Orals

In this paper, we propose a novel stochastic gradient estimator---ProbAbilistic Gradient Estimator (PAGE)---for nonconvex optimization. PAGE is easy to implement as it is designed via a small adjustment to vanilla SGD: in each iteration, PAGE uses the vanilla minibatch SGD update with probability $p_t$ or reuses the previous gradient with a small adjustment, at a much lower computational cost, with probability $1-p_t$. We give a simple formula for the optimal choice of $p_t$.
Moreover, we prove the first tight lower bound $\Omega(n+\frac{\sqrt{n}}{\epsilon^2})$ for nonconvex finite-sum problems, which also leads to a tight lower bound $\Omega(b+\frac{\sqrt{b}}{\epsilon^2})$ for nonconvex online problems, where $b:= \min\{\frac{\sigma^2}{\epsilon^2}, n\}$.
Then, we show that PAGE obtains the optimal convergence results $O(n+\frac{\sqrt{n}}{\epsilon^2})$ (finite-sum) and $O(b+\frac{\sqrt{b}}{\epsilon^2})$ (online) matching our lower bounds for both nonconvex finite-sum and online problems. Besides, we also show that for nonconvex functions satisfying the Polyak-\L ojasiewicz (PL) condition, PAGE can automatically switch to a faster linear convergence rate $O(\cdot\log \frac{1}{\epsilon})$.
Finally, we conduct several deep learning experiments (e.g., LeNet, VGG, ResNet) on real datasets in PyTorch showing that PAGE not only converges much faster than SGD in training but also achieves the higher test accuracy, validating the optimal theoretical results and confirming the practical superiority …

Structured nonsmooth convex finite-sum optimization appears in many machine learning applications, including support vector machines and least absolute deviation. For the primal-dual formulation of this problem, we propose a novel algorithm called \emph{Variance Reduction via Primal-Dual Accelerated Dual Averaging (\vrpda)}. In the nonsmooth and general convex setting, \vrpda~has the overall complexity $O(nd\log\min \{1/\epsilon, n\} + d/\epsilon )$ in terms of the primal-dual gap, where $n$ denotes the number of samples, $d$ the dimension of the primal variables, and $\epsilon$ the desired accuracy. In the nonsmooth and strongly convex setting, the overall complexity of \vrpda~becomes $O(nd\log\min\{1/\epsilon, n\} + d/\sqrt{\epsilon})$ in terms of both the primal-dual gap and the distance between iterate and optimal solution. Both these results for \vrpda~improve significantly on state-of-the-art complexity estimates---which are $O(nd\log \min\{1/\epsilon, n\} + \sqrt{n}d/\epsilon)$ for the nonsmooth and general convex setting and $O(nd\log \min\{1/\epsilon, n\} + \sqrt{n}d/\sqrt{\epsilon})$ for the nonsmooth and strongly convex setting---with a simpler and more straightforward algorithm and analysis. Moreover, both complexities are better than \emph{lower} bounds for general convex finite-sum optimization, because our approach makes use of additional, commonly occurring structure. Numerical experiments reveal competitive performance of \vrpda~compared to state-of-the-art approaches.

The lack of anisotropic kernels in graph neural networks (GNNs) strongly limits their expressiveness, contributing to well-known issues such as over-smoothing. To overcome this limitation, we propose the first globally consistent anisotropic kernels for GNNs, allowing for graph convolutions that are defined according to topologicaly-derived directional flows.
First, by defining a vector field in the graph, we develop a method of applying directional derivatives and smoothing by projecting node-specific messages into the field.
Then, we propose the use of the Laplacian eigenvectors as such vector field.
We show that the method generalizes CNNs on an $n$-dimensional grid and is provably more discriminative than standard GNNs regarding the Weisfeiler-Lehman 1-WL test.
We evaluate our method on different standard benchmarks and see a relative error reduction of 8% on the CIFAR10 graph dataset and 11% to 32% on the molecular ZINC dataset, and a relative increase in precision of 1.6% on the MolPCBA dataset.
An important outcome of this work is that it enables graph networks to embed directions in an unsupervised way, thus allowing a better representation of the anisotropic features in different physical or biological problems.

Symmetries and equivariance are fundamental to the generalization of neural networks on domains such as images, graphs, and point clouds. Existing work has primarily focused on a small number of groups, such as the translation, rotation, and permutation groups. In this work we provide a completely general algorithm for solving for the equivariant layers of matrix groups. In addition to recovering solutions from other works as special cases, we construct multilayer perceptrons equivariant to multiple groups that have never been tackled before, including $\mathrm{O}(1,3)$, $\mathrm{O}(5)$, $\mathrm{Sp}(n)$, and the Rubik's cube group. Our approach outperforms non-equivariant baselines, with applications to particle physics and modeling dynamical systems. We release our software library to enable researchers to construct equivariant layers for arbitrary

The price of explainability for a clustering task can be defined as the unavoidable loss, in terms of the objective function, if we force the final partition to be explainable. Here, we study this price for the following clustering problems: $k$-means, $k$-medians, $k$-centers and maximum-spacing. We provide upper and lower bounds for a natural model where explainability is achieved via decision trees. For the $k$-means and $k$-medians problems our upper bounds improve those obtained by [Dasgupta et. al, ICML 20] for low dimensions. Another contribution is a simple and efficient algorithm for building explainable clusterings for the $k$-means problem. We provide empirical evidence that its performance is better than the current state of the art for decision-tree based explainable clustering.

`What is the expected utility of each agent when only considering a randomly selected sub-group of its observed entities?'' By posing this counterfactual question, we can recognize state-action trajectories within sub-groups of entities that we may have encountered in another task and use what we learned in that task to inform our prediction in the current one. We then reconstruct a prediction of the full returns as a combination of factors considering these disjoint groups of entities and train this`

randomly factorized" value function as an auxiliary objective for value-based multi-agent reinforcement learning. By doing so, our model can recognize and leverage similarities across tasks to improve learning efficiency in a multi-task setting. Our approach, Randomized Entity-wise Factorization for Imagined Learning (REFIL), outperforms all strong baselines by a significant margin in challenging multi-task StarCraft micromanagement settings.

We study reinforcement learning (RL) with no-reward demonstrations, a setting in which an RL agent has access to additional data from the interaction of other agents with the same environment. However, it has no access to the rewards or goals of these agents, and their objectives and levels of expertise may vary widely. These assumptions are common in multi-agent settings, such as autonomous driving. To effectively use this data, we turn to the framework of successor features. This allows us to disentangle shared features and dynamics of the environment from agent-specific rewards and policies. We propose a multi-task inverse reinforcement learning (IRL) algorithm, called \emph{inverse temporal difference learning} (ITD), that learns shared state features, alongside per-agent successor features and preference vectors, purely from demonstrations without reward labels. We further show how to seamlessly integrate ITD with learning from online environment interactions, arriving at a novel algorithm for reinforcement learning with demonstrations, called $\Psi \Phi$-learning (pronounced `Sci-Fi'). We provide empirical evidence for the effectiveness of $\Psi \Phi$-learning as a method for improving RL, IRL, imitation, and few-shot transfer, and derive worst-case bounds for its performance in zero-shot transfer to new tasks.

*description* of existing behavior in the first place. In this paper, we develop an expressive, unifying perspective on *inverse decision modeling*: a framework for learning parameterized representations of sequential decision behavior. First, we formalize the *forward* problem (as a normative standard), subsuming common classes of control behavior. Second, we use this to formalize the *inverse* problem (as a descriptive model), generalizing existing work on imitation/reward learning---while opening up a much broader class of research problems in behavior representation. Finally, we instantiate this approach with an example (*inverse bounded rational control*), illustrating how this structure enables learning (interpretable) representations of (bounded) rationality---while naturally capturing intuitive notions of suboptimal actions, biased beliefs, and imperfect knowledge of environments.

In this work, we study the computational complexity of reducing the squared gradient magnitude for smooth minimax optimization problems. First, we present algorithms with accelerated $\mathcal{O}(1/k^2)$ last-iterate rates, faster than the existing $\mathcal{O}(1/k)$ or slower rates for extragradient, Popov, and gradient descent with anchoring. The acceleration mechanism combines extragradient steps with anchoring and is distinct from Nesterov's acceleration. We then establish optimality of the $\mathcal{O}(1/k^2)$ rate through a matching lower bound.

The Area Under the ROC Curve (AUC) is a crucial metric for machine learning, which evaluates the average performance over all possible True Positive Rates (TPRs) and False Positive Rates (FPRs). Based on the knowledge that a skillful classifier should simultaneously embrace a high TPR and a low FPR, we turn to study a more general variant called Two-way Partial AUC (TPAUC), where only the region with $\mathsf{TPR} \ge \alpha, \mathsf{FPR} \le \beta$ is included in the area. Moreover, a recent work shows that the TPAUC is essentially inconsistent with the existing Partial AUC metrics where only the FPR range is restricted, opening a new problem to seek solutions to leverage high TPAUC. Motivated by this, we present the first trial in this paper to optimize this new metric. The critical challenge along this course lies in the difficulty of performing gradient-based optimization with end-to-end stochastic training, even with a proper choice of surrogate loss. To address this issue, we propose a generic framework to construct surrogate optimization problems, which supports efficient end-to-end training with deep-learning. Moreover, our theoretical analyses show that: 1) the objective function of the surrogate problems will achieve an upper bound of the original problem under …

In many applications data are collected in batches, some potentially biased, corrupt, or even adversarial. Learning algorithms for this setting have therefore garnered considerable recent attention. In particular, a sequence of works has shown that all approximately piecewise polynomial distributions---and in particular all Gaussian, Gaussian-mixture, log-concave, low-modal, and monotone-hazard distributions---can be learned robustly in polynomial time. However, these results left open the question, stated explicitly in~\cite{chen2020learning}, about the best possible sample complexity of such algorithms. We answer this question, showing that, perhaps surprisingly, up to logarithmic factors, the optimal sample complexity is the same as for genuine, non-adversarial, data! To establish the result, we reduce robust learning of approximately piecewise polynomial distributions to robust learning of the probability of all subsets of size at most $k$ of a larger discrete domain, and learn these probabilities in optimal sample complexity linear in $k$ regardless of the domain size. In simulations, the algorithm runs very quickly and estimates distributions to essentially the accuracy achieved when all adversarial batches are removed. The results also imply the first polynomial-time sample-optimal algorithm for robust interval-based classification based on batched data.

We study the reward-free reinforcement learning framework, which is particularly suitable for batch reinforcement learning and scenarios where one needs policies for multiple reward functions.
This framework has two phases: in the exploration phase, the agent collects trajectories by interacting with the environment without using any reward signal; in the planning phase, the agent needs to return a near-optimal policy for arbitrary reward functions.
%This framework is suitable for batch RL setting and the setting where there are multiple reward functions of interes
We give a new efficient algorithm, \textbf{S}taged \textbf{S}ampling + \textbf{T}runcated \textbf{P}lanning (\algoname), which interacts with the environment at most $O\left( \frac{S^2A}{\epsilon^2}\poly\log\left(\frac{SAH}{\epsilon}\right) \right)$ episodes in the exploration phase, and guarantees to output a near-optimal policy for arbitrary reward functions in the planning phase, where $S$ is the size of state space, $A$ is the size of action space, $H$ is the planning horizon, and $\epsilon$ is the target accuracy relative to the total reward.
Notably, our sample complexity scales only \emph{logarithmically} with $H$, in contrast to all existing results which scale \emph{polynomially} with $H$.
Furthermore, this bound matches the minimax lower bound $\Omega\left(\frac{S^2A}{\epsilon^2}\right)$ up to logarithmic factors.
Our results rely on three new techniques : 1) A new …

This paper considers online convex optimization with long term constraints, where constraints can be violated in intermediate rounds, but need to be satisfied in the long run. The cumulative constraint violation is used as the metric to measure constraint violations, which excludes the situation that strictly feasible constraints can compensate the effects of violated constraints. A novel algorithm is first proposed and it achieves an $\mathcal{O}(T^{\max\{c,1-c\}})$ bound for static regret and an $\mathcal{O}(T^{(1-c)/2})$ bound for cumulative constraint violation, where $c\in(0,1)$ is a user-defined trade-off parameter, and thus has improved performance compared with existing results. Both static regret and cumulative constraint violation bounds are reduced to $\mathcal{O}(\log(T))$ when the loss functions are strongly convex, which also improves existing results. %In order to bound the regret with respect to any comparator sequence,
In order to achieve the optimal regret with respect to any comparator sequence, another algorithm is then proposed and it achieves the optimal $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T(1+P_T)})$ regret and an $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T})$ cumulative constraint violation, where $P_T$ is the path-length of the comparator sequence. Finally, numerical simulations are provided to illustrate the effectiveness of the theoretical results.

While single-agent policy optimization in a fixed environment has attracted a lot of research attention recently in the reinforcement learning community, much less is known theoretically when there are multiple agents playing in a potentially competitive environment. We take steps forward by proposing and analyzing new fictitious play policy optimization algorithms for two-player zero-sum Markov games with structured but unknown transitions. We consider two classes of transition structures: factored independent transition and single-controller transition. For both scenarios, we prove tight $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\sqrt{T})$ regret bounds after $T$ steps in a two-agent competitive game scenario. The regret of each player is measured against a potentially adversarial opponent who can choose a single best policy in hindsight after observing the full policy sequence. Our algorithms feature a combination of Upper Confidence Bound (UCB)-type optimism and fictitious play under the scope of simultaneous policy optimization in a non-stationary environment. When both players adopt the proposed algorithms, their overall optimality gap is $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\sqrt{T})$.

Balancing exploration and exploitation is crucial in reinforcement learning (RL). In this paper, we study model-based posterior sampling for reinforcement learning (PSRL) in continuous state-action spaces theoretically and empirically. First, we show the first regret bound of PSRL in continuous spaces which is polynomial in the episode length to the best of our knowledge. With the assumption that reward and transition functions can be modeled by Bayesian linear regression, we develop a regret bound of $\tilde{O}(H^{3/2}d\sqrt{T})$, where $H$ is the episode length, $d$ is the dimension of the state-action space, and $T$ indicates the total time steps. This result matches the best-known regret bound of non-PSRL methods in linear MDPs. Our bound can be extended to nonlinear cases as well with feature embedding: using linear kernels on the feature representation $\phi$, the regret bound becomes $\tilde{O}(H^{3/2}d_{\phi}\sqrt{T})$, where $d_\phi$ is the dimension of the representation space. Moreover, we present MPC-PSRL, a model-based posterior sampling algorithm with model predictive control for action selection. To capture the uncertainty in models, we use Bayesian linear regression on the penultimate layer (the feature representation layer $\phi$) of neural networks. Empirical results show that our algorithm achieves the state-of-the-art sample efficiency in benchmark continuous control tasks …

*/V* model in which both the optimal Q-function and the optimal V-function are linear in some known feature space. Our main result provides an RL algorithm which has polynomial sample complexity for Bilinear Classes; notably, this sample complexity is stated in terms of a reduction to the generalization error of an underlying supervised learning sub-problem. These bounds nearly match the best known sample complexity bounds for existing models. Furthermore, this framework also extends to the infinite dimensional (RKHS) setting: for the the Linear Q*/V* model, linear MDPs, and linear mixture MDPs, we provide sample complexities that have no explicit dependence on the explicit feature dimension (which could be infinite), but instead depends only on information theoretic quantities.

While many existing graph neural networks (GNNs) have been proven to perform $\ell_2$-based graph smoothing that enforces smoothness globally, in this work we aim to further enhance the local smoothness adaptivity of GNNs via $\ell_1$-based graph smoothing. As a result, we introduce a family of GNNs (Elastic GNNs) based on $\ell_1$ and $\ell_2$-based graph smoothing. In particular, we propose a novel and general message passing scheme into GNNs. This message passing algorithm is not only friendly to back-propagation training but also achieves the desired smoothing properties with a theoretical convergence guarantee. Experiments on semi-supervised learning tasks demonstrate that the proposed Elastic GNNs obtain better adaptivity on benchmark datasets and are significantly robust to graph adversarial attacks. The implementation of Elastic GNNs is available at \url{https://github.com/lxiaorui/ElasticGNN}.

In this work, we propose a rounding procedure that frees N of any dependence on the dimension d, while achieving nearly the same performance guarantees of existing rounding procedures.
We evaluate the procedure against a baseline that projects the problem to a lower dimensional space and performs rounding there, which requires N to just be at least a notion of the effective dimension. We also leverage our new approach in a new algorithm for kernelized …

Among dissimilarities between probability distributions, the Kernel Stein Discrepancy (KSD) has received much interest recently. We investigate the properties of its Wasserstein gradient flow to approximate a target probability distribution $\pi$ on $\mathbb{R}^d$, known up to a normalization constant. This leads to a straightforwardly implementable, deterministic score-based method to sample from $\pi$, named KSD Descent, which uses a set of particles to approximate $\pi$. Remarkably, owing to a tractable loss function, KSD Descent can leverage robust parameter-free optimization schemes such as L-BFGS; this contrasts with other popular particle-based schemes such as the Stein Variational Gradient Descent algorithm. We study the convergence properties of KSD Descent and demonstrate its practical relevance. However, we also highlight failure cases by showing that the algorithm can get stuck in spurious local minima.

To achieve sample efficiency in reinforcement learning (RL), it necessitates to efficiently explore the underlying environment. Under the offline setting, addressing the exploration challenge lies in collecting an offline dataset with sufficient coverage. Motivated by such a challenge, we study the reward-free RL problem, where an agent aims to thoroughly explore the environment without any pre-specified reward function. Then, given any extrinsic reward, the agent computes the optimal policy via offline RL with data collected in the exploration stage. Moreover, we tackle this problem under the context of function approximation, leveraging powerful function approximators. Specifically, we propose to explore via an optimistic variant of the value-iteration algorithm incorporating kernel and neural function approximations, where we adopt the associated exploration bonus as the exploration reward. Moreover, we design exploration and planning algorithms for both single-agent MDPs and zero-sum Markov games and prove that our methods can achieve $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(1 /\varepsilon^2)$ sample complexity for generating a $\varepsilon$-suboptimal policy or $\varepsilon$-approximate Nash equilibrium when given an arbitrary extrinsic reward. To the best of our knowledge, we establish the first provably efficient reward-free RL algorithm with kernel and neural function approximators.

We propose UCBMQ, Upper Confidence Bound Momentum Q-learning, a new algorithm for reinforcement learning in tabular and possibly stage-dependent, episodic Markov decision process. UCBMQ is based on Q-learning where we add a momentum term and rely on the principle of optimism in face of uncertainty to deal with exploration.
Our new technical ingredient of UCBMQ is the use of momentum to correct the bias that Q-learning suffers while, \emph{at the same time}, limiting the impact it has on the second-order term of the regret.
For UCBMQ, we are able to guarantee a regret of at most $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{H^3SAT}+ H^4 S A)$ where $H$ is the length of an episode, $S$ the number of states, $A$ the number of actions, $T$ the number of episodes and ignoring terms in poly$\log(SAHT)$.
Notably, UCBMQ is the first algorithm that simultaneously matches the lower bound of $\Omega(\sqrt{H^3SAT})$ for large enough $T$ and has a second-order term (with respect to $T$) that scales \emph{only linearly} with the number of states $S$.

We study the online load balancing problem with machine learned predictions, and give results that improve upon and extend those in a recent paper by Lattanzi et al. (2020). First, we design deterministic and randomized online rounding algorithms for the problem in the unrelated machine setting, with $O(\frac{\log m}{\log \log m})$- and $O(\frac{\log \log m}{\log \log \log m})$-competitive ratios. They respectively improve upon the previous ratios of $O(\log m)$ and $O(\log^3\log m)$, and match the lower bounds given by Lattanzi et al. Second, we extend their prediction scheme from the identical machine restricted assignment setting to the unrelated machine setting. With the knowledge of two vectors over machines, a dual vector and a weight vector, we can construct a good fractional assignment online, that can be passed to an online rounding algorithm. Finally, we consider the learning model introduced by Lavastida et al. (2020), and show that under the model, the two vectors can be learned efficiently with a few samples of instances.

While contrastive approaches of self-supervised learning (SSL) learn representations by minimizing the distance between two augmented views of the same data point (positive pairs) and maximizing views from different data points (negative pairs), recent \emph{non-contrastive} SSL (e.g., BYOL and SimSiam) show remarkable performance {\it without} negative pairs, with an extra learnable predictor and a stop-gradient operation. A fundamental question rises: why they do not collapse into trivial representation? In this paper, we answer this question via a simple theoretical study and propose a novel approach, \ourmethod{}, that \emph{directly} sets the linear predictor based on the statistics of its inputs, rather than trained with gradient update. On ImageNet, it performs comparably with more complex two-layer non-linear predictors that employ BatchNorm and outperforms linear predictor by $2.5\%$ in 300-epoch training (and $5\%$ in 60-epoch). \ourmethod{} is motivated by our theoretical study of the nonlinear learning dynamics of non-contrastive SSL in simple linear networks. Our study yields conceptual insights into how non-contrastive SSL methods learn, how they avoid representational collapse, and how multiple factors, like predictor networks, stop-gradients, exponential moving averages, and weight decay all come into play. Our simple theory recapitulates the results of real-world ablation studies in both STL-10 and ImageNet. …

In this paper, we study the bandits with knapsacks (BwK) problem and develop a primal-dual based algorithm that achieves a problem-dependent logarithmic regret bound. The BwK problem extends the multi-arm bandit (MAB) problem to model the resource consumption, and the existing BwK literature has been mainly focused on deriving asymptotically optimal distribution-free regret bounds. We first study the primal and dual linear programs underlying the BwK problem. From this primal-dual perspective, we discover symmetry between arms and knapsacks, and then propose a new notion of suboptimality measure for the BwK problem. The suboptimality measure highlights the important role of knapsacks in determining algorithm regret and inspires the design of our two-phase algorithm. In the first phase, the algorithm identifies the optimal arms and the binding knapsacks, and in the second phase, it exhausts the binding knapsacks via playing the optimal arms through an adaptive procedure. Our regret upper bound involves the proposed suboptimality measure and it has a logarithmic dependence on length of horizon $T$ and a polynomial dependence on $m$ (the numbers of arms) and $d$ (the number of knapsacks). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first problem-dependent logarithmic regret bound for solving the general BwK …

In parametric Bayesian learning, a prior is assumed on the parameter $W$ which determines the distribution of samples. In this setting, Minimum Excess Risk (MER) is defined as the difference between the minimum expected loss achievable when learning from data and the minimum expected loss that could be achieved if $W$ was observed. In this paper, we build upon and extend the recent results of (Xu & Raginsky, 2020) to analyze the MER in Bayesian learning and derive information-theoretic bounds on it. We formulate the problem as a (constrained) rate-distortion optimization and show how the solution can be bounded above and below by two other rate-distortion functions that are easier to study. The lower bound represents the minimum possible excess risk achievable by \emph{any} process using $R$ bits of information from the parameter $W$. For the upper bound, the optimization is further constrained to use $R$ bits from the training set, a setting which relates MER to information-theoretic bounds on the generalization gap in frequentist learning. We derive information-theoretic bounds on the difference between these upper and lower bounds and show that they can provide order-wise tight rates for MER under certain conditions. This analysis gives more insight into the …

Neural decoders were introduced as a generalization of the classic Belief Propagation (BP) decoding algorithms, where the Trellis graph in the BP algorithm is viewed as a neural network, and the weights in the Trellis graph are optimized by training the neural network. In this work, we propose a novel neural decoder for cyclic codes by exploiting their cyclically invariant property. More precisely, we impose a shift invariant structure on the weights of our neural decoder so that any cyclic shift of inputs results in the same cyclic shift of outputs. Extensive simulations with BCH codes and punctured Reed-Muller (RM) codes show that our new decoder consistently outperforms previous neural decoders when decoding cyclic codes. Finally, we propose a list decoding procedure that can significantly reduce the decoding error probability for BCH codes and punctured RM codes. For certain high-rate codes, the gap between our list decoder and the Maximum Likelihood decoder is less than $0.1$dB. Code available at github.com/cyclicallyneuraldecoder

Complementary-label learning (CLL) deals with the weak supervision scenario where each training instance is associated with one \emph{complementary} label, which specifies the class label that the instance does \emph{not} belong to. Given the training instance ${\bm x}$, existing CLL approaches aim at modeling the \emph{generative} relationship between the complementary label $\bar y$, i.e. $P(\bar y\mid {\bm x})$, and the ground-truth label $y$, i.e. $P(y\mid {\bm x})$. Nonetheless, as the ground-truth label is not directly accessible for complementarily labeled training instance, strong generative assumptions may not hold for real-world CLL tasks. In this paper, we derive a simple and theoretically-sound \emph{discriminative} model towards $P(\bar y\mid {\bm x})$, which naturally leads to a risk estimator with estimation error bound at $\mathcal{O}(1/\sqrt{n})$ convergence rate. Accordingly, a practical CLL approach is proposed by further introducing weighted loss to the empirical risk to maximize the predictive gap between potential ground-truth label and complementary label. Extensive experiments clearly validate the effectiveness of the proposed discriminative complementary-label learning approach.

Multi-layered network exploration (MuLaNE) problem is an important problem abstracted from many applications. In MuLaNE, there are multiple network layers where each node has an importance weight and each layer is explored by a random walk. The MuLaNE task is to allocate total random walk budget $B$ into each network layer so that the total weights of the unique nodes visited by random walks are maximized. We systematically study this problem from offline optimization to online learning. For the offline optimization setting where the network structure and node weights are known, we provide greedy based constant-ratio approximation algorithms for overlapping networks, and greedy or dynamic-programming based optimal solutions for non-overlapping networks. For the online learning setting, neither the network structure nor the node weights are known initially. We adapt the combinatorial multi-armed bandit framework and design algorithms to learn random walk related parameters and node weights while optimizing the budget allocation in multiple rounds, and prove that they achieve logarithmic regret bounds. Finally, we conduct experiments on a real-world social network dataset to validate our theoretical results.

In this work, we study algorithms for learning in infinite-horizon undiscounted Markov decision processes (MDPs) with function approximation.
We first show that the regret analysis of the Politex algorithm (a version of regularized policy iteration) can be sharpened from $O(T^{3/4})$ to $O(\sqrt{T})$ under nearly identical assumptions, and instantiate the bound with linear function approximation. Our result provides the first high-probability $O(\sqrt{T})$ regret bound for a computationally efficient algorithm in this setting. The exact implementation of Politex with neural network function approximation is inefficient in terms of memory and computation. Since our analysis suggests that we need to approximate the average of the action-value functions of past policies well, we propose a simple efficient implementation where we train a single Q-function on a replay buffer with past data. We show that this often leads to superior performance over other implementation choices, especially in terms of wall-clock time. Our work also provides a novel theoretical justification for using experience replay within policy iteration algorithms.

In this paper, we study the hard and soft support vector regression techniques applied to a set of $n$ linear measurements of the form $y_i=\boldsymbol{\beta}_\star^{T}{\bf x}_i +n_i$ where $\boldsymbol{\beta}_\star$ is an unknown vector, $\left\{{\bf x}_i\right\}_{i=1}^n$ are the feature vectors and $\left\{{n}_i\right\}_{i=1}^n$ model the noise. Particularly, under some plausible assumptions on the statistical distribution of the data, we characterize the feasibility condition for the hard support vector regression in the regime of high dimensions and, when feasible, derive an asymptotic approximation for its risk. Similarly, we study the test risk for the soft support vector regression as a function of its parameters. Our results are then used to optimally tune the parameters intervening in the design of hard and soft support vector regression algorithms. Based on our analysis, we illustrate that adding more samples may be harmful to the test performance of support vector regression, while it is always beneficial when the parameters are optimally selected. Such a result reminds a similar phenomenon observed in modern learning architectures according to which optimally tuned architectures present a decreasing test performance curve with respect to the number of samples.

The cumulative empirical spectral measure (CESM) $\Phi[\mathbf{A}] : \mathbb{R} \to [0,1]$ of a $n\times n$ symmetric matrix $\mathbf{A}$ is defined as the fraction of eigenvalues of $\mathbf{A}$ less than a given threshold, i.e., $\Phi[\mathbf{A}](x) := \sum_{i=1}^{n} \frac{1}{n} {\large\unicode{x1D7D9}}[ \lambda_i[\mathbf{A}]\leq x]$. Spectral sums $\operatorname{tr}(f[\mathbf{A}])$ can be computed as the Riemann--Stieltjes integral of $f$ against $\Phi[\mathbf{A}]$, so the task of estimating CESM arises frequently in a number of applications, including machine learning. We present an error analysis for stochastic Lanczos quadrature (SLQ). We show that SLQ obtains an approximation to the CESM within a Wasserstein distance of $t \: | \lambda_{\text{max}}[\mathbf{A}] - \lambda_{\text{min}}[\mathbf{A}] |$ with probability at least $1-\eta$, by applying the Lanczos algorithm for $\lceil 12 t^{-1} + \frac{1}{2} \rceil$ iterations to $\lceil 4 ( n+2 )^{-1}t^{-2} \ln(2n\eta^{-1}) \rceil$ vectors sampled independently and uniformly from the unit sphere. We additionally provide (matrix-dependent) a posteriori error bounds for the Wasserstein and Kolmogorov--Smirnov distances between the output of this algorithm and the true CESM. The quality of our bounds is demonstrated using numerical experiments.

Temporal difference learning with linear function approximation is a popular method to obtain a low-dimensional approximation of the value function of a policy in a Markov Decision Process. We provide an interpretation of this method in terms of a splitting of the gradient of an appropriately chosen function. As a consequence of this interpretation, convergence proofs for gradient descent can be applied almost verbatim to temporal difference learning. Beyond giving a fuller explanation of why temporal difference works, this interpretation also yields improved convergence times. We consider the setting with $1/\sqrt{T}$ step-size, where previous comparable finite-time convergence time bounds for temporal difference learning had the multiplicative factor $1/(1-\gamma)$ in front of the bound, with $\gamma$ being the discount factor. We show that a minor variation on TD learning which estimates the mean of the value function separately has a convergence time where $1/(1-\gamma)$ only multiplies an asymptotically negligible term.

*1 adversarial attacks use additive smoothing noise and provide probabilistic robustness guarantees. In this work, we propose a non-additive and deterministic smoothing method, Deterministic Smoothing with Splitting Noise (DSSN). To develop DSSN, we first develop SSN, a randomized method which involves generating each noisy smoothing sample by first randomly splitting the input space and then returning a representation of the center of the subdivision occupied by the input sample. In contrast to uniform additive smoothing, the SSN certification does not require the random noise components used to be independent. Thus, smoothing can be done effectively in just one dimension and can therefore be efficiently derandomized for quantized data (e.g., images). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to provide deterministic "randomized smoothing" for a norm-based adversarial threat model while allowing for an arbitrary classifier (i.e., a deep model) to be used as a base classifier and without requiring an exponential number of smoothing samples. On CIFAR-10 and ImageNet datasets, we provide substantially larger L*1 robustness certificates compared to prior works, establishing …

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 …

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.

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 …

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.

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.