deployment on GPU architectures). We evaluate our algorithm on the GLUE benchmark with standard 512 sequence length where we see favorable performance relative to a standard pretrained Transformer. On the Long Range Arena (LRA) benchmark, for evaluating performance on long sequences, our method achieves results consistent with softmax self-attention but with sizable speed-ups and memory savings and often outperforms other efficient self-attention methods. Our code is available at https://github.com/mlpen/YOSO.

Q&A

Oral: Multi-task Learning 1 Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Composed Fine-Tuning: Freezing Pre-Trained Denoising Autoencoders for Improved Generalization
Sang Michael Xie, Tengyu Ma, Percy Liang

We focus on prediction problems with structured outputs that are subject to output validity constraints, e.g. pseudocode-to-code translation where the code must compile. While labeled input-output pairs are expensive to obtain, "unlabeled" outputs, i.e. outputs without corresponding inputs, are freely available (e.g. code on GitHub) and provide information about output validity. Pre-training captures this structure by training a denoiser to denoise corrupted versions of unlabeled outputs. We first show that standard fine-tuning after pre-training destroys some of this structure. We then propose composed fine-tuning, which trains a predictor composed with the pre-trained denoiser. Importantly, the denoiser is fixed to preserve output structure. Like standard fine-tuning, the predictor is also initialized with the pre-trained denoiser. We prove for two-layer ReLU networks that composed fine-tuning significantly reduces the complexity of the predictor, thus improving generalization. Empirically, we show that composed fine-tuning improves over standard fine-tuning on two pseudocode-to-code translation datasets (3% and 6% relative). The improvement is magnified on out-of-distribution (OOD) examples (4% and 25% relative), suggesting that reducing predictor complexity improves OOD extrapolation.

KD3A: Unsupervised Multi-Source Decentralized Domain Adaptation via Knowledge Distillation
Haozhe Feng, Zhaoyang You, Minghao Chen, Tianye Zhang, Minfeng Zhu, Fei Wu, Chao Wu, Wei Chen

Conventional unsupervised multi-source domain adaptation (UMDA) methods assume all source domains can be accessed directly. However, this assumption neglects the privacy-preserving policy, where all the data and computations must be kept decentralized. There exist three challenges in this scenario: (1) Minimizing the domain distance requires the pairwise calculation of the data from the source and target domains, while the data on the source domain is not available. (2) The communication cost and privacy security limit the application of existing UMDA methods, such as the domain adversarial training. (3) Since users cannot govern the data quality, the irrelevant or malicious source domains are more likely to appear, which causes negative transfer. To address the above problems, we propose a privacy-preserving UMDA paradigm named Knowledge Distillation based Decentralized Domain Adaptation (KD3A), which performs domain adaptation through the knowledge distillation on models from different source domains. The extensive experiments show that KD3A significantly outperforms state-of-the-art UMDA approaches. Moreover, the KD3A is robust to the negative transfer and brings a 100x reduction of communication cost compared with other decentralized UMDA methods.

REPAINT: Knowledge Transfer in Deep Reinforcement Learning
Yunzhe Tao, Sahika Genc, Jonathan Chung, TAO SUN, Sunil Mallya

Accelerating learning processes for complex tasks by leveraging previously learned tasks has been one of the most challenging problems in reinforcement learning, especially when the similarity between source and target tasks is low. This work proposes REPresentation And INstance Transfer (REPAINT) algorithm for knowledge transfer in deep reinforcement learning. REPAINT not only transfers the representation of a pre-trained teacher policy in the on-policy learning, but also uses an advantage-based experience selection approach to transfer useful samples collected following the teacher policy in the off-policy learning. Our experimental results on several benchmark tasks show that REPAINT significantly reduces the total training time in generic cases of task similarity. In particular, when the source tasks are dissimilar to, or sub-tasks of, the target tasks, REPAINT outperforms other baselines in both training-time reduction and asymptotic performance of return scores.

Exploiting Shared Representations for Personalized Federated Learning
Liam Collins, Hamed Hassani, Aryan Mokhtari, Sanjay Shakkottai

Deep neural networks have shown the ability to extract universal feature representations from data such as images and text that have been useful for a variety of learning tasks. However, the fruits of representation learning have yet to be fully-realized in federated settings. Although data in federated settings is often non-i.i.d. across clients, the success of centralized deep learning suggests that data often shares a global {\em feature representation}, while the statistical heterogeneity across clients or tasks is concentrated in the {\em labels}. Based on this intuition, we propose a novel federated learning framework and algorithm for learning a shared data representation across clients and unique local heads for each client. Our algorithm harnesses the distributed computational power across clients to perform many local-updates with respect to the low-dimensional local parameters for every update of the representation. We prove that this method obtains linear convergence to the ground-truth representation with near-optimal sample complexity in a linear setting, demonstrating that it can efficiently reduce the problem dimension for each client. Further, we provide extensive experimental results demonstrating the improvement of our method over alternative personalized federated learning approaches in heterogeneous settings.

Large-Scale Meta-Learning with Continual Trajectory Shifting
JWoong Shin, Hae Beom Lee, Boqing Gong, Sung Ju Hwang

Meta-learning of shared initialization parameters has shown to be highly effective in solving few-shot learning tasks. However, extending the framework to many-shot scenarios, which may further enhance its practicality, has been relatively overlooked due to the technical difficulties of meta-learning over long chains of inner-gradient steps. In this paper, we first show that allowing the meta-learners to take a larger number of inner gradient steps better captures the structure of heterogeneous and large-scale task distributions, thus results in obtaining better initialization points. Further, in order to increase the frequency of meta-updates even with the excessively long inner-optimization trajectories, we propose to estimate the required shift of the task-specific parameters with respect to the change of the initialization parameters. By doing so, we can arbitrarily increase the frequency of meta-updates and thus greatly improve the meta-level convergence as well as the quality of the learned initializations. We validate our method on a heterogeneous set of large-scale tasks, and show that the algorithm largely outperforms the previous first-order meta-learning methods in terms of both generalization performance and convergence, as well as multi-task learning and fine-tuning baselines.

Exploration in Approximate Hyper-State Space for Meta Reinforcement Learning
Luisa Zintgraf, Leo Feng, Cong Lu, Max Igl, Kristian Hartikainen, Katja Hofmann, Shimon Whiteson

To rapidly learn a new task, it is often essential for agents to explore efficiently - especially when performance matters from the first timestep. One way to learn such behaviour is via meta-learning. Many existing methods however rely on dense rewards for meta-training, and can fail catastrophically if the rewards are sparse. Without a suitable reward signal, the need for exploration during meta-training is exacerbated. To address this, we propose HyperX, which uses novel reward bonuses for meta-training to explore in approximate hyper-state space (where hyper-states represent the environment state and the agent's task belief). We show empirically that HyperX meta-learns better task-exploration and adapts more successfully to new tasks than existing methods.

LogME: Practical Assessment of Pre-trained Models for Transfer Learning
Kaichao You, Yong Liu, Jianmin Wang, Mingsheng Long
This paper studies task adaptive pre-trained model selection, an underexplored problem of assessing pre-trained models for the target task and select best ones from the model zoo \emph{without fine-tuning}. A few pilot works addressed the problem in transferring supervised pre-trained models to classification tasks, but they cannot handle emerging unsupervised pre-trained models or regression tasks. In pursuit of a practical assessment method, we propose to estimate the maximum value of label evidence given features extracted by pre-trained models. Unlike the maximum likelihood, the maximum evidence is \emph{immune to over-fitting}, while its expensive computation can be dramatically reduced by our carefully designed algorithm. The Logarithm of Maximum Evidence (LogME) can be used to assess pre-trained models for transfer learning: a pre-trained model with a high LogME value is likely to have good transfer performance. LogME is \emph{fast, accurate, and general}, characterizing itself as the first practical method for assessing pre-trained models. Compared with brute-force fine-tuning, LogME brings at most $3000\times$ speedup in wall-clock time and requires only $1\%$ memory footprint. It outperforms prior methods by a large margin in their setting and is applicable to new settings. It is general enough for diverse pre-trained models (supervised pre-trained and unsupervised pre-trained), downstream …
Q&A

Oral: Security and Explanability Thu 22 Jul 05:00 p.m.  

Gradient Disaggregation: Breaking Privacy in Federated Learning by Reconstructing the User Participant Matrix
Maximilian Lam, Gu-Yeon Wei, David Brooks, Vijay Janapa Reddi, Michael Mitzenmacher

We show that aggregated model updates in federated learning may be insecure. An untrusted central server may disaggregate user updates from sums of updates across participants given repeated observations, enabling the server to recover privileged information about individual users' private training data via traditional gradient inference attacks. Our method revolves around reconstructing participant information (e.g: which rounds of training users participated in) from aggregated model updates by leveraging summary information from device analytics commonly used to monitor, debug, and manage federated learning systems. Our attack is parallelizable and we successfully disaggregate user updates on settings with up to thousands of participants. We quantitatively and qualitatively demonstrate significant improvements in the capability of various inference attacks on the disaggregated updates. Our attack enables the attribution of learned properties to individual users, violating anonymity, and shows that a determined central server may undermine the secure aggregation protocol to break individual users' data privacy in federated learning.

Provable Lipschitz Certification for Generative Models
Matt Jordan, Alex Dimakis

We present a scalable technique for upper bounding the Lipschitz constant of generative models. We relate this quantity to the maximal norm over the set of attainable vector-Jacobian products of a given generative model. We approximate this set by layerwise convex approximations using zonotopes. Our approach generalizes and improves upon prior work using zonotope transformers and we extend to Lipschitz estimation of neural networks with large output dimension. This provides efficient and tight bounds on small networks and can scale to generative models on VAE and DCGAN architectures.

HEMET: A Homomorphic-Encryption-Friendly Privacy-Preserving Mobile Neural Network Architecture
Qian Lou, Lei Jiang
Recently Homomorphic Encryption (HE) is used to implement Privacy-Preserving Neural Networks (PPNNs) that perform inferences directly on encrypted data without decryption. Prior PPNNs adopt mobile network architectures such as SqueezeNet for smaller computing overhead, but we find na\"ively using mobile network architectures for a PPNN does not necessarily achieve shorter inference latency. Despite having less parameters, a mobile network architecture typically introduces more layers and increases the HE multiplicative depth of a PPNN, thereby prolonging its inference latency. In this paper, we propose a \textbf{HE}-friendly privacy-preserving \textbf{M}obile neural n\textbf{ET}work architecture, \textbf{HEMET}. Experimental results show that, compared to state-of-the-art (SOTA) PPNNs, HEMET reduces the inference latency by $59.3\%\sim 61.2\%$, and improves the inference accuracy by $0.4 \% \sim 0.5\%$.
Explanations for Monotonic Classifiers.
Joao Marques-Silva, Thomas Gerspacher, Martin Cooper, Alexey Ignatiev, Nina Narodytska

In many classification tasks there is a requirement of monotonicity. Concretely, if all else remains constant, increasing (resp.~decreasing) the value of one or more features must not decrease (resp.~increase) the value of the prediction. Despite comprehensive efforts on learning monotonic classifiers, dedicated approaches for explaining monotonic classifiers are scarce and classifier-specific. This paper describes novel algorithms for the computation of one formal explanation of a (black-box) monotonic classifier. These novel algorithms are polynomial (indeed linear) in the run time complexity of the classifier. Furthermore, the paper presents a practically efficient model-agnostic algorithm for enumerating formal explanations.

Lossless Compression of Efficient Private Local Randomizers
Vitaly Feldman, Kunal Talwar

Locally Differentially Private (LDP) Reports are commonly used for collection of statistics and machine learning in the federated setting. In many cases the best known LDP algorithms require sending prohibitively large messages from the client device to the server (such as when constructing histograms over a large domain or learning a high-dimensional model). Here we demonstrate a general approach that, under standard cryptographic assumptions, compresses every efficient LDP algorithm with negligible loss in privacy and utility guarantees. The practical implication of our result is that in typical applications every message can be compressed to the size of the server's pseudo-random generator seed. From this general approach we derive low-communication algorithms for the problems of frequency estimation and high-dimensional mean estimation. Our algorithms are simpler and more accurate than existing low-communication LDP algorithms for these well-studied problems.

CRFL: Certifiably Robust Federated Learning against Backdoor Attacks
Chulin Xie, Minghao Chen, Pin-Yu Chen, Bo Li

Federated Learning (FL) as a distributed learning paradigm that aggregates information from diverse clients to train a shared global model, has demonstrated great success. However, malicious clients can perform poisoning attacks and model replacement to introduce backdoors into the trained global model. Although there have been intensive studies designing robust aggregation methods and empirical robust federated training protocols against backdoors, existing approaches lack robustness certification. This paper provides the first general framework, Certifiably Robust Federated Learning (CRFL), to train certifiably robust FL models against backdoors. Our method exploits clipping and smoothing on model parameters to control the global model smoothness, which yields a sample-wise robustness certification on backdoors with limited magnitude. Our certification also specifies the relation to federated learning parameters, such as poisoning ratio on instance level, number of attackers, and training iterations. Practically, we conduct comprehensive experiments across a range of federated datasets, and provide the first benchmark for certified robustness against backdoor attacks in federated learning. Our code is publicaly available at https://github.com/AI-secure/CRFL.

Grey-box Extraction of Natural Language Models
Santiago Zanella-Beguelin, Shruti Tople, Andrew Paverd, Boris Köpf

Model extraction attacks attempt to replicate a target machine learning model by querying its inference API. State-of-the-art attacks are learning-based and construct replicas by supervised training on the target model's predictions, but an emerging class of attacks exploit algebraic properties to obtain high-fidelity replicas using orders of magnitude fewer queries. So far, these algebraic attacks have been limited to neural networks with few hidden layers and ReLU activations. In this paper we present algebraic and hybrid algebraic/learning-based attacks on large-scale natural language models. We consider a grey-box setting, targeting models with a pre-trained (public) encoder followed by a single (private) classification layer. Our key findings are that (i) with a frozen encoder, high-fidelity extraction is possible with a small number of in-distribution queries, making extraction attacks indistinguishable from legitimate use; (ii) when the encoder is fine-tuned, a hybrid learning-based/algebraic attack improves over the learning-based state-of-the-art without requiring additional queries.

Q&A

Oral: Algorithms 4 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Learn-to-Share: A Hardware-friendly Transfer Learning Framework Exploiting Computation and Parameter Sharing
Cheng Fu, Hanxian Huang, Xinyun Chen, Yuandong Tian, Jishen Zhao

Task-specific fine-tuning on pre-trained transformers has achieved performance breakthroughs in multiple NLP tasks. Yet, as both computation and parameter size grows linearly with the number of sub-tasks, it is increasingly difficult to adopt such methods to the real world due to unrealistic memory and computation overhead on computing devices. Previous works on fine-tuning focus on reducing the growing parameter size to save storage cost by parameter sharing. However, compared to storage, the constraint of computation is a more critical issue with the fine-tuning models in modern computing environments. In this work, we propose LeTS, a framework that leverages both computation and parameter sharing across multiple tasks. Compared to traditional fine-tuning, LeTS proposes a novel neural architecture that contains a fixed pre-trained transformer model, plus learnable additive components for sub-tasks. The learnable components reuse the intermediate activations in the fixed pre-trained model, decoupling computation dependency. Differentiable neural architecture search is used to determine a task-specific computation sharing scheme, and a novel early stage pruning is applied to additive components for sparsity to achieve parameter sharing. Extensive experiments show that with 1.4% of extra parameters per task, LeTS reduces the computation by 49.5% on GLUE benchmarks with only 0.2% accuracy loss compared …

Latent Space Energy-Based Model of Symbol-Vector Coupling for Text Generation and Classification
Bo Pang, Ying Nian Wu

We propose a latent space energy-based prior model for text generation and classification. The model stands on a generator network that generates the text sequence based on a continuous latent vector. The energy term of the prior model couples a continuous latent vector and a symbolic one-hot vector, so that discrete category can be inferred from the observed example based on the continuous latent vector. Such a latent space coupling naturally enables incorporation of information bottleneck regularization to encourage the continuous latent vector to extract information from the observed example that is informative of the underlying category. In our learning method, the symbol-vector coupling, the generator network and the inference network are learned jointly. Our model can be learned in an unsupervised setting where no category labels are provided. It can also be learned in semi-supervised setting where category labels are provided for a subset of training examples. Our experiments demonstrate that the proposed model learns well-structured and meaningful latent space, which (1) guides the generator to generate text with high quality, diversity, and interpretability, and (2) effectively classifies text.

Policy Caches with Successor Features
Mark Nemecek, Ron Parr

Transfer in reinforcement learning is based on the idea that it is possible to use what is learned in one task to improve the learning process in another task. For transfer between tasks which share transition dynamics but differ in reward function, successor features have been shown to be a useful representation which allows for efficient computation of action-value functions for previously-learned policies in new tasks. These functions induce policies in the new tasks, so an agent may not need to learn a new policy for each new task it encounters, especially if it is allowed some amount of suboptimality in those tasks. We present new bounds for the performance of optimal policies in a new task, as well as an approach to use these bounds to decide, when presented with a new task, whether to use cached policies or learn a new policy.

Meta-Thompson Sampling
Branislav Kveton, Mikhail Konobeev, Manzil Zaheer, Chih-wei Hsu, Martin Mladenov, Craig Boutilier, Csaba Szepesvari

Efficient exploration in bandits is a fundamental online learning problem. We propose a variant of Thompson sampling that learns to explore better as it interacts with bandit instances drawn from an unknown prior. The algorithm meta-learns the prior and thus we call it MetaTS. We propose several efficient implementations of MetaTS and analyze it in Gaussian bandits. Our analysis shows the benefit of meta-learning and is of a broader interest, because we derive a novel prior-dependent Bayes regret bound for Thompson sampling. Our theory is complemented by empirical evaluation, which shows that MetaTS quickly adapts to the unknown prior.

Integrated Defense for Resilient Graph Matching
Jiaxiang Ren, Zijie Zhang, Jiayin Jin, Xin Zhao, Sixing Wu, Yang Zhou, Yelong Shen, Tianshi Che, Ruoming Jin, Dejing Dou

A recent study has shown that graph matching models are vulnerable to adversarial manipulation of their input which is intended to cause a mismatching. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of a comprehensive solution for further enhancing the robustness of graph matching against adversarial attacks. In this paper, we identify and study two types of unique topology attacks in graph matching: inter-graph dispersion and intra-graph assembly attacks. We propose an integrated defense model, IDRGM, for resilient graph matching with two novel defense techniques to defend against the above two attacks simultaneously. A detection technique of inscribed simplexes in the hyperspheres consisting of multiple matched nodes is proposed to tackle inter-graph dispersion attacks, in which the distances among the matched nodes in multiple graphs are maximized to form regular simplexes. A node separation method based on phase-type distribution and maximum likelihood estimation is developed to estimate the distribution of perturbed graphs and separate the nodes within the same graphs over a wide space, for defending intra-graph assembly attacks, such that the interference from the similar neighbors of the perturbed nodes is significantly reduced. We evaluate the robustness of our IDRGM model on real datasets against state-of-the-art algorithms.

Supervised Tree-Wasserstein Distance
Yuki Takezawa, Ryoma Sato, Makoto Yamada

To measure the similarity of documents, the Wasserstein distance is a powerful tool, but it requires a high computational cost. Recently, for fast computation of the Wasserstein distance, methods for approximating the Wasserstein distance using a tree metric have been proposed. These tree-based methods allow fast comparisons of a large number of documents; however, they are unsupervised and do not learn task-specific distances. In this work, we propose the Supervised Tree-Wasserstein (STW) distance, a fast, supervised metric learning method based on the tree metric. Specifically, we rewrite the Wasserstein distance on the tree metric by the parent-child relationships of a tree, and formulate it as a continuous optimization problem using a contrastive loss. Experimentally, we show that the STW distance can be computed fast, and improves the accuracy of document classification tasks. Furthermore, the STW distance is formulated by matrix multiplications, runs on a GPU, and is suitable for batch processing. Therefore, we show that the STW distance is extremely efficient when comparing a large number of documents.

Which transformer architecture fits my data? A vocabulary bottleneck in self-attention
Noam Wies, Yoav Levine, Daniel Jannai, Amnon Shashua

After their successful debut in natural language processing, Transformer architectures are now becoming the de-facto standard in many domains. An obstacle for their deployment over new modalities is the architectural configuration: the optimal depth-to-width ratio has been shown to dramatically vary across data types (i.e., 10x larger over images than over language). We theoretically predict the existence of an embedding rank bottleneck that limits the contribution of self-attention width to the Transformer expressivity. We thus directly tie the input vocabulary size and rank to the optimal depth-to-width ratio, since a small vocabulary size or rank dictates an added advantage of depth over width. We empirically demonstrate the existence of this bottleneck and its implications on the depth-to-width interplay of Transformer architectures, linking the architecture variability across domains to the often glossed-over usage of different vocabulary sizes or embedding ranks in different domains. As an additional benefit, our rank bottlenecking framework allows us to identify size redundancies of 25%-50% in leading NLP models such as ALBERT and T5.

Q&A

Oral: Security Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Label Inference Attacks from Log-loss Scores
Abhinav Aggarwal, Shiva Kasiviswanathan, Zekun Xu, Seyi Feyisetan, Nathanael Teissier

Log-loss (also known as cross-entropy loss) metric is ubiquitously used across machine learning applications to assess the performance of classification algorithms. In this paper, we investigate the problem of inferring the labels of a dataset from single (or multiple) log-loss score(s), without any other access to the dataset. Surprisingly, we show that for any finite number of label classes, it is possible to accurately infer the labels of the dataset from the reported log-loss score of a single carefully constructed prediction vector if we allow arbitrary precision arithmetic. Additionally, we present label inference algorithms (attacks) that succeed even under addition of noise to the log-loss scores and under limited precision arithmetic. All our algorithms rely on ideas from number theory and combinatorics and require no model training. We run experimental simulations on some real datasets to demonstrate the ease of running these attacks in practice.

Generative Causal Explanations for Graph Neural Networks
Wanyu Lin, Hao Lan, Baochun Li
This paper presents {\em Gem}, a model-agnostic approach for providing interpretable explanations for any GNNs on various graph learning tasks. Specifically, we formulate the problem of providing explanations for the decisions of GNNs as a causal learning task. Then we train a causal explanation model equipped with a loss function based on Granger causality. Different from existing explainers for GNNs, {\em Gem} explains GNNs on graph-structured data from a causal perspective. It has better generalization ability as it has no requirements on the internal structure of the GNNs or prior knowledge on the graph learning tasks. In addition, {\em Gem}, once trained, can be used to explain the target GNN very quickly. Our theoretical analysis shows that several recent explainers fall into a unified framework of {\em additive feature attribution methods}. Experimental results on synthetic and real-world datasets show that {\em Gem} achieves a relative increase of the explanation accuracy by up to $30\%$ and speeds up the explanation process by up to $110\times$ as compared to its state-of-the-art alternatives.
Watermarking Deep Neural Networks with Greedy Residuals
Hanwen Liu, Zhenyu Weng, Yuesheng Zhu

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are considered as intellectual property of their corresponding owners and thus are in urgent need of ownership protection, due to the massive amount of time and resources invested in designing, tuning and training them. In this paper, we propose a novel watermark-based ownership protection method by using the residuals of important parameters. Different from other watermark-based ownership protection methods that rely on some specific neural network architectures and during verification require external data source, namely ownership indicators, our method does not explicitly use ownership indicators for verification to defeat various attacks against DNN watermarks. Specifically, we greedily select a few and important model parameters for embedding so that the impairment caused by the changed parameters can be reduced and the robustness against different attacks can be improved as the selected parameters can well preserve the model information. Also, without the external data sources for verification, the adversary can hardly cast doubts on ownership verification by forging counterfeit watermarks. The extensive experiments show that our method outperforms previous state-of-the-art methods in five tasks.

Differentially Private Bayesian Inference for Generalized Linear Models
Tejas Kulkarni, Joonas Jälkö, Antti Koskela, Samuel Kaski, Antti Honkela

Generalized linear models (GLMs) such as logistic regression are among the most widely used arms in data analyst’s repertoire and often used on sensitive datasets. A large body of prior works that investigate GLMs under differential privacy (DP) constraints provide only private point estimates of the regression coefficients, and are not able to quantify parameter uncertainty.

In this work, with logistic and Poisson regression as running examples, we introduce a generic noise-aware DP Bayesian inference method for a GLM at hand, given a noisy sum of summary statistics. Quantifying uncertainty allows us to determine which of the regression coefficients are statistically significantly different from zero. We provide a previously unknown tight privacy analysis and experimentally demonstrate that the posteriors obtained from our model, while adhering to strong privacy guarantees, are close to the non-private posteriors.

Globally-Robust Neural Networks
Klas Leino, Zifan Wang, Matt Fredrikson

The threat of adversarial examples has motivated work on training certifiably robust neural networks to facilitate efficient verification of local robustness at inference time. We formalize a notion of global robustness, which captures the operational properties of on-line local robustness certification while yielding a natural learning objective for robust training. We show that widely-used architectures can be easily adapted to this objective by incorporating efficient global Lipschitz bounds into the network, yielding certifiably-robust models by construction that achieve state-of-the-art verifiable accuracy. Notably, this approach requires significantly less time and memory than recent certifiable training methods, and leads to negligible costs when certifying points on-line; for example, our evaluation shows that it is possible to train a large robust Tiny-Imagenet model in a matter of hours. Our models effectively leverage inexpensive global Lipschitz bounds for real-time certification, despite prior suggestions that tighter local bounds are needed for good performance; we posit this is possible because our models are specifically trained to achieve tighter global bounds. Namely, we prove that the maximum achievable verifiable accuracy for a given dataset is not improved by using a local bound.

When Does Data Augmentation Help With Membership Inference Attacks?
Yigitcan Kaya, Tudor Dumitras

Deep learning models often raise privacy concerns as they leak information about their training data. This leakage enables membership inference attacks (MIA) that can identify whether a data point was in a model's training set. Research shows that some 'data augmentation' mechanisms may reduce the risk by combatting a key factor increasing the leakage, overfitting. While many mechanisms exist, their effectiveness against MIAs and privacy properties have not been studied systematically. Employing two recent MIAs, we explore the lower bound on the risk in the absence of formal upper bounds. First, we evaluate 7 mechanisms and differential privacy, on three image classification tasks. We find that applying augmentation to increase the model's utility does not mitigate the risk and protection comes with a utility penalty. Further, we also investigate why popular label smoothing mechanism consistently amplifies the risk. Finally, we propose 'loss-rank-correlation' (LRC) metric to assess how similar the effects of different mechanisms are. This, for example, reveals the similarity of applying high-intensity augmentation against MIAs to simply reducing the training time. Our findings emphasize the utility-privacy trade-off and provide practical guidelines on using augmentation to manage the trade-off.

Correcting Exposure Bias for Link Recommendation
Shantanu Gupta, Hao Wang, Zachary Lipton, Bernie Wang

Link prediction methods are frequently applied in recommender systems, e.g., to suggest citations for academic papers or friends in social networks. However, exposure bias can arise when users are systematically underexposed to certain relevant items. For example, in citation networks, authors might be more likely to encounter papers from their own field and thus cite them preferentially. This bias can propagate through naively trained link predictors, leading to both biased evaluation and high generalization error (as assessed by true relevance). Moreover, this bias can be exacerbated by feedback loops. We propose estimators that leverage known exposure probabilities to mitigate this bias and consequent feedback loops. Next, we provide a loss function for learning the exposure probabilities from data. Finally, experiments on semi-synthetic data based on real-world citation networks, show that our methods reliably identify (truly) relevant citations. Additionally, our methods lead to greater diversity in the recommended papers' fields of study. The code is available at github.com/shantanu95/exposure-bias-link-rec.

Q&A

Oral: Algorithms 3 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Integer Programming for Causal Structure Learning in the Presence of Latent Variables
Rui Chen, Sanjeeb Dash, Tian Gao

The problem of finding an ancestral acyclic directed mixed graph (ADMG) that represents the causal relationships between a set of variables is an important area of research on causal inference. Most existing score-based structure learning methods focus on learning directed acyclic graph (DAG) models without latent variables. A number of score-based methods have recently been proposed for the ADMG learning, yet they are heuristic in nature and do not guarantee an optimal solution. We propose a novel exact score-based method that solves an integer programming (IP) formulation and returns a score-maximizing ancestral ADMG for a set of continuous variables that follow a multivariate Gaussian distribution. We generalize the state-of-the-art IP model for DAG learning problems and derive new classes of valid inequalities to formulate an IP model for ADMG learning. Empirically, our model can be solved efficiently for medium-sized problems and achieves better accuracy than state-of-the-art score-based methods as well as benchmark constraint-based methods.

Online Selection Problems against Constrained Adversary
Zhihao Jiang, Pinyan Lu, Zhihao Gavin Tang, Yuhao Zhang

Inspired by a recent line of work in online algorithms with predictions, we study the constrained adversary model that utilizes predictions from a different perspective. Prior works mostly focused on designing simultaneously robust and consistent algorithms, without making assumptions on the quality of the predictions. In contrary, our model assumes the adversarial instance is consistent with the predictions and aim to design algorithms that have best worst-case performance against all such instances. We revisit classical online selection problems under the constrained adversary model. For the single item selection problem, we design an optimal algorithm in the adversarial arrival model and an improved algorithm in the random arrival model (a.k.a., the secretary problem). For the online edge-weighted bipartite matching problem, we extend the classical Water-filling and Ranking algorithms and achieve improved competitive ratios.

SGA: A Robust Algorithm for Partial Recovery of Tree-Structured Graphical Models with Noisy Samples
Anshoo Tandon, Aldric Han, Vincent Tan
We consider learning Ising tree models when the observations from the nodes are corrupted by independent but non-identically distributed noise with unknown statistics. Katiyar et al. (2020) showed that although the exact tree structure cannot be recovered, one can recover a partial tree structure; that is, a structure belonging to the equivalence class containing the true tree. This paper presents a systematic improvement of Katiyar et al. (2020). First, we present a novel impossibility result by deriving a bound on the necessary number of samples for partial recovery. Second, we derive a significantly improved sample complexity result in which the dependence on the minimum correlation $\rho_{\min}$ is $\rho_{\min}^{-8}$ instead of $\rho_{\min}^{-24}$. Finally, we propose Symmetrized Geometric Averaging (SGA), a more statistically robust algorithm for partial tree recovery. We provide error exponent analyses and extensive numerical results on a variety of trees to show that the sample complexity of SGA is significantly better than the algorithm of Katiyar et al. (2020). SGA can be readily extended to Gaussian models and is shown via numerical experiments to be similarly superior.
Efficient Online Learning for Dynamic k-Clustering
Dimitris Fotakis, Georgios Piliouras, Stratis Skoulakis
In this work, we study dynamic clustering problems from the perspective of online learning. We consider an online learning problem, called \textit{Dynamic $k$-Clustering}, in which $k$ centers are maintained in a metric space over time (centers may change positions) such as a dynamically changing set of $r$ clients is served in the best possible way. The connection cost at round $t$ is given by the \textit{$p$-norm} of the vector formed by the distance of each client to its closest center at round $t$, for some $p\geq 1$. We design a \textit{$\Theta\left( \min(k,r) \right)$-regret} polynomial-time online learning algorithm, while we show that, under some well-established computational complexity conjectures, \textit{constant-regret} cannot be achieved in polynomial-time. In addition to the efficient solution of Dynamic $k$-Clustering, our work contributes to the long line of research of combinatorial online learning.
On Recovering from Modeling Errors Using Testing Bayesian Networks
Haiying Huang, Adnan Darwiche

We consider the problem of supervised learning with Bayesian Networks when the used dependency structure is incomplete due to missing edges or missing variable states. These modeling errors induce independence constraints on the learned model that may not hold in the true, data-generating distribution. We provide a unified treatment of these modeling errors as instances of state-space abstractions. We then identify a class of Bayesian Networks and queries which allow one to fully recover from such modeling errors if one can choose Conditional Probability Tables (CPTs) dynamically based on evidence. We show theoretically that the recently proposed Testing Bayesian Networks (TBNs), which can be trained by compiling them into Testing Arithmetic Circuits (TACs), provide a promising construct for emulating this CPT selection mechanism. Finally, we present empirical results that illustrate the promise of TBNs as a tool for recovering from certain modeling errors in the context of supervised learning.

Towards Practical Mean Bounds for Small Samples
My Phan, Philip Thomas, Erik Learned-Miller
Historically, to bound the mean for small sample sizes, practitioners have had to choose between using methods with unrealistic assumptions about the unknown distribution (e.g., Gaussianity) and methods like Hoeffding's inequality that use weaker assumptions but produce much looser (wider) intervals. In 1969, \citet{Anderson1969} proposed a mean confidence interval strictly better than or equal to Hoeffding's whose only assumption is that the distribution's support is contained in an interval $[a,b]$. For the first time since then, we present a new family of bounds that compares favorably to Anderson's. We prove that each bound in the family has {\em guaranteed coverage}, i.e., it holds with probability at least $1-\alpha$ for all distributions on an interval $[a,b]$. Furthermore, one of the bounds is tighter than or equal to Anderson's for all samples. In simulations, we show that for many distributions, the gain over Anderson's bound is substantial.
Monte Carlo Variational Auto-Encoders
Achille Thin, Nikita Kotelevskii, Arnaud Doucet, Alain Durmus, Eric Moulines, Maxim Panov

Variational auto-encoders (VAE) are popular deep latent variable models which are trained by maximizing an Evidence Lower Bound (ELBO). To obtain tighter ELBO and hence better variational approximations, it has been proposed to use importance sampling to get a lower variance estimate of the evidence. However, importance sampling is known to perform poorly in high dimensions. While it has been suggested many times in the literature to use more sophisticated algorithms such as Annealed Importance Sampling (AIS) and its Sequential Importance Sampling (SIS) extensions, the potential benefits brought by these advanced techniques have never been realized for VAE: the AIS estimate cannot be easily differentiated, while SIS requires the specification of carefully chosen backward Markov kernels. In this paper, we address both issues and demonstrate the performance of the resulting Monte Carlo VAEs on a variety of applications.

Q&A

Oral: Multi-task Learning 2 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

WILDS: A Benchmark of in-the-Wild Distribution Shifts
Pang Wei Koh, Shiori Sagawa, Henrik Marklund, Sang Michael Xie, Marvin Zhang, Akshay Balsubramani, Weihua Hu, Michihiro Yasunaga, Richard Lanas Phillips, Irena Gao, Tony Lee, Etienne David, Ian Stavness, Wei Guo, Berton Earnshaw, Imran Haque, Sara Beery, Jure Leskovec, Anshul Kundaje, Emma Pierson, Sergey Levine, Chelsea Finn, Percy Liang

Distribution shifts---where the training distribution differs from the test distribution---can substantially degrade the accuracy of machine learning (ML) systems deployed in the wild. Despite their ubiquity in the real-world deployments, these distribution shifts are under-represented in the datasets widely used in the ML community today. To address this gap, we present WILDS, a curated benchmark of 10 datasets reflecting a diverse range of distribution shifts that naturally arise in real-world applications, such as shifts across hospitals for tumor identification; across camera traps for wildlife monitoring; and across time and location in satellite imaging and poverty mapping. On each dataset, we show that standard training yields substantially lower out-of-distribution than in-distribution performance. This gap remains even with models trained by existing methods for tackling distribution shifts, underscoring the need for new methods for training models that are more robust to the types of distribution shifts that arise in practice. To facilitate method development, we provide an open-source package that automates dataset loading, contains default model architectures and hyperparameters, and standardizes evaluations. The full paper, code, and leaderboards are available at https://wilds.stanford.edu.

Improving Generalization in Meta-learning via Task Augmentation
Huaxiu Yao, Long-Kai Huang, Linjun Zhang, Ying WEI, Li Tian, James Zou, Junzhou Huang, Zhenhui (Jessie) Li

Meta-learning has proven to be a powerful paradigm for transferring the knowledge from previous tasks to facilitate the learning of a novel task. Current dominant algorithms train a well-generalized model initialization which is adapted to each task via the support set. The crux lies in optimizing the generalization capability of the initialization, which is measured by the performance of the adapted model on the query set of each task. Unfortunately, this generalization measure, evidenced by empirical results, pushes the initialization to overfit the meta-training tasks, which significantly impairs the generalization and adaptation to novel tasks. To address this issue, we actively augment a meta-training task with “more data” when evaluating the generalization. Concretely, we propose two task augmentation methods, including MetaMix and Channel Shuffle. MetaMix linearly combines features and labels of samples from both the support and query sets. For each class of samples, Channel Shuffle randomly replaces a subset of their channels with the corresponding ones from a different class. Theoretical studies show how task augmentation improves the generalization of meta-learning. Moreover, both MetaMix and Channel Shuffle outperform state-of-the-art results by a large margin across many datasets and are compatible with existing meta-learning algorithms.

Improving Predictors via Combination Across Diverse Task Categories
Kwang In Kim

Predictor combination is the problem of improving a task predictor using predictors of other tasks when the forms of individual predictors are unknown. Previous work approached this problem by nonparametrically assessing predictor relationships based on their joint evaluations on a shared sample. This limits their application to cases where all predictors are defined on the same task category, e.g. all predictors estimate attributes of shoes. We present a new predictor combination algorithm that overcomes this limitation. Our algorithm aligns the heterogeneous domains of different predictors in a shared latent space to facilitate comparisons of predictors independently of the domains on which they are originally defined. We facilitate this by a new data alignment scheme that matches data distributions across task categories. Based on visual attribute ranking experiments on datasets that span diverse task categories (e.g. shoes and animals), we demonstrate that our approach often significantly improves the performances of the initial predictors.

MetaCURE: Meta Reinforcement Learning with Empowerment-Driven Exploration
Jin Zhang, Jianhao Wang, Hao Hu, Tong Chen, Yingfeng Chen, Changjie Fan, Chongjie Zhang

Meta reinforcement learning (meta-RL) extracts knowledge from previous tasks and achieves fast adaptation to new tasks. Despite recent progress, efficient exploration in meta-RL remains a key challenge in sparse-reward tasks, as it requires quickly finding informative task-relevant experiences in both meta-training and adaptation. To address this challenge, we explicitly model an exploration policy learning problem for meta-RL, which is separated from exploitation policy learning, and introduce a novel empowerment-driven exploration objective, which aims to maximize information gain for task identification. We derive a corresponding intrinsic reward and develop a new off-policy meta-RL framework, which efficiently learns separate context-aware exploration and exploitation policies by sharing the knowledge of task inference. Experimental evaluation shows that our meta-RL method significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines on various sparse-reward MuJoCo locomotion tasks and more complex sparse-reward Meta-World tasks.

Offline Meta-Reinforcement Learning with Advantage Weighting
Eric Mitchell, Rafael Rafailov, Xue Bin Peng, Sergey Levine, Chelsea Finn

This paper introduces the offline meta-reinforcement learning (offline meta-RL) problem setting and proposes an algorithm that performs well in this setting. Offline meta-RL is analogous to the widely successful supervised learning strategy of pre-training a model on a large batch of fixed, pre-collected data (possibly from various tasks) and fine-tuning the model to a new task with relatively little data. That is, in offline meta-RL, we meta-train on fixed, pre-collected data from several tasks and adapt to a new task with a very small amount (less than 5 trajectories) of data from the new task. By nature of being offline, algorithms for offline meta-RL can utilize the largest possible pool of training data available and eliminate potentially unsafe or costly data collection during meta-training. This setting inherits the challenges of offline RL, but it differs significantly because offline RL does not generally consider a) transfer to new tasks or b) limited data from the test task, both of which we face in offline meta-RL. Targeting the offline meta-RL setting, we propose Meta-Actor Critic with Advantage Weighting (MACAW). MACAW is an optimization-based meta-learning algorithm that uses simple, supervised regression objectives for both the inner and outer loop of meta-training. On offline …

Bridging Multi-Task Learning and Meta-Learning: Towards Efficient Training and Effective Adaptation
Haoxiang Wang, Han Zhao, Bo Li

Multi-task learning (MTL) aims to improve the generalization of several related tasks by learning them jointly. As a comparison, in addition to the joint training scheme, modern meta-learning allows unseen tasks with limited labels during the test phase, in the hope of fast adaptation over them. Despite the subtle difference between MTL and meta-learning in the problem formulation, both learning paradigms share the same insight that the shared structure between existing training tasks could lead to better generalization and adaptation. In this paper, we take one important step further to understand the close connection between these two learning paradigms, through both theoretical analysis and empirical investigation. Theoretically, we first demonstrate that MTL shares the same optimization formulation with a class of gradient-based meta-learning (GBML) algorithms. We then prove that for over-parameterized neural networks with sufficient depth, the learned predictive functions of MTL and GBML are close. In particular, this result implies that the predictions given by these two models are similar over the same unseen task. Empirically, we corroborate our theoretical findings by showing that, with proper implementation, MTL is competitive against state-of-the-art GBML algorithms on a set of few-shot image classification benchmarks. Since existing GBML algorithms often involve costly …

Q&A

Oral: Privacy 4 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Private Stochastic Convex Optimization: Optimal Rates in L1 Geometry
Hilal Asi, Vitaly Feldman, Tomer Koren, Kunal Talwar
Stochastic convex optimization over an $\ell_1$-bounded domain is ubiquitous in machine learning applications such as LASSO but remains poorly understood when learning with differential privacy. We show that, up to logarithmic factors the optimal excess population loss of any $(\epsilon,\delta)$-differentially private optimizer is $\sqrt{\log(d)/n} + \sqrt{d}/\epsilon n.$ The upper bound is based on a new algorithm that combines the iterative localization approach of Feldman et al. (2020) with a new analysis of private regularized mirror descent. It applies to $\ell_p$ bounded domains for $p\in [1,2]$ and queries at most $n^{3/2}$ gradients improving over the best previously known algorithm for the $\ell_2$ case which needs $n^2$ gradients. Further, we show that when the loss functions satisfy additional smoothness assumptions, the excess loss is upper bounded (up to logarithmic factors) by $\sqrt{\log(d)/n} + (\log(d)/\epsilon n)^{2/3}.$ This bound is achieved by a new variance-reduced version of the Frank-Wolfe algorithm that requires just a single pass over the data. We also show that the lower bound in this case is the minimum of the two rates mentioned above.
Differentially Private Aggregation in the Shuffle Model: Almost Central Accuracy in Almost a Single Message
Badih Ghazi, Ravi Kumar, Pasin Manurangsi, Rasmus Pagh, Amer Sinha

The shuffle model of differential privacy has attracted attention in the literature due to it being a middle ground between the well-studied central and local models. In this work, we study the problem of summing (aggregating) real numbers or integers, a basic primitive in numerous machine learning tasks, in the shuffle model. We give a protocol achieving error arbitrarily close to that of the (Discrete) Laplace mechanism in central differential privacy, while each user only sends 1 + o(1) short messages in expectation.

Model-Targeted Poisoning Attacks with Provable Convergence
Fnu Suya, Saeed Mahloujifar, Anshuman Suri, David Evans, Yuan Tian

In a poisoning attack, an adversary who controls a small fraction of the training data attempts to select that data, so a model is induced that misbehaves in a particular way. We consider poisoning attacks against convex machine learning models and propose an efficient poisoning attack designed to induce a model specified by the adversary. Unlike previous model-targeted poisoning attacks, our attack comes with provable convergence to any attainable target model. We also provide a lower bound on the minimum number of poisoning points needed to achieve a given target model. Our method uses online convex optimization and finds poisoning points incrementally. This provides more flexibility than previous attacks which require an a priori assumption about the number of poisoning points. Our attack is the first model-targeted poisoning attack that provides provable convergence for convex models. In our experiments, it either exceeds or matches state-of-the-art attacks in terms of attack success rate and distance to the target model.

Practical and Private (Deep) Learning Without Sampling or Shuffling
Peter Kairouz, Brendan McMahan, Shuang Song, Om Thakkar, Abhradeep Guha Thakurta, Zheng Xu

We consider training models with differential privacy (DP) using mini-batch gradients. The existing state-of-the-art, Differentially Private Stochastic Gradient Descent (DP-SGD), requires \emph{privacy amplification by sampling or shuffling} to obtain the best privacy/accuracy/computation trade-offs. Unfortunately, the precise requirements on exact sampling and shuffling can be hard to obtain in important practical scenarios, particularly federated learning (FL). We design and analyze a DP variant of Follow-The-Regularized-Leader (DP-FTRL) that compares favorably (both theoretically and empirically) to amplified DP-SGD, while allowing for much more flexible data access patterns. DP-FTRL does not use any form of privacy amplification.

Leveraging Public Data for Practical Private Query Release
Terrance Liu, Giuseppe Vietri, Thomas Steinke, Jonathan Ullman, Steven Wu

In many statistical problems, incorporating priors can significantly improve performance. However, the use of prior knowledge in differentially private query release has remained underexplored, despite such priors commonly being available in the form of public datasets, such as previous US Census releases. With the goal of releasing statistics about a private dataset, we present PMW^Pub, which---unlike existing baselines---leverages public data drawn from a related distribution as prior information. We provide a theoretical analysis and an empirical evaluation on the American Community Survey (ACS) and ADULT datasets, which shows that our method outperforms state-of-the-art methods. Furthermore, PMW^Pub scales well to high-dimensional data domains, where running many existing methods would be computationally infeasible.

Private Adaptive Gradient Methods for Convex Optimization
Hilal Asi, John Duchi, Alireza Fallah, Omid Javidbakht, Kunal Talwar

We study adaptive methods for differentially private convex optimization, proposing and analyzing differentially private variants of a Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) algorithm with adaptive stepsizes, as well as the AdaGrad algorithm. We provide upper bounds on the regret of both algorithms and show that the bounds are (worst-case) optimal. As a consequence of our development, we show that our private versions of AdaGrad outperform adaptive SGD, which in turn outperforms traditional SGD in scenarios with non-isotropic gradients where (non-private) Adagrad provably outperforms SGD. The major challenge is that the isotropic noise typically added for privacy dominates the signal in gradient geometry for high-dimensional problems; approaches to this that effectively optimize over lower-dimensional subspaces simply ignore the actual problems that varying gradient geometries introduce. In contrast, we study non-isotropic clipping and noise addition, developing a principled theoretical approach; the consequent procedures also enjoy significantly stronger empirical performance than prior approaches.

Oneshot Differentially Private Top-k Selection
Gang Qiao, Weijie Su, Li Zhang
Being able to efficiently and accurately select the top-$k$ elements with differential privacy is an integral component of various private data analysis tasks. In this paper, we present the oneshot Laplace mechanism, which generalizes the well-known Report Noisy Max~\cite{dwork2014algorithmic} mechanism to reporting noisy top-$k$ elements. We show that the oneshot Laplace mechanism with a noise level of $\widetilde{O}(\sqrt{k}/\eps)$ is approximately differentially private. Compared to the previous peeling approach of running Report Noisy Max $k$ times, the oneshot Laplace mechanism only adds noises and computes the top $k$ elements once, hence much more efficient for large $k$. In addition, our proof of privacy relies on a novel coupling technique that bypasses the composition theorems so without the linear dependence on $k$ which is inherent to various composition theorems. Finally, we present a novel application of efficient top-$k$ selection in the classical problem of ranking from pairwise comparisons.
Q&A

Oral: Applications (NLP) 3 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Calibrate Before Use: Improving Few-shot Performance of Language Models
Tony Z. Zhao, Eric Wallace, Shi Feng, Dan Klein, Sameer Singh

GPT-3 can perform numerous tasks when provided a natural language prompt that contains a few training examples. We show that this type of few-shot learning can be unstable: the choice of prompt format, training examples, and even the order of the examples can cause accuracy to vary from near chance to near state-of-the-art. We demonstrate that this instability arises from the bias of language models towards predicting certain answers, e.g., those that are placed near the end of the prompt or are common in the pre-training data. To mitigate this, we first estimate the model's bias towards each answer by asking for its prediction when given a training prompt and a content-free test input such as "N/A". We then fit calibration parameters that cause the prediction for this input to be uniform across answers. On a diverse set of tasks, this contextual calibration procedure substantially improves GPT-3 and GPT-2's accuracy (up to 30.0% absolute) across different choices of the prompt, while also making learning considerably more stable.

On-the-fly Rectification for Robust Large-Vocabulary Topic Inference
Moontae Lee, June Cho, Kun Dong, David Mimno, David Bindel

Across many data domains, co-occurrence statistics about the joint appearance of objects are powerfully informative. By transforming unsupervised learning problems into decompositions of co-occurrence statistics, spectral algorithms provide transparent and efficient algorithms for posterior inference such as latent topic analysis and community detection. As object vocabularies grow, however, it becomes rapidly more expensive to store and run inference algorithms on co-occurrence statistics. Rectifying co-occurrence, the key process to uphold model assumptions, becomes increasingly more vital in the presence of rare terms, but current techniques cannot scale to large vocabularies. We propose novel methods that simultaneously compress and rectify co-occurrence statistics, scaling gracefully with the size of vocabulary and the dimension of latent space. We also present new algorithms learning latent variables from the compressed statistics, and verify that our methods perform comparably to previous approaches on both textual and non-textual data.

Towards Understanding and Mitigating Social Biases in Language Models
Paul Liang, Chiyu Wu, Louis-Philippe Morency, Russ Salakhutdinov

As machine learning methods are deployed in real-world settings such as healthcare, legal systems, and social science, it is crucial to recognize how they shape social biases and stereotypes in these sensitive decision-making processes. Among such real-world deployments are large-scale pretrained language models (LMs) that can be potentially dangerous in manifesting undesirable representational biases - harmful biases resulting from stereotyping that propagate negative generalizations involving gender, race, religion, and other social constructs. As a step towards improving the fairness of LMs, we carefully define several sources of representational biases before proposing new benchmarks and metrics to measure them. With these tools, we propose steps towards mitigating social biases during text generation. Our empirical results and human evaluation demonstrate effectiveness in mitigating bias while retaining crucial contextual information for high-fidelity text generation, thereby pushing forward the performance-fairness Pareto frontier.

Disentangling syntax and semantics in the brain with deep networks
Charlotte Caucheteux, Alexandre Gramfort, Jean-Remi King

The activations of language transformers like GPT-2 have been shown to linearly map onto brain activity during speech comprehension. However, the nature of these activations remains largely unknown and presumably conflate distinct linguistic classes. Here, we propose a taxonomy to factorize the high-dimensional activations of language models into four combinatorial classes: lexical, compositional, syntactic, and semantic representations. We then introduce a statistical method to decompose, through the lens of GPT-2's activations, the brain activity of 345 subjects recorded with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during the listening of ~4.6 hours of narrated text. The results highlight two findings. First, compositional representations recruit a more widespread cortical network than lexical ones, and encompass the bilateral temporal, parietal and prefrontal cortices. Second, contrary to previous claims, syntax and semantics are not associated with separated modules, but, instead, appear to share a common and distributed neural substrate. Overall, this study introduces a versatile framework to isolate, in the brain activity, the distributed representations of linguistic constructs.

Cross-model Back-translated Distillation for Unsupervised Machine Translation
Xuan-Phi Nguyen, Shafiq Joty, Thanh-Tung Nguyen, Kui Wu, Ai Ti Aw

Recent unsupervised machine translation (UMT) systems usually employ three main principles: initialization, language modeling and iterative back-translation, though they may apply them differently. Crucially, iterative back-translation and denoising auto-encoding for language modeling provide data diversity to train the UMT systems. However, the gains from these diversification processes has seemed to plateau. We introduce a novel component to the standard UMT framework called Cross-model Back-translated Distillation (CBD), that is aimed to induce another level of data diversification that existing principles lack. CBD is applicable to all previous UMT approaches. In our experiments, CBD achieves the state of the art in the WMT'14 English-French, WMT'16 English-German and English-Romanian bilingual unsupervised translation tasks, with 38.2, 30.1, and 36.3 BLEU respectively. It also yields 1.5--3.3 BLEU improvements in IWSLT English-French and English-German tasks. Through extensive experimental analyses, we show that CBD is effective because it embraces data diversity while other similar variants do not.

Few-shot Language Coordination by Modeling Theory of Mind
Hao Zhu, Graham Neubig, Yonatan Bisk

No man is an island. Humans develop the ability to communicate with a large community by coordinating with different interlocutors within short conversations. This ability is largely understudied by the research on building neural language communicative agents. We study the task of few-shot language coordination: agents quickly adapting to their conversational partners’ language abilities. Different from current communicative agents trained with self-play, we in- investigate this more general paradigm by requiring the lead agent to coordinate with a population of agents each of whom has different linguistic abilities. This leads to a general agent able to quickly adapt to communicating with unseen agents in the population. Unlike prior work, success here requires the ability to model the partner’s beliefs, a vital component of human communication. Drawing inspiration from the study of theory-of-mind (ToM; Premack & Woodruff (1978)), we study the effect of the speaker explicitly modeling the listener’s mental state. Learning by communicating with a population, the speakers, as shown in our experiments, acquire the ability to learn to predict the reactions of their partner upon various messages on-the-fly. The speaker’s predictions for the future actions help it generate the best instructions in order to maximize communicative goal with message …

Q&A

Oral: Representation Learning 5 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Unsupervised Representation Learning via Neural Activation Coding
Yookoon Park, Sangho Lee, Gunhee Kim, David Blei

We present neural activation coding (NAC) as a novel approach for learning deep representations from unlabeled data for downstream applications. We argue that the deep encoder should maximize its nonlinear expressivity on the data for downstream predictors to take full advantage of its representation power. To this end, NAC maximizes the mutual information between activation patterns of the encoder and the data over a noisy communication channel. We show that learning for a noise-robust activation code increases the number of distinct linear regions of ReLU encoders, hence the maximum nonlinear expressivity. More interestingly, NAC learns both continuous and discrete representations of data, which we respectively evaluate on two downstream tasks: (i) linear classification on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet-1K and (ii) nearest neighbor retrieval on CIFAR-10 and FLICKR-25K. Empirical results show that NAC attains better or comparable performance on both tasks over recent baselines including SimCLR and DistillHash. In addition, NAC pretraining provides significant benefits to the training of deep generative models. Our code is available at https://github.com/yookoon/nac.

Demystifying Inductive Biases for (Beta-)VAE Based Architectures
Dominik Zietlow, Michal Rolinek, Georg Martius

The performance of Beta-Variational-Autoencoders and their variants on learning semantically meaningful, disentangled representations is unparalleled. On the other hand, there are theoretical arguments suggesting the impossibility of unsupervised disentanglement. In this work, we shed light on the inductive bias responsible for the success of VAE-based architectures. We show that in classical datasets the structure of variance, induced by the generating factors, is conveniently aligned with the latent directions fostered by the VAE objective. This builds the pivotal bias on which the disentangling abilities of VAEs rely. By small, elaborate perturbations of existing datasets, we hide the convenient correlation structure that is easily exploited by a variety of architectures. To demonstrate this, we construct modified versions of standard datasets in which (i) the generative factors are perfectly preserved; (ii) each image undergoes a mild transformation causing a small change of variance; (iii) the leading VAE-based disentanglement architectures fail to produce disentangled representations whilst the performance of a non-variational method remains unchanged.

Examining and Combating Spurious Features under Distribution Shift
Chunting Zhou, Xuezhe Ma, Paul Michel, Graham Neubig

A central goal of machine learning is to learn robust representations that capture the fundamental relationship between inputs and output labels. However, minimizing training errors over finite or biased datasets results in models latching on to spurious correlations between the training input/output pairs that are not fundamental to the problem at hand. In this paper, we define and analyze robust and spurious representations using the information-theoretic concept of minimal sufficient statistics. We prove that even when there is only bias of the input distribution (i.e. covariate shift), models can still pick up spurious features from their training data. Group distributionally robust optimization (DRO) provides an effective tool to alleviate covariate shift by minimizing the worst-case training losses over a set of pre-defined groups. Inspired by our analysis, we demonstrate that group DRO can fail when groups do not directly account for various spurious correlations that occur in the data. To address this, we further propose to minimize the worst-case losses over a more flexible set of distributions that are defined on the joint distribution of groups and instances, instead of treating each group as a whole at optimization time. Through extensive experiments on one image and two language tasks, we …

Unsupervised Part Representation by Flow Capsules
Sara Sabour Rouh Aghdam, Andrea Tagliasacchi, Soroosh Yazdani, Geoffrey Hinton, David Fleet

Capsule networks aim to parse images into a hierarchy of objects, parts and relations. While promising, they remain limited by an inability to learn effective low level part descriptions. To address this issue we propose a way to learn primary capsule encoders that detect atomic parts from a single image. During training we exploit motion as a powerful perceptual cue for part definition, with an expressive decoder for part generation within a layered image model with occlusion. Experiments demonstrate robust part discovery in the presence of multiple objects, cluttered backgrounds, and occlusion. The learned part decoder is shown to infer the underlying shape masks, effectively filling in occluded regions of the detected shapes. We evaluate FlowCapsules on unsupervised part segmentation and unsupervised image classification.

Image-Level or Object-Level? A Tale of Two Resampling Strategies for Long-Tailed Detection
Nadine Chang, Zhiding Yu, Yu-Xiong Wang, Anima Anandkumar, Sanja Fidler, Jose Alvarez

Training on datasets with long-tailed distributions has been challenging for major recognition tasks such as classification and detection. To deal with this challenge, image resampling is typically introduced as a simple but effective approach. However, we observe that long-tailed detection differs from classification since multiple classes may be present in one image. As a result, image resampling alone is not enough to yield a sufficiently balanced distribution at the object-level. We address object-level resampling by introducing an object-centric sampling strategy based on a dynamic, episodic memory bank. Our proposed strategy has two benefits: 1) convenient object-level resampling without significant extra computation, and 2) implicit feature-level augmentation from model updates. We show that image-level and object-level resamplings are both important, and thus unify them with a joint resampling strategy. Our method achieves state-of-the-art performance on the rare categories of LVIS, with 1.89% and 3.13% relative improvements over Forest R-CNN on detection and instance segmentation.

Efficient Iterative Amortized Inference for Learning Symmetric and Disentangled Multi-Object Representations
Patrick Emami, Pan He, Sanjay Ranka, Anand Rangarajan

Unsupervised multi-object representation learning depends on inductive biases to guide the discovery of object-centric representations that generalize. However, we observe that methods for learning these representations are either impractical due to long training times and large memory consumption or forego key inductive biases. In this work, we introduce EfficientMORL, an efficient framework for the unsupervised learning of object-centric representations. We show that optimization challenges caused by requiring both symmetry and disentanglement can in fact be addressed by high-cost iterative amortized inference by designing the framework to minimize its dependence on it. We take a two-stage approach to inference: first, a hierarchical variational autoencoder extracts symmetric and disentangled representations through bottom-up inference, and second, a lightweight network refines the representations with top-down feedback. The number of refinement steps taken during training is reduced following a curriculum, so that at test time with zero steps the model achieves 99.1% of the refined decomposition performance. We demonstrate strong object decomposition and disentanglement on the standard multi-object benchmark while achieving nearly an order of magnitude faster training and test time inference over the previous state-of-the-art model.

Temporal Predictive Coding For Model-Based Planning In Latent Space
Tung Nguyen, Rui Shu, Tuan Pham, Hung Bui, Stefano Ermon

High-dimensional observations are a major challenge in the application of model-based reinforcement learning (MBRL) to real-world environments. To handle high-dimensional sensory inputs, existing approaches use representation learning to map high-dimensional observations into a lower-dimensional latent space that is more amenable to dynamics estimation and planning. In this work, we present an information-theoretic approach that employs temporal predictive coding to encode elements in the environment that can be predicted across time. Since this approach focuses on encoding temporally-predictable information, we implicitly prioritize the encoding of task-relevant components over nuisance information within the environment that are provably task-irrelevant. By learning this representation in conjunction with a recurrent state space model, we can then perform planning in latent space. We evaluate our model on a challenging modification of standard DMControl tasks where the background is replaced with natural videos that contain complex but irrelevant information to the planning task. Our experiments show that our model is superior to existing methods in the challenging complex-background setting while remaining competitive with current state-of-the-art models in the standard setting.

Q&A

Oral: Unsupervised Learning 2 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Dimensionality Reduction for the Sum-of-Distances Metric
Zhili Feng, Praneeth Kacham, David Woodruff
We give a dimensionality reduction procedure to approximate the sum of distances of a given set of $n$ points in $R^d$ to any ``shape'' that lies in a $k$-dimensional subspace. Here, by ``shape'' we mean any set of points in $R^d$. Our algorithm takes an input in the form of an $n \times d$ matrix $A$, where each row of $A$ denotes a data point, and outputs a subspace $P$ of dimension $O(k^{3}/\epsilon^6)$ such that the projections of each of the $n$ points onto the subspace $P$ and the distances of each of the points to the subspace $P$ are sufficient to obtain an $\epsilon$-approximation to the sum of distances to any arbitrary shape that lies in a $k$-dimensional subspace of $R^d$. These include important problems such as $k$-median, $k$-subspace approximation, and $(j,l)$ subspace clustering with $j \cdot l \leq k$. Dimensionality reduction reduces the data storage requirement to $(n+d)k^{3}/\epsilon^6$ from nnz$(A)$. Here nnz$(A)$ could potentially be as large as $nd$. Our algorithm runs in time nnz$(A)/\epsilon^2 + (n+d)$poly$(k/\epsilon)$, up to logarithmic factors. For dense matrices, where nnz$(A) \approx nd$, we give a faster algorithm, that runs in time $nd + (n+d)$poly$(k/\epsilon)$ up to logarithmic factors. Our dimensionality reduction algorithm …
A Sampling-Based Method for Tensor Ring Decomposition
Osman Asif Malik, Stephen Becker

We propose a sampling-based method for computing the tensor ring (TR) decomposition of a data tensor. The method uses leverage score sampled alternating least squares to fit the TR cores in an iterative fashion. By taking advantage of the special structure of TR tensors, we can efficiently estimate the leverage scores and attain a method which has complexity sublinear in the number of input tensor entries. We provide high-probability relative-error guarantees for the sampled least squares problems. We compare our proposal to existing methods in experiments on both synthetic and real data. Our method achieves substantial speedup---sometimes two or three orders of magnitude---over competing methods, while maintaining good accuracy. We also provide an example of how our method can be used for rapid feature extraction.

CountSketches, Feature Hashing and the Median of Three
Kasper Green Larsen, Rasmus Pagh, Jakub Tětek
In this paper, we revisit the classic CountSketch method, which is a sparse, random projection that transforms a (high-dimensional) Euclidean vector $v$ to a vector of dimension $(2t-1) s$, where $t, s > 0$ are integer parameters. It is known that a CountSketch allows estimating coordinates of $v$ with variance bounded by $\|v\|_2^2/s$. For $t > 1$, the estimator takes the median of $2t-1$ independent estimates, and the probability that the estimate is off by more than $2 \|v\|_2/\sqrt{s}$ is exponentially small in $t$. This suggests choosing $t$ to be logarithmic in a desired inverse failure probability. However, implementations of CountSketch often use a small, constant $t$. Previous work only predicts a constant factor improvement in this setting. Our main contribution is a new analysis of CountSketch, showing an improvement in variance to $O(\min\{\|v\|_1^2/s^2,\|v\|_2^2/s\})$ when $t > 1$. That is, the variance decreases proportionally to $s^{-2}$, asymptotically for large enough $s$.
Single Pass Entrywise-Transformed Low Rank Approximation
Yifei Jiang, Yi Li, Yiming Sun, Jiaxin Wang, David Woodruff
In applications such as natural language processing or computer vision, one is given a large $n \times n$ matrix $A = (a_{i,j})$ and would like to compute a matrix decomposition, e.g., a low rank approximation, of a function $f(A) = (f(a_{i,j}))$ applied entrywise to $A$. A very important special case is the likelihood function $f\left( A \right ) = \log{\left( \left| a_{ij}\right| +1\right)}$. A natural way to do this would be to simply apply $f$ to each entry of $A$, and then compute the matrix decomposition, but this requires storing all of $A$ as well as multiple passes over its entries. Recent work of Liang et al. shows how to find a rank-$k$ factorization to $f(A)$ using only $n \cdot \poly(\eps^{-1}k\log n)$ words of memory, with overall error $10\|f(A)-[f(A)]_k\|_F^2 + \poly(\epsilon/k) \|f(A)\|_{1,2}^2$, where $[f(A)]_k$ is the best rank-$k$ approximation to $f(A)$ and $\|f(A)\|_{1,2}^2$ is the square of the sum of Euclidean lengths of rows of $f(A)$. Their algorithm uses $3$ passes over the entries of $A$. The authors pose the open question of obtaining an algorithm with $n \cdot \poly(\eps^{-1}k\log n)$ words of memory using only a single pass over the entries of $A$. In this paper we resolve this …
Active Slices for Sliced Stein Discrepancy
Wenbo Gong, Kaibo Zhang, Yingzhen Li, Jose Miguel Hernandez-Lobato

Sliced Stein discrepancy (SSD) and its kernelized variants have demonstrated promising successes in goodness-of-fit tests and model learning in high dimensions. Despite the theoretical elegance, their empirical performance depends crucially on the search of the optimal slicing directions to discriminate between two distributions. Unfortunately, previous gradient-based optimisation approach returns sub-optimal results for the slicing directions: it is computationally expensive, sensitive to initialization, and it lacks theoretical guarantee for convergence. We address these issues in two steps. First, we show in theory that the requirement of using optimal slicing directions in the kernelized version of SSD can be relaxed, validating the resulting discrepancy with finite random slicing directions. Second, given that good slicing directions are crucial for practical performance, we propose a fast algorithm for finding good slicing directions based on ideas of active sub-space construction and spectral decomposition. Experiments in goodness-of-fit tests and model learning show that our approach achieves both the best performance and the fastest convergence. Especially, we demonstrate 14-80x speed-up in goodness-of-fit tests when compared with the gradient-based approach.

Projection techniques to update the truncated SVD of evolving matrices with applications
Vasileios Kalantzis, Georgios Kollias, Shashanka Ubaru, Athanasios N. Nikolakopoulos, superman Horesh, Kenneth Clarkson
This submission considers the problem of updating the rank-$k$ truncated Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) of matrices subject to the addition of new rows and/or columns over time. Such matrix problems represent an important computational kernel in applications such as Latent Semantic Indexing and Recommender Systems. Nonetheless, the proposed framework is purely algebraic and targets general updating problems. The algorithm presented in this paper undertakes a projection viewpoint and focuses on building a pair of subspaces which approximate the linear span of the sought singular vectors of the updated matrix. We discuss and analyze two different choices to form the projection subspaces. Results on matrices from real applications suggest that the proposed algorithm can lead to higher accuracy, especially for the singular triplets associated with the largest modulus singular values. Several practical details and key differences with other approaches are also discussed.
Fixed-Parameter and Approximation Algorithms for PCA with Outliers
Yogesh Dahiya, Fedor Fomin, Fahad Panolan, Kirill Simonov

PCA with Outliers is the fundamental problem of identifying an underlying low-dimensional subspace in a data set corrupted with outliers. A large body of work is devoted to the information-theoretic aspects of this problem. However, from the computational perspective, its complexity is still not well-understood. We study this problem from the perspective of parameterized complexity by investigating how parameters like the dimension of the data, the subspace dimension, the number of outliers and their structure, and approximation error, influence the computational complexity of the problem. Our algorithmic methods are based on techniques of randomized linear algebra and algebraic geometry.

Q&A

Oral: Probabilistic Methods 5 Thu 22 Jul 06:00 p.m.  

Solving high-dimensional parabolic PDEs using the tensor train format
Lorenz Richter, Leon Sallandt, Nikolas Nüsken

High-dimensional partial differential equations (PDEs) are ubiquitous in economics, science and engineering. However, their numerical treatment poses formidable challenges since traditional grid-based methods tend to be frustrated by the curse of dimensionality. In this paper, we argue that tensor trains provide an appealing approximation framework for parabolic PDEs: the combination of reformulations in terms of backward stochastic differential equations and regression-type methods in the tensor format holds the promise of leveraging latent low-rank structures enabling both compression and efficient computation. Following this paradigm, we develop novel iterative schemes, involving either explicit and fast or implicit and accurate updates. We demonstrate in a number of examples that our methods achieve a favorable trade-off between accuracy and computational efficiency in comparison with state-of-the-art neural network based approaches.

Large Scale Private Learning via Low-rank Reparametrization
Da Yu, Huishuai Zhang, Wei Chen, Jian Yin, Tie-Yan Liu
We propose a reparametrization scheme to address the challenges of applying differentially private SGD on large neural networks, which are 1) the huge memory cost of storing individual gradients, 2) the added noise suffering notorious dimensional dependence. Specifically, we reparametrize each weight matrix with two \emph{gradient-carrier} matrices of small dimension and a \emph{residual weight} matrix. We argue that such reparametrization keeps the forward/backward process unchanged while enabling us to compute the projected gradient without computing the gradient itself. To learn with differential privacy, we design \emph{reparametrized gradient perturbation (RGP)} that perturbs the gradients on gradient-carrier matrices and reconstructs an update for the original weight from the noisy gradients. Importantly, we use historical updates to find the gradient-carrier matrices, whose optimality is rigorously justified under linear regression and empirically verified with deep learning tasks. RGP significantly reduces the memory cost and improves the utility. For example, we are the first able to apply differential privacy on the BERT model and achieve an average accuracy of $83.9\%$ on four downstream tasks with $\epsilon=8$, which is within $5\%$ loss compared to the non-private baseline but enjoys much lower privacy leakage risk.
Breaking the Deadly Triad with a Target Network
Shangtong Zhang, Hengshuai Yao, Shimon Whiteson
The deadly triad refers to the instability of a reinforcement learning algorithm when it employs off-policy learning, function approximation, and bootstrapping simultaneously. In this paper, we investigate the target network as a tool for breaking the deadly triad, providing theoretical support for the conventional wisdom that a target network stabilizes training. We first propose and analyze a novel target network update rule which augments the commonly used Polyak-averaging style update with two projections. We then apply the target network and ridge regularization in several divergent algorithms and show their convergence to regularized TD fixed points. Those algorithms are off-policy with linear function approximation and bootstrapping, spanning both policy evaluation and control, as well as both discounted and average-reward settings. In particular, we provide the first convergent linear $Q$-learning algorithms under nonrestrictive and changing behavior policies without bi-level optimization.
Average-Reward Off-Policy Policy Evaluation with Function Approximation
Shangtong Zhang, Yi Wan, Richard Sutton, Shimon Whiteson

We consider off-policy policy evaluation with function approximation (FA) in average-reward MDPs, where the goal is to estimate both the reward rate and the differential value function. For this problem, bootstrapping is necessary and, along with off-policy learning and FA, results in the deadly triad (Sutton & Barto, 2018). To address the deadly triad, we propose two novel algorithms, reproducing the celebrated success of Gradient TD algorithms in the average-reward setting. In terms of estimating the differential value function, the algorithms are the first convergent off-policy linear function approximation algorithms. In terms of estimating the reward rate, the algorithms are the first convergent off-policy linear function approximation algorithms that do not require estimating the density ratio. We demonstrate empirically the advantage of the proposed algorithms, as well as their nonlinear variants, over a competitive density-ratio-based approach, in a simple domain as well as challenging robot simulation tasks.

Decentralized Single-Timescale Actor-Critic on Zero-Sum Two-Player Stochastic Games
Hongyi Guo, Zuyue Fu, Zhuoran Yang, Zhaoran Wang

We study the global convergence and global optimality of the actor-critic algorithm applied for the zero-sum two-player stochastic games in a decentralized manner. We focus on the single-timescale setting where the critic is updated by applying the Bellman operator only once and the actor is updated by policy gradient with the information from the critic. Our algorithm is in a decentralized manner, as we assume that each player has no access to the actions of the other one, which, in a way, protects the privacy of both players. Moreover, we consider linear function approximations for both actor and critic, and we prove that the sequence of joint policy generated by our decentralized linear algorithm converges to the minimax equilibrium at a sublinear rate (\cO(\sqrt{K})), where (K) is the number of iterations. To the best of our knowledge, we establish the global optimality and convergence of decentralized actor-critic algorithm on zero-sum two-player stochastic games with linear function approximations for the first time.

Optimal Non-Convex Exact Recovery in Stochastic Block Model via Projected Power Method
Peng Wang, Huikang Liu, Zirui Zhou, Anthony Man-Cho So
In this paper, we study the problem of exact community recovery in the symmetric stochastic block model, where a graph of $n$ vertices is randomly generated by partitioning the vertices into $K \ge 2$ equal-sized communities and then connecting each pair of vertices with probability that depends on their community memberships. Although the maximum-likelihood formulation of this problem is discrete and non-convex, we propose to tackle it directly using projected power iterations with an initialization that satisfies a partial recovery condition. Such an initialization can be obtained by a host of existing methods. We show that in the logarithmic degree regime of the considered problem, the proposed method can exactly recover the underlying communities at the information-theoretic limit. Moreover, with a qualified initialization, it runs in $\mO(n\log^2n/\log\log n)$ time, which is competitive with existing state-of-the-art methods. We also present numerical results of the proposed method to support and complement our theoretical development.
Optimal Counterfactual Explanations in Tree Ensembles
Axel Parmentier, Thibaut Vidal

Counterfactual explanations are usually generated through heuristics that are sensitive to the search's initial conditions. The absence of guarantees of performance and robustness hinders trustworthiness. In this paper, we take a disciplined approach towards counterfactual explanations for tree ensembles. We advocate for a model-based search aiming at "optimal" explanations and propose efficient mixed-integer programming approaches. We show that isolation forests can be modeled within our framework to focus the search on plausible explanations with a low outlier score. We provide comprehensive coverage of additional constraints that model important objectives, heterogeneous data types, structural constraints on the feature space, along with resource and actionability restrictions. Our experimental analyses demonstrate that the proposed search approach requires a computational effort that is orders of magnitude smaller than previous mathematical programming algorithms. It scales up to large data sets and tree ensembles, where it provides, within seconds, systematic explanations grounded on well-defined models solved to optimality.

Q&A

Oral: Probabilistic Methods 6 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Graph Cuts Always Find a Global Optimum for Potts Models (With a Catch)
Hunter Lang, David Sontag, Aravindan Vijayaraghavan

We prove that the alpha-expansion algorithm for MAP inference always returns a globally optimal assignment for Markov Random Fields with Potts pairwise potentials, with a catch: the returned assignment is only guaranteed to be optimal for an instance within a small perturbation of the original problem instance. In other words, all local minima with respect to expansion moves are global minima to slightly perturbed versions of the problem. On "real-world" instances, MAP assignments of small perturbations of the problem should be very similar to the MAP assignment(s) of the original problem instance. We design an algorithm that can certify whether this is the case in practice. On several MAP inference problem instances from computer vision, this algorithm certifies that MAP solutions to all of these perturbations are very close to solutions of the original instance. These results taken together give a cohesive explanation for the good performance of "graph cuts" algorithms in practice. Every local expansion minimum is a global minimum in a small perturbation of the problem, and all of these global minima are close to the original solution.

SKIing on Simplices: Kernel Interpolation on the Permutohedral Lattice for Scalable Gaussian Processes
Sanyam Kapoor, Marc Finzi, Ke Alexander Wang, Andrew Wilson

State-of-the-art methods for scalable Gaussian processes use iterative algorithms, requiring fast matrix vector multiplies (MVMs) with the co-variance kernel. The Structured Kernel Interpolation (SKI) framework accelerates these MVMs by performing efficient MVMs on a grid and interpolating back to the original space. In this work, we develop a connection between SKI and the permutohedral lattice used for high-dimensional fast bilateral filtering. Using a sparse simplicial grid instead of a dense rectangular one, we can perform GP inference exponentially faster in the dimension than SKI. Our approach, Simplex-GP, enables scaling SKI to high dimensions, while maintaining strong predictive performance. We additionally provide a CUDA implementation of Simplex-GP, which enables significant GPU acceleration of MVM based inference.

Prediction-Centric Learning of Independent Cascade Dynamics from Partial Observations
Mateusz Wilinski, Andrey Lokhov

Spreading processes play an increasingly important role in modeling for diffusion networks, information propagation, marketing and opinion setting. We address the problem of learning of a spreading model such that the predictions generated from this model are accurate and could be subsequently used for the optimization, and control of diffusion dynamics. We focus on a challenging setting where full observations of the dynamics are not available, and standard approaches such as maximum likelihood quickly become intractable for large network instances. We introduce a computationally efficient algorithm, based on a scalable dynamic message-passing approach, which is able to learn parameters of the effective spreading model given only limited information on the activation times of nodes in the network. The popular Independent Cascade model is used to illustrate our approach. We show that tractable inference from the learned model generates a better prediction of marginal probabilities compared to the original model. We develop a systematic procedure for learning a mixture of models which further improves the prediction quality.

Marginalized Stochastic Natural Gradients for Black-Box Variational Inference
Geng Ji, Debora Sujono, Erik Sudderth

Black-box variational inference algorithms use stochastic sampling to analyze diverse statistical models, like those expressed in probabilistic programming languages, without model-specific derivations. While the popular score-function estimator computes unbiased gradient estimates, its variance is often unacceptably large, especially in models with discrete latent variables. We propose a stochastic natural gradient estimator that is as broadly applicable and unbiased, but improves efficiency by exploiting the curvature of the variational bound, and provably reduces variance by marginalizing discrete latent variables. Our marginalized stochastic natural gradients have intriguing connections to classic coordinate ascent variational inference, but allow parallel updates of variational parameters, and provide superior convergence guarantees relative to naive Monte Carlo approximations. We integrate our method with the probabilistic programming language Pyro and evaluate real-world models of documents, images, networks, and crowd-sourcing. Compared to score-function estimators, we require far fewer Monte Carlo samples and consistently convergence orders of magnitude faster.

Q&A

Oral: Adversarial Learning 4 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

A General Framework For Detecting Anomalous Inputs to DNN Classifiers
Jayaram Raghuram, Varun Chandrasekaran, Somesh Jha, Suman Banerjee

Detecting anomalous inputs, such as adversarial and out-of-distribution (OOD) inputs, is critical for classifiers (including deep neural networks or DNNs) deployed in real-world applications. While prior works have proposed various methods to detect such anomalous samples using information from the internal layer representations of a DNN, there is a lack of consensus on a principled approach for the different components of such a detection method. As a result, often heuristic and one-off methods are applied for different aspects of this problem. We propose an unsupervised anomaly detection framework based on the internal DNN layer representations in the form of a meta-algorithm with configurable components. We proceed to propose specific instantiations for each component of the meta-algorithm based on ideas grounded in statistical testing and anomaly detection. We evaluate the proposed methods on well-known image classification datasets with strong adversarial attacks and OOD inputs, including an adaptive attack that uses the internal layer representations of the DNN (often not considered in prior work). Comparisons with five recently-proposed competing detection methods demonstrates the effectiveness of our method in detecting adversarial and OOD inputs.

Towards Defending against Adversarial Examples via Attack-Invariant Features
Dawei Zhou, Tongliang Liu, Bo Han, Nannan Wang, Chunlei Peng, Xinbo Gao

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are vulnerable to adversarial noise. Their adversarial robustness can be improved by exploiting adversarial examples. However, given the continuously evolving attacks, models trained on seen types of adversarial examples generally cannot generalize well to unseen types of adversarial examples. To solve this problem, in this paper, we propose to remove adversarial noise by learning generalizable invariant features across attacks which maintain semantic classification information. Specifically, we introduce an adversarial feature learning mechanism to disentangle invariant features from adversarial noise. A normalization term has been proposed in the encoded space of the attack-invariant features to address the bias issue between the seen and unseen types of attacks. Empirical evaluations demonstrate that our method could provide better protection in comparison to previous state-of-the-art approaches, especially against unseen types of attacks and adaptive attacks.

Towards Certifying L-infinity Robustness using Neural Networks with L-inf-dist Neurons
Bohang Zhang, Tianle Cai, Zhou Lu, Di He, Liwei Wang
It is well-known that standard neural networks, even with a high classification accuracy, are vulnerable to small $\ell_\infty$-norm bounded adversarial perturbations. Although many attempts have been made, most previous works either can only provide empirical verification of the defense to a particular attack method, or can only develop a certified guarantee of the model robustness in limited scenarios. In this paper, we seek for a new approach to develop a theoretically principled neural network that inherently resists $\ell_\infty$ perturbations. In particular, we design a novel neuron that uses $\ell_\infty$-distance as its basic operation (which we call $\ell_\infty$-dist neuron), and show that any neural network constructed with $\ell_\infty$-dist neurons (called $\ell_{\infty}$-dist net) is naturally a 1-Lipschitz function with respect to $\ell_\infty$-norm. This directly provides a rigorous guarantee of the certified robustness based on the margin of prediction outputs. We then prove that such networks have enough expressive power to approximate any 1-Lipschitz function with robust generalization guarantee. We further provide a holistic training strategy that can greatly alleviate optimization difficulties. Experimental results show that using $\ell_{\infty}$-dist nets as basic building blocks, we consistently achieve state-of-the-art performance on commonly used datasets: 93.09\% certified accuracy on MNIST ($\epsilon=0.3$), 35.42\% on CIFAR-10 ($\epsilon=8/255$) and …
Uncovering the Connections Between Adversarial Transferability and Knowledge Transferability
Kaizhao Liang, Jacky Zhang, Boxin Wang, Zhuolin Yang, Sanmi Koyejo, Bo Li

Knowledge transferability, or transfer learning, has been widely adopted to allow a pre-trained model in the source domain to be effectively adapted to downstream tasks in the target domain. It is thus important to explore and understand the factors affecting knowledge transferability. In this paper, as the first work, we analyze and demonstrate the connections between knowledge transferability and another important phenomenon--adversarial transferability, \emph{i.e.}, adversarial examples generated against one model can be transferred to attack other models. Our theoretical studies show that adversarial transferability indicates knowledge transferability, and vice versa. Moreover, based on the theoretical insights, we propose two practical adversarial transferability metrics to characterize this process, serving as bidirectional indicators between adversarial and knowledge transferability. We conduct extensive experiments for different scenarios on diverse datasets, showing a positive correlation between adversarial transferability and knowledge transferability. Our findings will shed light on future research about effective knowledge transfer learning and adversarial transferability analyses.

Improving Gradient Regularization using Complex-Valued Neural Networks
Eric Yeats, Yiran Chen, Hai Li

Gradient regularization is a neural network defense technique that requires no prior knowledge of an adversarial attack and that brings only limited increase in training computational complexity. A form of complex-valued neural network (CVNN) is proposed to improve the performance of gradient regularization on classification tasks of real-valued input in adversarial settings. The activation derivatives of each layer of the CVNN are dependent on the combination of inputs to the layer, and locally stable representations can be learned for inputs the network is trained on. Furthermore, the properties of the CVNN parameter derivatives resist decrease of performance on the standard objective that is caused by competition with the gradient regularization objective. Experimental results show that the performance of gradient regularized CVNN surpasses that of real-valued neural networks with comparable storage and computational complexity. Moreover, gradient regularized complex-valued networks exhibit robust performance approaching that of real-valued networks trained with multi-step adversarial training.

Double-Win Quant: Aggressively Winning Robustness of Quantized Deep Neural Networks via Random Precision Training and Inference
Yonggan Fu, Qixuan Yu, Meng Li, Vikas Chandra, Yingyan Lin

Quantization is promising in enabling powerful yet complex deep neural networks (DNNs) to be deployed into resource constrained platforms. However, quantized DNNs are vulnerable to adversarial attacks unless being equipped with sophisticated techniques, leading to a dilemma of struggling between DNNs' efficiency and robustness. In this work, we demonstrate a new perspective regarding quantization's role in DNNs' robustness, advocating that quantization can be leveraged to largely boost DNNs’ robustness, and propose a framework dubbed Double-Win Quant that can boost the robustness of quantized DNNs over their full precision counterparts by a large margin. Specifically, we for the first time identify that when an adversarially trained model is quantized to different precisions in a post-training manner, the associated adversarial attacks transfer poorly between different precisions. Leveraging this intriguing observation, we further develop Double-Win Quant integrating random precision inference and training to further reduce and utilize the poor adversarial transferability, enabling an aggressive ``win-win" in terms of DNNs' robustness and efficiency. Extensive experiments and ablation studies consistently validate Double-Win Quant's effectiveness and advantages over state-of-the-art (SOTA) adversarial training methods across various attacks/models/datasets. Our codes are available at: https://github.com/RICE-EIC/Double-Win-Quant.

Progressive-Scale Boundary Blackbox Attack via Projective Gradient Estimation
Jiawei Zhang, Linyi Li, Huichen Li, Xiaolu Zhang, Shuang Yang, Bo Li

Boundary based blackbox attack has been recognized as practical and effective, given that an attacker only needs to access the final model prediction. However, the query efficiency of it is in general high especially for high dimensional image data. In this paper, we show that such efficiency highly depends on the scale at which the attack is applied, and attacking at the optimal scale significantly improves the efficiency. In particular, we propose a theoretical framework to analyze and show three key characteristics to improve the query efficiency. We prove that there exists an optimal scale for projective gradient estimation. Our framework also explains the satisfactory performance achieved by existing boundary black-box attacks. Based on our theoretical framework, we propose Progressive-Scale enabled projective Boundary Attack (PSBA) to improve the query efficiency via progressive scaling techniques. In particular, we employ Progressive-GAN to optimize the scale of projections, which we call PSBA-PGAN. We evaluate our approach on both spatial and frequency scales. Extensive experiments on MNIST, CIFAR-10, CelebA, and ImageNet against different models including a real-world face recognition API show that PSBA-PGAN significantly outperforms existing baseline attacks in terms of query efficiency and attack success rate. We also observe relatively stable optimal scales …

Q&A

Oral: Unsupervised Learning 3 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Correlation Clustering in Constant Many Parallel Rounds
Vincent Cohen-Addad, Silvio Lattanzi, Slobodan Mitrović, Ashkan Norouzi-Fard, Nikos Parotsidis, Jakub Tarnawski

Correlation clustering is a central topic in unsupervised learning, with many applications in ML and data mining. In correlation clustering, one receives as input a signed graph and the goal is to partition it to minimize the number of disagreements. In this work we propose a massively parallel computation (MPC) algorithm for this problem that is considerably faster than prior work. In particular, our algorithm uses machines with memory sublinear in the number of nodes in the graph and returns a constant approximation while running only for a constant number of rounds. To the best of our knowledge, our algorithm is the first that can provably approximate a clustering problem using only a constant number of MPC rounds in the sublinear memory regime. We complement our analysis with an experimental scalability evaluation of our techniques.

A Scalable Deterministic Global Optimization Algorithm for Clustering Problems
Kaixun Hua, Mingfei Shi, Yankai Cao
The minimum sum-of-squares clustering (MSSC) task, which can be treated as a Mixed Integer Second Order Cone Programming (MISOCP) problem, is rarely investigated in the literature through deterministic optimization to find its global optimal value. In this paper, we modelled the MSSC task as a two-stage optimization problem and proposed a tailed reduced-space branch and bound (BB) algorithm. We designed several approaches to construct lower and upper bounds at each node in the BB scheme, including a scenario grouping based Lagrangian decomposition approach. One key advantage of this reduced-space algorithm is that it only needs to perform branching on the centers of clusters to guarantee convergence, and the size of centers is independent of the number of data samples. Moreover, the lower bounds can be computed by solving small-scale sample subproblems, and upper bounds can be obtained trivially. These two properties enable our algorithm easy to be paralleled and can be scalable to the dataset with up to 200,000 samples for finding a global $\epsilon$-optimal solution of the MSSC task. We performed numerical experiments on both synthetic and real-world datasets and compared our proposed algorithms with the off-the-shelf global optimal solvers and classical local optimal algorithms. The results reveal a …
One Pass Late Fusion Multi-view Clustering
Xinwang Liu, Li Liu, Qing Liao, Siwei Wang, Yi Zhang, Wenxuan Tu, Chang Tang, Jiyuan Liu, En Zhu

Existing late fusion multi-view clustering (LFMVC) optimally integrates a group of pre-specified base partition matrices to learn a consensus one. It is then taken as the input of the widely used k-means to generate the cluster labels. As observed, the learning of the consensus partition matrix and the generation of cluster labels are separately done. These two procedures lack necessary negotiation and can not best serve for each other, which may adversely affect the clustering performance. To address this issue, we propose to unify the aforementioned two learning procedures into a single optimization, in which the consensus partition matrix can better serve for the generation of cluster labels, and the latter is able to guide the learning of the former. To optimize the resultant optimization problem, we develop a four-step alternate algorithm with proved convergence. We theoretically analyze the clustering generalization error of the proposed algorithm on unseen data. Comprehensive experiments on multiple benchmark datasets demonstrate the superiority of our algorithm in terms of both clustering accuracy and computational efficiency. It is expected that the simplicity and effectiveness of our algorithm will make it a good option to be considered for practical multi-view clustering applications.

Data-Free Knowledge Distillation for Heterogeneous Federated Learning
Zhuangdi Zhu, Junyuan Hong, Jiayu Zhou

Federated Learning (FL) is a decentralized machine-learning paradigm, in which a global server iteratively averages the model parameters of local users without accessing their data. User heterogeneity has imposed significant challenges to FL, which can incur drifted global models that are slow to converge. Knowledge Distillation has recently emerged to tackle this issue, by refining the server model using aggregated knowledge from heterogeneous users, other than directly averaging their model parameters. This approach, however, depends on a proxy dataset, making it impractical unless such a prerequisite is satisfied. Moreover, the ensemble knowledge is not fully utilized to guide local model learning, which may in turn affect the quality of the aggregated model. Inspired by the prior art, we propose a data-free knowledge distillation approach to address heterogeneous FL, where the server learns a lightweight generator to ensemble user information in a data-free manner, which is then broadcasted to users, regulating local training using the learned knowledge as an inductive bias.

Empirical studies powered by theoretical implications show that our approach facilitates FL with better generalization performance using fewer communication rounds, compared with the state-of-the-art.

Sharper Generalization Bounds for Clustering
Shaojie Li, Yong Liu
Existing generalization analysis of clustering mainly focuses on specific instantiations, such as (kernel) $k$-means, and a unified framework for studying clustering performance is still lacking. Besides, the existing excess clustering risk bounds are mostly of order $\mathcal{O}(K/\sqrt{n})$ provided that the underlying distribution has bounded support, where $n$ is the sample size and $K$ is the cluster numbers, or of order $\mathcal{O}(K^2/n)$ under strong assumptions on the underlying distribution, where these assumptions are hard to be verified in general. In this paper, we propose a unified clustering learning framework and investigate its excess risk bounds, obtaining state-of-the-art upper bounds under mild assumptions. Specifically, we derive sharper bounds of order $\mathcal{O}(K^2/n)$ under mild assumptions on the covering number of the hypothesis spaces, where these assumptions are easy to be verified. Moreover, for the hard clustering scheme, such as (kernel) $k$-means, if just assume the hypothesis functions to be bounded, we improve the upper bounds from the order $\mathcal{O}(K/\sqrt{n})$ to $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{K}/\sqrt{n})$. Furthermore, state-of-the-art bounds of faster order $\mathcal{O}(K/n)$ are obtained with the covering number assumptions.
Active Learning for Distributionally Robust Level-Set Estimation
Yu Inatsu, Shogo Iwazaki, Ichiro Takeuchi
Many cases exist in which a black-box function $f$ with high evaluation cost depends on two types of variables $\bm x$ and $\bm w$, where $\bm x$ is a controllable \emph{design} variable and $\bm w$ are uncontrollable \emph{environmental} variables that have random variation following a certain distribution $P$. In such cases, an important task is to find the range of design variables $\bm x$ such that the function $f(\bm x, \bm w)$ has the desired properties by incorporating the random variation of the environmental variables $\bm w$. A natural measure of robustness is the probability that $f(\bm x, \bm w)$ exceeds a given threshold $h$, which is known as the \emph{probability threshold robustness} (PTR) measure in the literature on robust optimization. However, this robustness measure cannot be correctly evaluated when the distribution $P$ is unknown. In this study, we addressed this problem by considering the \textit{distributionally robust PTR} (DRPTR) measure, which considers the worst-case PTR within given candidate distributions. Specifically, we studied the problem of efficiently identifying a reliable set $H$, which is defined as a region in which the DRPTR measure exceeds a certain desired probability $\alpha$, which can be interpreted as a level set estimation (LSE) problem for …
Dual Principal Component Pursuit for Robust Subspace Learning: Theory and Algorithms for a Holistic Approach
Tianyu Ding, Zhihui Zhu, Rene Vidal, Daniel Robinson

The Dual Principal Component Pursuit (DPCP) method has been proposed to robustly recover a subspace of high-relative dimension from corrupted data. Existing analyses and algorithms of DPCP, however, mainly focus on finding a normal to a single hyperplane that contains the inliers. Although these algorithms can be extended to a subspace of higher co-dimension through a recursive approach that sequentially finds a new basis element of the space orthogonal to the subspace, this procedure is computationally expensive and lacks convergence guarantees. In this paper, we consider a DPCP approach for simultaneously computing the entire basis of the orthogonal complement subspace (we call this a holistic approach) by solving a non-convex non-smooth optimization problem over the Grassmannian. We provide geometric and statistical analyses for the global optimality and prove that it can tolerate as many outliers as the square of the number of inliers, under both noiseless and noisy settings. We then present a Riemannian regularity condition for the problem, which is then used to prove that a Riemannian subgradient method converges linearly to a neighborhood of the orthogonal subspace with error proportional to the noise level.

Q&A

Oral: Unsupervised Learning 5 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Crowdsourcing via Annotator Co-occurrence Imputation and Provable Symmetric Nonnegative Matrix Factorization
Shahana Ibrahim, Xiao Fu

Unsupervised learning of the Dawid-Skene (D&S) model from noisy, incomplete and crowdsourced annotations has been a long-standing challenge, and is a critical step towards reliably labeling massive data. A recent work takes a coupled nonnegative matrix factorization (CNMF) perspective, and shows appealing features: It ensures the identifiability of the D\&S model and enjoys low sample complexity, as only the estimates of the co-occurrences of annotator labels are involved. However, the identifiability holds only when certain somewhat restrictive conditions are met in the context of crowdsourcing. Optimizing the CNMF criterion is also costly---and convergence assurances are elusive. This work recasts the pairwise co-occurrence based D&S model learning problem as a symmetric NMF (SymNMF) problem---which offers enhanced identifiability relative to CNMF. In practice, the SymNMF model is often (largely) incomplete, due to the lack of co-labeled items by some annotators. Two lightweight algorithms are proposed for co-occurrence imputation. Then, a low-complexity shifted rectified linear unit (ReLU)-empowered SymNMF algorithm is proposed to identify the D&S model. Various performance characterizations (e.g., missing co-occurrence recoverability, stability, and convergence) and evaluations are also presented.

Message Passing Adaptive Resonance Theory for Online Active Semi-supervised Learning
Taehyeong Kim, Injune Hwang, Hyundo Lee, Hyunseo Kim, Won-Seok Choi, Joseph Lim, Byoung-Tak Zhang

Active learning is widely used to reduce labeling effort and training time by repeatedly querying only the most beneficial samples from unlabeled data. In real-world problems where data cannot be stored indefinitely due to limited storage or privacy issues, the query selection and the model update should be performed as soon as a new data sample is observed. Various online active learning methods have been studied to deal with these challenges; however, there are difficulties in selecting representative query samples and updating the model efficiently without forgetting. In this study, we propose Message Passing Adaptive Resonance Theory (MPART) that learns the distribution and topology of input data online. Through message passing on the topological graph, MPART actively queries informative and representative samples, and continuously improves the classification performance using both labeled and unlabeled data. We evaluate our model in stream-based selective sampling scenarios with comparable query selection strategies, showing that MPART significantly outperforms competitive models.

Object Segmentation Without Labels with Large-Scale Generative Models
Andrey Voynov, Stanislav Morozov, Artem Babenko

The recent rise of unsupervised and self-supervised learning has dramatically reduced the dependency on labeled data, providing high-quality representations for transfer on downstream tasks. Furthermore, recent works also employed these representations in a fully unsupervised setup for image classification, reducing the need for human labels on the fine-tuning stage as well. This work demonstrates that large-scale unsupervised models can also perform a more challenging object segmentation task, requiring neither pixel-level nor image-level labeling. Namely, we show that recent unsupervised GANs allow to differentiate between foreground/background pixels, providing high-quality saliency masks. By extensive comparison on common benchmarks, we outperform existing unsupervised alternatives for object segmentation, achieving new state-of-the-art.

SinIR: Efficient General Image Manipulation with Single Image Reconstruction
Jihyeong Yoo, Qifeng Chen

We propose SinIR, an efficient reconstruction-based framework trained on a single natural image for general image manipulation, including super-resolution, editing, harmonization, paint-to-image, photo-realistic style transfer, and artistic style transfer. We train our model on a single image with cascaded multi-scale learning, where each network at each scale is responsible for image reconstruction. This reconstruction objective greatly reduces the complexity and running time of training, compared to the GAN objective. However, the reconstruction objective also exacerbates the output quality. Therefore, to solve this problem, we further utilize simple random pixel shuffling, which also gives control over manipulation, inspired by the Denoising Autoencoder. With quantitative evaluation, we show that SinIR has competitive performance on various image manipulation tasks. Moreover, with a much simpler training objective (i.e., reconstruction), SinIR is trained 33.5 times faster than SinGAN (for 500x500 images) that solves similar tasks. Our code is publicly available at github.com/YooJiHyeong/SinIR.

GBHT: Gradient Boosting Histogram Transform for Density Estimation
Jingyi Cui, Hanyuan Hang, Yisen Wang, Zhouchen Lin
In this paper, we propose a density estimation algorithm called \textit{Gradient Boosting Histogram Transform} (GBHT), where we adopt the \textit{Negative Log Likelihood} as the loss function to make the boosting procedure available for the unsupervised tasks. From a learning theory viewpoint, we first prove fast convergence rates for GBHT with the smoothness assumption that the underlying density function lies in the space $C^{0,\alpha}$. Then when the target density function lies in spaces $C^{1,\alpha}$, we present an upper bound for GBHT which is smaller than the lower bound of its corresponding base learner, in the sense of convergence rates. To the best of our knowledge, we make the first attempt to theoretically explain why boosting can enhance the performance of its base learners for density estimation problems. In experiments, we not only conduct performance comparisons with the widely used KDE, but also apply GBHT to anomaly detection to showcase a further application of GBHT.
Hierarchical Agglomerative Graph Clustering in Nearly-Linear Time
Laxman Dhulipala, David Eisenstat, Jakub Łącki, Vahab Mirrokni, Jessica Shi
We study the widely-used hierarchical agglomerative clustering (HAC) algorithm on edge-weighted graphs. We define an algorithmic framework for hierarchical agglomerative graph clustering that provides the first efficient $\tilde{O}(m)$ time exact algorithms for classic linkage measures, such as complete- and WPGMA-linkage, as well as other measures. Furthermore, for average-linkage, arguably the most popular variant of HAC, we provide an algorithm that runs in $\tilde{O}(n\sqrt{m})$ time. For this variant, this is the first exact algorithm that runs in subquadratic time, as long as $m=n^{2-\epsilon}$ for some constant $\epsilon > 0$. We complement this result with a simple $\epsilon$-close approximation algorithm for average-linkage in our framework that runs in $\tilde{O}(m)$ time. As an application of our algorithms, we consider clustering points in a metric space by first using $k$-NN to generate a graph from the point set, and then running our algorithms on the resulting weighted graph. We validate the performance of our algorithms on publicly available datasets, and show that our approach can speed up clustering of point datasets by a factor of 20.7--76.5x.
Improving Ultrametrics Embeddings Through Coresets
Vincent Cohen-Addad, Rémi de Joannis de Verclos, Guillaume Lagarde
To tackle the curse of dimensionality in data analysis and unsupervised learning, it is critical to be able to efficiently compute ``simple'' faithful representations of the data that helps extract information, improves understanding and visualization of the structure. When the dataset consists of $d$-dimensional vectors, simple representations of the data may consist in trees or ultrametrics, and the goal is to best preserve the distances (i.e.: dissimilarity values) between data elements. To circumvent the quadratic running times of the most popular methods for fitting ultrametrics, such as average, single, or complete linkage,~\citet{CKL20} recently presented a new algorithm that for any $c \ge 1$, outputs in time $n^{1+O(1/c^2)}$ an ultrametric $\Delta$ such that for any two points $u, v$, $\Delta(u, v)$ is within a multiplicative factor of $5c$ to the distance between $u$ and $v$ in the ``best'' ultrametric representation. We improve the above result and show how to improve the above guarantee from $5c$ to $\sqrt{2}c + \varepsilon$ while achieving the same asymptotic running time. To complement the improved theoretical bound, we additionally show that the performances of our algorithm are significantly better for various real-world datasets.
Q&A

Oral: Applications (NLP) 4 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Order-Agnostic Cross Entropy for Non-Autoregressive Machine Translation
Cunxiao Du, Zhaopeng Tu, Jing Jiang

We propose a new training objective named order-agnostic cross entropy (OaXE) for fully non-autoregressive translation (NAT) models. OaXE improves the standard cross-entropy loss to ameliorate the effect of word reordering, which is a common source of the critical multimodality problem in NAT. Concretely, OaXE removes the penalty for word order errors, and computes the cross entropy loss based on the best possible alignment between model predictions and target tokens. Since the log loss is very sensitive to invalid references, we leverage cross entropy initialization and loss truncation to ensure the model focuses on a good part of the search space. Extensive experiments on major WMT benchmarks demonstrate that OaXE substantially improves translation performance, setting new state of the art for fully NAT models. Further analyses show that OaXE indeed alleviates the multimodality problem by reducing token repetitions and increasing prediction confidence. Our code, data, and trained models are available at https://github.com/tencent-ailab/ICML21_OAXE.

Mixed Cross Entropy Loss for Neural Machine Translation
Haoran Li, Wei Lu

In neural machine translation, Cross Entropy loss (CE) is the standard loss function in two training methods of auto-regressive models, i.e., teacher forcing and scheduled sampling. In this paper, we propose mixed Cross Entropy loss (mixed CE) as a substitute for CE in both training approaches. In teacher forcing, the model trained with CE regards the translation problem as a one-to-one mapping process, while in mixed CE this process can be relaxed to one-to-many. In scheduled sampling, we show that mixed CE has the potential to encourage the training and testing behaviours to be similar to each other, more effectively mitigating the exposure bias problem. We demonstrate the superiority of mixed CE over CE on several machine translation datasets, WMT'16 Ro-En, WMT'16 Ru-En, and WMT'14 En-De in both teacher forcing and scheduled sampling setups. Furthermore, in WMT'14 En-De, we also find mixed CE consistently outperforms CE on a multi-reference set as well as a challenging paraphrased reference set. We also found the model trained with mixed CE is able to provide a better probability distribution defined over the translation output space. Our code is available at https://github.com/haorannlp/mix.

Fused Acoustic and Text Encoding for Multimodal Bilingual Pretraining and Speech Translation
Renjie Zheng, Junkun Chen, Mingbo Ma, Liang Huang

Recently, representation learning for text and speech has successfully improved many language related tasks. However, all existing methods suffer from two limitations: (a) they only learn from one input modality, while a unified representation for both speech and text is needed by tasks such as end-to-end speech translation, and as a result, (b) they can not exploit various large-scale text and speech data and their performance is limited by the scarcity of parallel speech translation data. To address these problems, we propose a Fused Acoustic and Text Masked Language Model (FAT-MLM) which jointly learns a unified representation for both acoustic and text input from various types of corpora including parallel data for speech recognition and machine translation, and even pure speech and text data. Within this cross-modal representation learning framework, we further present an end-to-end model for Fused Acoustic and Text Speech Translation (FAT-ST). Experiments on three translation directions show that by fine-tuning from FAT-MLM, our proposed speech translation models substantially improve translation quality by up to +5.9 BLEU.

Self-supervised and Supervised Joint Training for Resource-rich Machine Translation
Yong Cheng, Wei Wang, Lu Jiang, Wolfgang Macherey

Self-supervised pre-training of text representations has been successfully applied to low-resource Neural Machine Translation (NMT). However, it usually fails to achieve notable gains on resource-rich NMT. In this paper, we propose a joint training approach, F2-XEnDec, to combine self-supervised and supervised learning to optimize NMT models. To exploit complementary self-supervised signals for supervised learning, NMT models are trained on examples that are interbred from monolingual and parallel sentences through a new process called crossover encoder-decoder. Experiments on two resource-rich translation benchmarks, WMT'14 English-German and WMT'14 English-French, demonstrate that our approach achieves substantial improvements over several strong baseline methods and obtains a new state of the art of 46.19 BLEU on English-French when incorporating back translation. Results also show that our approach is capable of improving model robustness to input perturbations such as code-switching noise which frequently appears on the social media.

Q&A

Oral: Unsupervised Learning 4 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Additive Error Guarantees for Weighted Low Rank Approximation
Aditya Bhaskara, Aravinda Kanchana Ruwanpathirana, Maheshakya Wijewardena
Low-rank approximation is a classic tool in data analysis, where the goal is to approximate a matrix $A$ with a low-rank matrix $L$ so as to minimize the error $\norm{A - L}_F^2$. However in many applications, approximating some entries is more important than others, which leads to the weighted low rank approximation problem. However, the addition of weights makes the low-rank approximation problem intractable. Thus many works have obtained efficient algorithms under additional structural assumptions on the weight matrix (such as low rank, and appropriate block structure). We study a natural greedy algorithm for weighted low rank approximation and develop a simple condition under which it yields bi-criteria approximation up to a small additive factor in the error. The algorithm involves iteratively computing the top singular vector of an appropriately varying matrix, and is thus easy to implement at scale. Our methods also allow us to study the problem of low rank approximation under $\ell_p$ norm error.
Near-Optimal Entrywise Anomaly Detection for Low-Rank Matrices with Sub-Exponential Noise
Vivek Farias, Andrew Li, Tianyi Peng

We study the problem of identifying anomalies in a low-rank matrix observed with sub-exponential noise, motivated by applications in retail and inventory management. State of the art approaches to anomaly detection in low-rank matrices apparently fall short, since they require that non-anomalous entries be observed with vanishingly small noise (which is not the case in our problem, and indeed in many applications). So motivated, we propose a conceptually simple entrywise approach to anomaly detection in low-rank matrices. Our approach accommodates a general class of probabilistic anomaly models. We extend recent work on entrywise error guarantees for matrix completion, establishing such guarantees for sub-exponential matrices, where in addition to missing entries, a fraction of entries are corrupted by (an also unknown) anomaly model. Viewing the anomaly detection as a classification task, to the best of our knowledge, we are the first to achieve the min-max optimal detection rate (up to log factors). Using data from a massive consumer goods retailer, we show that our approach provides significant improvements over incumbent approaches to anomaly detection.

Fast Sketching of Polynomial Kernels of Polynomial Degree
Zhao Song, David Woodruff, Zheng Yu, Lichen Zhang
Kernel methods are fundamental in machine learning, and faster algorithms for kernel approximation provide direct speedups for many core tasks in machine learning. The polynomial kernel is especially important as other kernels can often be approximated by the polynomial kernel via a Taylor series expansion. Recent techniques in oblivious sketching reduce the dependence in the running time on the degree $q$ of the polynomial kernel from exponential to polynomial, which is useful for the Gaussian kernel, for which $q$ can be chosen to be polylogarithmic. However, for more slowly growing kernels, such as the neural tangent and arc cosine kernels, $q$ needs to be polynomial, and previous work incurs a polynomial factor slowdown in the running time. We give a new oblivious sketch which greatly improves upon this running time, by removing the dependence on $q$ in the leading order term. Combined with a novel sampling scheme, we give the fastest algorithms for approximating a large family of slow-growing kernels.
Finding k in Latent $k-$ polytope
Chiru Bhattacharyya, Ravindran Kannan, Amit Kumar
The recently introduced Latent $k-$ Polytope($\LkP$) encompasses several stochastic Mixed Membership models including Topic Models. The problem of finding $k$, the number of extreme points of $\LkP$, is a fundamental challenge and includes several important open problems such as determination of number of components in Ad-mixtures. This paper addresses this challenge by introducing Interpolative Convex Rank(\INR) of a matrix defined as the minimum number of its columns whose convex hull is within Hausdorff distance $\varepsilon$ of the convex hull of all columns. The first important contribution of this paper is to show that under \emph{standard assumptions} $k$ equals the \INR of a \emph{subset smoothed data matrix} defined from Data generated from an $\LkP$. The second important contribution of the paper is a polynomial time algorithm for finding $k$ under standard assumptions. An immediate corollary is the first polynomial time algorithm for finding the \emph{inner dimension} in Non-negative matrix factorisation(NMF) with assumptions which are qualitatively different than existing ones such as \emph{Separability}. %An immediate corollary is the first polynomial time algorithm for finding the \emph{inner dimension} in Non-negative matrix factorisation(NMF) with assumptions considerably weaker than \emph{Separability}.
HoroPCA: Hyperbolic Dimensionality Reduction via Horospherical Projections
Ines Chami, Albert Gu, Dat P Nguyen, Christopher Re

This paper studies Principal Component Analysis (PCA) for data lying in hyperbolic spaces. Given directions, PCA relies on: (1) a parameterization of subspaces spanned by these directions, (2) a method of projection onto subspaces that preserves information in these directions, and (3) an objective to optimize, namely the variance explained by projections. We generalize each of these concepts to the hyperbolic space and propose HoroPCA, a method for hyperbolic dimensionality reduction. By focusing on the core problem of extracting principal directions, HoroPCA theoretically better preserves information in the original data such as distances, compared to previous generalizations of PCA. Empirically, we validate that HoroPCA outperforms existing dimensionality reduction methods, significantly reducing error in distance preservation. As a data whitening method, it improves downstream classification by up to 3.9% compared to methods that don’t use whitening. Finally, we show that HoroPCA can be used to visualize hyperbolic data in two dimensions.

Streaming and Distributed Algorithms for Robust Column Subset Selection
Shuli Jiang, Dongyu Li, Irene Mengze Li, Arvind Mahankali, David Woodruff
We give the first single-pass streaming algorithm for Column Subset Selection with respect to the entrywise $\ell_p$-norm with $1 \leq p < 2$. We study the $\ell_p$ norm loss since it is often considered more robust to noise than the standard Frobenius norm. Given an input matrix $A \in \mathbb{R}^{d \times n}$ ($n \gg d$), our algorithm achieves a multiplicative $k^{\frac{1}{p} - \frac{1}{2}}\poly(\log nd)$-approximation to the error with respect to the \textit{best possible column subset} of size $k$. Furthermore, the space complexity of the streaming algorithm is optimal up to a logarithmic factor. Our streaming algorithm also extends naturally to a 1-round distributed protocol with nearly optimal communication cost. A key ingredient in our algorithms is a reduction to column subset selection in the $\ell_{p,2}$-norm, which corresponds to the $p$-norm of the vector of Euclidean norms of each of the columns of $A$. This enables us to leverage strong coreset constructions for the Euclidean norm, which previously had not been applied in this context. We also give the first provable guarantees for greedy column subset selection in the $\ell_{1, 2}$ norm, which can be used as an alternative, practical subroutine in our algorithms. Finally, we show that our algorithms give significant …
Q&A

Spotlight: Security and Transparency Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Explaining Time Series Predictions with Dynamic Masks
Jonathan Crabbé, Mihaela van der Schaar

How can we explain the predictions of a machine learning model? When the data is structured as a multivariate time series, this question induces additional difficulties such as the necessity for the explanation to embody the time dependency and the large number of inputs. To address these challenges, we propose dynamic masks (Dynamask). This method produces instance-wise importance scores for each feature at each time step by fitting a perturbation mask to the input sequence. In order to incorporate the time dependency of the data, Dynamask studies the effects of dynamic perturbation operators. In order to tackle the large number of inputs, we propose a scheme to make the feature selection parsimonious (to select no more feature than necessary) and legible (a notion that we detail by making a parallel with information theory). With synthetic and real-world data, we demonstrate that the dynamic underpinning of Dynamask, together with its parsimony, offer a neat improvement in the identification of feature importance over time. The modularity of Dynamask makes it ideal as a plug-in to increase the transparency of a wide range of machine learning models in areas such as medicine and finance, where time series are abundant.

Neural Tangent Generalization Attacks
Jimmy Yuan, Shan-Hung (Brandon) Wu

The remarkable performance achieved by Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) in many applications is followed by the rising concern about data privacy and security. Since DNNs usually require large datasets to train, many practitioners scrape data from external sources such as the Internet. However, an external data owner may not be willing to let this happen, causing legal or ethical issues. In this paper, we study the generalization attacks against DNNs, where an attacker aims to slightly modify training data in order to spoil the training process such that a trained network lacks generalizability. These attacks can be performed by data owners and protect data from unexpected use. However, there is currently no efficient generalization attack against DNNs due to the complexity of a bilevel optimization involved. We propose the Neural Tangent Generalization Attack (NTGA) that, to the best of our knowledge, is the first work enabling clean-label, black-box generalization attack against DNNs. We conduct extensive experiments, and the empirical results demonstrate the effectiveness of NTGA. Our code and perturbed datasets are available at: https://github.com/lionelmessi6410/ntga.

Understanding and Mitigating Accuracy Disparity in Regression
Jianfeng Chi, Yuan Tian, Geoff Gordon, Han Zhao

With the widespread deployment of large-scale prediction systems in high-stakes domains, e.g., face recognition, criminal justice, etc., disparity on prediction accuracy between different demographic subgroups has called for fundamental understanding on the source of such disparity and algorithmic intervention to mitigate it. In this paper, we study the accuracy disparity problem in regression. To begin with, we first propose an error decomposition theorem, which decomposes the accuracy disparity into the distance between marginal label distributions and the distance between conditional representations, to help explain why such accuracy disparity appears in practice. Motivated by this error decomposition and the general idea of distribution alignment with statistical distances, we then propose an algorithm to reduce this disparity, and analyze its game-theoretic optima of the proposed objective functions. To corroborate our theoretical findings, we also conduct experiments on five benchmark datasets. The experimental results suggest that our proposed algorithms can effectively mitigate accuracy disparity while maintaining the predictive power of the regression models.

Backdoor Scanning for Deep Neural Networks through K-Arm Optimization
Guangyu Shen, Yingqi Liu, Guanhong Tao, Shengwei An, Qiuling Xu, Siyuan Cheng, Shiqing Ma, Xiangyu Zhang

Back-door attack poses a severe threat to deep learning systems. It injects hidden malicious behaviors to a model such that any input stamped with a special pattern can trigger such behaviors. Detecting back-door is hence of pressing need. Many existing defense techniques use optimization to generate the smallest input pattern that forces the model to misclassify a set of benign inputs injected with the pattern to a target label. However, the complexity is quadratic to the number of class labels such that they can hardly handle models with many classes. Inspired by Multi-Arm Bandit in Reinforcement Learning, we propose a K-Arm optimization method for backdoor detection. By iteratively and stochastically selecting the most promising labels for optimization with the guidance of an objective function, we substantially reduce the complexity, allowing to handle models with many classes. Moreover, by iteratively refining the selection of labels to optimize, it substantially mitigates the uncertainty in choosing the right labels, improving detection accuracy. At the time of submission, the evaluation of our method on over 4000 models in the IARPA TrojAI competition from round 1 to the latest round 4 achieves top performance on the leaderboard. Our technique also supersedes five state-of-the-art techniques in …

DANCE: Enhancing saliency maps using decoys
Yang Lu, Wenbo Guo, Xinyu Xing, William Stafford Noble

Saliency methods can make deep neural network predictions more interpretable by identifying a set of critical features in an input sample, such as pixels that contribute most strongly to a prediction made by an image classifier. Unfortunately, recent evidence suggests that many saliency methods poorly perform, especially in situations where gradients are saturated, inputs contain adversarial perturbations, or predictions rely upon inter-feature dependence. To address these issues, we propose a framework, DANCE, which improves the robustness of saliency methods by following a two-step procedure. First, we introduce a perturbation mechanism that subtly varies the input sample without changing its intermediate representations. Using this approach, we can gather a corpus of perturbed ("decoy") data samples while ensuring that the perturbed and original input samples follow similar distributions. Second, we compute saliency maps for the decoy samples and propose a new method to aggregate saliency maps. With this design, we offset influence of gradient saturation. From a theoretical perspective, we show that the aggregated saliency map not only captures inter-feature dependence but, more importantly, is robust against previously described adversarial perturbation methods. Our empirical results suggest that, both qualitatively and quantitatively, DANCE outperforms existing methods in a variety of application domains.

Blind Pareto Fairness and Subgroup Robustness
Natalia Martinez Gil, Martin Bertran, Afroditi Papadaki, Miguel Rodrigues, Guillermo Sapiro

Much of the work in the field of group fairness addresses disparities between predefined groups based on protected features such as gender, age, and race, which need to be available at train, and often also at test, time. These approaches are static and retrospective, since algorithms designed to protect groups identified a priori cannot anticipate and protect the needs of different at-risk groups in the future. In this work we analyze the space of solutions for worst-case fairness beyond demographics, and propose Blind Pareto Fairness (BPF), a method that leverages no-regret dynamics to recover a fair minimax classifier that reduces worst-case risk of any potential subgroup of sufficient size, and guarantees that the remaining population receives the best possible level of service. BPF addresses fairness beyond demographics, that is, it does not rely on predefined notions of at-risk groups, neither at train nor at test time. Our experimental results show that the proposed framework improves worst-case risk in multiple standard datasets, while simultaneously providing better levels of service for the remaining population. The code is available at github.com/natalialmg/BlindParetoFairness

Testing DNN-based Autonomous Driving Systems under Critical Environmental Conditions
Zhong Li, Minxue Pan, Tian Zhang, Xuandong Li

Due to the increasing usage of Deep Neural Network (DNN) based autonomous driving systems (ADS) where erroneous or unexpected behaviours can lead to catastrophic accidents, testing such systems is of growing importance. Existing approaches often just focus on finding erroneous behaviours and have not thoroughly studied the impact of environmental conditions. In this paper, we propose to test DNN-based ADS under different environmental conditions to identify the critical ones, that is, the environmental conditions under which the ADS are more prone to errors. To tackle the problem of the space of environmental conditions being extremely large, we present a novel approach named TACTIC that employs the search-based method to identify critical environmental conditions generated by an image-to-image translation model. Large-scale experiments show that TACTIC can effectively identify critical environmental conditions and produce realistic testing images, and meanwhile, reveal more erroneous behaviours compared to existing approaches.

On the Problem of Underranking in Group-Fair Ranking
Sruthi Gorantla, Amit Jayant Deshpande, Anand Louis

Bias in ranking systems, especially among the top ranks, can worsen social and economic inequalities, polarize opinions, and reinforce stereotypes. On the other hand, a bias correction for minority groups can cause more harm if perceived as favoring group-fair outcomes over meritocracy. Most group-fair ranking algorithms post-process a given ranking and output a group-fair ranking. In this paper, we formulate the problem of underranking in group-fair rankings based on how close the group-fair rank of each item is to its original rank, and prove a lower bound on the trade-off achievable for simultaneous underranking and group fairness in ranking. We give a fair ranking algorithm that takes any given ranking and outputs another ranking with simultaneous underranking and group fairness guarantees comparable to the lower bound we prove. Our experimental results confirm the theoretical trade-off between underranking and group fairness, and also show that our algorithm achieves the best of both when compared to the state-of-the-art baselines.

Testing Group Fairness via Optimal Transport Projections
Nian Si, Karthyek Murthy, Jose Blanchet, Viet Anh Nguyen

We have developed a statistical testing framework to detect if a given machine learning classifier fails to satisfy a wide range of group fairness notions. Our test is a flexible, interpretable, and statistically rigorous tool for auditing whether exhibited biases are intrinsic to the algorithm or simply due to the randomness in the data. The statistical challenges, which may arise from multiple impact criteria that define group fairness and which are discontinuous on model parameters, are conveniently tackled by projecting the empirical measure to the set of group-fair probability models using optimal transport. This statistic is efficiently computed using linear programming, and its asymptotic distribution is explicitly obtained. The proposed framework can also be used to test for composite fairness hypotheses and fairness with multiple sensitive attributes. The optimal transport testing formulation improves interpretability by characterizing the minimal covariate perturbations that eliminate the bias observed in the audit.

Q&A

Oral: Representation Learning 6 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Graph Neural Networks Inspired by Classical Iterative Algorithms
Yang Yongyi, Tang Liu, Yangkun Wang, Jinjing Zhou, Quan Gan, Zhewei Wei, Zheng Zhang, Zengfeng Huang, David Wipf

Despite the recent success of graph neural networks (GNN), common architectures often exhibit significant limitations, including sensitivity to oversmoothing, long-range dependencies, and spurious edges, e.g., as can occur as a result of graph heterophily or adversarial attacks. To at least partially address these issues within a simple transparent framework, we consider a new family of GNN layers designed to mimic and integrate the update rules of two classical iterative algorithms, namely, proximal gradient descent and iterative reweighted least squares (IRLS). The former defines an extensible base GNN architecture that is immune to oversmoothing while nonetheless capturing long-range dependencies by allowing arbitrary propagation steps. In contrast, the latter produces a novel attention mechanism that is explicitly anchored to an underlying end-to-end energy function, contributing stability with respect to edge uncertainty. When combined we obtain an extremely simple yet robust model that we evaluate across disparate scenarios including standardized benchmarks, adversarially-perturbated graphs, graphs with heterophily, and graphs involving long-range dependencies. In doing so, we compare against SOTA GNN approaches that have been explicitly designed for the respective task, achieving competitive or superior node classification accuracy. Our code is available at https://github.com/FFTYYY/TWIRLS. And for an extended version of this work, please see https://arxiv.org/abs/2103.06064.

FILTRA: Rethinking Steerable CNN by Filter Transform
Bo Li, Qili Wang, Gim Hee Lee

Steerable CNN imposes the prior knowledge of transformation invariance or equivariance in the network architecture to enhance the the network robustness on geometry transformation of data and reduce overfitting. It has been an intuitive and widely used technique to construct a steerable filter by augmenting a filter with its transformed copies in the past decades, which is named as filter transform in this paper. Recently, the problem of steerable CNN has been studied from aspect of group representation theory, which reveals the function space structure of a steerable kernel function. However, it is not yet clear on how this theory is related to the filter transform technique. In this paper, we show that kernel constructed by filter transform can also be interpreted in the group representation theory. This interpretation help complete the puzzle of steerable CNN theory and provides a novel and simple approach to implement steerable convolution operators. Experiments are executed on multiple datasets to verify the feasibility of the proposed approach.

Link Prediction with Persistent Homology: An Interactive View
Zuoyu Yan, Tengfei Ma, Liangcai Gao, Zhi Tang, Chao Chen

Link prediction is an important learning task for graph-structured data. In this paper, we propose a novel topological approach to characterize interactions between two nodes. Our topological feature, based on the extended persistent homology, encodes rich structural information regarding the multi-hop paths connecting nodes. Based on this feature, we propose a graph neural network method that outperforms state-of-the-arts on different benchmarks. As another contribution, we propose a novel algorithm to more efficiently compute the extended persistence diagrams for graphs. This algorithm can be generally applied to accelerate many other topological methods for graph learning tasks.

Conjugate Energy-Based Models
Hao Wu, Babak Esmaeili, Michael Wick, Jean-Baptiste Tristan, Jan-Willem van de Meent

In this paper, we propose conjugate energy-based models (CEBMs), a new class of energy-based models that define a joint density over data and latent variables. The joint density of a CEBM decomposes into an intractable distribution over data and a tractable posterior over latent variables. CEBMs have similar use cases as variational autoencoders, in the sense that they learn an unsupervised mapping from data to latent variables. However, these models omit a generator network, which allows them to learn more flexible notions of similarity between data points. Our experiments demonstrate that conjugate EBMs achieve competitive results in terms of image modelling, predictive power of latent space, and out-of-domain detection on a variety of datasets.

Implicit-PDF: Non-Parametric Representation of Probability Distributions on the Rotation Manifold
Kieran Murphy, Carlos Esteves, Varun Jampani, Srikumar Ramalingam, Ameesh Makadia

In the deep learning era, the vast majority of methods to predict pose from a single image are trained to classify or regress to a single given ground truth pose per image. Such methods have two main shortcomings, i) they cannot represent uncertainty about the predictions, and ii) they cannot handle symmetric objects, where multiple (potentially infinite) poses may be correct. Only recently these shortcomings have been addressed, but current approaches as limited in that they cannot express the full rich space of distributions on the rotation manifold. To this end, we introduce a method to estimate arbitrary, non-parametric distributions on SO(3). Our key idea is to represent the distributions implicitly, with a neural network that estimates the probability density, given the input image and a candidate pose. At inference time, grid sampling or gradient ascent can be used to find the most likely pose, but it is also possible to evaluate the density at any pose, enabling reasoning about symmetries and uncertainty. This is the most general way of representing distributions on manifolds, and to demonstrate its expressive power we introduce a new dataset containing symmetric and nearly-symmetric objects. Our method also shows advantages on the popular object pose …

Equivariant Networks for Pixelized Spheres
Mehran Shakerinava, Siamak Ravanbakhsh

Pixelizations of Platonic solids such as the cube and icosahedron have been widely used to represent spherical data, from climate records to Cosmic Microwave Background maps. Platonic solids have well-known global symmetries. Once we pixelize each face of the solid, each face also possesses its own local symmetries in the form of Euclidean isometries. One way to combine these symmetries is through a hierarchy. However, this approach does not adequately model the interplay between the two levels of symmetry transformations. We show how to model this interplay using ideas from group theory, identify the equivariant linear maps, and introduce equivariant padding that respects these symmetries. Deep networks that use these maps as their building blocks generalize gauge equivariant CNNs on pixelized spheres. These deep networks achieve state-of-the-art results on semantic segmentation for climate data and omnidirectional image processing. Code is available at https://git.io/JGiZA.

Efficient Statistical Tests: A Neural Tangent Kernel Approach
Sheng Jia, Ehsan Nezhadarya, Yuhuai Wu, Jimmy Ba

For machine learning models to make reliable predictions in deployment, one needs to ensure the previously unknown test samples need to be sufficiently similar to the training data. The commonly used shift-invariant kernels do not have the compositionality and fail to capture invariances in high-dimensional data in computer vision. We propose a shift-invariant convolutional neural tangent kernel (SCNTK) based outlier detector and two-sample tests with maximum mean discrepancy (MMD) that is O(n) in the number of samples due to using the random feature approximation. On MNIST and CIFAR10 with various types of dataset shifts, we empirically show that statistical tests with such compositional kernels, inherited from infinitely wide neural networks, achieve higher detection accuracy than existing non-parametric methods. Our method also provides a competitive alternative to adapted kernel methods that require a training phase.

Q&A

Oral: Multi-modal and Meta Learning Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Learning Transferable Visual Models From Natural Language Supervision
Alec Radford, Jong Wook Kim, Chris Hallacy, Aditya Ramesh, Gabriel Goh, Sandhini Agarwal, Girish Sastry, Amanda Askell, Pamela Mishkin, Jack Clark, Gretchen Krueger, Ilya Sutskever

State-of-the-art computer vision systems are trained to predict a fixed set of predetermined object categories. This restricted form of supervision limits their generality and usability since additional labeled data is needed to specify any other visual concept. Learning directly from raw text about images is a promising alternative which leverages a much broader source of supervision. We demonstrate that the simple pre-training task of predicting which caption goes with which image is an efficient and scalable way to learn SOTA image representations from scratch on a dataset of 400 million (image, text) pairs collected from the internet. After pre-training, natural language is used to reference learned visual concepts (or describe new ones) enabling zero-shot transfer of the model to downstream tasks. We study the performance of this approach by benchmarking on over 30 different existing computer vision datasets, spanning tasks such as OCR, action recognition in videos, geo-localization, and many types of fine-grained object classification. The model transfers non-trivially to most tasks and is often competitive with a fully supervised baseline without the need for any dataset specific training. For instance, we match the accuracy of the original ResNet-50 on ImageNet zero-shot without needing to use any of the 1.28 …

Two Heads are Better Than One: Hypergraph-Enhanced Graph Reasoning for Visual Event Ratiocination
Wenbo Zheng, Lan Yan, Chao Gou, Fei-Yue Wang

Even with a still image, humans can ratiocinate various visual cause-and-effect descriptions before, at present, and after, as well as beyond the given image. However, it is challenging for models to achieve such task--the visual event ratiocination, owing to the limitations of time and space. To this end, we propose a novel multi-modal model, Hypergraph-Enhanced Graph Reasoning. First it represents the contents from the same modality as a semantic graph and mines the intra-modality relationship, therefore breaking the limitations in the spatial domain. Then, we introduce the Graph Self-Attention Enhancement. On the one hand, this enables semantic graph representations from different modalities to enhance each other and captures the inter-modality relationship along the line. On the other hand, it utilizes our built multi-modal hypergraphs in different moments to boost individual semantic graph representations, and breaks the limitations in the temporal domain. Our method illustrates the case of "two heads are better than one" in the sense that semantic graph representations with the help of the proposed enhancement mechanism are more robust than those without. Finally, we re-project these representations and leverage their outcomes to generate textual cause-and-effect descriptions. Experimental results show that our model achieves significantly higher performance in comparison …

A Representation Learning Perspective on the Importance of Train-Validation Splitting in Meta-Learning
Nikunj Saunshi, Arushi Gupta, Wei Hu

An effective approach in meta-learning is to utilize multiple train tasks'' to learn a good initialization for model parameters that can help solve unseentest tasks'' with very few samples by fine-tuning from this initialization. Although successful in practice, theoretical understanding of such methods is limited. This work studies an important aspect of these methods: splitting the data from each task into train (support) and validation (query) sets during meta-training. Inspired by recent work (Raghu et al., 2020), we view such meta-learning methods through the lens of representation learning and argue that the train-validation split encourages the learned representation to be {\em low-rank} without compromising on expressivity, as opposed to the non-splitting variant that encourages high-rank representations. Since sample efficiency benefits from low-rankness, the splitting strategy will require very few samples to solve unseen test tasks. We present theoretical results that formalize this idea for linear representation learning on a subspace meta-learning instance, and experimentally verify this practical benefit of splitting in simulations and on standard meta-learning benchmarks.

Meta-Learning Bidirectional Update Rules
Mark Sandler, Max Vladymyrov, Andrey Zhmoginov, Nolan Miller, Tom Madams, Andrew Jackson, Blaise Agüera y Arcas

In this paper, we introduce a new type of generalized neural network where neurons and synapses maintain multiple states. We show that classical gradient-based backpropagation in neural networks can be seen as a special case of a two-state network where one state is used for activations and another for gradients, with update rules derived from the chain rule. In our generalized framework, networks have neither explicit notion of nor ever receive gradients. The synapses and neurons are updated using a bidirectional Hebb-style update rule parameterized by a shared low-dimensional "genome". We show that such genomes can be meta-learned from scratch, using either conventional optimization techniques, or evolutionary strategies, such as CMA-ES. Resulting update rules generalize to unseen tasks and train faster than gradient descent based optimizers for several standard computer vision and synthetic tasks.

Function Contrastive Learning of Transferable Meta-Representations
Waleed Gondal, Shruti Joshi, Nasim Rahaman, Stefan Bauer, Manuel Wuthrich, Bernhard Schölkopf

Meta-learning algorithms adapt quickly to new tasks that are drawn from the same task distribution as the training tasks. The mechanism leading to fast adaptation is the conditioning of a downstream predictive model on the inferred representation of the task's underlying data generative process, or \emph{function}. This \emph{meta-representation}, which is computed from a few observed examples of the underlying function, is learned jointly with the predictive model. In this work, we study the implications of this joint training on the transferability of the meta-representations. Our goal is to learn meta-representations that are robust to noise in the data and facilitate solving a wide range of downstream tasks that share the same underlying functions. To this end, we propose a decoupled encoder-decoder approach to supervised meta-learning, where the encoder is trained with a contrastive objective to find a good representation of the underlying function. In particular, our training scheme is driven by the self-supervision signal indicating whether two sets of examples stem from the same function. Our experiments on a number of synthetic and real-world datasets show that the representations we obtain outperform strong baselines in terms of downstream performance and noise robustness, even when these baselines are trained in an …

A Discriminative Technique for Multiple-Source Adaptation
Corinna Cortes, Mehryar Mohri, Ananda Theertha Suresh, Ningshan Zhang

We present a new discriminative technique for the multiple-source adaptation (MSA) problem. Unlike previous work, which relies on density estimation for each source domain, our solution only requires conditional probabilities that can be straightforwardly accurately estimated from unlabeled data from the source domains. We give a detailed analysis of our new technique, including general guarantees based on R\'enyi divergences, and learning bounds when conditional Maxent is used for estimating conditional probabilities for a point to belong to a source domain. We show that these guarantees compare favorably to those that can be derived for the generative solution, using kernel density estimation. Our experiments with real-world applications further demonstrate that our new discriminative MSA algorithm outperforms the previous generative solution as well as other domain adaptation baselines.

Debiasing Model Updates for Improving Personalized Federated Training
Durmus Alp Emre Acar, Yue Zhao, Ruizhao Zhu, Ramon Matas, Matthew Mattina, Paul Whatmough, Venkatesh Saligrama

We propose a novel method for federated learning that is customized specifically to the objective of a given edge device. In our proposed method, a server trains a global meta-model by collaborating with devices without actually sharing data. The trained global meta-model is then personalized locally by each device to meet its specific objective. Different from the conventional federated learning setting, training customized models for each device is hindered by both the inherent data biases of the various devices, as well as the requirements imposed by the federated architecture. We propose gradient correction methods leveraging prior works, and explicitly de-bias the meta-model in the distributed heterogeneous data setting to learn personalized device models. We present convergence guarantees of our method for strongly convex, convex and nonconvex meta objectives. We empirically evaluate the performance of our method on benchmark datasets and demonstrate significant communication savings.

Q&A

Oral: Privacy 5 Thu 22 Jul 07:00 p.m.  

Differentially Private Sliced Wasserstein Distance
alain rakotomamonjy, Ralaivola Liva

Developing machine learning methods that are privacy preserving is today a central topic of research, with huge practical impacts. Among the numerous ways to address privacy-preserving learning, we here take the perspective of computing the divergences between distributions under the Differential Privacy (DP) framework --- being able to compute divergences between distributions is pivotal for many machine learning problems, such as learning generative models or domain adaptation problems. Instead of resorting to the popular gradient-based sanitization method for DP, we tackle the problem at its roots by focusing on the Sliced Wasserstein Distance and seamlessly making it differentially private. Our main contribution is as follows: we analyze the property of adding a Gaussian perturbation to the intrinsic randomized mechanism of the Sliced Wasserstein Distance, and we establish the sensitivity of the resulting differentially private mechanism. One of our important findings is that this DP mechanism transforms the Sliced Wasserstein distance into another distance, that we call the Smoothed Sliced Wasserstein Distance. This new differentially private distribution distance can be plugged into generative models and domain adaptation algorithms in a transparent way, and we empirically show that it yields highly competitive performance compared with gradient-based DP approaches from the literature, with …

Differentially Private Densest Subgraph Detection
Dung Nguyen, Anil Vullikanti

Densest subgraph detection is a fundamental graph mining problem, with a large number of applications. There has been a lot of work on efficient algorithms for finding the densest subgraph in massive networks. However, in many domains, the network is private, and returning a densest subgraph can reveal information about the network. Differential privacy is a powerful framework to handle such settings. We study the densest subgraph problem in the edge privacy model, in which the edges of the graph are private. We present the first sequential and parallel differentially private algorithms for this problem. We show that our algorithms have an additive approximation guarantee. We evaluate our algorithms on a large number of real-world networks, and observe a good privacy-accuracy tradeoff when the network has high density.

Machine Unlearning for Random Forests
Jonathan Brophy, Daniel Lowd

Responding to user data deletion requests, removing noisy examples, or deleting corrupted training data are just a few reasons for wanting to delete instances from a machine learning (ML) model. However, efficiently removing this data from an ML model is generally difficult. In this paper, we introduce data removal-enabled (DaRE) forests, a variant of random forests that enables the removal of training data with minimal retraining. Model updates for each DaRE tree in the forest are exact, meaning that removing instances from a DaRE model yields exactly the same model as retraining from scratch on updated data.

DaRE trees use randomness and caching to make data deletion efficient. The upper levels of DaRE trees use random nodes, which choose split attributes and thresholds uniformly at random. These nodes rarely require updates because they only minimally depend on the data. At the lower levels, splits are chosen to greedily optimize a split criterion such as Gini index or mutual information. DaRE trees cache statistics at each node and training data at each leaf, so that only the necessary subtrees are updated as data is removed. For numerical attributes, greedy nodes optimize over a random subset of thresholds, so that they can …

A Framework for Private Matrix Analysis in Sliding Window Model
Jalaj Upadhyay, Sarvagya Upadhyay
We perform a rigorous study of private matrix analysis when only the last $W$ updates to matrices are considered useful for analysis. We show the existing framework in the non-private setting is not robust to noise required for privacy. We then propose a framework robust to noise and use it to give first efficient $o(W)$ space differentially private algorithms for spectral approximation, principal component analysis (PCA), multi-response linear regression, sparse PCA, and non-negative PCA. Prior to our work, no such result was known for sparse and non-negative differentially private PCA even in the static data setting. We also give a lower bound to demonstrate the cost of privacy in the sliding window model.
The Distributed Discrete Gaussian Mechanism for Federated Learning with Secure Aggregation
Peter Kairouz, Ziyu Liu, Thomas Steinke

We consider training models on private data that are distributed across user devices. To ensure privacy, we add on-device noise and use secure aggregation so that only the noisy sum is revealed to the server. We present a comprehensive end-to-end system, which appropriately discretizes the data and adds discrete Gaussian noise before performing secure aggregation. We provide a novel privacy analysis for sums of discrete Gaussians and carefully analyze the effects of data quantization and modular summation arithmetic. Our theoretical guarantees highlight the complex tension between communication, privacy, and accuracy. Our extensive experimental results demonstrate that our solution is essentially able to match the accuracy to central differential privacy with less than 16 bits of precision per value.

Privacy-Preserving Feature Selection with Secure Multiparty Computation
Xiling Li, Rafael Dowsley, Martine De Cock

Existing work on privacy-preserving machine learning with Secure Multiparty Computation (MPC) is almost exclusively focused on model training and on inference with trained models, thereby overlooking the important data pre-processing stage. In this work, we propose the first MPC based protocol for private feature selection based on the filter method, which is independent of model training, and can be used in combination with any MPC protocol to rank features. We propose an efficient feature scoring protocol based on Gini impurity to this end. To demonstrate the feasibility of our approach for practical data science, we perform experiments with the proposed MPC protocols for feature selection in a commonly used machine-learning-as-a-service configuration where computations are outsourced to multiple servers, with semi-honest and with malicious adversaries. Regarding effectiveness, we show that secure feature selection with the proposed protocols improves the accuracy of classifiers on a variety of real-world data sets, without leaking information about the feature values or even which features were selected. Regarding efficiency, we document runtimes ranging from several seconds to an hour for our protocols to finish, depending on the size of the data set and the security settings.

Q&A

Test Of Time: Bayesian Learning via Stochastic Gradient Langevin Dynamics Thu 22 Jul 08:00 p.m.  

Yee Teh · Max Welling

Spotlight: Optimization 6 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

Decentralized Riemannian Gradient Descent on the Stiefel Manifold
Shixiang Chen, Alfredo Garcia, Mingyi Hong, Shahin Shahrampour
We consider a distributed non-convex optimization where a network of agents aims at minimizing a global function over the Stiefel manifold. The global function is represented as a finite sum of smooth local functions, where each local function is associated with one agent and agents communicate with each other over an undirected connected graph. The problem is non-convex as local functions are possibly non-convex (but smooth) and the Steifel manifold is a non-convex set. We present a decentralized Riemannian stochastic gradient method (DRSGD) with the convergence rate of $\mathcal{O}(1/\sqrt{K})$ to a stationary point. To have exact convergence with constant stepsize, we also propose a decentralized Riemannian gradient tracking algorithm (DRGTA) with the convergence rate of $\mathcal{O}(1/K)$ to a stationary point. We use multi-step consensus to preserve the iteration in the local (consensus) region. DRGTA is the first decentralized algorithm with exact convergence for distributed optimization on Stiefel manifold.
ADOM: Accelerated Decentralized Optimization Method for Time-Varying Networks
Dmitry Kovalev, Egor Shulgin, Peter Richtarik, Alexander Rogozin, Alexander Gasnikov

We propose ADOM -- an accelerated method for smooth and strongly convex decentralized optimization over time-varying networks. ADOM uses a dual oracle, i.e., we assume access to the gradient of the Fenchel conjugate of the individual loss functions. Up to a constant factor, which depends on the network structure only, its communication complexity is the same as that of accelerated Nesterov gradient method. To the best of our knowledge, only the algorithm of Rogozin et al. (2019) has a convergence rate with similar properties. However, their algorithm converges under the very restrictive assumption that the number of network changes can not be greater than a tiny percentage of the number of iterations. This assumption is hard to satisfy in practice, as the network topology changes usually can not be controlled. In contrast, ADOM merely requires the network to stay connected throughout time.

A Second look at Exponential and Cosine Step Sizes: Simplicity, Adaptivity, and Performance
Xiaoyu Li, Zhenxun Zhuang, Francesco Orabona

Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) is a popular tool in training large-scale machine learning models. Its performance, however, is highly variable, depending crucially on the choice of the step sizes. Accordingly, a variety of strategies for tuning the step sizes have been proposed, ranging from coordinate-wise approaches (a.k.a. ``adaptive'' step sizes) to sophisticated heuristics to change the step size in each iteration. In this paper, we study two step size schedules whose power has been repeatedly confirmed in practice: the exponential and the cosine step sizes. For the first time, we provide theoretical support for them proving convergence rates for smooth non-convex functions, with and without the Polyak-\L{}ojasiewicz (PL) condition. Moreover, we show the surprising property that these two strategies are \emph{adaptive} to the noise level in the stochastic gradients of PL functions. That is, contrary to polynomial step sizes, they achieve almost optimal performance without needing to know the noise level nor tuning their hyperparameters based on it. Finally, we conduct a fair and comprehensive empirical evaluation of real-world datasets with deep learning architectures. Results show that, even if only requiring at most two hyperparameters to tune, these two strategies best or match the performance of various finely-tuned state-of-the-art strategies.

A Value-Function-based Interior-point Method for Non-convex Bi-level Optimization
Risheng Liu, Xuan Liu, Xiaoming Yuan, Shangzhi Zeng, Jin Zhang

Bi-level optimization model is able to capture a wide range of complex learning tasks with practical interest. Due to the witnessed efficiency in solving bi-level programs, gradient-based methods have gained popularity in the machine learning community. In this work, we propose a new gradient-based solution scheme, namely, the Bi-level Value-Function-based Interior-point Method (BVFIM). Following the main idea of the log-barrier interior-point scheme, we penalize the regularized value function of the lower level problem into the upper level objective. By further solving a sequence of differentiable unconstrained approximation problems, we consequently derive a sequential programming scheme. The numerical advantage of our scheme relies on the fact that, when gradient methods are applied to solve the approximation problem, we successfully avoid computing any expensive Hessian-vector or Jacobian-vector product. We prove the convergence without requiring any convexity assumption on either the upper level or the lower level objective. Experiments demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed BVFIM on non-convex bi-level problems.

Accelerating Gossip SGD with Periodic Global Averaging
Yiming Chen, Kun Yuan, Yingya Zhang, Pan Pan, Yinghui Xu, Wotao Yin
Communication overhead hinders the scalability of large-scale distributed training. Gossip SGD, where each node averages only with its neighbors, is more communication-efficient than the prevalent parallel SGD. However, its convergence rate is reversely proportional to quantity $1-\beta$ which measures the network connectivity. On large and sparse networks where $1-\beta \to 0$, Gossip SGD requires more iterations to converge, which offsets against its communication benefit. This paper introduces Gossip-PGA, which adds Periodic Global Averaging to accelerate Gossip SGD. Its transient stage, i.e., the iterations required to reach asymptotic linear speedup stage, improves from $\Omega(\beta^4 n^3/(1-\beta)^4)$ to $\Omega(\beta^4 n^3 H^4)$ for non-convex problems. The influence of network topology in Gossip-PGA can be controlled by the averaging period $H$. Its transient-stage complexity is also superior to local SGD which has order $\Omega(n^3 H^4)$. Empirical results of large-scale training on image classification (ResNet50) and language modeling (BERT) validate our theoretical findings.
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Spotlight: Deep Learning 3 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

Discretization Drift in Two-Player Games
Mihaela Rosca, Yan Wu, Benoit Dherin, David GT Barrett

Gradient-based methods for two-player games produce rich dynamics that can solve challenging problems, yet can be difficult to stabilize and understand. Part of this complexity originates from the discrete update steps given by simultaneous or alternating gradient descent, which causes each player to drift away from the continuous gradient flow -- a phenomenon we call discretization drift. Using backward error analysis, we derive modified continuous dynamical systems that closely follow the discrete dynamics. These modified dynamics provide an insight into the notorious challenges associated with zero-sum games, including Generative Adversarial Networks. In particular, we identify distinct components of the discretization drift that can alter performance and in some cases destabilize the game. Finally, quantifying discretization drift allows us to identify regularizers that explicitly cancel harmful forms of drift or strengthen beneficial forms of drift, and thus improve performance of GAN training.

Elementary superexpressive activations
Dmitry Yarotsky

We call a finite family of activation functions \emph{superexpressive} if any multivariate continuous function can be approximated by a neural network that uses these activations and has a fixed architecture only depending on the number of input variables (i.e., to achieve any accuracy we only need to adjust the weights, without increasing the number of neurons). Previously, it was known that superexpressive activations exist, but their form was quite complex. We give examples of very simple superexpressive families: for example, we prove that the family {sin, arcsin} is superexpressive. We also show that most practical activations (not involving periodic functions) are not superexpressive.

Regularizing towards Causal Invariance: Linear Models with Proxies
Mike Oberst, Nikolaj Thams, Jonas Peters, David Sontag

We propose a method for learning linear models whose predictive performance is robust to causal interventions on unobserved variables, when noisy proxies of those variables are available. Our approach takes the form of a regularization term that trades off between in-distribution performance and robustness to interventions. Under the assumption of a linear structural causal model, we show that a single proxy can be used to create estimators that are prediction optimal under interventions of bounded strength. This strength depends on the magnitude of the measurement noise in the proxy, which is, in general, not identifiable. In the case of two proxy variables, we propose a modified estimator that is prediction optimal under interventions up to a known strength. We further show how to extend these estimators to scenarios where additional information about the "test time" intervention is available during training. We evaluate our theoretical findings in synthetic experiments and using real data of hourly pollution levels across several cities in China.

A Language for Counterfactual Generative Models
zenna Tavares, James Koppel, Xin Zhang, Ria Das, Armando Solar-Lezama

We present Omega, a probabilistic programming language with support for counterfactual inference. Counterfactual inference means to observe some fact in the present, and infer what would have happened had some past intervention been taken, e.g. ``given that medication was not effective at dose x, what is the probability that it would have been effective at dose 2x?.'' We accomplish this by introducing a new operator to probabilistic programming akin to Pearl's do, define its formal semantics, provide an implementation, and demonstrate its utility through examples in a variety of simulation models.

How rotational invariance of common kernels prevents generalization in high dimensions
Konstantin Donhauser, Mingqi Wu, Fanny Yang

Kernel ridge regression is well-known to achieve minimax optimal rates in low-dimensional settings. However, its behavior in high dimensions is much less understood. Recent work establishes consistency for high-dimensional kernel regression for a number of specific assumptions on the data distribution. In this paper, we show that in high dimensions, the rotational invariance property of commonly studied kernels (such as RBF, inner product kernels and fully-connected NTK of any depth) leads to inconsistent estimation unless the ground truth is a low-degree polynomial. Our lower bound on the generalization error holds for a wide range of distributions and kernels with different eigenvalue decays. This lower bound suggests that consistency results for kernel ridge regression in high dimensions generally require a more refined analysis that depends on the structure of the kernel beyond its eigenvalue decay.

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Spotlight: Algorithms 5 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

Learning Self-Modulating Attention in Continuous Time Space with Applications to Sequential Recommendation
Chao Chen, Haoyu Geng, Nianzu Yang, Junchi Yan, Daiyue Xue, Jianping Yu, Xiaokang Yang

User interests are usually dynamic in the real world, which poses both theoretical and practical challenges for learning accurate preferences from rich behavior data. Among existing user behavior modeling solutions, attention networks are widely adopted for its effectiveness and relative simplicity. Despite being extensively studied, existing attentions still suffer from two limitations: i) conventional attentions mainly take into account the spatial correlation between user behaviors, regardless the distance between those behaviors in the continuous time space; and ii) these attentions mostly provide a dense and undistinguished distribution over all past behaviors then attentively encode them into the output latent representations. This is however not suitable in practical scenarios where a user's future actions are relevant to a small subset of her/his historical behaviors. In this paper, we propose a novel attention network, named \textit{self-modulating attention}, that models the complex and non-linearly evolving dynamic user preferences. We empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on top-N sequential recommendation tasks, and the results on three large-scale real-world datasets show that our model can achieve state-of-the-art performance.

Meta-Cal: Well-controlled Post-hoc Calibration by Ranking
Xingchen Ma, Matthew B Blaschko

In many applications, it is desirable that a classifier not only makes accurate predictions, but also outputs calibrated posterior probabilities. However, many existing classifiers, especially deep neural network classifiers, tend to be uncalibrated. Post-hoc calibration is a technique to recalibrate a model by learning a calibration map. Existing approaches mostly focus on constructing calibration maps with low calibration errors, however, this quality is inadequate for a calibrator being useful. In this paper, we introduce two constraints that are worth consideration in designing a calibration map for post-hoc calibration. Then we present Meta-Cal, which is built from a base calibrator and a ranking model. Under some mild assumptions, two high-probability bounds are given with respect to these constraints. Empirical results on CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100 and ImageNet and a range of popular network architectures show our proposed method significantly outperforms the current state of the art for post-hoc multi-class classification calibration.

Towards Open-World Recommendation: An Inductive Model-based Collaborative Filtering Approach
Qitian Wu, Hengrui Zhang, Xiaofeng Gao, Junchi Yan, Hongyuan Zha

Recommendation models can effectively estimate underlying user interests and predict one's future behaviors by factorizing an observed user-item rating matrix into products of two sets of latent factors. However, the user-specific embedding factors can only be learned in a transductive way, making it difficult to handle new users on-the-fly. In this paper, we propose an inductive collaborative filtering framework that contains two representation models. The first model follows conventional matrix factorization which factorizes a group of key users' rating matrix to obtain meta latents. The second model resorts to attention-based structure learning that estimates hidden relations from query to key users and learns to leverage meta latents to inductively compute embeddings for query users via neural message passing. Our model enables inductive representation learning for users and meanwhile guarantees equivalent representation capacity as matrix factorization. Experiments demonstrate that our model achieves promising results for recommendation on few-shot users with limited training ratings and new unseen users which are commonly encountered in open-world recommender systems.

Smooth $p$-Wasserstein Distance: Structure, Empirical Approximation, and Statistical Applications
Sloan Nietert, Ziv Goldfeld, Kengo Kato
Discrepancy measures between probability distributions, often termed statistical distances, are ubiquitous in probability theory, statistics and machine learning. To combat the curse of dimensionality when estimating these distances from data, recent work has proposed smoothing out local irregularities in the measured distributions via convolution with a Gaussian kernel. Motivated by the scalability of this framework to high dimensions, we investigate the structural and statistical behavior of the Gaussian-smoothed $p$-Wasserstein distance $\mathsf{W}_p^{(\sigma)}$, for arbitrary $p\geq 1$. After establishing basic metric and topological properties of $\mathsf{W}_p^{(\sigma)}$, we explore the asymptotic statistical properties of $\mathsf{W}_p^{(\sigma)}(\hat{\mu}_n,\mu)$, where $\hat{\mu}_n$ is the empirical distribution of $n$ independent observations from $\mu$. We prove that $\mathsf{W}_p^{(\sigma)}$ enjoys a parametric empirical convergence rate of $n^{-1/2}$, which contrasts the $n^{-1/d}$ rate for unsmoothed $\Wp$ when $d \geq 3$. Our proof relies on controlling $\mathsf{W}_p^{(\sigma)}$ by a $p$th-order smooth Sobolev distance $\mathsf{d}_p^{(\sigma)}$ and deriving the limit distribution of $\sqrt{n}\,\mathsf{d}_p^{(\sigma)}(\hat{\mu}_n,\mu)$ for all dimensions $d$. As applications, we provide asymptotic guarantees for two-sample testing and minimum distance estimation using $\mathsf{W}_p^{(\sigma)}$, with experiments for $p=2$ using a maximum mean discrepancy formulation~of~$\mathsf{d}_2^{(\sigma)}$.
Locally Adaptive Label Smoothing Improves Predictive Churn
Dara Bahri, Heinrich Jiang

Training modern neural networks is an inherently noisy process that can lead to high \emph{prediction churn}-- disagreements between re-trainings of the same model due to factors such as randomization in the parameter initialization and mini-batches-- even when the trained models all attain similar accuracies. Such prediction churn can be very undesirable in practice. In this paper, we present several baselines for reducing churn and show that training on soft labels obtained by adaptively smoothing each example's label based on the example's neighboring labels often outperforms the baselines on churn while improving accuracy on a variety of benchmark classification tasks and model architectures.

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Spotlight: Online Learning 3 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

Learning Online Algorithms with Distributional Advice
Ilias Diakonikolas, Vasilis Kontonis, Christos Tzamos, Ali Vakilian, Nikos Zarifis
We study the problem of designing online algorithms given advice about the input. While prior work had focused on deterministic advice, we only assume distributional access to the instances of interest, and the goal is to learn a competitive algorithm given access to i.i.d. samples. We aim to be competitive against an adversary with prior knowledge of the distribution, while also performing well against worst-case inputs. We focus on the classical online problems of ski-rental and prophet-inequalities, and provide sample complexity bounds for the underlying learning tasks. First, we point out that for general distributions it is information-theoretically impossible to beat the worst-case competitive-ratio with any finite sample size. As our main contribution, we establish strong positive results for well-behaved distributions. Specifically, for the broad class of log-concave distributions, we show that $\mathrm{poly}(1/\epsilon)$ samples suffice to obtain $(1+\epsilon)$-competitive ratio. Finally, we show that this sample upper bound is close to best possible, even for very simple classes of distributions.
Boosting for Online Convex Optimization
Elad Hazan, Karan Singh

We consider the decision-making framework of online convex optimization with a very large number of experts. This setting is ubiquitous in contextual and reinforcement learning problems, where the size of the policy class renders enumeration and search within the policy class infeasible. Instead, we consider generalizing the methodology of online boosting. We define a weak learning algorithm as a mechanism that guarantees multiplicatively approximate regret against a base class of experts. In this access model, we give an efficient boosting algorithm that guarantees near-optimal regret against the convex hull of the base class. We consider both full and partial (a.k.a. bandit) information feedback models. We also give an analogous efficient boosting algorithm for the i.i.d. statistical setting. Our results simultaneously generalize online boosting and gradient boosting guarantees to contextual learning model, online convex optimization and bandit linear optimization settings.

Online Learning with Optimism and Delay
Genevieve Flaspohler, Francesco Orabona, Judah Cohen, Soukayna Mouatadid, Miruna Oprescu, Paulo Orenstein, Lester Mackey

Inspired by the demands of real-time climate and weather forecasting, we develop optimistic online learning algorithms that require no parameter tuning and have optimal regret guarantees under delayed feedback. Our algorithms---DORM, DORM+, and AdaHedgeD---arise from a novel reduction of delayed online learning to optimistic online learning that reveals how optimistic hints can mitigate the regret penalty caused by delay. We pair this delay-as-optimism perspective with a new analysis of optimistic learning that exposes its robustness to hinting errors and a new meta-algorithm for learning effective hinting strategies in the presence of delay. We conclude by benchmarking our algorithms on four subseasonal climate forecasting tasks, demonstrating low regret relative to state-of-the-art forecasting models.

Learner-Private Convex Optimization
Jiaming Xu, Kuang Xu, Dana Yang

Convex optimization with feedback is a framework where a learner relies on iterative queries and feedback to arrive at the minimizer of a convex function. The paradigm has gained significant popularity recently thanks to its scalability in large-scale optimization and machine learning. The repeated interactions, however, expose the learner to privacy risks from eavesdropping adversaries that observe the submitted queries. In this paper, we study how to optimally obfuscate the learner’s queries in convex optimization with first-order feedback, so that their learned optimal value is provably difficult to estimate for the eavesdropping adversary. We consider two formulations of learner privacy: a Bayesian formulation in which the convex function is drawn randomly, and a minimax formulation in which the function is fixed and the adversary’s probability of error is measured with respect to a minimax criterion.

We show that, if the learner wants to ensure the probability of the adversary estimating accurately be kept below 1/L, then the overhead in query complexity is additive in L in the minimax formulation, but multiplicative in L in the Bayesian formulation. Compared to existing learner-private sequential learning models with binary feedback, our results apply to the significantly richer family of general convex functions with …

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Spotlight: Causal Learning Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

A Proxy Variable View of Shared Confounding
Yixin Wang, David Blei

Causal inference from observational data can be biased by unobserved confounders. Confounders—the variables that affect both the treatments and the outcome—induce spurious non-causal correlations between the two. Without additional conditions, unobserved confounders generally make causal quantities hard to identify. In this paper, we focus on the setting where there are many treatments with shared confounding, and we study under what conditions is causal identification possible. The key observation is that we can view subsets of treatments as proxies of the unobserved confounder and identify the intervention distributions of the rest. Moreover, while existing identification formulas for proxy variables involve solving integral equations, we show that one can circumvent the need for such solutions by directly modeling the data. Finally, we extend these results to an expanded class of causal graphs, those with other confounders and selection variables.

Budgeted Heterogeneous Treatment Effect Estimation
Tian Qin, Tian-Zuo Wang, Zhi-Hua Zhou

Heterogeneous treatment effect (HTE) estimation is receiving increasing interest due to its important applications in fields such as healthcare, economics, and education. Current HTE estimation methods generally assume the existence of abundant observational data, though the acquisition of such data can be costly. In some real scenarios, it is easy to access the pre-treatment covariates and treatment assignments, but expensive to obtain the factual outcomes. To make HTE estimation more practical, in this paper, we examine the problem of estimating HTEs with a budget constraint on observational data, aiming to obtain accurate HTE estimates with limited costs. By deriving an informative generalization bound and connecting to active learning, we propose an effective and efficient method which is validated both theoretically and empirically.

Permutation Weighting
David Arbour, Drew Dimmery, Arjun Sondhi

A commonly applied approach for estimating causal effects from observational data is to apply weights which render treatments independent of observed pre-treatment covariates. Recently emphasis has been placed on deriving balancing weights which explicitly target this independence condition. In this work we introduce permutation weighting, a method for estimating balancing weights using a standard binary classifier (regardless of cardinality of treatment). A large class of probabilistic classifiers may be used in this method; the choice of loss for the classifier implies the particular definition of balance. We bound bias and variance in terms of the excess risk of the classifier, show that these disappear asymptotically, and demonstrate that our classification problem directly minimizes imbalance. Additionally, hyper-parameter tuning and model selection can be performed with standard cross-validation methods. Empirical evaluations indicate that permutation weighting provides favorable performance in comparison to existing methods.

Valid Causal Inference with (Some) Invalid Instruments
Jason Hartford, Victor Veitch, Dhanya Sridhar, Kevin Leyton-Brown

Instrumental variable methods provide a powerful approach to estimating causal effects in the presence of unobserved confounding. But a key challenge when applying them is the reliance on untestable "exclusion" assumptions that rule out any relationship between the instrument variable and the response that is not mediated by the treatment. In this paper, we show how to perform consistent IV estimation despite violations of the exclusion assumption. In particular, we show that when one has multiple candidate instruments, only a majority of these candidates---or, more generally, the modal candidate-response relationship---needs to be valid to estimate the causal effect. Our approach uses an estimate of the modal prediction from an ensemble of instrumental variable estimators. The technique is simple to apply and is "black-box" in the sense that it may be used with any instrumental variable estimator as long as the treatment effect is identified for each valid instrument independently. As such, it is compatible with recent machine-learning based estimators that allow for the estimation of conditional average treatment effects (CATE) on complex, high dimensional data. Experimentally, we achieve accurate estimates of conditional average treatment effects using an ensemble of deep network-based estimators, including on a challenging simulated Mendelian Randomization problem.

Operationalizing Complex Causes: A Pragmatic View of Mediation
Limor Gultchin, David Watson, Matt J. Kusner, Ricardo Silva

We examine the problem of causal response estimation for complex objects (e.g., text, images, genomics). In this setting, classical \emph{atomic} interventions are often not available (e.g., changes to characters, pixels, DNA base-pairs). Instead, we only have access to indirect or \emph{crude} interventions (e.g., enrolling in a writing program, modifying a scene, applying a gene therapy). In this work, we formalize this problem and provide an initial solution. Given a collection of candidate mediators, we propose (a) a two-step method for predicting the causal responses of crude interventions; and (b) a testing procedure to identify mediators of crude interventions. We demonstrate, on a range of simulated and real-world-inspired examples, that our approach allows us to efficiently estimate the effect of crude interventions with limited data from new treatment regimes.

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Spotlight: Applications (NLP) 5 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

BANG: Bridging Autoregressive and Non-autoregressive Generation with Large Scale Pretraining
Weizhen Qi, Yeyun Gong, Jian Jiao, Yu Yan, Weizhu Chen, Dayiheng Liu, Kewen Tang, Houqiang Li, Jiusheng Chen, Ruofei Zhang, Ming Zhou, Nan Duan

In this paper, we propose BANG, a new pretraining model to Bridge the gap between Autoregressive (AR) and Non-autoregressive (NAR) Generation. AR and NAR generation can be uniformly regarded as to what extent previous tokens can be attended, and BANG bridges AR and NAR generation through designing a novel model structure for large-scale pre-training. A pretrained BANG model can simultaneously support AR, NAR, and semi-NAR generation to meet different requirements. Experiments on question generation (SQuAD 1.1), summarization (XSum), and dialogue generation (PersonaChat) show that BANG improves NAR and semi-NAR performance significantly as well as attaining comparable performance with strong AR pretrained models. Compared with the semi-NAR strong baselines, BANG achieves absolute improvements of 14.01 and 5.24 in the overall scores of SQuAD 1.1 and XSum, respectively. In addition, BANG achieves absolute improvements of 10.73, 6.39, and 5.90 in the overall scores of SQuAD, XSUM, and PersonaChat compared with the NAR strong baselines, respectively. Our code will be made publicly available.

Reasoning Over Virtual Knowledge Bases With Open Predicate Relations
Haitian Sun, Patrick Verga, Bhuwan Dhingra, Russ Salakhutdinov, William Cohen

We present the Open Predicate Query Language (OPQL); a method for constructing a virtual KB (VKB) trained entirely from text. Large Knowledge Bases (KBs) are indispensable for a wide-range of industry applications such as question answering and recommendation. Typically, KBs encode world knowledge in a structured, readily accessible form derived from laborious human annotation efforts. Unfortunately, while they are extremely high precision, KBs are inevitably highly incomplete and automated methods for enriching them are far too inaccurate. Instead, OPQL constructs a VKB by encoding and indexing a set of relation mentions in a way that naturally enables reasoning and can be trained without any structured supervision. We demonstrate that OPQL outperforms prior VKB methods on two different KB reasoning tasks and, additionally, can be used as an external memory integrated into a language model (OPQL-LM) leading to improvements on two open-domain question answering tasks.

Recovering AES Keys with a Deep Cold Boot Attack
Itamar Zimerman, Eliya Nachmani, Lior Wolf

Cold boot attacks inspect the corrupted random access memory soon after the power has been shut down. While most of the bits have been corrupted, many bits, at random locations, have not. Since the keys in many encryption schemes are being expanded in memory into longer keys with fixed redundancies, the keys can often be restored. In this work we combine a deep error correcting code technique together with a modified SAT solver scheme in order to apply the attack to AES keys. Even though AES consists Rijndael SBOX elements, that are specifically designed to be resistant to linear and differential cryptanalysis, our method provides a novel formalization of the AES key scheduling as a computational graph, which is implemented by neural message passing network. Our results show that our methods outperform the state of the art attack methods by a very large gap.

Overcoming Catastrophic Forgetting by Bayesian Generative Regularization
Patrick Chen Chen, Wei Wei, Cho-Jui Hsieh, Bo Dai

In this paper, we propose a new method to over-come catastrophic forgetting by adding generative regularization to Bayesian inference frame-work. Bayesian method provides a general frame-work for continual learning. We could further construct a generative regularization term for all given classification models by leveraging energy-based models and Langevin dynamic sampling to enrich the features learned in each task. By combining discriminative and generative loss together, we empirically show that the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art methods on a variety of tasks, avoiding catastrophic forgetting in continual learning. In particular, the proposed method outperforms baseline methods over 15%on the Fashion-MNIST dataset and 10%on the CUB dataset.

Bayesian Structural Adaptation for Continual Learning
Abhishek Kumar, Sunabha Chatterjee, Piyush Rai

Continual Learning is a learning paradigm where learning systems are trained on a sequence of tasks. The goal here is to perform well on the current task without suffering from a performance drop on the previous tasks. Two notable directions among the recent advances in continual learning with neural networks are (1) variational Bayes based regularization by learning priors from previous tasks, and, (2) learning the structure of deep networks to adapt to new tasks. So far, these two approaches have been largely orthogonal. We present a novel Bayesian framework based on continually learning the structure of deep neural networks, to unify these distinct yet complementary approaches. The proposed framework learns the deep structure for each task by learning which weights to be used, and supports inter-task transfer through the overlapping of different sparse subsets of weights learned by different tasks. An appealing aspect of our proposed continual learning framework is that it is applicable to both discriminative (supervised) and generative (unsupervised) settings. Experimental results on supervised and unsupervised benchmarks demonstrate that our approach performs comparably or better than recent advances in continual learning.

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Spotlight: Optimization 5 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

Conditional Temporal Neural Processes with Covariance Loss
Boseon Yoo, Jiwoo Lee, Janghoon Ju, Seijun Chung, Soyeon Kim, Jaesik Choi

We introduce a novel loss function, Covariance Loss, which is conceptually equivalent to conditional neural processes and has a form of regularization so that is applicable to many kinds of neural networks. With the proposed loss, mappings from input variables to target variables are highly affected by dependencies of target variables as well as mean activation and mean dependencies of input and target variables. This nature enables the resulting neural networks to become more robust to noisy observations and recapture missing dependencies from prior information. In order to show the validity of the proposed loss, we conduct extensive sets of experiments on real-world datasets with state-of-the-art models and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the proposed Covariance Loss.

Fast margin maximization via dual acceleration
Ziwei Ji, Nati Srebro, Matus Telgarsky

We present and analyze a momentum-based gradient method for training linear classifiers with an exponentially-tailed loss (e.g., the exponential or logistic loss), which maximizes the classification margin on separable data at a rate of O(1/t^2). This contrasts with a rate of O(1/log(t)) for standard gradient descent, and O(1/t) for normalized gradient descent. The momentum-based method is derived via the convex dual of the maximum-margin problem, and specifically by applying Nesterov acceleration to this dual, which manages to result in a simple and intuitive method in the primal. This dual view can also be used to derive a stochastic variant, which performs adaptive non-uniform sampling via the dual variables.

ASAM: Adaptive Sharpness-Aware Minimization for Scale-Invariant Learning of Deep Neural Networks
Jungmin Kwon, Jeongseop Kim, Hyunseo Park, In Kwon Choi

Recently, learning algorithms motivated from sharpness of loss surface as an effective measure of generalization gap have shown state-of-the-art performances. Nevertheless, sharpness defined in a rigid region with a fixed radius, has a drawback in sensitivity to parameter re-scaling which leaves the loss unaffected, leading to weakening of the connection between sharpness and generalization gap. In this paper, we introduce the concept of adaptive sharpness which is scale-invariant and propose the corresponding generalization bound. We suggest a novel learning method, adaptive sharpness-aware minimization (ASAM), utilizing the proposed generalization bound. Experimental results in various benchmark datasets show that ASAM contributes to significant improvement of model generalization performance.

Diffusion Earth Mover's Distance and Distribution Embeddings
Alexander Tong, Guillaume Huguet, Amine Natik, Kincaid Macdonald, MANIK KUCHROO, Ronald Coifman, Guy Wolf, Smita Krishnaswamy

We propose a new fast method of measuring distances between large numbers of related high dimensional datasets called the Diffusion Earth Mover's Distance (EMD). We model the datasets as distributions supported on common data graph that is derived from the affinity matrix computed on the combined data. In such cases where the graph is a discretization of an underlying Riemannian closed manifold, we prove that Diffusion EMD is topologically equivalent to the standard EMD with a geodesic ground distance. Diffusion EMD can be computed in Õ(n) time and is more accurate than similarly fast algorithms such as tree-based EMDs. We also show Diffusion EMD is fully differentiable, making it amenable to future uses in gradient-descent frameworks such as deep neural networks. Finally, we demonstrate an application of Diffusion EMD to single cell data collected from 210 COVID-19 patient samples at Yale New Haven Hospital. Here, Diffusion EMD can derive distances between patients on the manifold of cells at least two orders of magnitude faster than equally accurate methods. This distance matrix between patients can be embedded into a higher level patient manifold which uncovers structure and heterogeneity in patients. More generally, Diffusion EMD is applicable to all datasets that are …

Learn2Hop: Learned Optimization on Rough Landscapes
Amil Merchant, Luke Metz, Samuel Schoenholz, Ekin Dogus Cubuk

Optimization of non-convex loss surfaces containing many local minima remains a critical problem in a variety of domains, including operations research, informatics, and material design. Yet, current techniques either require extremely high iteration counts or a large number of random restarts for good performance. In this work, we propose adapting recent developments in meta-learning to these many-minima problems by learning the optimization algorithm for various loss landscapes. We focus on problems from atomic structural optimization---finding low energy configurations of many-atom systems---including widely studied models such as bimetallic clusters and disordered silicon. We find that our optimizer learns a hopping behavior which enables efficient exploration and improves the rate of low energy minima discovery. Finally, our learned optimizers show promising generalization with efficiency gains on never before seen tasks (e.g. new elements or compositions). Code is available at https://learn2hop.page.link/github.

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Spotlight: Bandits 5 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

On Lower Bounds for Standard and Robust Gaussian Process Bandit Optimization
Xu Cai, Jonathan Scarlett

In this paper, we consider algorithm independent lower bounds for the problem of black-box optimization of functions having a bounded norm is some Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Space (RKHS), which can be viewed as a non-Bayesian Gaussian process bandit problem. In the standard noisy setting, we provide a novel proof technique for deriving lower bounds on the regret, with benefits including simplicity, versatility, and an improved dependence on the error probability. In a robust setting in which the final point is perturbed by an adversary, we strengthen an existing lower bound that only holds for target success probabilities very close to one, by allowing for arbitrary target success probabilities in (0, 1). Furthermore, in a distinct robust setting in which every sampled point may be perturbed by a constrained adversary, we provide a novel lower bound for deterministic strategies, demonstrating an inevitable joint dependence of the cumulative regret on the corruption level and the time horizon, in contrast with existing lower bounds that only characterize the individual dependencies.

Optimal Thompson Sampling strategies for support-aware CVaR bandits
Dorian Baudry, Romain Gautron, Emilie Kaufmann, Odalric-Ambrym Maillard

In this paper we study a multi-arm bandit problem in which the quality of each arm is measured by the Conditional Value at Risk (CVaR) at some level alpha of the reward distribution. While existing works in this setting mainly focus on Upper Confidence Bound algorithms, we introduce a new Thompson Sampling approach for CVaR bandits on bounded rewards that is flexible enough to solve a variety of problems grounded on physical resources. Building on a recent work by Riou & Honda (2020), we introduce B-CVTS for continuous bounded rewards and M-CVTS for multinomial distributions. On the theoretical side, we provide a non-trivial extension of their analysis that enables to theoretically bound their CVaR regret minimization performance. Strikingly, our results show that these strategies are the first to provably achieve asymptotic optimality in CVaR bandits, matching the corresponding asymptotic lower bounds for this setting. Further, we illustrate empirically the benefit of Thompson Sampling approaches both in a realistic environment simulating a use-case in agriculture and on various synthetic examples.

On Limited-Memory Subsampling Strategies for Bandits
Dorian Baudry, Yoan Russac, Olivier Cappé

There has been a recent surge of interest in non-parametric bandit algorithms based on subsampling. One drawback however of these approaches is the additional complexity required by random subsampling and the storage of the full history of rewards. Our first contribution is to show that a simple deterministic subsampling rule, proposed in the recent work of \citet{baudry2020sub} under the name of “last-block subsampling”, is asymptotically optimal in one-parameter exponential families. In addition, we prove that these guarantees also hold when limiting the algorithm memory to a polylogarithmic function of the time horizon. These findings open up new perspectives, in particular for non-stationary scenarios in which the arm distributions evolve over time. We propose a variant of the algorithm in which only the most recent observations are used for subsampling, achieving optimal regret guarantees under the assumption of a known number of abrupt changes. Extensive numerical simulations highlight the merits of this approach, particularly when the changes are not only affecting the means of the rewards.

Problem Dependent View on Structured Thresholding Bandit Problems
James Cheshire, Pierre MENARD, Alexandra Carpentier
We investigate the \textit{problem dependent regime} in the stochastic \emph{Thresholding Bandit problem} (\tbp) under several \emph{shape constraints}. In the \tbp the objective of the learner is to output, after interacting with the environment, the set of arms whose means are above a given threshold. The vanilla, unstructured, case is already well studied in the literature. Taking $K$ as the number of arms, we consider the case where (i) the sequence of arm's means $(\mu_k){k=1}^K$ is monotonically increasing (\textit{MTBP}) and (ii) the case where $(\mu_k){k=1}^K$ is concave (\textit{CTBP}). We consider both cases in the \emph{problem dependent} regime and study the probability of error - i.e.~the probability to mis-classify at least one arm. In the fixed budget setting, we provide nearly matching upper and lower bounds for the probability of error in both the concave and monotone settings, as well as associated algorithms. Of interest, is that for both the monotone and concave cases, optimal bounds on probability of error are of the same order as those for the two armed bandit problem.
Leveraging Good Representations in Linear Contextual Bandits
Matteo Papini, Andrea Tirinzoni, Marcello Restelli, Alessandro Lazaric, Matteo Pirotta
The linear contextual bandit literature is mostly focused on the design of efficient learning algorithms for a given representation. However, a contextual bandit problem may admit multiple linear representations, each one with different characteristics that directly impact the regret of the learning algorithm. In particular, recent works showed that there exist ``good'' representations for which constant problem-dependent regret can be achieved. In this paper, we first provide a systematic analysis of the different definitions of ``good'' representations proposed in the literature. We then propose a novel selection algorithm able to adapt to the best representation in a set of $M$ candidates. We show that the regret is indeed never worse than the regret obtained by running \textsc{LinUCB} on best representation (up to a $\ln M$ factor). As a result, our algorithm achieves constant regret if a ``good'' representation is available in the set. Furthermore, we show the algorithm may still achieve constant regret by implicitly constructing a ``good'' representation, even when none of the initial representations is ``good''. Finally, we validate our theoretical findings in a number of standard contextual bandit problems.
Q&A

Spotlight: Gaussian Processes 2 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

Lenient Regret and Good-Action Identification in Gaussian Process Bandits
Xu Cai, Selwyn Gomes, Jonathan Scarlett
In this paper, we study the problem of Gaussian process (GP) bandits under relaxed optimization criteria stating that any function value above a certain threshold is ``good enough''. On the theoretical side, we study various {\em lenient regret} notions in which all near-optimal actions incur zero penalty, and provide upper bounds on the lenient regret for GP-UCB and an elimination algorithm, circumventing the usual $O(\sqrt{T})$ term (with time horizon $T$) resulting from zooming extremely close towards the function maximum. In addition, we complement these upper bounds with algorithm-independent lower bounds. On the practical side, we consider the problem of finding a single ``good action'' according to a known pre-specified threshold, and introduce several good-action identification algorithms that exploit knowledge of the threshold. We experimentally find that such algorithms can typically find a good action faster than standard optimization-based approaches.
Equivariant Learning of Stochastic Fields: Gaussian Processes and Steerable Conditional Neural Processes
Peter Holderrieth, Michael Hutchinson, Yee-Whye Teh

Motivated by objects such as electric fields or fluid streams, we study the problem of learning stochastic fields, i.e. stochastic processes whose samples are fields like those occurring in physics and engineering. Considering general transformations such as rotations and reflections, we show that spatial invariance of stochastic fields requires an inference model to be equivariant. Leveraging recent advances from the equivariance literature, we study equivariance in two classes of models. Firstly, we fully characterise equivariant Gaussian processes. Secondly, we introduce Steerable Conditional Neural Processes (SteerCNPs), a new, fully equivariant member of the Neural Process family. In experiments with Gaussian process vector fields, images, and real-world weather data, we observe that SteerCNPs significantly improve the performance of previous models and equivariance leads to improvements in transfer learning tasks.

Value-at-Risk Optimization with Gaussian Processes
Quoc Phong Nguyen, Zhongxiang Dai, Bryan Kian Hsiang Low, Patrick Jaillet

Value-at-risk (VaR) is an established measure to assess risks in critical real-world applications with random environmental factors. This paper presents a novel VaR upper confidence bound (V-UCB) algorithm for maximizing the VaR of a black-box objective function with the first no-regret guarantee. To realize this, we first derive a confidence bound of VaR and then prove the existence of values of the environmental random variable (to be selected to achieve no regret) such that the confidence bound of VaR lies within that of the objective function evaluated at such values. Our V-UCB algorithm empirically demonstrates state-of-the-art performance in optimizing synthetic benchmark functions, a portfolio optimization problem, and a simulated robot task.

High-Dimensional Gaussian Process Inference with Derivatives
Filip de Roos, Alexandra Gessner, Philipp Hennig
Although it is widely known that Gaussian processes can be conditioned on observations of the gradient, this functionality is of limited use due to the prohibitive computational cost of $\mathcal{O}(N^3 D^3)$ in data points $N$ and dimension $D$. The dilemma of gradient observations is that a single one of them comes at the same cost as $D$ independent function evaluations, so the latter are often preferred. Careful scrutiny reveals, however, that derivative observations give rise to highly structured kernel Gram matrices for very general classes of kernels (inter alia, stationary kernels). We show that in the \emph{low-data} regime $N<D$, the Gram matrix can be decomposed in a manner that reduces the cost of inference to $\mathcal{O}(N^2D + (N^2)^3)$ (i.e.,~linear in the number of dimensions) and, in special cases, to $\mathcal{O}(N^2D + N^3)$. This reduction in complexity opens up new use-cases for inference with gradients especially in the high-dimensional regime, where the information-to-cost ratio of gradient observations significantly increases. We demonstrate this potential in a variety of tasks relevant for machine learning, such as optimization and Hamiltonian Monte Carlo with predictive gradients.
GP-Tree: A Gaussian Process Classifier for Few-Shot Incremental Learning
Idan Achituve, Aviv Navon, Yochai Yemini, Gal Chechik, Ethan Fetaya

Gaussian processes (GPs) are non-parametric, flexible, models that work well in many tasks. Combining GPs with deep learning methods via deep kernel learning (DKL) is especially compelling due to the strong representational power induced by the network. However, inference in GPs, whether with or without DKL, can be computationally challenging on large datasets. Here, we propose GP-Tree, a novel method for multi-class classification with Gaussian processes and DKL. We develop a tree-based hierarchical model in which each internal node of the tree fits a GP to the data using the Pólya-Gamma augmentation scheme. As a result, our method scales well with both the number of classes and data size. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method against other Gaussian process training baselines, and we show how our general GP approach achieves improved accuracy on standard incremental few-shot learning benchmarks.

Q&A

Spotlight: Applications 4 Thu 22 Jul 08:30 p.m.  

T-SCI: A Two-Stage Conformal Inference Algorithm with Guaranteed Coverage for Cox-MLP
Jiaye Teng, Zeren Tan, Yang Yuan

It is challenging to deal with censored data, where we only have access to the incomplete information of survival time instead of its exact value. Fortunately, under linear predictor assumption, people can obtain guaranteed coverage for the confidence interval of survival time using methods like Cox Regression. However, when relaxing the linear assumption with neural networks (e.g., Cox-MLP \citep{katzman2018deepsurv,kvamme2019time}), we lose the guaranteed coverage. To recover the guaranteed coverage without linear assumption, we propose two algorithms based on conformal inference. In the first algorithm \emph{WCCI}, we revisit weighted conformal inference and introduce a new non-conformity score based on partial likelihood. We then propose a two-stage algorithm \emph{T-SCI}, where we run WCCI in the first stage and apply quantile conformal inference to calibrate the results in the second stage. Theoretical analysis shows that T-SCI returns guaranteed coverage under milder assumptions than WCCI. We conduct extensive experiments on synthetic data and real data using different methods, which validate our analysis.

Self-Improved Retrosynthetic Planning
Junsu Kim, Sungsoo Ahn, Hankook Lee, Jinwoo Shin

Retrosynthetic planning is a fundamental problem in chemistry for finding a pathway of reactions to synthesize a target molecule. Recently, search algorithms have shown promising results for solving this problem by using deep neural networks (DNNs) to expand their candidate solutions, i.e., adding new reactions to reaction pathways. However, the existing works on this line are suboptimal; the retrosynthetic planning problem requires the reaction pathways to be (a) represented by real-world reactions and (b) executable using “building block” molecules, yet the DNNs expand reaction pathways without fully incorporating such requirements. Motivated by this, we propose an end-to-end framework for directly training the DNNs towards generating reaction pathways with the desirable properties. Our main idea is based on a self-improving procedure that trains the model to imitate successful trajectories found by itself. We also propose a novel reaction augmentation scheme based on a forward reaction model. Our experiments demonstrate that our scheme significantly improves the success rate of solving the retrosynthetic problem from 86.84% to 96.32% while maintaining the performance of DNN for predicting valid reactions.

A Structured Observation Distribution for Generative Biological Sequence Prediction and Forecasting
Eli N. Weinstein, Debora Marks

Generative probabilistic modeling of biological sequences has widespread existing and potential application across biology and biomedicine, from evolutionary biology to epidemiology to protein design. Many standard sequence analysis methods preprocess data using a multiple sequence alignment (MSA) algorithm, one of the most widely used computational methods in all of science. However, as we show in this article, training generative probabilistic models with MSA preprocessing leads to statistical pathologies in the context of sequence prediction and forecasting. To address these problems, we propose a principled drop-in alternative to MSA preprocessing in the form of a structured observation distribution (the "MuE" distribution). We prove theoretically that the MuE distribution comprehensively generalizes popular methods for inferring biological sequence alignments, and provide a precise characterization of how such biological models have differed from natural language latent alignment models. We show empirically that models that use the MuE as an observation distribution outperform comparable methods across a variety of datasets, and apply MuE models to a novel problem for generative probabilistic sequence models: forecasting pathogen evolution.

CURI: A Benchmark for Productive Concept Learning Under Uncertainty
Rama Vedantam, Arthur Szlam, Max Nickel, Ari Morcos, Brenden Lake

Humans can learn and reason under substantial uncertainty in a space of infinitely many compositional, productive concepts. For example, if a scene with two blue spheres qualifies as “daxy,” one can reason that the underlying concept may require scenes to have “only blue spheres” or “only spheres” or “only two objects.” In contrast, standard benchmarks for compositional reasoning do not explicitly capture a notion of reasoning under uncertainty or evaluate compositional concept acquisition. We introduce a new benchmark, Compositional Reasoning Under Uncertainty (CURI) that instantiates a series of few-shot, meta-learning tasks in a productive concept space to evaluate different aspects of systematic generalization under uncertainty, including splits that test abstract understandings of disentangling, productive generalization, learning boolean operations, variable binding, etc. Importantly, we also contribute a model-independent “compositionality gap” to evaluate the difficulty of generalizing out-of-distribution along each of these axes, allowing objective comparison of the difficulty of each compositional split. Evaluations across a range of modeling choices and splits reveal substantial room for improvement on the proposed benchmark.

CIFS: Improving Adversarial Robustness of CNNs via Channel-wise Importance-based Feature Selection
Hanshu YAN, Jingfeng Zhang, Gang Niu, Jiashi Feng, Vincent Tan, Masashi Sugiyama

We investigate the adversarial robustness of CNNs from the perspective of channel-wise activations. By comparing normally trained and adversarially trained models, we observe that adversarial training (AT) robustifies CNNs by aligning the channel-wise activations of adversarial data with those of their natural counterparts. However, the channels that are \textit{negatively-relevant} (NR) to predictions are still over-activated when processing adversarial data. Besides, we also observe that AT does not result in similar robustness for all classes. For the robust classes, channels with larger activation magnitudes are usually more \textit{positively-relevant} (PR) to predictions, but this alignment does not hold for the non-robust classes. Given these observations, we hypothesize that suppressing NR channels and aligning PR ones with their relevances further enhances the robustness of CNNs under AT. To examine this hypothesis, we introduce a novel mechanism, \textit{i.e.}, \underline{C}hannel-wise \underline{I}mportance-based \underline{F}eature \underline{S}election (CIFS). The CIFS manipulates channels' activations of certain layers by generating non-negative multipliers to these channels based on their relevances to predictions. Extensive experiments on benchmark datasets including CIFAR10 and SVHN clearly verify the hypothesis and CIFS's effectiveness of robustifying CNNs.

Q&A

Poster Session 6 Thu 22 Jul 09:00 p.m.  

Commutative Lie Group VAE for Disentanglement Learning
Xinqi Zhu, Chang Xu, Dacheng Tao

We view disentanglement learning as discovering an underlying structure that equivariantly reflects the factorized variations shown in data. Traditionally, such a structure is fixed to be a vector space with data variations represented by translations along individual latent dimensions. We argue this simple structure is suboptimal since it requires the model to learn to discard the properties (e.g. different scales of changes, different levels of abstractness) of data variations, which is an extra work than equivariance learning. Instead, we propose to encode the data variations with groups, a structure not only can equivariantly represent variations, but can also be adaptively optimized to preserve the properties of data variations. Considering it is hard to conduct training on group structures, we focus on Lie groups and adopt a parameterization using Lie algebra. Based on the parameterization, some disentanglement learning constraints are naturally derived. A simple model named Commutative Lie Group VAE is introduced to realize the group-based disentanglement learning. Experiments show that our model can effectively learn disentangled representations without supervision, and can achieve state-of-the-art performance without extra constraints.

Leveraging Good Representations in Linear Contextual Bandits
Matteo Papini, Andrea Tirinzoni, Marcello Restelli, Alessandro Lazaric, Matteo Pirotta
The linear contextual bandit literature is mostly focused on the design of efficient learning algorithms for a given representation. However, a contextual bandit problem may admit multiple linear representations, each one with different characteristics that directly impact the regret of the learning algorithm. In particular, recent works showed that there exist ``good'' representations for which constant problem-dependent regret can be achieved. In this paper, we first provide a systematic analysis of the different definitions of ``good'' representations proposed in the literature. We then propose a novel selection algorithm able to adapt to the best representation in a set of $M$ candidates. We show that the regret is indeed never worse than the regret obtained by running \textsc{LinUCB} on best representation (up to a $\ln M$ factor). As a result, our algorithm achieves constant regret if a ``good'' representation is available in the set. Furthermore, we show the algorithm may still achieve constant regret by implicitly constructing a ``good'' representation, even when none of the initial representations is ``good''. Finally, we validate our theoretical findings in a number of standard contextual bandit problems.
A Structured Observation Distribution for Generative Biological Sequence Prediction and Forecasting
Eli N. Weinstein, Debora Marks

Generative probabilistic modeling of biological sequences has widespread existing and potential application across biology and biomedicine, from evolutionary biology to epidemiology to protein design. Many standard sequence analysis methods preprocess data using a multiple sequence alignment (MSA) algorithm, one of the most widely used computational methods in all of science. However, as we show in this article, training generative probabilistic models with MSA preprocessing leads to statistical pathologies in the context of sequence prediction and forecasting. To address these problems, we propose a principled drop-in alternative to MSA preprocessing in the form of a structured observation distribution (the "MuE" distribution). We prove theoretically that the MuE distribution comprehensively generalizes popular methods for inferring biological sequence alignments, and provide a precise characterization of how such biological models have differed from natural language latent alignment models. We show empirically that models that use the MuE as an observation distribution outperform comparable methods across a variety of datasets, and apply MuE models to a novel problem for generative probabilistic sequence models: forecasting pathogen evolution.

Towards Understanding and Mitigating Social Biases in Language Models
Paul Liang, Chiyu Wu, Louis-Philippe Morency, Russ Salakhutdinov

As machine learning methods are deployed in real-world settings such as healthcare, legal systems, and social science, it is crucial to recognize how they shape social biases and stereotypes in these sensitive decision-making processes. Among such real-world deployments are large-scale pretrained language models (LMs) that can be potentially dangerous in manifesting undesirable representational biases - harmful biases resulting from stereotyping that propagate negative generalizations involving gender, race, religion, and other social constructs. As a step towards improving the fairness of LMs, we carefully define several sources of representational biases before proposing new benchmarks and metrics to measure them. With these tools, we propose steps towards mitigating social biases during text generation. Our empirical results and human evaluation demonstrate effectiveness in mitigating bias while retaining crucial contextual information for high-fidelity text generation, thereby pushing forward the performance-fairness Pareto frontier.

Large Scale Private Learning via Low-rank Reparametrization
Da Yu, Huishuai Zhang, Wei Chen, Jian Yin, Tie-Yan Liu
We propose a reparametrization scheme to address the challenges of applying differentially private SGD on large neural networks, which are 1) the huge memory cost of storing individual gradients, 2) the added noise suffering notorious dimensional dependence. Specifically, we reparametrize each weight matrix with two \emph{gradient-carrier} matrices of small dimension and a \emph{residual weight} matrix. We argue that such reparametrization keeps the forward/backward process unchanged while enabling us to compute the projected gradient without computing the gradient itself. To learn with differential privacy, we design \emph{reparametrized gradient perturbation (RGP)} that perturbs the gradients on gradient-carrier matrices and reconstructs an update for the original weight from the noisy gradients. Importantly, we use historical updates to find the gradient-carrier matrices, whose optimality is rigorously justified under linear regression and empirically verified with deep learning tasks. RGP significantly reduces the memory cost and improves the utility. For example, we are the first able to apply differential privacy on the BERT model and achieve an average accuracy of $83.9\%$ on four downstream tasks with $\epsilon=8$, which is within $5\%$ loss compared to the non-private baseline but enjoys much lower privacy leakage risk.
Towards Certifying L-infinity Robustness using Neural Networks with L-inf-dist Neurons
Bohang Zhang, Tianle Cai, Zhou Lu, Di He, Liwei Wang
It is well-known that standard neural networks, even with a high classification accuracy, are vulnerable to small $\ell_\infty$-norm bounded adversarial perturbations. Although many attempts have been made, most previous works either can only provide empirical verification of the defense to a particular attack method, or can only develop a certified guarantee of the model robustness in limited scenarios. In this paper, we seek for a new approach to develop a theoretically principled neural network that inherently resists $\ell_\infty$ perturbations. In particular, we design a novel neuron that uses $\ell_\infty$-distance as its basic operation (which we call $\ell_\infty$-dist neuron), and show that any neural network constructed with $\ell_\infty$-dist neurons (called $\ell_{\infty}$-dist net) is naturally a 1-Lipschitz function with respect to $\ell_\infty$-norm. This directly provides a rigorous guarantee of the certified robustness based on the margin of prediction outputs. We then prove that such networks have enough expressive power to approximate any 1-Lipschitz function with robust generalization guarantee. We further provide a holistic training strategy that can greatly alleviate optimization difficulties. Experimental results show that using $\ell_{\infty}$-dist nets as basic building blocks, we consistently achieve state-of-the-art performance on commonly used datasets: 93.09\% certified accuracy on MNIST ($\epsilon=0.3$), 35.42\% on CIFAR-10 ($\epsilon=8/255$) and …
CRFL: Certifiably Robust Federated Learning against Backdoor Attacks
Chulin Xie, Minghao Chen, Pin-Yu Chen, Bo Li

Federated Learning (FL) as a distributed learning paradigm that aggregates information from diverse clients to train a shared global model, has demonstrated great success. However, malicious clients can perform poisoning attacks and model replacement to introduce backdoors into the trained global model. Although there have been intensive studies designing robust aggregation methods and empirical robust federated training protocols against backdoors, existing approaches lack robustness certification. This paper provides the first general framework, Certifiably Robust Federated Learning (CRFL), to train certifiably robust FL models against backdoors. Our method exploits clipping and smoothing on model parameters to control the global model smoothness, which yields a sample-wise robustness certification on backdoors with limited magnitude. Our certification also specifies the relation to federated learning parameters, such as poisoning ratio on instance level, number of attackers, and training iterations. Practically, we conduct comprehensive experiments across a range of federated datasets, and provide the first benchmark for certified robustness against backdoor attacks in federated learning. Our code is publicaly available at https://github.com/AI-secure/CRFL.

Towards Better Robust Generalization with Shift Consistency Regularization
Shufei Zhang, Zhuang Qian, Kaizhu Huang, Qiufeng Wang, Rui Zhang, Xinping Yi

While adversarial training becomes one of the most promising defending approaches against adversarial attacks for deep neural networks, the conventional wisdom through robust optimization may usually not guarantee good generalization for robustness. Concerning with robust generalization over unseen adversarial data, this paper investigates adversarial training from a novel perspective of shift consistency in latent space. We argue that the poor robust generalization of adversarial training is owing to the significantly dispersed latent representations generated by training and test adversarial data, as the adversarial perturbations push the latent features of natural examples in the same class towards diverse directions. This is underpinned by the theoretical analysis of the robust generalization gap, which is upper-bounded by the standard one over the natural data and a term of feature inconsistent shift caused by adversarial perturbation – a measure of latent dispersion. Towards better robust generalization, we propose a new regularization method – shift consistency regularization (SCR) – to steer the same-class latent features of both natural and adversarial data into a common direction during adversarial training. The effectiveness of SCR in adversarial training is evaluated through extensive experiments over different datasets, such as CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, and SVHN, against several competitive methods.

Correcting Exposure Bias for Link Recommendation
Shantanu Gupta, Hao Wang, Zachary Lipton, Bernie Wang

Link prediction methods are frequently applied in recommender systems, e.g., to suggest citations for academic papers or friends in social networks. However, exposure bias can arise when users are systematically underexposed to certain relevant items. For example, in citation networks, authors might be more likely to encounter papers from their own field and thus cite them preferentially. This bias can propagate through naively trained link predictors, leading to both biased evaluation and high generalization error (as assessed by true relevance). Moreover, this bias can be exacerbated by feedback loops. We propose estimators that leverage known exposure probabilities to mitigate this bias and consequent feedback loops. Next, we provide a loss function for learning the exposure probabilities from data. Finally, experiments on semi-synthetic data based on real-world citation networks, show that our methods reliably identify (truly) relevant citations. Additionally, our methods lead to greater diversity in the recommended papers' fields of study. The code is available at github.com/shantanu95/exposure-bias-link-rec.

Decomposed Mutual Information Estimation for Contrastive Representation Learning
Alessandro Sordoni, Nouha Dziri, Hannes Schulz, Geoff Gordon, Philip Bachman, Remi Tachet des Combes

Recent contrastive representation learning methods rely on estimating mutual information (MI) between multiple views of an underlying context. E.g., we can derive multiple views of a given image by applying data augmentation, or we can split a sequence into views comprising the past and future of some step in the sequence. Contrastive lower bounds on MI are easy to optimize, but have a strong underestimation bias when estimating large amounts of MI. We propose decomposing the full MI estimation problem into a sum of smaller estimation problems by splitting one of the views into progressively more informed subviews and by applying the chain rule on MI between the decomposed views. This expression contains a sum of unconditional and conditional MI terms, each measuring modest chunks of the total MI, which facilitates approximation via contrastive bounds. To maximize the sum, we formulate a contrastive lower bound on the conditional MI which can be approximated efficiently. We refer to our general approach as Decomposed Estimation of Mutual Information (DEMI). We show that DEMI can capture a larger amount of MI than standard non-decomposed contrastive bounds in a synthetic setting, and learns better representations in a vision domain and for dialogue generation.

Generative Causal Explanations for Graph Neural Networks
Wanyu Lin, Hao Lan, Baochun Li
This paper presents {\em Gem}, a model-agnostic approach for providing interpretable explanations for any GNNs on various graph learning tasks. Specifically, we formulate the problem of providing explanations for the decisions of GNNs as a causal learning task. Then we train a causal explanation model equipped with a loss function based on Granger causality. Different from existing explainers for GNNs, {\em Gem} explains GNNs on graph-structured data from a causal perspective. It has better generalization ability as it has no requirements on the internal structure of the GNNs or prior knowledge on the graph learning tasks. In addition, {\em Gem}, once trained, can be used to explain the target GNN very quickly. Our theoretical analysis shows that several recent explainers fall into a unified framework of {\em additive feature attribution methods}. Experimental results on synthetic and real-world datasets show that {\em Gem} achieves a relative increase of the explanation accuracy by up to $30\%$ and speeds up the explanation process by up to $110\times$ as compared to its state-of-the-art alternatives.
Automatic variational inference with cascading flows
Luca Ambrogioni, Gianluigi Silvestri, Marcel van Gerven

The automation of probabilistic reasoning is one of the primary aims of machine learning. Recently, the confluence of variational inference and deep learning has led to powerful and flexible automatic inference methods that can be trained by stochastic gradient descent. In particular, normalizing flows are highly parameterized deep models that can fit arbitrarily complex posterior densities. However, normalizing flows struggle in highly structured probabilistic programs as they need to relearn the forward-pass of the program. Automatic structured variational inference (ASVI) remedies this problem by constructing variational programs that embed the forward-pass. Here, we combine the flexibility of normalizing flows and the prior-embedding property of ASVI in a new family of variational programs, which we named cascading flows. A cascading flows program interposes a newly designed highway flow architecture in between the conditional distributions of the prior program such as to steer it toward the observed data. These programs can be constructed automatically from an input probabilistic program and can also be amortized automatically. We evaluate the performance of the new variational programs in a series of structured inference problems. We find that cascading flows have much higher performance than both normalizing flows and ASVI in a large set of structured …

Operationalizing Complex Causes: A Pragmatic View of Mediation
Limor Gultchin, David Watson, Matt J. Kusner, Ricardo Silva

We examine the problem of causal response estimation for complex objects (e.g., text, images, genomics). In this setting, classical \emph{atomic} interventions are often not available (e.g., changes to characters, pixels, DNA base-pairs). Instead, we only have access to indirect or \emph{crude} interventions (e.g., enrolling in a writing program, modifying a scene, applying a gene therapy). In this work, we formalize this problem and provide an initial solution. Given a collection of candidate mediators, we propose (a) a two-step method for predicting the causal responses of crude interventions; and (b) a testing procedure to identify mediators of crude interventions. We demonstrate, on a range of simulated and real-world-inspired examples, that our approach allows us to efficiently estimate the effect of crude interventions with limited data from new treatment regimes.

A Scalable Deterministic Global Optimization Algorithm for Clustering Problems
Kaixun Hua, Mingfei Shi, Yankai Cao
The minimum sum-of-squares clustering (MSSC) task, which can be treated as a Mixed Integer Second Order Cone Programming (MISOCP) problem, is rarely investigated in the literature through deterministic optimization to find its global optimal value. In this paper, we modelled the MSSC task as a two-stage optimization problem and proposed a tailed reduced-space branch and bound (BB) algorithm. We designed several approaches to construct lower and upper bounds at each node in the BB scheme, including a scenario grouping based Lagrangian decomposition approach. One key advantage of this reduced-space algorithm is that it only needs to perform branching on the centers of clusters to guarantee convergence, and the size of centers is independent of the number of data samples. Moreover, the lower bounds can be computed by solving small-scale sample subproblems, and upper bounds can be obtained trivially. These two properties enable our algorithm easy to be paralleled and can be scalable to the dataset with up to 200,000 samples for finding a global $\epsilon$-optimal solution of the MSSC task. We performed numerical experiments on both synthetic and real-world datasets and compared our proposed algorithms with the off-the-shelf global optimal solvers and classical local optimal algorithms. The results reveal a …
CIFS: Improving Adversarial Robustness of CNNs via Channel-wise Importance-based Feature Selection
Hanshu YAN, Jingfeng Zhang, Gang Niu, Jiashi Feng, Vincent Tan, Masashi Sugiyama

We investigate the adversarial robustness of CNNs from the perspective of channel-wise activations. By comparing normally trained and adversarially trained models, we observe that adversarial training (AT) robustifies CNNs by aligning the channel-wise activations of adversarial data with those of their natural counterparts. However, the channels that are \textit{negatively-relevant} (NR) to predictions are still over-activated when processing adversarial data. Besides, we also observe that AT does not result in similar robustness for all classes. For the robust classes, channels with larger activation magnitudes are usually more \textit{positively-relevant} (PR) to predictions, but this alignment does not hold for the non-robust classes. Given these observations, we hypothesize that suppressing NR channels and aligning PR ones with their relevances further enhances the robustness of CNNs under AT. To examine this hypothesis, we introduce a novel mechanism, \textit{i.e.}, \underline{C}hannel-wise \underline{I}mportance-based \underline{F}eature \underline{S}election (CIFS). The CIFS manipulates channels' activations of certain layers by generating non-negative multipliers to these channels based on their relevances to predictions. Extensive experiments on benchmark datasets including CIFAR10 and SVHN clearly verify the hypothesis and CIFS's effectiveness of robustifying CNNs.

Cross-model Back-translated Distillation for Unsupervised Machine Translation
Xuan-Phi Nguyen, Shafiq Joty, Thanh-Tung Nguyen, Kui Wu, Ai Ti Aw

Recent unsupervised machine translation (UMT) systems usually employ three main principles: initialization, language modeling and iterative back-translation, though they may apply them differently. Crucially, iterative back-translation and denoising auto-encoding for language modeling provide data diversity to train the UMT systems. However, the gains from these diversification processes has seemed to plateau. We introduce a novel component to the standard UMT framework called Cross-model Back-translated Distillation (CBD), that is aimed to induce another level of data diversification that existing principles lack. CBD is applicable to all previous UMT approaches. In our experiments, CBD achieves the state of the art in the WMT'14 English-French, WMT'16 English-German and English-Romanian bilingual unsupervised translation tasks, with 38.2, 30.1, and 36.3 BLEU respectively. It also yields 1.5--3.3 BLEU improvements in IWSLT English-French and English-German tasks. Through extensive experimental analyses, we show that CBD is effective because it embraces data diversity while other similar variants do not.

Improving Gradient Regularization using Complex-Valued Neural Networks
Eric Yeats, Yiran Chen, Hai Li

Gradient regularization is a neural network defense technique that requires no prior knowledge of an adversarial attack and that brings only limited increase in training computational complexity. A form of complex-valued neural network (CVNN) is proposed to improve the performance of gradient regularization on classification tasks of real-valued input in adversarial settings. The activation derivatives of each layer of the CVNN are dependent on the combination of inputs to the layer, and locally stable representations can be learned for inputs the network is trained on. Furthermore, the properties of the CVNN parameter derivatives resist decrease of performance on the standard objective that is caused by competition with the gradient regularization objective. Experimental results show that the performance of gradient regularized CVNN surpasses that of real-valued neural networks with comparable storage and computational complexity. Moreover, gradient regularized complex-valued networks exhibit robust performance approaching that of real-valued networks trained with multi-step adversarial training.

Bias-Free Scalable Gaussian Processes via Randomized Truncations
Andres Potapczynski, Luhuan Wu, Dan Biderman, Geoff Pleiss, John Cunningham

Scalable Gaussian Process methods are computationally attractive, yet introduce modeling biases that require rigorous study. This paper analyzes two common techniques: early truncated conjugate gradients (CG) and random Fourier features (RFF). We find that both methods introduce a systematic bias on the learned hyperparameters: CG tends to underfit while RFF tends to overfit. We address these issues using randomized truncation estimators that eliminate bias in exchange for increased variance. In the case of RFF, we show that the bias-to-variance conversion is indeed a trade-off: the additional variance proves detrimental to optimization. However, in the case of CG, our unbiased learning procedure meaningfully outperforms its biased counterpart with minimal additional computation. Our code is available at https://github.com/ cunningham-lab/RTGPS.

Learning Online Algorithms with Distributional Advice
Ilias Diakonikolas, Vasilis Kontonis, Christos Tzamos, Ali Vakilian, Nikos Zarifis
We study the problem of designing online algorithms given advice about the input. While prior work had focused on deterministic advice, we only assume distributional access to the instances of interest, and the goal is to learn a competitive algorithm given access to i.i.d. samples. We aim to be competitive against an adversary with prior knowledge of the distribution, while also performing well against worst-case inputs. We focus on the classical online problems of ski-rental and prophet-inequalities, and provide sample complexity bounds for the underlying learning tasks. First, we point out that for general distributions it is information-theoretically impossible to beat the worst-case competitive-ratio with any finite sample size. As our main contribution, we establish strong positive results for well-behaved distributions. Specifically, for the broad class of log-concave distributions, we show that $\mathrm{poly}(1/\epsilon)$ samples suffice to obtain $(1+\epsilon)$-competitive ratio. Finally, we show that this sample upper bound is close to best possible, even for very simple classes of distributions.
Regularizing towards Causal Invariance: Linear Models with Proxies
Mike Oberst, Nikolaj Thams, Jonas Peters, David Sontag

We propose a method for learning linear models whose predictive performance is robust to causal interventions on unobserved variables, when noisy proxies of those variables are available. Our approach takes the form of a regularization term that trades off between in-distribution performance and robustness to interventions. Under the assumption of a linear structural causal model, we show that a single proxy can be used to create estimators that are prediction optimal under interventions of bounded strength. This strength depends on the magnitude of the measurement noise in the proxy, which is, in general, not identifiable. In the case of two proxy variables, we propose a modified estimator that is prediction optimal under interventions up to a known strength. We further show how to extend these estimators to scenarios where additional information about the "test time" intervention is available during training. We evaluate our theoretical findings in synthetic experiments and using real data of hourly pollution levels across several cities in China.

Gradient Disaggregation: Breaking Privacy in Federated Learning by Reconstructing the User Participant Matrix
Maximilian Lam, Gu-Yeon Wei, David Brooks, Vijay Janapa Reddi, Michael Mitzenmacher

We show that aggregated model updates in federated learning may be insecure. An untrusted central server may disaggregate user updates from sums of updates across participants given repeated observations, enabling the server to recover privileged information about individual users' private training data via traditional gradient inference attacks. Our method revolves around reconstructing participant information (e.g: which rounds of training users participated in) from aggregated model updates by leveraging summary information from device analytics commonly used to monitor, debug, and manage federated learning systems. Our attack is parallelizable and we successfully disaggregate user updates on settings with up to thousands of participants. We quantitatively and qualitatively demonstrate significant improvements in the capability of various inference attacks on the disaggregated updates. Our attack enables the attribution of learned properties to individual users, violating anonymity, and shows that a determined central server may undermine the secure aggregation protocol to break individual users' data privacy in federated learning.

When Does Data Augmentation Help With Membership Inference Attacks?
Yigitcan Kaya, Tudor Dumitras

Deep learning models often raise privacy concerns as they leak information about their training data. This leakage enables membership inference attacks (MIA) that can identify whether a data point was in a model's training set. Research shows that some 'data augmentation' mechanisms may reduce the risk by combatting a key factor increasing the leakage, overfitting. While many mechanisms exist, their effectiveness against MIAs and privacy properties have not been studied systematically. Employing two recent MIAs, we explore the lower bound on the risk in the absence of formal upper bounds. First, we evaluate 7 mechanisms and differential privacy, on three image classification tasks. We find that applying augmentation to increase the model's utility does not mitigate the risk and protection comes with a utility penalty. Further, we also investigate why popular label smoothing mechanism consistently amplifies the risk. Finally, we propose 'loss-rank-correlation' (LRC) metric to assess how similar the effects of different mechanisms are. This, for example, reveals the similarity of applying high-intensity augmentation against MIAs to simply reducing the training time. Our findings emphasize the utility-privacy trade-off and provide practical guidelines on using augmentation to manage the trade-off.

Bridging Multi-Task Learning and Meta-Learning: Towards Efficient Training and Effective Adaptation
Haoxiang Wang, Han Zhao, Bo Li

Multi-task learning (MTL) aims to improve the generalization of several related tasks by learning them jointly. As a comparison, in addition to the joint training scheme, modern meta-learning allows unseen tasks with limited labels during the test phase, in the hope of fast adaptation over them. Despite the subtle difference between MTL and meta-learning in the problem formulation, both learning paradigms share the same insight that the shared structure between existing training tasks could lead to better generalization and adaptation. In this paper, we take one important step further to understand the close connection between these two learning paradigms, through both theoretical analysis and empirical investigation. Theoretically, we first demonstrate that MTL shares the same optimization formulation with a class of gradient-based meta-learning (GBML) algorithms. We then prove that for over-parameterized neural networks with sufficient depth, the learned predictive functions of MTL and GBML are close. In particular, this result implies that the predictions given by these two models are similar over the same unseen task. Empirically, we corroborate our theoretical findings by showing that, with proper implementation, MTL is competitive against state-of-the-art GBML algorithms on a set of few-shot image classification benchmarks. Since existing GBML algorithms often involve costly …

Conjugate Energy-Based Models
Hao Wu, Babak Esmaeili, Michael Wick, Jean-Baptiste Tristan, Jan-Willem van de Meent

In this paper, we propose conjugate energy-based models (CEBMs), a new class of energy-based models that define a joint density over data and latent variables. The joint density of a CEBM decomposes into an intractable distribution over data and a tractable posterior over latent variables. CEBMs have similar use cases as variational autoencoders, in the sense that they learn an unsupervised mapping from data to latent variables. However, these models omit a generator network, which allows them to learn more flexible notions of similarity between data points. Our experiments demonstrate that conjugate EBMs achieve competitive results in terms of image modelling, predictive power of latent space, and out-of-domain detection on a variety of datasets.

Private Adaptive Gradient Methods for Convex Optimization
Hilal Asi, John Duchi, Alireza Fallah, Omid Javidbakht, Kunal Talwar

We study adaptive methods for differentially private convex optimization, proposing and analyzing differentially private variants of a Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) algorithm with adaptive stepsizes, as well as the AdaGrad algorithm. We provide upper bounds on the regret of both algorithms and show that the bounds are (worst-case) optimal. As a consequence of our development, we show that our private versions of AdaGrad outperform adaptive SGD, which in turn outperforms traditional SGD in scenarios with non-isotropic gradients where (non-private) Adagrad provably outperforms SGD. The major challenge is that the isotropic noise typically added for privacy dominates the signal in gradient geometry for high-dimensional problems; approaches to this that effectively optimize over lower-dimensional subspaces simply ignore the actual problems that varying gradient geometries introduce. In contrast, we study non-isotropic clipping and noise addition, developing a principled theoretical approach; the consequent procedures also enjoy significantly stronger empirical performance than prior approaches.

Efficient Online Learning for Dynamic k-Clustering
Dimitris Fotakis, Georgios Piliouras, Stratis Skoulakis
In this work, we study dynamic clustering problems from the perspective of online learning. We consider an online learning problem, called \textit{Dynamic $k$-Clustering}, in which $k$ centers are maintained in a metric space over time (centers may change positions) such as a dynamically changing set of $r$ clients is served in the best possible way. The connection cost at round $t$ is given by the \textit{$p$-norm} of the vector formed by the distance of each client to its closest center at round $t$, for some $p\geq 1$. We design a \textit{$\Theta\left( \min(k,r) \right)$-regret} polynomial-time online learning algorithm, while we show that, under some well-established computational complexity conjectures, \textit{constant-regret} cannot be achieved in polynomial-time. In addition to the efficient solution of Dynamic $k$-Clustering, our work contributes to the long line of research of combinatorial online learning.
Marginalized Stochastic Natural Gradients for Black-Box Variational Inference
Geng Ji, Debora Sujono, Erik Sudderth

Black-box variational inference algorithms use stochastic sampling to analyze diverse statistical models, like those expressed in probabilistic programming languages, without model-specific derivations. While the popular score-function estimator computes unbiased gradient estimates, its variance is often unacceptably large, especially in models with discrete latent variables. We propose a stochastic natural gradient estimator that is as broadly applicable and unbiased, but improves efficiency by exploiting the curvature of the variational bound, and provably reduces variance by marginalizing discrete latent variables. Our marginalized stochastic natural gradients have intriguing connections to classic coordinate ascent variational inference, but allow parallel updates of variational parameters, and provide superior convergence guarantees relative to naive Monte Carlo approximations. We integrate our method with the probabilistic programming language Pyro and evaluate real-world models of documents, images, networks, and crowd-sourcing. Compared to score-function estimators, we require far fewer Monte Carlo samples and consistently convergence orders of magnitude faster.

Unsupervised Embedding Adaptation via Early-Stage Feature Reconstruction for Few-Shot Classification
Dong Hoon Lee, Sae-Young Chung

We propose unsupervised embedding adaptation for the downstream few-shot classification task. Based on findings that deep neural networks learn to generalize before memorizing, we develop Early-Stage Feature Reconstruction (ESFR) --- a novel adaptation scheme with feature reconstruction and dimensionality-driven early stopping that finds generalizable features. Incorporating ESFR consistently improves the performance of baseline methods on all standard settings, including the recently proposed transductive method. ESFR used in conjunction with the transductive method further achieves state-of-the-art performance on mini-ImageNet, tiered-ImageNet, and CUB; especially with 1.2%~2.0% improvements in accuracy over the previous best performing method on 1-shot setting.

Progressive-Scale Boundary Blackbox Attack via Projective Gradient Estimation
Jiawei Zhang, Linyi Li, Huichen Li, Xiaolu Zhang, Shuang Yang, Bo Li

Boundary based blackbox attack has been recognized as practical and effective, given that an attacker only needs to access the final model prediction. However, the query efficiency of it is in general high especially for high dimensional image data. In this paper, we show that such efficiency highly depends on the scale at which the attack is applied, and attacking at the optimal scale significantly improves the efficiency. In particular, we propose a theoretical framework to analyze and show three key characteristics to improve the query efficiency. We prove that there exists an optimal scale for projective gradient estimation. Our framework also explains the satisfactory performance achieved by existing boundary black-box attacks. Based on our theoretical framework, we propose Progressive-Scale enabled projective Boundary Attack (PSBA) to improve the query efficiency via progressive scaling techniques. In particular, we employ Progressive-GAN to optimize the scale of projections, which we call PSBA-PGAN. We evaluate our approach on both spatial and frequency scales. Extensive experiments on MNIST, CIFAR-10, CelebA, and ImageNet against different models including a real-world face recognition API show that PSBA-PGAN significantly outperforms existing baseline attacks in terms of query efficiency and attack success rate. We also observe relatively stable optimal scales …

Crystallization Learning with the Delaunay Triangulation
Jiaqi Gu, Guosheng Yin

Based on the Delaunay triangulation, we propose the crystallization learning to estimate the conditional expectation function in the framework of nonparametric regression. By conducting the crystallization search for the Delaunay simplices closest to the target point in a hierarchical way, the crystallization learning estimates the conditional expectation of the response by fitting a local linear model to the data points of the constructed Delaunay simplices. Instead of conducting the Delaunay triangulation for the entire feature space which would encounter enormous computational difficulty, our approach focuses only on the neighborhood of the target point and thus greatly expedites the estimation for high-dimensional cases. Because the volumes of Delaunay simplices are adaptive to the density of feature data points, our method selects neighbor data points uniformly in all directions and thus is more robust to the local geometric structure of the data than existing nonparametric regression methods. We develop the asymptotic properties of the crystallization learning and conduct numerical experiments on both synthetic and real data to demonstrate the advantages of our method in estimation of the conditional expectation function and prediction of the response.

Optimal Counterfactual Explanations in Tree Ensembles
Axel Parmentier, Thibaut Vidal

Counterfactual explanations are usually generated through heuristics that are sensitive to the search's initial conditions. The absence of guarantees of performance and robustness hinders trustworthiness. In this paper, we take a disciplined approach towards counterfactual explanations for tree ensembles. We advocate for a model-based search aiming at "optimal" explanations and propose efficient mixed-integer programming approaches. We show that isolation forests can be modeled within our framework to focus the search on plausible explanations with a low outlier score. We provide comprehensive coverage of additional constraints that model important objectives, heterogeneous data types, structural constraints on the feature space, along with resource and actionability restrictions. Our experimental analyses demonstrate that the proposed search approach requires a computational effort that is orders of magnitude smaller than previous mathematical programming algorithms. It scales up to large data sets and tree ensembles, where it provides, within seconds, systematic explanations grounded on well-defined models solved to optimality.

FILTRA: Rethinking Steerable CNN by Filter Transform
Bo Li, Qili Wang, Gim Hee Lee

Steerable CNN imposes the prior knowledge of transformation invariance or equivariance in the network architecture to enhance the the network robustness on geometry transformation of data and reduce overfitting. It has been an intuitive and widely used technique to construct a steerable filter by augmenting a filter with its transformed copies in the past decades, which is named as filter transform in this paper. Recently, the problem of steerable CNN has been studied from aspect of group representation theory, which reveals the function space structure of a steerable kernel function. However, it is not yet clear on how this theory is related to the filter transform technique. In this paper, we show that kernel constructed by filter transform can also be interpreted in the group representation theory. This interpretation help complete the puzzle of steerable CNN theory and provides a novel and simple approach to implement steerable convolution operators. Experiments are executed on multiple datasets to verify the feasibility of the proposed approach.

Statistical Estimation from Dependent Data
Vardis Kandiros, Yuval Dagan, Nishanth Dikkala, Surbhi Goel, Constantinos Daskalakis

We consider a general statistical estimation problem wherein binary labels across different observations are not independent conditioning on their feature vectors, but dependent, capturing settings where e.g. these observations are collected on a spatial domain, a temporal domain, or a social network, which induce dependencies. We model these dependencies in the language of Markov Random Fields and, importantly, allow these dependencies to be substantial, i.e. do not assume that the Markov Random Field capturing these dependencies is in high temperature. As our main contribution we provide algorithms and statistically efficient estimation rates for this model, giving several instantiations of our bounds in logistic regression, sparse logistic regression, and neural network regression settings with dependent data. Our estimation guarantees follow from novel results for estimating the parameters (i.e. external fields and interaction strengths) of Ising models from a single sample.

A General Framework For Detecting Anomalous Inputs to DNN Classifiers
Jayaram Raghuram, Varun Chandrasekaran, Somesh Jha, Suman Banerjee

Detecting anomalous inputs, such as adversarial and out-of-distribution (OOD) inputs, is critical for classifiers (including deep neural networks or DNNs) deployed in real-world applications. While prior works have proposed various methods to detect such anomalous samples using information from the internal layer representations of a DNN, there is a lack of consensus on a principled approach for the different components of such a detection method. As a result, often heuristic and one-off methods are applied for different aspects of this problem. We propose an unsupervised anomaly detection framework based on the internal DNN layer representations in the form of a meta-algorithm with configurable components. We proceed to propose specific instantiations for each component of the meta-algorithm based on ideas grounded in statistical testing and anomaly detection. We evaluate the proposed methods on well-known image classification datasets with strong adversarial attacks and OOD inputs, including an adaptive attack that uses the internal layer representations of the DNN (often not considered in prior work). Comparisons with five recently-proposed competing detection methods demonstrates the effectiveness of our method in detecting adversarial and OOD inputs.

Explanations for Monotonic Classifiers.
Joao Marques-Silva, Thomas Gerspacher, Martin Cooper, Alexey Ignatiev, Nina Narodytska

In many classification tasks there is a requirement of monotonicity. Concretely, if all else remains constant, increasing (resp.~decreasing) the value of one or more features must not decrease (resp.~increase) the value of the prediction. Despite comprehensive efforts on learning monotonic classifiers, dedicated approaches for explaining monotonic classifiers are scarce and classifier-specific. This paper describes novel algorithms for the computation of one formal explanation of a (black-box) monotonic classifier. These novel algorithms are polynomial (indeed linear) in the run time complexity of the classifier. Furthermore, the paper presents a practically efficient model-agnostic algorithm for enumerating formal explanations.

Which transformer architecture fits my data? A vocabulary bottleneck in self-attention
Noam Wies, Yoav Levine, Daniel Jannai, Amnon Shashua

After their successful debut in natural language processing, Transformer architectures are now becoming the de-facto standard in many domains. An obstacle for their deployment over new modalities is the architectural configuration: the optimal depth-to-width ratio has been shown to dramatically vary across data types (i.e., 10x larger over images than over language). We theoretically predict the existence of an embedding rank bottleneck that limits the contribution of self-attention width to the Transformer expressivity. We thus directly tie the input vocabulary size and rank to the optimal depth-to-width ratio, since a small vocabulary size or rank dictates an added advantage of depth over width. We empirically demonstrate the existence of this bottleneck and its implications on the depth-to-width interplay of Transformer architectures, linking the architecture variability across domains to the often glossed-over usage of different vocabulary sizes or embedding ranks in different domains. As an additional benefit, our rank bottlenecking framework allows us to identify size redundancies of 25%-50% in leading NLP models such as ALBERT and T5.

EfficientTTS: An Efficient and High-Quality Text-to-Speech Architecture
Chenfeng Miao, Liang Shuang, Zhengchen Liu, Chen Minchuan, Jun Ma, Shaojun Wang, Jing Xiao

In this work, we address the Text-to-Speech (TTS) task by proposing a non-autoregressive architecture called EfficientTTS. Unlike the dominant non-autoregressive TTS models, which are trained with the need of external aligners, EfficientTTS optimizes all its parameters with a stable, end-to-end training procedure, allowing for synthesizing high quality speech in a fast and efficient manner. EfficientTTS is motivated by a new monotonic alignment modeling approach, which specifies monotonic constraints to the sequence alignment with almost no increase of computation. By combining EfficientTTS with different feed-forward network structures, we develop a family of TTS models, including both text-to-melspectrogram and text-to-waveform networks. We experimentally show that the proposed models significantly outperform counterpart models such as Tacotron 2 and Glow-TTS in terms of speech quality, training efficiency and synthesis speed, while still producing the speeches of strong robustness and great diversity. In addition, we demonstrate that proposed approach can be easily extended to autoregressive models such as Tacotron 2.

SKIing on Simplices: Kernel Interpolation on the Permutohedral Lattice for Scalable Gaussian Processes
Sanyam Kapoor, Marc Finzi, Ke Alexander Wang, Andrew Wilson

State-of-the-art methods for scalable Gaussian processes use iterative algorithms, requiring fast matrix vector multiplies (MVMs) with the co-variance kernel. The Structured Kernel Interpolation (SKI) framework accelerates these MVMs by performing efficient MVMs on a grid and interpolating back to the original space. In this work, we develop a connection between SKI and the permutohedral lattice used for high-dimensional fast bilateral filtering. Using a sparse simplicial grid instead of a dense rectangular one, we can perform GP inference exponentially faster in the dimension than SKI. Our approach, Simplex-GP, enables scaling SKI to high dimensions, while maintaining strong predictive performance. We additionally provide a CUDA implementation of Simplex-GP, which enables significant GPU acceleration of MVM based inference.

Understanding and Mitigating Accuracy Disparity in Regression
Jianfeng Chi, Yuan Tian, Geoff Gordon, Han Zhao

With the widespread deployment of large-scale prediction systems in high-stakes domains, e.g., face recognition, criminal justice, etc., disparity on prediction accuracy between different demographic subgroups has called for fundamental understanding on the source of such disparity and algorithmic intervention to mitigate it. In this paper, we study the accuracy disparity problem in regression. To begin with, we first propose an error decomposition theorem, which decomposes the accuracy disparity into the distance between marginal label distributions and the distance between conditional representations, to help explain why such accuracy disparity appears in practice. Motivated by this error decomposition and the general idea of distribution alignment with statistical distances, we then propose an algorithm to reduce this disparity, and analyze its game-theoretic optima of the proposed objective functions. To corroborate our theoretical findings, we also conduct experiments on five benchmark datasets. The experimental results suggest that our proposed algorithms can effectively mitigate accuracy disparity while maintaining the predictive power of the regression models.

Optimal Non-Convex Exact Recovery in Stochastic Block Model via Projected Power Method
Peng Wang, Huikang Liu, Zirui Zhou, Anthony Man-Cho So
In this paper, we study the problem of exact community recovery in the symmetric stochastic block model, where a graph of $n$ vertices is randomly generated by partitioning the vertices into $K \ge 2$ equal-sized communities and then connecting each pair of vertices with probability that depends on their community memberships. Although the maximum-likelihood formulation of this problem is discrete and non-convex, we propose to tackle it directly using projected power iterations with an initialization that satisfies a partial recovery condition. Such an initialization can be obtained by a host of existing methods. We show that in the logarithmic degree regime of the considered problem, the proposed method can exactly recover the underlying communities at the information-theoretic limit. Moreover, with a qualified initialization, it runs in $\mO(n\log^2n/\log\log n)$ time, which is competitive with existing state-of-the-art methods. We also present numerical results of the proposed method to support and complement our theoretical development.
Globally-Robust Neural Networks
Klas Leino, Zifan Wang, Matt Fredrikson

The threat of adversarial examples has motivated work on training certifiably robust neural networks to facilitate efficient verification of local robustness at inference time. We formalize a notion of global robustness, which captures the operational properties of on-line local robustness certification while yielding a natural learning objective for robust training. We show that widely-used architectures can be easily adapted to this objective by incorporating efficient global Lipschitz bounds into the network, yielding certifiably-robust models by construction that achieve state-of-the-art verifiable accuracy. Notably, this approach requires significantly less time and memory than recent certifiable training methods, and leads to negligible costs when certifying points on-line; for example, our evaluation shows that it is possible to train a large robust Tiny-Imagenet model in a matter of hours. Our models effectively leverage inexpensive global Lipschitz bounds for real-time certification, despite prior suggestions that tighter local bounds are needed for good performance; we posit this is possible because our models are specifically trained to achieve tighter global bounds. Namely, we prove that the maximum achievable verifiable accuracy for a given dataset is not improved by using a local bound.

WILDS: A Benchmark of in-the-Wild Distribution Shifts
Pang Wei Koh, Shiori Sagawa, Henrik Marklund, Sang Michael Xie, Marvin Zhang, Akshay Balsubramani, Weihua Hu, Michihiro Yasunaga, Richard Lanas Phillips, Irena Gao, Tony Lee, Etienne David, Ian Stavness, Wei Guo, Berton Earnshaw, Imran Haque, Sara Beery, Jure Leskovec, Anshul Kundaje, Emma Pierson, Sergey Levine, Chelsea Finn, Percy Liang

Distribution shifts---where the training distribution differs from the test distribution---can substantially degrade the accuracy of machine learning (ML) systems deployed in the wild. Despite their ubiquity in the real-world deployments, these distribution shifts are under-represented in the datasets widely used in the ML community today. To address this gap, we present WILDS, a curated benchmark of 10 datasets reflecting a diverse range of distribution shifts that naturally arise in real-world applications, such as shifts across hospitals for tumor identification; across camera traps for wildlife monitoring; and across time and location in satellite imaging and poverty mapping. On each dataset, we show that standard training yields substantially lower out-of-distribution than in-distribution performance. This gap remains even with models trained by existing methods for tackling distribution shifts, underscoring the need for new methods for training models that are more robust to the types of distribution shifts that arise in practice. To facilitate method development, we provide an open-source package that automates dataset loading, contains default model architectures and hyperparameters, and standardizes evaluations. The full paper, code, and leaderboards are available at https://wilds.stanford.edu.

Boosting for Online Convex Optimization
Elad Hazan, Karan Singh

We consider the decision-making framework of online convex optimization with a very large number of experts. This setting is ubiquitous in contextual and reinforcement learning problems, where the size of the policy class renders enumeration and search within the policy class infeasible. Instead, we consider generalizing the methodology of online boosting. We define a weak learning algorithm as a mechanism that guarantees multiplicatively approximate regret against a base class of experts. In this access model, we give an efficient boosting algorithm that guarantees near-optimal regret against the convex hull of the base class. We consider both full and partial (a.k.a. bandit) information feedback models. We also give an analogous efficient boosting algorithm for the i.i.d. statistical setting. Our results simultaneously generalize online boosting and gradient boosting guarantees to contextual learning model, online convex optimization and bandit linear optimization settings.

High-Dimensional Gaussian Process Inference with Derivatives
Filip de Roos, Alexandra Gessner, Philipp Hennig
Although it is widely known that Gaussian processes can be conditioned on observations of the gradient, this functionality is of limited use due to the prohibitive computational cost of $\mathcal{O}(N^3 D^3)$ in data points $N$ and dimension $D$. The dilemma of gradient observations is that a single one of them comes at the same cost as $D$ independent function evaluations, so the latter are often preferred. Careful scrutiny reveals, however, that derivative observations give rise to highly structured kernel Gram matrices for very general classes of kernels (inter alia, stationary kernels). We show that in the \emph{low-data} regime $N<D$, the Gram matrix can be decomposed in a manner that reduces the cost of inference to $\mathcal{O}(N^2D + (N^2)^3)$ (i.e.,~linear in the number of dimensions) and, in special cases, to $\mathcal{O}(N^2D + N^3)$. This reduction in complexity opens up new use-cases for inference with gradients especially in the high-dimensional regime, where the information-to-cost ratio of gradient observations significantly increases. We demonstrate this potential in a variety of tasks relevant for machine learning, such as optimization and Hamiltonian Monte Carlo with predictive gradients.
Unitary Branching Programs: Learnability and Lower Bounds
Fidel Ernesto Diaz Andino, Maria Kokkou, Mateus de Oliveira Oliveira, Farhad Vadiee

Bounded width branching programs are a formalism that can be used to capture the notion of non-uniform constant-space computation. In this work, we study a generalized version of bounded width branching programs where instructions are defined by unitary matrices of bounded dimension. We introduce a new learning framework for these branching programs that leverages on a combination of local search techniques with gradient descent over Riemannian manifolds. We also show that gapped, read-once branching programs of bounded dimension can be learned with a polynomial number of queries in the presence of a teacher. Finally, we provide explicit near-quadratic size lower-bounds for bounded-dimension unitary branching programs, and exponential size lower-bounds for bounded-dimension read-once gapped unitary branching programs. The first lower bound is proven using a combination of Neciporuk’s lower bound technique with classic results from algebraic geometry. The second lower bound is proven within the framework of communication complexity theory.

Link Prediction with Persistent Homology: An Interactive View
Zuoyu Yan, Tengfei Ma, Liangcai Gao, Zhi Tang, Chao Chen

Link prediction is an important learning task for graph-structured data. In this paper, we propose a novel topological approach to characterize interactions between two nodes. Our topological feature, based on the extended persistent homology, encodes rich structural information regarding the multi-hop paths connecting nodes. Based on this feature, we propose a graph neural network method that outperforms state-of-the-arts on different benchmarks. As another contribution, we propose a novel algorithm to more efficiently compute the extended persistence diagrams for graphs. This algorithm can be generally applied to accelerate many other topological methods for graph learning tasks.

Backpropagated Neighborhood Aggregation for Accurate Training of Spiking Neural Networks
Yukun Yang, Wenrui Zhang, Peng Li

While Backpropagation (BP) has been applied to spiking neural networks (SNNs) achieving encouraging results, a key challenge involved is to backpropagate a differentiable continuous-valued loss over layers of spiking neurons exhibiting discontinuous all-or-none firing activities. Existing methods deal with this difficulty by introducing compromises that come with their own limitations, leading to potential performance degradation. We propose a novel BP-like method, called neighborhood aggregation (NA), which computes accurate error gradients guiding weight updates that may lead to discontinuous modifications of firing activities. NA achieves this goal by aggregating the error gradient over multiple spike trains in the neighborhood of the present spike train of each neuron. The employed aggregation is based on a generalized finite difference approximation with a proposed distance metric quantifying the similarity between a given pair of spike trains. Our experiments show that the proposed NA algorithm delivers state-of-the-art performance for SNN training on several datasets including CIFAR10.

A Zeroth-Order Block Coordinate Descent Algorithm for Huge-Scale Black-Box Optimization
HanQin Cai, Yuchen Lou, Daniel Mckenzie, Wotao Yin

We consider the zeroth-order optimization problem in the huge-scale setting, where the dimension of the problem is so large that performing even basic vector operations on the decision variables is infeasible. In this paper, we propose a novel algorithm, coined ZO-BCD, that exhibits favorable overall query complexity and has a much smaller per-iteration computational complexity. In addition, we discuss how the memory footprint of ZO-BCD can be reduced even further by the clever use of circulant measurement matrices. As an application of our new method, we propose the idea of crafting adversarial attacks on neural network based classifiers in a wavelet domain, which can result in problem dimensions of over one million. In particular, we show that crafting adversarial examples to audio classifiers in a wavelet domain can achieve the state-of-the-art attack success rate of 97.9% with significantly less distortion.

A Sampling-Based Method for Tensor Ring Decomposition
Osman Asif Malik, Stephen Becker

We propose a sampling-based method for computing the tensor ring (TR) decomposition of a data tensor. The method uses leverage score sampled alternating least squares to fit the TR cores in an iterative fashion. By taking advantage of the special structure of TR tensors, we can efficiently estimate the leverage scores and attain a method which has complexity sublinear in the number of input tensor entries. We provide high-probability relative-error guarantees for the sampled least squares problems. We compare our proposal to existing methods in experiments on both synthetic and real data. Our method achieves substantial speedup---sometimes two or three orders of magnitude---over competing methods, while maintaining good accuracy. We also provide an example of how our method can be used for rapid feature extraction.

Self-Improved Retrosynthetic Planning
Junsu Kim, Sungsoo Ahn, Hankook Lee, Jinwoo Shin

Retrosynthetic planning is a fundamental problem in chemistry for finding a pathway of reactions to synthesize a target molecule. Recently, search algorithms have shown promising results for solving this problem by using deep neural networks (DNNs) to expand their candidate solutions, i.e., adding new reactions to reaction pathways. However, the existing works on this line are suboptimal; the retrosynthetic planning problem requires the reaction pathways to be (a) represented by real-world reactions and (b) executable using “building block” molecules, yet the DNNs expand reaction pathways without fully incorporating such requirements. Motivated by this, we propose an end-to-end framework for directly training the DNNs towards generating reaction pathways with the desirable properties. Our main idea is based on a self-improving procedure that trains the model to imitate successful trajectories found by itself. We also propose a novel reaction augmentation scheme based on a forward reaction model. Our experiments demonstrate that our scheme significantly improves the success rate of solving the retrosynthetic problem from 86.84% to 96.32% while maintaining the performance of DNN for predicting valid reactions.

Meta-Cal: Well-controlled Post-hoc Calibration by Ranking
Xingchen Ma, Matthew B Blaschko

In many applications, it is desirable that a classifier not only makes accurate predictions, but also outputs calibrated posterior probabilities. However, many existing classifiers, especially deep neural network classifiers, tend to be uncalibrated. Post-hoc calibration is a technique to recalibrate a model by learning a calibration map. Existing approaches mostly focus on constructing calibration maps with low calibration errors, however, this quality is inadequate for a calibrator being useful. In this paper, we introduce two constraints that are worth consideration in designing a calibration map for post-hoc calibration. Then we present Meta-Cal, which is built from a base calibrator and a ranking model. Under some mild assumptions, two high-probability bounds are given with respect to these constraints. Empirical results on CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100 and ImageNet and a range of popular network architectures show our proposed method significantly outperforms the current state of the art for post-hoc multi-class classification calibration.

Integer Programming for Causal Structure Learning in the Presence of Latent Variables
Rui Chen, Sanjeeb Dash, Tian Gao

The problem of finding an ancestral acyclic directed mixed graph (ADMG) that represents the causal relationships between a set of variables is an important area of research on causal inference. Most existing score-based structure learning methods focus on learning directed acyclic graph (DAG) models without latent variables. A number of score-based methods have recently been proposed for the ADMG learning, yet they are heuristic in nature and do not guarantee an optimal solution. We propose a novel exact score-based method that solves an integer programming (IP) formulation and returns a score-maximizing ancestral ADMG for a set of continuous variables that follow a multivariate Gaussian distribution. We generalize the state-of-the-art IP model for DAG learning problems and derive new classes of valid inequalities to formulate an IP model for ADMG learning. Empirically, our model can be solved efficiently for medium-sized problems and achieves better accuracy than state-of-the-art score-based methods as well as benchmark constraint-based methods.

REPAINT: Knowledge Transfer in Deep Reinforcement Learning
Yunzhe Tao, Sahika Genc, Jonathan Chung, TAO SUN, Sunil Mallya

Accelerating learning processes for complex tasks by leveraging previously learned tasks has been one of the most challenging problems in reinforcement learning, especially when the similarity between source and target tasks is low. This work proposes REPresentation And INstance Transfer (REPAINT) algorithm for knowledge transfer in deep reinforcement learning. REPAINT not only transfers the representation of a pre-trained teacher policy in the on-policy learning, but also uses an advantage-based experience selection approach to transfer useful samples collected following the teacher policy in the off-policy learning. Our experimental results on several benchmark tasks show that REPAINT significantly reduces the total training time in generic cases of task similarity. In particular, when the source tasks are dissimilar to, or sub-tasks of, the target tasks, REPAINT outperforms other baselines in both training-time reduction and asymptotic performance of return scores.

Diffusion Earth Mover's Distance and Distribution Embeddings
Alexander Tong, Guillaume Huguet, Amine Natik, Kincaid Macdonald, MANIK KUCHROO, Ronald Coifman, Guy Wolf, Smita Krishnaswamy

We propose a new fast method of measuring distances between large numbers of related high dimensional datasets called the Diffusion Earth Mover's Distance (EMD). We model the datasets as distributions supported on common data graph that is derived from the affinity matrix computed on the combined data. In such cases where the graph is a discretization of an underlying Riemannian closed manifold, we prove that Diffusion EMD is topologically equivalent to the standard EMD with a geodesic ground distance. Diffusion EMD can be computed in Õ(n) time and is more accurate than similarly fast algorithms such as tree-based EMDs. We also show Diffusion EMD is fully differentiable, making it amenable to future uses in gradient-descent frameworks such as deep neural networks. Finally, we demonstrate an application of Diffusion EMD to single cell data collected from 210 COVID-19 patient samples at Yale New Haven Hospital. Here, Diffusion EMD can derive distances between patients on the manifold of cells at least two orders of magnitude faster than equally accurate methods. This distance matrix between patients can be embedded into a higher level patient manifold which uncovers structure and heterogeneity in patients. More generally, Diffusion EMD is applicable to all datasets that are …

Efficient Statistical Tests: A Neural Tangent Kernel Approach
Sheng Jia, Ehsan Nezhadarya, Yuhuai Wu, Jimmy Ba

For machine learning models to make reliable predictions in deployment, one needs to ensure the previously unknown test samples need to be sufficiently similar to the training data. The commonly used shift-invariant kernels do not have the compositionality and fail to capture invariances in high-dimensional data in computer vision. We propose a shift-invariant convolutional neural tangent kernel (SCNTK) based outlier detector and two-sample tests with maximum mean discrepancy (MMD) that is O(n) in the number of samples due to using the random feature approximation. On MNIST and CIFAR10 with various types of dataset shifts, we empirically show that statistical tests with such compositional kernels, inherited from infinitely wide neural networks, achieve higher detection accuracy than existing non-parametric methods. Our method also provides a competitive alternative to adapted kernel methods that require a training phase.

LogME: Practical Assessment of Pre-trained Models for Transfer Learning
Kaichao You, Yong Liu, Jianmin Wang, Mingsheng Long
This paper studies task adaptive pre-trained model selection, an underexplored problem of assessing pre-trained models for the target task and select best ones from the model zoo \emph{without fine-tuning}. A few pilot works addressed the problem in transferring supervised pre-trained models to classification tasks, but they cannot handle emerging unsupervised pre-trained models or regression tasks. In pursuit of a practical assessment method, we propose to estimate the maximum value of label evidence given features extracted by pre-trained models. Unlike the maximum likelihood, the maximum evidence is \emph{immune to over-fitting}, while its expensive computation can be dramatically reduced by our carefully designed algorithm. The Logarithm of Maximum Evidence (LogME) can be used to assess pre-trained models for transfer learning: a pre-trained model with a high LogME value is likely to have good transfer performance. LogME is \emph{fast, accurate, and general}, characterizing itself as the first practical method for assessing pre-trained models. Compared with brute-force fine-tuning, LogME brings at most $3000\times$ speedup in wall-clock time and requires only $1\%$ memory footprint. It outperforms prior methods by a large margin in their setting and is applicable to new settings. It is general enough for diverse pre-trained models (supervised pre-trained and unsupervised pre-trained), downstream …
Unsupervised Representation Learning via Neural Activation Coding
Yookoon Park, Sangho Lee, Gunhee Kim, David Blei

We present neural activation coding (NAC) as a novel approach for learning deep representations from unlabeled data for downstream applications. We argue that the deep encoder should maximize its nonlinear expressivity on the data for downstream predictors to take full advantage of its representation power. To this end, NAC maximizes the mutual information between activation patterns of the encoder and the data over a noisy communication channel. We show that learning for a noise-robust activation code increases the number of distinct linear regions of ReLU encoders, hence the maximum nonlinear expressivity. More interestingly, NAC learns both continuous and discrete representations of data, which we respectively evaluate on two downstream tasks: (i) linear classification on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet-1K and (ii) nearest neighbor retrieval on CIFAR-10 and FLICKR-25K. Empirical results show that NAC attains better or comparable performance on both tasks over recent baselines including SimCLR and DistillHash. In addition, NAC pretraining provides significant benefits to the training of deep generative models. Our code is available at https://github.com/yookoon/nac.

Prediction-Centric Learning of Independent Cascade Dynamics from Partial Observations
Mateusz Wilinski, Andrey Lokhov

Spreading processes play an increasingly important role in modeling for diffusion networks, information propagation, marketing and opinion setting. We address the problem of learning of a spreading model such that the predictions generated from this model are accurate and could be subsequently used for the optimization, and control of diffusion dynamics. We focus on a challenging setting where full observations of the dynamics are not available, and standard approaches such as maximum likelihood quickly become intractable for large network instances. We introduce a computationally efficient algorithm, based on a scalable dynamic message-passing approach, which is able to learn parameters of the effective spreading model given only limited information on the activation times of nodes in the network. The popular Independent Cascade model is used to illustrate our approach. We show that tractable inference from the learned model generates a better prediction of marginal probabilities compared to the original model. We develop a systematic procedure for learning a mixture of models which further improves the prediction quality.

Exploration in Approximate Hyper-State Space for Meta Reinforcement Learning
Luisa Zintgraf, Leo Feng, Cong Lu, Max Igl, Kristian Hartikainen, Katja Hofmann, Shimon Whiteson

To rapidly learn a new task, it is often essential for agents to explore efficiently - especially when performance matters from the first timestep. One way to learn such behaviour is via meta-learning. Many existing methods however rely on dense rewards for meta-training, and can fail catastrophically if the rewards are sparse. Without a suitable reward signal, the need for exploration during meta-training is exacerbated. To address this, we propose HyperX, which uses novel reward bonuses for meta-training to explore in approximate hyper-state space (where hyper-states represent the environment state and the agent's task belief). We show empirically that HyperX meta-learns better task-exploration and adapts more successfully to new tasks than existing methods.

MetaCURE: Meta Reinforcement Learning with Empowerment-Driven Exploration
Jin Zhang, Jianhao Wang, Hao Hu, Tong Chen, Yingfeng Chen, Changjie Fan, Chongjie Zhang

Meta reinforcement learning (meta-RL) extracts knowledge from previous tasks and achieves fast adaptation to new tasks. Despite recent progress, efficient exploration in meta-RL remains a key challenge in sparse-reward tasks, as it requires quickly finding informative task-relevant experiences in both meta-training and adaptation. To address this challenge, we explicitly model an exploration policy learning problem for meta-RL, which is separated from exploitation policy learning, and introduce a novel empowerment-driven exploration objective, which aims to maximize information gain for task identification. We derive a corresponding intrinsic reward and develop a new off-policy meta-RL framework, which efficiently learns separate context-aware exploration and exploitation policies by sharing the knowledge of task inference. Experimental evaluation shows that our meta-RL method significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines on various sparse-reward MuJoCo locomotion tasks and more complex sparse-reward Meta-World tasks.

SG-PALM: a Fast Physically Interpretable Tensor Graphical Model
Yu Wang, Alfred Hero

We propose a new graphical model inference procedure, called SG-PALM, for learning conditional dependency structure of high-dimensional tensor-variate data. Unlike most other tensor graphical models the proposed model is interpretable and computationally scalable to high dimension. Physical interpretability follows from the Sylvester generative (SG) model on which SG-PALM is based: the model is exact for any observation process that is a solution of a partial differential equation of Poisson type. Scalability follows from the fast proximal alternating linearized minimization (PALM) procedure that SG-PALM uses during training. We establish that SG-PALM converges linearly (i.e., geometric convergence rate) to a global optimum of its objective function. We demonstrate scalability and accuracy of SG-PALM for an important but challenging climate prediction problem: spatio-temporal forecasting of solar flares from multimodal imaging data.

Temporal Predictive Coding For Model-Based Planning In Latent Space
Tung Nguyen, Rui Shu, Tuan Pham, Hung Bui, Stefano Ermon

High-dimensional observations are a major challenge in the application of model-based reinforcement learning (MBRL) to real-world environments. To handle high-dimensional sensory inputs, existing approaches use representation learning to map high-dimensional observations into a lower-dimensional latent space that is more amenable to dynamics estimation and planning. In this work, we present an information-theoretic approach that employs temporal predictive coding to encode elements in the environment that can be predicted across time. Since this approach focuses on encoding temporally-predictable information, we implicitly prioritize the encoding of task-relevant components over nuisance information within the environment that are provably task-irrelevant. By learning this representation in conjunction with a recurrent state space model, we can then perform planning in latent space. We evaluate our model on a challenging modification of standard DMControl tasks where the background is replaced with natural videos that contain complex but irrelevant information to the planning task. Our experiments show that our model is superior to existing methods in the challenging complex-background setting while remaining competitive with current state-of-the-art models in the standard setting.

Supervised Tree-Wasserstein Distance
Yuki Takezawa, Ryoma Sato, Makoto Yamada

To measure the similarity of documents, the Wasserstein distance is a powerful tool, but it requires a high computational cost. Recently, for fast computation of the Wasserstein distance, methods for approximating the Wasserstein distance using a tree metric have been proposed. These tree-based methods allow fast comparisons of a large number of documents; however, they are unsupervised and do not learn task-specific distances. In this work, we propose the Supervised Tree-Wasserstein (STW) distance, a fast, supervised metric learning method based on the tree metric. Specifically, we rewrite the Wasserstein distance on the tree metric by the parent-child relationships of a tree, and formulate it as a continuous optimization problem using a contrastive loss. Experimentally, we show that the STW distance can be computed fast, and improves the accuracy of document classification tasks. Furthermore, the STW distance is formulated by matrix multiplications, runs on a GPU, and is suitable for batch processing. Therefore, we show that the STW distance is extremely efficient when comparing a large number of documents.

Improving Predictors via Combination Across Diverse Task Categories
Kwang In Kim

Predictor combination is the problem of improving a task predictor using predictors of other tasks when the forms of individual predictors are unknown. Previous work approached this problem by nonparametrically assessing predictor relationships based on their joint evaluations on a shared sample. This limits their application to cases where all predictors are defined on the same task category, e.g. all predictors estimate attributes of shoes. We present a new predictor combination algorithm that overcomes this limitation. Our algorithm aligns the heterogeneous domains of different predictors in a shared latent space to facilitate comparisons of predictors independently of the domains on which they are originally defined. We facilitate this by a new data alignment scheme that matches data distributions across task categories. Based on visual attribute ranking experiments on datasets that span diverse task categories (e.g. shoes and animals), we demonstrate that our approach often significantly improves the performances of the initial predictors.

Composed Fine-Tuning: Freezing Pre-Trained Denoising Autoencoders for Improved Generalization
Sang Michael Xie, Tengyu Ma, Percy Liang

We focus on prediction problems with structured outputs that are subject to output validity constraints, e.g. pseudocode-to-code translation where the code must compile. While labeled input-output pairs are expensive to obtain, "unlabeled" outputs, i.e. outputs without corresponding inputs, are freely available (e.g. code on GitHub) and provide information about output validity. Pre-training captures this structure by training a denoiser to denoise corrupted versions of unlabeled outputs. We first show that standard fine-tuning after pre-training destroys some of this structure. We then propose composed fine-tuning, which trains a predictor composed with the pre-trained denoiser. Importantly, the denoiser is fixed to preserve output structure. Like standard fine-tuning, the predictor is also initialized with the pre-trained denoiser. We prove for two-layer ReLU networks that composed fine-tuning significantly reduces the complexity of the predictor, thus improving generalizati