Recent results in supervised learning suggest that while overparameterized models have the capacity to overfit, they in fact generalize quite well. We ask whether the same phenomenon occurs for offline contextual bandits. Our results are mixed. Value-based algorithms benefit from the same generalization behavior as overparameterized supervised learning, but policy-based algorithms do not. We show that this discrepancy is due to the \emph{action-stability} of their objectives. An objective is action-stable if there exists a prediction (action-value vector or action distribution) which is optimal no matter which action is observed. While value-based objectives are action-stable, policy-based objectives are unstable. We formally prove upper bounds on the regret of overparameterized value-based learning and lower bounds on the regret for policy-based algorithms. In our experiments with large neural networks, this gap between action-stable value-based objectives and unstable policy-based objectives leads to significant performance differences.

VDN and QMIX are two popular value-based algorithms for cooperative MARL that learn a centralized action value function as a monotonic mixing of per-agent utilities. While this enables easy decentralization of the learned policy, the restricted joint action value function can prevent them from solving tasks that require significant coordination between agents at a given timestep. We show that this problem can be overcome by improving the joint exploration of all agents during training. Specifically, we propose a novel MARL approach called Universal Value Exploration (UneVEn) that learns a set of related tasks simultaneously with a linear decomposition of universal successor features. With the policies of already solved related tasks, the joint exploration process of all agents can be improved to help them achieve better coordination. Empirical results on a set of exploration games, challenging cooperative predator-prey tasks requiring significant coordination among agents, and StarCraft II micromanagement benchmarks show that UneVEn can solve tasks where other state-of-the-art MARL methods fail.

Data sampling acts as a pivotal role in training deep learning models. However, an effective sampling schedule is difficult to learn due to its inherent high-dimension as a hyper-parameter. In this paper, we propose an AutoSampling method to automatically learn sampling schedules for model training, which consists of the multi-exploitation step aiming for optimal local sampling schedules and the exploration step for the ideal sampling distribution. More specifically, we achieve sampling schedule search with shortened exploitation cycle to provide enough supervision. In addition, we periodically estimate the sampling distribution from the learned sampling schedules and perturb it to search in the distribution space. The combination of two searches allows us to learn a robust sampling schedule. We apply our AutoSampling method to a variety of image classification tasks illustrating the effectiveness of the proposed method.

Spiking Neural Network (SNN) has been recognized as one of the next generation of neural networks. Conventionally, SNN can be converted from a pre-trained ANN by only replacing the ReLU activation to spike activation while keeping the parameters intact. Perhaps surprisingly, in this work we show that a proper way to calibrate the parameters during the conversion of ANN to SNN can bring significant improvements. We introduce SNN Calibration, a cheap but extraordinarily effective method by leveraging the knowledge within a pre-trained Artificial Neural Network (ANN). Starting by analyzing the conversion error and its propagation through layers theoretically, we propose the calibration algorithm that can correct the error layer-by-layer. The calibration only takes a handful number of training data and several minutes to finish. Moreover, our calibration algorithm can produce SNN with state-of-the-art architecture on the large-scale ImageNet dataset, including MobileNet and RegNet. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of our algorithm. For example, our advanced pipeline can increase up to 69% top-1 accuracy when converting MobileNet on ImageNet compared to baselines. Codes are released at https://github.com/yhhhli/SNN_Calibration.

Learning effective representations in image-based environments is crucial for sample efficient Reinforcement Learning (RL). Unfortunately, in RL, representation learning is confounded with the exploratory experience of the agent -- learning a useful representation requires diverse data, while effective exploration is only possible with coherent representations. Furthermore, we would like to learn representations that not only generalize across tasks but also accelerate downstream exploration for efficient task-specific training. To address these challenges we propose Proto-RL, a self-supervised framework that ties representation learning with exploration through prototypical representations. These prototypes simultaneously serve as a summarization of the exploratory experience of an agent as well as a basis for representing observations. We pre-train these task-agnostic representations and prototypes on environments without downstream task information. This enables state-of-the-art downstream policy learning on a set of difficult continuous control tasks.

A key challenge on the path to developing agents that learn complex human-like behavior is the need to quickly and accurately quantify human-likeness. While human assessments of such behavior can be highly accurate, speed and scalability are limited. We address these limitations through a novel automated Navigation Turing Test (ANTT) that learns to predict human judgments of human-likeness. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our automated NTT on a navigation task in a complex 3D environment. We investigate six classification models to shed light on the types of architectures best suited to this task, and validate them against data collected through a human NTT. Our best models achieve high accuracy when distinguishing true human and agent behavior. At the same time, we show that predicting finer-grained human assessment of agents’ progress towards human-like behavior remains unsolved. Our work takes an important step towards agents that more effectively learn complex human-like behavior.

A fundamental challenge in multiagent reinforcement learning is to learn beneficial behaviors in a shared environment with other simultaneously learning agents. In particular, each agent perceives the environment as effectively non-stationary due to the changing policies of other agents. Moreover, each agent is itself constantly learning, leading to natural non-stationarity in the distribution of experiences encountered. In this paper, we propose a novel meta-multiagent policy gradient theorem that directly accounts for the non-stationary policy dynamics inherent to multiagent learning settings. This is achieved by modeling our gradient updates to consider both an agent’s own non-stationary policy dynamics and the non-stationary policy dynamics of other agents in the environment. We show that our theoretically grounded approach provides a general solution to the multiagent learning problem, which inherently comprises all key aspects of previous state of the art approaches on this topic. We test our method on a diverse suite of multiagent benchmarks and demonstrate a more efficient ability to adapt to new agents as they learn than baseline methods across the full spectrum of mixed incentive, competitive, and cooperative domains.

Realistic use of neural networks often requires adhering to multiple constraints on latency, energy and memory among others. A popular approach to find fitting networks is through constrained Neural Architecture Search (NAS), however, previous methods enforce the constraint only softly. Therefore, the resulting networks do not exactly adhere to the resource constraint and their accuracy is harmed. In this work we resolve this by introducing Hard Constrained diffeRentiable NAS (HardCoRe-NAS), that is based on an accurate formulation of the expected resource requirement and a scalable search method that satisfies the hard constraint throughout the search. Our experiments show that HardCoRe-NAS generates state-of-the-art architectures, surpassing other NAS methods, while strictly satisfying the hard resource constraints without any tuning required.

Current graph representation (GR) algorithms require huge demand of human experts in hyperparameter tuning, which significantly limits their practical applications, leading to an urge for automated graph representation without human intervention. Although automated machine learning (AutoML) serves as a good candidate for automatic hyperparameter tuning, little literature has been reported on automated graph presentation learning and the only existing work employs a black-box strategy, lacking insights into explaining the relative importance of different hyperparameters. To address this issue, we study explainable automated graph representation with hyperparameter importance in this paper. We propose an explainable AutoML approach for graph representation (e-AutoGR) which utilizes explainable graph features during performance estimation and learns decorrelated importance weights for different hyperparameters in affecting the model performance through a non-linear decorrelated weighting regression. These learned importance weights can in turn help to provide more insights in hyperparameter search procedure. We theoretically prove the soundness of the decorrelated weighting algorithm. Extensive experiments on real-world datasets demonstrate the superiority of our proposed e-AutoGR model against state-of-the-art methods in terms of both model performance and hyperparameter importance explainability.

Various machine learning tasks, from generative modeling to domain adaptation, revolve around the concept of dataset transformation and manipulation. While various methods exist for transforming unlabeled datasets, principled methods to do so for labeled (e.g., classification) datasets are missing. In this work, we propose a novel framework for dataset transformation, which we cast as optimization over data-generating joint probability distributions. We approach this class of problems through Wasserstein gradient flows in probability space, and derive practical and efficient particle-based methods for a flexible but well-behaved class of objective functions. Through various experiments, we show that this framework can be used to impose constraints on classification datasets, adapt them for transfer learning, or to re-purpose fixed or black-box models to classify —with high accuracy— previously unseen datasets.

Fragment libraries are often used in protein structure prediction, simulation and design as a means to significantly reduce the vast conformational search space. Current state-of-the-art methods for fragment library generation do not properly account for aleatory and epistemic uncertainty, respectively due to the dynamic nature of proteins and experimental errors in protein structures. Additionally, they typically rely on information that is not generally or readily available, such as homologous sequences, related protein structures and other complementary information. To address these issues, we developed BIFROST, a novel take on the fragment library problem based on a Deep Markov Model architecture combined with directional statistics for angular degrees of freedom, implemented in the deep probabilistic programming language Pyro. BIFROST is a probabilistic, generative model of the protein backbone dihedral angles conditioned solely on the amino acid sequence. BIFROST generates fragment libraries with a quality on par with current state-of-the-art methods at a fraction of the run-time, while requiring considerably less information and allowing efficient evaluation of probabilities.

With graphs rapidly growing in size and deeper graph neural networks (GNNs) emerging, the training and inference of GNNs become increasingly expensive. Existing network weight pruning algorithms cannot address the main space and computational bottleneck in GNNs, caused by the size and connectivity of the graph. To this end, this paper first presents a unified GNN sparsification (UGS) framework that simultaneously prunes the graph adjacency matrix and the model weights, for effectively accelerating GNN inference on large-scale graphs. Leveraging this new tool, we further generalize the recently popular lottery ticket hypothesis to GNNs for the first time, by defining a graph lottery ticket (GLT) as a pair of core sub-dataset and sparse sub-network, which can be jointly identified from the original GNN and the full dense graph by iteratively applying UGS. Like its counterpart in convolutional neural networks, GLT can be trained in isolation to match the performance of training with the full model and graph, and can be drawn from both randomly initialized and self-supervised pre-trained GNNs. Our proposal has been experimentally verified across various GNN architectures and diverse tasks, on both small-scale graph datasets (Cora, Citeseer and PubMed), and large-scale datasets from the challenging Open Graph Benchmark (OGB). …

In this paper, sample-aware policy entropy regularization is proposed to enhance the conventional policy entropy regularization for better exploration. Exploiting the sample distribution obtainable from the replay buffer, the proposed sample-aware entropy regularization maximizes the entropy of the weighted sum of the policy action distribution and the sample action distribution from the replay buffer for sample-efficient exploration. A practical algorithm named diversity actor-critic (DAC) is developed by applying policy iteration to the objective function with the proposed sample-aware entropy regularization. Numerical results show that DAC significantly outperforms existing recent algorithms for reinforcement learning.

In few-shot imitation, an agent is given a few demonstrations of a previously unseen task, and must then successfully perform that task. We propose a novel approach to learning few-shot-imitation agents that we call demonstration-conditioned reinforcement learning (DCRL). Given a training set consisting of demonstrations, reward functions and transition distributions for multiple tasks, the idea is to work with a policy that takes demonstrations as input, and to train this policy to maximize the average of the cumulative reward over the set of training tasks. Relative to previously proposed few-shot imitation methods that use behaviour cloning or infer reward functions from demonstrations, our method has the disadvantage that it requires reward functions at training time. However, DCRL also has several advantages, such as the ability to improve upon suboptimal demonstrations, to operate given state-only demonstrations, and to cope with a domain shift between the demonstrator and the agent. Moreover, we show that DCRL outperforms methods based on behaviour cloning by a large margin, on navigation tasks and on robotic manipulation tasks from the Meta-World benchmark.

Transfer in reinforcement learning is usually achieved through generalisation across tasks. Whilst many studies have investigated transferring knowledge when the reward function changes, they have assumed that the dynamics of the environments remain consistent. Many real-world RL problems require transfer among environments with different dynamics. To address this problem, we propose an approach based on successor features in which we model successor feature functions with Gaussian Processes permitting the source successor features to be treated as noisy measurements of the target successor feature function. Our theoretical analysis proves the convergence of this approach as well as the bounded error on modelling successor feature functions with Gaussian Processes in environments with both different dynamics and rewards. We demonstrate our method on benchmark datasets and show that it outperforms current baselines.

We propose a novel policy update that combines regularized policy optimization with model learning as an auxiliary loss. The update (henceforth Muesli) matches MuZero's state-of-the-art performance on Atari. Notably, Muesli does so without using deep search: it acts directly with a policy network and has computation speed comparable to model-free baselines. The Atari results are complemented by extensive ablations, and by additional results on continuous control and 9x9 Go.

One of the ways that machine learning algorithms can help control the spread of an infectious disease is by building models that predict who is likely to become infected making them good candidates for preemptive interventions. In this work we ask: can we build reliable infection prediction models when the observed data is collected under limited, and biased testing that prioritizes testing symptomatic individuals? Our analysis suggests that when the infection is highly transmissible, incomplete testing might be sufficient to achieve good out-of-sample prediction error. Guided by this insight, we develop an algorithm that predicts infections, and show that it outperforms baselines on simulated data. We apply our model to data from a large hospital to predict Clostridioides difficile infections; a communicable disease that is characterized by both symptomatically infected and asymptomatic (i.e., untested) carriers. Using a proxy instead of the unobserved untested-infected state, we show that our model outperforms benchmarks in predicting infections.

Two-player, constant-sum games are well studied in the literature, but there has been limited progress outside of this setting. We propose Joint Policy-Space Response Oracles (JPSRO), an algorithm for training agents in n-player, general-sum extensive form games, which provably converges to an equilibrium. We further suggest correlated equilibria (CE) as promising meta-solvers, and propose a novel solution concept Maximum Gini Correlated Equilibrium (MGCE), a principled and computationally efficient family of solutions for solving the correlated equilibrium selection problem. We conduct several experiments using CE meta-solvers for JPSRO and demonstrate convergence on n-player, general-sum games.

We introduce the GANsformer, a novel and efficient type of transformer, and explore it for the task of visual generative modeling. The network employs a bipartite structure that enables long-range interactions across the image, while maintaining computation of linear efficiency, that can readily scale to high-resolution synthesis. It iteratively propagates information from a set of latent variables to the evolving visual features and vice versa, to support the refinement of each in light of the other and encourage the emergence of compositional representations of objects and scenes. In contrast to the classic transformer architecture, it utilizes multiplicative integration that allows flexible region-based modulation, and can thus be seen as a generalization of the successful StyleGAN network. We demonstrate the model's strength and robustness through a careful evaluation over a range of datasets, from simulated multi-object environments to rich real-world indoor and outdoor scenes, showing it achieves state-of-the-art results in terms of image quality and diversity, while enjoying fast learning and better data-efficiency. Further qualitative and quantitative experiments offer us an insight into the model's inner workings, revealing improved interpretability and stronger disentanglement, and illustrating the benefits and efficacy of our approach. An implementation of the model is available at https://github.com/dorarad/gansformer.

We develop an iterative (greedy) deep learning (DL) algorithm which is able to transform an arbitrary probability distribution function (PDF) into the target PDF. The model is based on iterative Optimal Transport of a series of 1D slices, matching on each slice the marginal PDF to the target. The axes of the orthogonal slices are chosen to maximize the PDF difference using Wasserstein distance at each iteration, which enables the algorithm to scale well to high dimensions. As special cases of this algorithm, we introduce two sliced iterative Normalizing Flow (SINF) models, which map from the data to the latent space (GIS) and vice versa (SIG). We show that SIG is able to generate high quality samples of image datasets, which match the GAN benchmarks, while GIS obtains competitive results on density estimation tasks compared to the density trained NFs, and is more stable, faster, and achieves higher p(x) when trained on small training sets. SINF approach deviates significantly from the current DL paradigm, as it is greedy and does not use concepts such as mini-batching, stochastic gradient descent and gradient back-propagation through deep layers.

We consider Bayesian optimization in settings where observations can be adversarially biased, for example by an uncontrolled hidden confounder. Our first contribution is a reduction of the confounded setting to the dueling bandit model. Then we propose a novel approach for dueling bandits based on information-directed sampling (IDS). Thereby, we obtain the first efficient kernelized algorithm for dueling bandits that comes with cumulative regret guarantees. Our analysis further generalizes a previously proposed semi-parametric linear bandit model to non-linear reward functions, and uncovers interesting links to doubly-robust estimation.

Graph neural networks (GNNs) can process graphs of different sizes, but their ability to generalize across sizes, specifically from small to large graphs, is still not well understood. In this paper, we identify an important type of data where generalization from small to large graphs is challenging: graph distributions for which the local structure depends on the graph size. This effect occurs in multiple important graph learning domains, including social and biological networks. We first prove that when there is a difference between the local structures, GNNs are not guaranteed to generalize across sizes: there are "bad" global minima that do well on small graphs but fail on large graphs. We then study the size-generalization problem empirically and demonstrate that when there is a discrepancy in local structure, GNNs tend to converge to non-generalizing solutions. Finally, we suggest two approaches for improving size generalization, motivated by our findings. Notably, we propose a novel Self-Supervised Learning (SSL) task aimed at learning meaningful representations of local structures that appear in large graphs. Our SSL task improves classification accuracy on several popular datasets.

Strategic classification regards the problem of learning in settings where users can strategically modify their features to improve outcomes. This setting applies broadly, and has received much recent attention. But despite its practical significance, work in this space has so far been predominantly theoretical. In this paper we present a learning framework for strategic classification that is practical. Our approach directly minimizes the ``strategic'' empirical risk, which we achieve by differentiating through the strategic response of users. This provides flexibility that allows us to extend beyond the original problem formulation and towards more realistic learning scenarios. A series of experiments demonstrates the effectiveness of our approach on various learning settings.

Model-based Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a popular learning paradigm due to its potential sample efficiency compared to model-free RL. However, existing empirical model-based RL approaches lack the ability to explore. This work studies a computationally and statistically efficient model-based algorithm for both Kernelized Nonlinear Regulators (KNR) and linear Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). For both models, our algorithm guarantees polynomial sample complexity and only uses access to a planning oracle. Experimentally, we first demonstrate the flexibility and the efficacy of our algorithm on a set of exploration challenging control tasks where existing empirical model-based RL approaches completely fail. We then show that our approach retains excellent performance even in common dense reward control benchmarks that do not require heavy exploration.

Temporal-Difference (TD) learning is a general and very useful tool for estimating the value function of a given policy, which in turn is required to find good policies. Generally speaking, TD learning updates states whenever they are visited. When the agent lands in a state, its value can be used to compute the TD-error, which is then propagated to other states. However, it may be interesting, when computing updates, to take into account other information than whether a state is visited or not. For example, some states might be more important than others (such as states which are frequently seen in a successful trajectory). Or, some states might have unreliable value estimates (for example, due to partial observability or lack of data), making their values less desirable as targets. We propose an approach to re-weighting states used in TD updates, both when they are the input and when they provide the target for the update. We prove that our approach converges with linear function approximation and illustrate its desirable empirical behaviour compared to other TD-style methods.

We propose a hierarchical version of dual averaging for zeroth-order online non-convex optimization – i.e., learning processes where, at each stage, the optimizer is facing an unknown non-convex loss function and only receives the incurred loss as feedback. The proposed class of policies relies on the construction of an online model that aggregates loss information as it arrives, and it consists of two principal components: (a) a regularizer adapted to the Fisher information metric (as opposed to the metric norm of the ambient space); and (b) a principled exploration of the problem’s state space based on an adapted hierarchical schedule. This construction enables sharper control of the model’s bias and variance, and allows us to derive tight bounds for both the learner’s static and dynamic regret – i.e., the regret incurred against the best dynamic policy in hindsight over the horizon of play.

A novel asynchronous decentralized optimization method that follows Stochastic Variance Reduction (SVR) is proposed. Average consensus algorithms, such as Decentralized Stochastic Gradient Descent (DSGD), facilitate distributed training of machine learning models. However, the gradient will drift within the local nodes due to statistical heterogeneity of the subsets of data residing on the nodes and long communication intervals. To overcome the drift problem, (i) Gradient Tracking-SVR (GT-SVR) integrates SVR into DSGD and (ii) Edge-Consensus Learning (ECL) solves a model constrained minimization problem using a primal-dual formalism. In this paper, we reformulate the update procedure of ECL such that it implicitly includes the gradient modification of SVR by optimally selecting a constraint-strength control parameter. Through convergence analysis and experiments, we confirmed that the proposed ECL with Implicit SVR (ECL-ISVR) is stable and approximately reaches the reference performance obtained with computation on a single-node using full data set.

Transformer is a ubiquitous model for natural language processing and has attracted wide attentions in computer vision. The attention maps are indispensable for a transformer model to encode the dependencies among input tokens. However, they are learned independently in each layer and sometimes fail to capture precise patterns. In this paper, we propose a novel and generic mechanism based on evolving attention to improve the performance of transformers. On one hand, the attention maps in different layers share common knowledge, thus the ones in preceding layers can instruct the attention in succeeding layers through residual connections. On the other hand, low-level and high-level attentions vary in the level of abstraction, so we adopt convolutional layers to model the evolutionary process of attention maps. The proposed evolving attention mechanism achieves significant performance improvement over various state-of-the-art models for multiple tasks, including image classification, natural language understanding and machine translation.

Learning sensorimotor control policies from high-dimensional images crucially relies on the quality of the underlying visual representations. Prior works show that structured latent space such as visual keypoints often outperforms unstructured representations for robotic control. However, most of these representations, whether structured or unstructured are learned in a 2D space even though the control tasks are usually performed in a 3D environment. In this work, we propose a framework to learn such a 3D geometric structure directly from images in an end-to-end unsupervised manner. The input images are embedded into latent 3D keypoints via a differentiable encoder which is trained to optimize both a multi-view consistency loss and downstream task objective. These discovered 3D keypoints tend to meaningfully capture robot joints as well as object movements in a consistent manner across both time and 3D space. The proposed approach outperforms prior state-of-art methods across a variety of reinforcement learning benchmarks. Code and videos at https://buoyancy99.github.io/unsup-3d-keypoints/.

Several recent applications of optimal transport (OT) theory to machine learning have relied on regularization, notably entropy and the Sinkhorn algorithm. Because matrix-vector products are pervasive in the Sinkhorn algorithm, several works have proposed to \textit{approximate} kernel matrices appearing in its iterations using low-rank factors. Another route lies instead in imposing low-nonnegative rank constraints on the feasible set of couplings considered in OT problems, with no approximations on cost nor kernel matrices. This route was first explored by~\citet{forrow2018statistical}, who proposed an algorithm tailored for the squared Euclidean ground cost, using a proxy objective that can be solved through the machinery of regularized 2-Wasserstein barycenters. Building on this, we introduce in this work a generic approach that aims at solving, in full generality, the OT problem under low-nonnegative rank constraints with arbitrary costs. Our algorithm relies on an explicit factorization of low-rank couplings as a product of \textit{sub-coupling} factors linked by a common marginal; similar to an NMF approach, we alternatively updates these factors. We prove the non-asymptotic stationary convergence of this algorithm and illustrate its efficiency on benchmark experiments.

Sparsifying deep neural networks is of paramount interest in many areas, especially when those networks have to be implemented on low-memory devices. In this article, we propose a new formulation of the problem of generating sparse weights for a pre-trained neural network. By leveraging the properties of standard nonlinear activation functions, we show that the problem is equivalent to an approximate subdifferential inclusion problem. The accuracy of the approximation controls the sparsity. We show that the proposed approach is valid for a broad class of activation functions (ReLU, sigmoid, softmax). We propose an iterative optimization algorithm to induce sparsity whose convergence is guaranteed. Because of the algorithm flexibility, the sparsity can be ensured from partial training data in a minibatch manner. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our method, we perform experiments on various networks in different applicative contexts: image classification, speech recognition, natural language processing, and time-series forecasting.

Imitation learning enables agents to reuse and adapt the hard-won expertise of others, offering a solution to several key challenges in learning behavior. Although it is easy to observe behavior in the real-world, the underlying actions may not be accessible. We present a new method for imitation solely from observations that achieves comparable performance to experts on challenging continuous control tasks while also exhibiting robustness in the presence of observations unrelated to the task. Our method, which we call FORM (for "Future Observation Reward Model") is derived from an inverse RL objective and imitates using a model of expert behavior learned by generative modelling of the expert's observations, without needing ground truth actions. We show that FORM performs comparably to a strong baseline IRL method (GAIL) on the DeepMind Control Suite benchmark, while outperforming GAIL in the presence of task-irrelevant features.

Graph-structured data arise in a variety of real-world context ranging from sensor and transportation to biological and social networks. As a ubiquitous tool to process graph-structured data, spectral graph filters have been used to solve common tasks such as denoising and anomaly detection, as well as design deep learning architectures such as graph neural networks. Despite being an important tool, there is a lack of theoretical understanding of the stability properties of spectral graph filters, which are important for designing robust machine learning models. In this paper, we study filter stability and provide a novel and interpretable upper bound on the change of filter output, where the bound is expressed in terms of the endpoint degrees of the deleted and newly added edges, as well as the spatial proximity of those edges. This upper bound allows us to reason, in terms of structural properties of the graph, when a spectral graph filter will be stable. We further perform extensive experiments to verify intuition that can be gained from the bound.

Current model-based reinforcement learning methods struggle when operating from complex visual scenes due to their inability to prioritize task-relevant features. To mitigate this problem, we propose learning Task Informed Abstractions (TIA) that explicitly separates reward-correlated visual features from distractors. For learning TIA, we introduce the formalism of Task Informed MDP (TiMDP) that is realized by training two models that learn visual features via cooperative reconstruction, but one model is adversarially dissociated from the reward signal. Empirical evaluation shows that TIA leads to significant performance gains over state-of-the-art methods on many visual control tasks where natural and unconstrained visual distractions pose a formidable challenge. Project page: https://xiangfu.co/tia

With the development of deep networks on various large-scale datasets, a large zoo of pretrained models are available. When transferring from a model zoo, applying classic single-model-based transfer learning methods to each source model suffers from high computational cost and cannot fully utilize the rich knowledge in the zoo. We propose \emph{Zoo-Tuning} to address these challenges, which learns to adaptively transfer the parameters of pretrained models to the target task. With the learnable channel alignment layer and adaptive aggregation layer, Zoo-Tuning \emph{adaptively aggregates channel aligned pretrained parameters to derive the target model}, which simultaneously promotes knowledge transfer and adapts source models to downstream tasks. The adaptive aggregation substantially reduces the computation cost at both training and inference. We further propose lite Zoo-Tuning with the temporal ensemble of batch average gating values to reduce the storage cost at the inference time. We evaluate our approach on a variety of tasks, including reinforcement learning, image classification, and facial landmark detection. Experiment results demonstrate that the proposed adaptive transfer learning approach can more effectively and efficiently transfer knowledge from a zoo of models.

Batch policy optimization considers leveraging existing data for policy construction before interacting with an environment. Although interest in this problem has grown significantly in recent years, its theoretical foundations remain under-developed. To advance the understanding of this problem, we provide three results that characterize the limits and possibilities of batch policy optimization in the finite-armed stochastic bandit setting. First, we introduce a class of confidence-adjusted index algorithms that unifies optimistic and pessimistic principles in a common framework, which enables a general analysis. For this family, we show that any confidence-adjusted index algorithm is minimax optimal, whether it be optimistic, pessimistic or neutral. Our analysis reveals that instance-dependent optimality, commonly used to establish optimality of on-line stochastic bandit algorithms, cannot be achieved by any algorithm in the batch setting. In particular, for any algorithm that performs optimally in some environment, there exists another environment where the same algorithm suffers arbitrarily larger regret. Therefore, to establish a framework for distinguishing algorithms, we introduce a new weighted-minimax criterion that considers the inherent difficulty of optimal value prediction. We demonstrate how this criterion can be used to justify commonly used pessimistic principles for batch policy optimization.

Optimal transport distances have found many applications in machine learning for their capacity to compare non-parametric probability distributions. Yet their algorithmic complexity generally prevents their direct use on large scale datasets. Among the possible strategies to alleviate this issue, practitioners can rely on computing estimates of these distances over subsets of data, i.e. minibatches. While computationally appealing, we highlight in this paper some limits of this strategy, arguing it can lead to undesirable smoothing effects. As an alternative, we suggest that the same minibatch strategy coupled with unbalanced optimal transport can yield more robust behaviors. We discuss the associated theoretical properties, such as unbiased estimators, existence of gradients and concentration bounds. Our experimental study shows that in challenging problems associated to domain adaptation, the use of unbalanced optimal transport leads to significantly better results, competing with or surpassing recent baselines.

\emph{Contrastive learning}~(CL) pretrains models in a pairwise manner, where given a data point, other data points are all regarded as dissimilar, including some that are \emph{semantically} similar. The issue has been addressed by properly weighting similar and dissimilar pairs as in \emph{positive-unlabeled learning}, so that the objective of CL is \emph{unbiased} and CL is \emph{consistent}. However, in this paper, we argue that this great solution is still not enough: its weighted objective \emph{hides} the issue where the semantically similar pairs are still pushed away; as CL is pretraining, this phenomenon is not our desideratum and might affect downstream tasks. To this end, we propose \emph{large-margin contrastive learning}~(LMCL) with \emph{distance polarization regularizer}, motivated by the distribution characteristic of pairwise distances in \emph{metric learning}. In LMCL, we can distinguish between \emph{intra-cluster} and \emph{inter-cluster} pairs, and then only push away inter-cluster pairs, which \emph{solves} the above issue explicitly. Theoretically, we prove a tighter error bound for LMCL; empirically, the superiority of LMCL is demonstrated across multiple domains, \emph{i.e.}, image classification, sentence representation, and reinforcement learning.

Banks are required to analyse large transaction datasets as a part of the fight against financial crime. Today, this analysis is either performed manually by domain experts or using expensive feature engineering. Gradient flow analysis allows for basic representation learning as node potentials can be inferred directly from network transaction data. However, the gradient model has a fundamental limitation: it cannot represent all types of of network flows. Furthermore, standard methods for learning the gradient flow are not appropriate for flow signals that span multiple orders of magnitude and contain outliers, i.e. transaction data. In this work, the gradient model is extended to a gated version and we prove that it, unlike the gradient model, is a universal approximator for flows on graphs. To tackle the mentioned challenges of transaction data, we propose a multi-scale and outlier robust loss function based on the Student-t log-likelihood. Ethereum transaction data is used for evaluation and the gradient models outperform MLP models using hand-engineered and node2vec features in terms of relative error. These results extend to 60 synthetic datasets, with experiments also showing that the gated gradient model learns qualitative information about the underlying synthetic generative flow distributions.

Optimal transport (OT) is a widely used technique for distribution alignment, with applications throughout the machine learning, graphics, and vision communities. Without any additional structural assumptions on transport, however, OT can be fragile to outliers or noise, especially in high dimensions. Here, we introduce Latent Optimal Transport (LOT), a new approach for OT that simultaneously learns low-dimensional structure in data while leveraging this structure to solve the alignment task. The idea behind our approach is to learn two sets of ``anchors'' that constrain the flow of transport between a source and target distribution. In both theoretical and empirical studies, we show that LOT regularizes the rank of transport and makes it more robust to outliers and the sampling density. We show that by allowing the source and target to have different anchors, and using LOT to align the latent spaces between anchors, the resulting transport plan has better structural interpretability and highlights connections between both the individual data points and the local geometry of the datasets.

Recent exploration methods have proven to be a recipe for improving sample-efficiency in deep reinforcement learning (RL). However, efficient exploration in high-dimensional observation spaces still remains a challenge. This paper presents Random Encoders for Efficient Exploration (RE3), an exploration method that utilizes state entropy as an intrinsic reward. In order to estimate state entropy in environments with high-dimensional observations, we utilize a k-nearest neighbor entropy estimator in the low-dimensional representation space of a convolutional encoder. In particular, we find that the state entropy can be estimated in a stable and compute-efficient manner by utilizing a randomly initialized encoder, which is fixed throughout training. Our experiments show that RE3 significantly improves the sample-efficiency of both model-free and model-based RL methods on locomotion and navigation tasks from DeepMind Control Suite and MiniGrid benchmarks. We also show that RE3 allows learning diverse behaviors without extrinsic rewards, effectively improving sample-efficiency in downstream tasks.

A black-box spectral method is introduced for evaluating the adversarial robustness of a given machine learning (ML) model. Our approach, named SPADE, exploits bijective distance mapping between the input/output graphs constructed for approximating the manifolds corresponding to the input/output data. By leveraging the generalized Courant-Fischer theorem, we propose a SPADE score for evaluating the adversarial robustness of a given model, which is proved to be an upper bound of the best Lipschitz constant under the manifold setting. To reveal the most non-robust data samples highly vulnerable to adversarial attacks, we develop a spectral graph embedding procedure leveraging dominant generalized eigenvectors. This embedding step allows assigning each data point a robustness score that can be further harnessed for more effective adversarial training of ML models. Our experiments show promising empirical results for neural networks trained with the MNIST and CIFAR-10 data sets.

Federated Learning is a distributed learning setting where the goal is to train a centralized model with training data distributed over a large number of heterogeneous clients, each with unreliable and relatively slow network connections. A common optimization approach used in federated learning is based on the idea of local SGD: each client runs some number of SGD steps locally and then the updated local models are averaged to form the updated global model on the coordinating server. In this paper, we investigate the performance of an asynchronous version of local SGD wherein the clients can communicate with the server at arbitrary time intervals. Our main result shows that for smooth strongly convex and smooth nonconvex functions we achieve convergence rates that match the synchronous version that requires all clients to communicate simultaneously.

The design of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) to accurately process sequential inputs with long-time dependencies is very challenging on account of the exploding and vanishing gradient problem. To overcome this, we propose a novel RNN architecture which is based on a structure preserving discretization of a Hamiltonian system of second-order ordinary differential equations that models networks of oscillators. The resulting RNN is fast, invertible (in time), memory efficient and we derive rigorous bounds on the hidden state gradients to prove the mitigation of the exploding and vanishing gradient problem. A suite of experiments are presented to demonstrate that the proposed RNN provides state of the art performance on a variety of learning tasks with (very) long-time dependencies.

Adversarial training is among the most effective techniques to improve robustness of models against adversarial perturbations. However, the full effect of this approach on models is not well understood. For example, while adversarial training can reduce the adversarial risk (prediction error against an adversary), it sometimes increase standard risk (generalization error when there is no adversary). In this paper, we focus on \emph{distribution perturbing} adversary framework wherein the adversary can change the test distribution within a neighborhood of the training data distribution. The neighborhood is defined via Wasserstein distance between distributions and the radius of the neighborhood is a measure of adversary's manipulative power. We study the tradeoff between standard risk and adversarial risk and derive the Pareto-optimal tradeoff, achievable over specific classes of models, in the infinite data limit with features dimension kept fixed. We consider three learning settings: 1) Regression with the class of linear models; 2) Binary classification under the Gaussian mixtures data model, with the class of linear classifiers; 3) Regression with the class of random features model (which can be equivalently represented as two-layer neural network with random first-layer weights). We show that a tradeoff between standard and adversarial risk is manifested in all three …

We present a convolution-free approach to video classification built exclusively on self-attention over space and time. Our method, named `TimeSformer,'' adapts the standard Transformer architecture to video by enabling spatiotemporal feature learning directly from a sequence of frame-level patches. Our experimental study compares different self-attention schemes and suggests that`

divided attention,'' where temporal attention and spatial attention are separately applied within each block, leads to the best video classification accuracy among the design choices considered. Despite the radically new design, TimeSformer achieves state-of-the-art results on several action recognition benchmarks, including the best reported accuracy on Kinetics-400 and Kinetics-600. Finally, compared to 3D convolutional networks, our model is faster to train, it can achieve dramatically higher test efficiency (at a small drop in accuracy), and it can also be applied to much longer video clips (over one minute long). Code and models are available at: https://github.com/facebookresearch/TimeSformer.

Marginal-likelihood based model-selection, even though promising, is rarely used in deep learning due to estimation difficulties. Instead, most approaches rely on validation data, which may not be readily available. In this work, we present a scalable marginal-likelihood estimation method to select both hyperparameters and network architectures, based on the training data alone. Some hyperparameters can be estimated online during training, simplifying the procedure. Our marginal-likelihood estimate is based on Laplace’s method and Gauss-Newton approximations to the Hessian, and it outperforms cross-validation and manual tuning on standard regression and image classification datasets, especially in terms of calibration and out-of-distribution detection. Our work shows that marginal likelihoods can improve generalization and be useful when validation data is unavailable (e.g., in nonstationary settings).

Learning to classify time series with limited data is a practical yet challenging problem. Current methods are primarily based on hand-designed feature extraction rules or domain-specific data augmentation. Motivated by the advances in deep speech processing models and the fact that voice data are univariate temporal signals, in this paper we propose Voice2Serie (V2S), a novel end-to-end approach that reprograms acoustic models for time series classification, through input transformation learning and output label mapping. Leveraging the representation learning power of a large-scale pre-trained speech processing model, on 31 different time series tasks we show that V2S outperforms or is on part with state-of-the-art methods on 22 tasks, and improves their average accuracy by 1.72%. We further provide theoretical justification of V2S by proving its population risk is upper bounded by the source risk and a Wasserstein distance accounting for feature alignment via reprogramming. Our results offer new and effective means to time series classification.

We propose a Multiscale Invertible Generative Network (MsIGN) and associated training algorithm that leverages multiscale structure to solve high-dimensional Bayesian inference. To address the curse of dimensionality, MsIGN exploits the low-dimensional nature of the posterior, and generates samples from coarse to fine scale (low to high dimension) by iteratively upsampling and refining samples. MsIGN is trained in a multi-stage manner to minimize the Jeffreys divergence, which avoids mode dropping in high-dimensional cases. On two high-dimensional Bayesian inverse problems, we show superior performance of MsIGN over previous approaches in posterior approximation and multiple mode capture. On the natural image synthesis task, MsIGN achieves superior performance in bits-per-dimension over baseline models and yields great interpret-ability of its neurons in intermediate layers.

We present a method for efficient differentiable simulation of articulated bodies. This enables integration of articulated body dynamics into deep learning frameworks, and gradient-based optimization of neural networks that operate on articulated bodies. We derive the gradients of the contact solver using spatial algebra and the adjoint method. Our approach is an order of magnitude faster than autodiff tools. By only saving the initial states throughout the simulation process, our method reduces memory requirements by two orders of magnitude. We demonstrate the utility of efficient differentiable dynamics for articulated bodies in a variety of applications. We show that reinforcement learning with articulated systems can be accelerated using gradients provided by our method. In applications to control and inverse problems, gradient-based optimization enabled by our work accelerates convergence by more than an order of magnitude.

Linear interpolation between initial neural network parameters and converged parameters after training with stochastic gradient descent (SGD) typically leads to a monotonic decrease in the training objective. This Monotonic Linear Interpolation (MLI) property, first observed by Goodfellow et al. 2014, persists in spite of the non-convex objectives and highly non-linear training dynamics of neural networks. Extending this work, we evaluate several hypotheses for this property that, to our knowledge, have not yet been explored. Using tools from differential geometry, we draw connections between the interpolated paths in function space and the monotonicity of the network --- providing sufficient conditions for the MLI property under mean squared error. While the MLI property holds under various settings (e.g., network architectures and learning problems), we show in practice that networks violating the MLI property can be produced systematically, by encouraging the weights to move far from initialization. The MLI property raises important questions about the loss landscape geometry of neural networks and highlights the need to further study their global properties.

We present a message passing method for 0–1 integer linear programs. Our algorithm is based on a decomposition of the original problem into subproblems that are represented as binary deci- sion diagrams. The resulting Lagrangean dual is solved iteratively by a series of efficient block coordinate ascent steps. Our method has linear iteration complexity in the size of the decomposi- tion and can be effectively parallelized. The char- acteristics of our approach are desirable towards solving ever larger problems arising in structured prediction. We present experimental results on combinatorial problems from MAP inference for Markov Random Fields, quadratic assignment, discrete tomography and cell tracking for develop- mental biology and show promising performance.

Although model-based and model-free approaches to learning the control of systems have achieved impressive results on standard benchmarks, generalization to task variations is still lacking. Recent results suggest that generalization for standard architectures improves only after obtaining exhaustive amounts of data. We give evidence that generalization capabilities are in many cases bottlenecked by the inability to generalize on the combinatorial aspects of the problem. We show that, for a certain subclass of the MDP framework, this can be alleviated by a neuro-algorithmic policy architecture that embeds a time-dependent shortest path solver in a deep neural network. Trained end-to-end via blackbox-differentiation, this method leads to considerable improvement in generalization capabilities in the low-data regime.

Neural network pruning techniques reduce the number of parameters without compromising predicting ability of a network. Many algorithms have been developed for pruning both over-parameterized fully-connected networks (FCN) and convolutional neural networks (CNN), but analytical studies of capabilities and compression ratios of such pruned sub-networks are lacking. We theoretically study the performance of two pruning techniques (random and magnitude-based) on FCN and CNN. Given a target network, we provide a universal approach to bound the gap between a pruned and the target network in a probabilistic sense, which is the first study of this nature. The results establish that there exist pruned networks with expressive power within any specified bound from the target network and with a significant compression ratio.

Can a neural network minimizing cross-entropy learn linearly separable data? Despite progress in the theory of deep learning, this question remains unsolved. Here we prove that SGD globally optimizes this learning problem for a two-layer network with Leaky ReLU activations. The learned network can in principle be very complex. However, empirical evidence suggests that it often turns out to be approximately linear. We provide theoretical support for this phenomenon by proving that if network weights converge to two weight clusters, this will imply an approximately linear decision boundary. Finally, we show a condition on the optimization that leads to weight clustering. We provide empirical results that validate our theoretical analysis.

We consider the problem of molecular graph generation using deep models. While graphs are discrete, most existing methods use continuous latent variables, resulting in inaccurate modeling of discrete graph structures. In this work, we propose GraphDF, a novel discrete latent variable model for molecular graph generation based on normalizing flow methods. GraphDF uses invertible modulo shift transforms to map discrete latent variables to graph nodes and edges. We show that the use of discrete latent variables reduces computational costs and eliminates the negative effect of dequantization. Comprehensive experimental results show that GraphDF outperforms prior methods on random generation, property optimization, and constrained optimization tasks.

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While deep neural networks provide good performance for a range of challenging tasks, calibration and uncertainty estimation remain major challenges, especially under distribution shift. In this paper, we propose the amortized conditional normalized maximum likelihood (ACNML) method as a scalable general-purpose approach for uncertainty estimation, calibration, and out-of-distribution robustness with deep networks. Our algorithm builds on the conditional normalized maximum likelihood (CNML) coding scheme, which has minimax optimal properties according to the minimum description length principle, but is computationally intractable to evaluate exactly for all but the simplest of model classes. We propose to use approximate Bayesian inference technqiues to produce a tractable approximation to the CNML distribution. Our approach can be combined with any approximate inference algorithm that provides tractable posterior densities over model parameters. We demonstrate that ACNML compares favorably to a number of prior techniques for uncertainty estimation in terms of calibration when faced with distribution shift.

Continual learning—the ability to learn many tasks in sequence—is critical for artificial learning systems. Yet standard training methods for deep networks often suffer from catastrophic forgetting, where learning new tasks erases knowledge of the earlier tasks. While catastrophic forgetting labels the problem, the theoretical reasons for interference between tasks remain unclear. Here, we attempt to narrow this gap between theory and practice by studying continual learning in the teacher-student setup. We extend previous analytical work on two-layer networks in the teacher-student setup to multiple teachers. Using each teacher to represent a different task, we investigate how the relationship between teachers affects the amount of forgetting and transfer exhibited by the student when the task switches. In line with recent work, we find that when tasks depend on similar features, intermediate task similarity leads to greatest forgetting. However, feature similarity is only one way in which tasks may be related. The teacher-student approach allows us to disentangle task similarity at the level of \emph{readouts} (hidden-to-output weights) as well as \emph{features} (input-to-hidden weights). We find a complex interplay between both types of similarity, initial transfer/forgetting rates, maximum transfer/forgetting, and the long-time (post-switch) amount of transfer/forgetting. Together, these results help illuminate the diverse …

This paper considers classification problems with hierarchically organized classes. We force the classifier (hyperplane) of each class to belong to a sphere manifold, whose center is the classifier of its super-class. Then, individual sphere manifolds are connected based on their hierarchical relations. Our technique replaces the last layer of a neural network by combining a spherical fully-connected layer with a hierarchical layer. This regularization is shown to improve the performance of widely used deep neural network architectures (ResNet and DenseNet) on publicly available datasets (CIFAR100, CUB200, Stanford dogs, Stanford cars, and Tiny-ImageNet).

Deep generative models have been demonstrated as state-of-the-art density estimators. Yet, recent work has found that they often assign a higher likelihood to data from outside the training distribution. This seemingly paradoxical behavior has caused concerns over the quality of the attained density estimates. In the context of hierarchical variational autoencoders, we provide evidence to explain this behavior by out-of-distribution data having in-distribution low-level features. We argue that this is both expected and desirable behavior. With this insight in hand, we develop a fast, scalable and fully unsupervised likelihood-ratio score for OOD detection that requires data to be in-distribution across all feature-levels. We benchmark the method on a vast set of data and model combinations and achieve state-of-the-art results on out-of-distribution detection.

Projection-free conditional gradient (CG) methods are the algorithms of choice for constrained optimization setups in which projections are often computationally prohibitive but linear optimization over the constraint set remains computationally feasible. Unlike in projection-based methods, globally accelerated convergence rates are in general unattainable for CG. However, a very recent work on Locally accelerated CG (LaCG) has demonstrated that local acceleration for CG is possible for many settings of interest. The main downside of LaCG is that it requires knowledge of the smoothness and strong convexity parameters of the objective function. We remove this limitation by introducing a novel, Parameter-Free Locally accelerated CG (PF-LaCG) algorithm, for which we provide rigorous convergence guarantees. Our theoretical results are complemented by numerical experiments, which demonstrate local acceleration and showcase the practical improvements of PF-LaCG over non-accelerated algorithms, both in terms of iteration count and wall-clock time.

This paper presents a new approach for assembling graph neural networks based on framelet transforms. The latter provides a multi-scale representation for graph-structured data. We decompose an input graph into low-pass and high-pass frequencies coefficients for network training, which then defines a framelet-based graph convolution. The framelet decomposition naturally induces a graph pooling strategy by aggregating the graph feature into low-pass and high-pass spectra, which considers both the feature values and geometry of the graph data and conserves the total information. The graph neural networks with the proposed framelet convolution and pooling achieve state-of-the-art performance in many node and graph prediction tasks. Moreover, we propose shrinkage as a new activation for the framelet convolution, which thresholds high-frequency information at different scales. Compared to ReLU, shrinkage activation improves model performance on denoising and signal compression: noises in both node and structure can be significantly reduced by accurately cutting off the high-pass coefficients from framelet decomposition, and the signal can be compressed to less than half its original size with well-preserved prediction performance.

Many existing neural architecture search (NAS) solutions rely on downstream training for architecture evaluation, which takes enormous computations. Considering that these computations bring a large carbon footprint, this paper aims to explore a green (namely environmental-friendly) NAS solution that evaluates architectures without training. Intuitively, gradients, induced by the architecture itself, directly decide the convergence and generalization results. It motivates us to propose the gradient kernel hypothesis: Gradients can be used as a coarse-grained proxy of downstream training to evaluate random-initialized networks. To support the hypothesis, we conduct a theoretical analysis and find a practical gradient kernel that has good correlations with training loss and validation performance. According to this hypothesis, we propose a new kernel based architecture search approach KNAS. Experiments show that KNAS achieves competitive results with orders of magnitude faster than ``train-then-test'' paradigms on image classification tasks. Furthermore, the extremely low search cost enables its wide applications. The searched network also outperforms strong baseline RoBERTA-large on two text classification tasks.

We define deep kernel processes in which positive definite Gram matrices are progressively transformed by nonlinear kernel functions and by sampling from (inverse) Wishart distributions. Remarkably, we find that deep Gaussian processes (DGPs), Bayesian neural networks (BNNs), infinite BNNs, and infinite BNNs with bottlenecks can all be written as deep kernel processes. For DGPs the equivalence arises because the Gram matrix formed by the inner product of features is Wishart distributed, and as we show, standard isotropic kernels can be written entirely in terms of this Gram matrix --- we do not need knowledge of the underlying features. We define a tractable deep kernel process, the deep inverse Wishart process, and give a doubly-stochastic inducing-point variational inference scheme that operates on the Gram matrices, not on the features, as in DGPs. We show that the deep inverse Wishart process gives superior performance to DGPs and infinite BNNs on fully-connected baselines.

The lottery ticket hypothesis (LTH) reveals the existence of winning tickets (sparse but critical subnetworks) for dense networks, that can be trained in isolation from random initialization to match the latter's accuracies. However, finding winning tickets requires burdensome computations in the train-prune-retrain process, especially on large-scale datasets (e.g., ImageNet), restricting their practical benefits. This paper explores a new perspective on finding lottery tickets more efficiently, by doing so only with a specially selected subset of data, called Pruning-Aware Critical set (PrAC set), rather than using the full training set. The concept of PrAC set was inspired by the recent observation, that deep networks have samples that are either hard to memorize during training, or easy to forget during pruning. A PrAC set is thus hypothesized to capture those most challenging and informative examples for the dense model. We observe that a high-quality winning ticket can be found with training and pruning the dense network on the very compact PrAC set, which can substantially save training iterations for the ticket finding process. Extensive experiments validate our proposal across diverse datasets and network architectures. Specifically, on CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, and Tiny ImageNet, we locate effective PrAC sets at 35.32%~78.19% of their training set …

A graph generative model defines a distribution over graphs. Typically, the model consists of a sequential process that creates and adds nodes and edges. Such sequential process defines an ordering of the nodes in the graph. The computation of the model's likelihood requires to marginalize the node orderings; this makes maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) challenging due to the (factorial) number of possible permutations. In this work, we provide an expression for the likelihood of a graph generative model and show that its calculation is closely related to the problem of graph automorphism. In addition, we derive a variational inference (VI) algorithm for fitting a graph generative model that is based on the maximization of a variational bound of the log-likelihood. This allows the model to be trained with node orderings from the approximate posterior instead of ad-hoc orderings. Our experiments show that our log-likelihood bound is significantly tighter than the bound of previous schemes. The models fitted with the VI algorithm are able to generate high-quality graphs that match the structures of target graphs not seen during training.

We consider the optimal approximate posterior over the top-layer weights in a Bayesian neural network for regression, and show that it exhibits strong dependencies on the lower-layer weights. We adapt this result to develop a correlated approximate posterior over the weights at all layers in a Bayesian neural network. We extend this approach to deep Gaussian processes, unifying inference in the two model classes. Our approximate posterior uses learned "global'' inducing points, which are defined only at the input layer and propagated through the network to obtain inducing inputs at subsequent layers. By contrast, standard, "local'', inducing point methods from the deep Gaussian process literature optimise a separate set of inducing inputs at every layer, and thus do not model correlations across layers. Our method gives state-of-the-art performance for a variational Bayesian method, without data augmentation or tempering, on CIFAR-10 of 86.7%, which is comparable to SGMCMC without tempering but with data augmentation (88% in Wenzel et al. 2020).

There has been a surge of interest in continual learning and federated learning, both of which are important in deep neural networks in real-world scenarios. Yet little research has been done regarding the scenario where each client learns on a sequence of tasks from a private local data stream. This problem of federated continual learning poses new challenges to continual learning, such as utilizing knowledge from other clients, while preventing interference from irrelevant knowledge. To resolve these issues, we propose a novel federated continual learning framework, Federated Weighted Inter-client Transfer (FedWeIT), which decomposes the network weights into global federated parameters and sparse task-specific parameters, and each client receives selective knowledge from other clients by taking a weighted combination of their task-specific parameters. FedWeIT minimizes interference between incompatible tasks, and also allows positive knowledge transfer across clients during learning. We validate our FedWeIT against existing federated learning and continual learning methods under varying degrees of task similarity across clients, and our model significantly outperforms them with a large reduction in the communication cost.

The reward function is widely accepted as a succinct, robust, and transferable representation of a task. Typical approaches, at the basis of Inverse Reinforcement Learning (IRL), leverage on expert demonstrations to recover a reward function. In this paper, we study the theoretical properties of the class of reward functions that are compatible with the expert’s behavior. We analyze how the limited knowledge of the expert’s policy and of the environment affects the reward reconstruction phase. Then, we examine how the error propagates to the learned policy’s performance when transferring the reward function to a different environment. We employ these findings to devise a provably efficient active sampling approach, aware of the need for transferring the reward function, that can be paired with a large variety of IRL algorithms. Finally, we provide numerical simulations on benchmark environments.

We propose a novel approximation hierarchy for cardinality-constrained, convex quadratic programs that exploits the rank-dominating eigenvectors of the quadratic matrix. Each level of approximation admits a min-max characterization whose objective function can be optimized over the binary variables analytically, while preserving convexity in the continuous variables. Exploiting this property, we propose two scalable optimization algorithms, coined as the `best response" and the`

dual program", that can efficiently screen the potential indices of the nonzero elements of the original program. We show that the proposed methods are competitive with the existing screening methods in the current sparse regression literature, and it is particularly fast on instances with high number of measurements in experiments with both synthetic and real datasets.

In practical applications of iterative first-order optimization, the learning rate schedule remains notoriously difficult to understand and expensive to tune. We demonstrate the presence of these subtleties even in the innocuous case when the objective is a convex quadratic. We reinterpret an iterative algorithm from the numerical analysis literature as what we call the Chebyshev learning rate schedule for accelerating vanilla gradient descent, and show that the problem of mitigating instability leads to a fractal ordering of step sizes. We provide some experiments to challenge conventional beliefs about stable learning rates in deep learning: the fractal schedule enables training to converge with locally unstable updates which make negative progress on the objective.

We consider the problem of controlling a partially-observed dynamic process on a graph by a limited number of interventions. This problem naturally arises in contexts such as scheduling virus tests to curb an epidemic; targeted marketing in order to promote a product; and manually inspecting posts to detect fake news spreading on social networks.

We formulate this setup as a sequential decision problem over a temporal graph process. In face of an exponential state space, combinatorial action space and partial observability, we design a novel tractable scheme to control dynamical processes on temporal graphs. We successfully apply our approach to two popular problems that fall into our framework: prioritizing which nodes should be tested in order to curb the spread of an epidemic, and influence maximization on a graph.

Symmetric functions, which take as input an unordered, fixed-size set, are known to be universally representable by neural networks that enforce permutation invariance. These architectures only give guarantees for fixed input sizes, yet in many practical applications, including point clouds and particle physics, a relevant notion of generalization should include varying the input size. In this work we treat symmetric functions (of any size) as functions over probability measures, and study the learning and representation of neural networks defined on measures. By focusing on shallow architectures, we establish approximation and generalization bounds under different choices of regularization (such as RKHS and variation norms), that capture a hierarchy of functional spaces with increasing degree of non-linear learning. The resulting models can be learned efficiently and enjoy generalization guarantees that extend across input sizes, as we verify empirically.

The Bayesian paradigm has the potential to solve core issues of deep neural networks such as poor calibration and data inefficiency. Alas, scaling Bayesian inference to large weight spaces often requires restrictive approximations. In this work, we show that it suffices to perform inference over a small subset of model weights in order to obtain accurate predictive posteriors. The other weights are kept as point estimates. This subnetwork inference framework enables us to use expressive, otherwise intractable, posterior approximations over such subsets. In particular, we implement subnetwork linearized Laplace as a simple, scalable Bayesian deep learning method: We first obtain a MAP estimate of all weights and then infer a full-covariance Gaussian posterior over a subnetwork using the linearized Laplace approximation. We propose a subnetwork selection strategy that aims to maximally preserve the model’s predictive uncertainty. Empirically, our approach compares favorably to ensembles and less expressive posterior approximations over full networks.

Ratio maximization has applications in areas as diverse as finance, reward shaping for reinforcement learning (RL), and the development of safe artificial intelligence, yet there has been very little exploration of RL algorithms for ratio maximization. This paper addresses this deficiency by introducing two new, model-free RL algorithms for solving cost-aware Markov decision processes, where the goal is to maximize the ratio of long-run average reward to long-run average cost. The first algorithm is a two-timescale scheme based on relative value iteration (RVI) Q-learning and the second is an actor-critic scheme. The paper proves almost sure convergence of the former to the globally optimal solution in the tabular case and almost sure convergence of the latter under linear function approximation for the critic. Unlike previous methods, the two algorithms provably converge for general reward and cost functions under suitable conditions. The paper also provides empirical results demonstrating promising performance and lending strong support to the theoretical results.

What is the computational model behind a Transformer? Where recurrent neural networks have direct parallels in finite state machines, allowing clear discussion and thought around architecture variants or trained models, Transformers have no such familiar parallel. In this paper we aim to change that, proposing a computational model for the transformer-encoder in the form of a programming language. We map the basic components of a transformer-encoder---attention and feed-forward computation---into simple primitives, around which we form a programming language: the Restricted Access Sequence Processing Language (RASP). We show how RASP can be used to program solutions to tasks that could conceivably be learned by a Transformer, and how a Transformer can be trained to mimic a RASP solution. In particular, we provide RASP programs for histograms, sorting, and Dyck-languages. We further use our model to relate their difficulty in terms of the number of required layers and attention heads: analyzing a RASP program implies a maximum number of heads and layers necessary to encode a task in a transformer. Finally, we see how insights gained from our abstraction might be used to explain phenomena seen in recent works.

The pairwise interaction paradigm of graph machine learning has predominantly governed the modelling of relational systems. However, graphs alone cannot capture the multi-level interactions present in many complex systems and the expressive power of such schemes was proven to be limited. To overcome these limitations, we propose Message Passing Simplicial Networks (MPSNs), a class of models that perform message passing on simplicial complexes (SCs). To theoretically analyse the expressivity of our model we introduce a Simplicial Weisfeiler-Lehman (SWL) colouring procedure for distinguishing non-isomorphic SCs. We relate the power of SWL to the problem of distinguishing non-isomorphic graphs and show that SWL and MPSNs are strictly more powerful than the WL test and not less powerful than the 3-WL test. We deepen the analysis by comparing our model with traditional graph neural networks (GNNs) with ReLU activations in terms of the number of linear regions of the functions they can represent. We empirically support our theoretical claims by showing that MPSNs can distinguish challenging strongly regular graphs for which GNNs fail and, when equipped with orientation equivariant layers, they can improve classification accuracy in oriented SCs compared to a GNN baseline.

A wide range of optimization problems arising in machine learning can be solved by gradient descent algorithms, and a central question in this area is how to efficiently compress a large-scale dataset so as to reduce the computational complexity. Coreset is a popular data compression technique that has been extensively studied before. However, most of existing coreset methods are problem-dependent and cannot be used as a general tool for a broader range of applications. A key obstacle is that they often rely on the pseudo-dimension and total sensitivity bound that can be very high or hard to obtain. In this paper, based on the `locality'' property of gradient descent algorithms, we propose a new framework, termed`

sequential coreset'', which effectively avoids these obstacles. Moreover, our method is particularly suitable for sparse optimization whence the coreset size can be further reduced to be only poly-logarithmically dependent on the dimension. In practice, the experimental results suggest that our method can save a large amount of running time compared with the baseline algorithms.

Convolutional architectures have proven extremely successful for vision tasks. Their hard inductive biases enable sample-efficient learning, but come at the cost of a potentially lower performance ceiling. Vision Transformers (ViTs) rely on more flexible self-attention layers, and have recently outperformed CNNs for image classification. However, they require costly pre-training on large external datasets or distillation from pre-trained convolutional networks. In this paper, we ask the following question: is it possible to combine the strengths of these two architectures while avoiding their respective limitations? To this end, we introduce gated positional self-attention (GPSA), a form of positional self-attention which can be equipped with a ``soft" convolutional inductive bias. We initialise the GPSA layers to mimic the locality of convolutional layers, then give each attention head the freedom to escape locality by adjusting a gating parameter regulating the attention paid to position versus content information. The resulting convolutional-like ViT architecture, ConViT, outperforms the DeiT on ImageNet, while offering a much improved sample efficiency. We further investigate the role of locality in learning by first quantifying how it is encouraged in vanilla self-attention layers, then analysing how it is escaped in GPSA layers. We conclude by presenting various ablations to better understand the …

Transformers have been successful for many natural language processing tasks. However, applying transformers to the video domain for tasks such as long-term video generation and scene understanding has remained elusive due to the high computational complexity and the lack of natural tokenization. In this paper, we propose the ObjectCentric Video Transformer (OCVT) which utilizes an object-centric approach for decomposing scenes into tokens suitable for use in a generative video transformer. By factoring the video into objects, our fully unsupervised model is able to learn complex spatio-temporal dynamics of multiple interacting objects in a scene and generate future frames of the video. Our model is also signiﬁcantly more memory-efﬁcient than pixel-based models and thus able to train on videos of length up to 70 frames with a single 48GB GPU. We compare our model with previous RNN-based approaches as well as other possible video transformer baselines. We demonstrate OCVT performs well when compared to baselines in generating future frames. OCVT also develops useful representations for video reasoning, achieving start-of-the-art performance on the CATER task.

Recently, particle-based variational inference (ParVI) methods have gained interest because they can avoid arbitrary parametric assumptions that are common in variational inference. However, many ParVI approaches do not allow arbitrary sampling from the posterior, and the few that do allow such sampling suffer from suboptimality. This work proposes a new method for learning to approximately sample from the posterior distribution. We construct a neural sampler that is trained with the functional gradient of the KL-divergence between the empirical sampling distribution and the target distribution, assuming the gradient resides within a reproducing kernel Hilbert space. Our generative ParVI (GPVI) approach maintains the asymptotic performance of ParVI methods while offering the flexibility of a generative sampler. Through carefully constructed experiments, we show that GPVI outperforms previous generative ParVI methods such as amortized SVGD, and is competitive with ParVI as well as gold-standard approaches like Hamiltonian Monte Carlo for fitting both exactly known and intractable target distributions.

The variance-stabilizing transformation (VST) problem is to transform heteroscedastic data to homoscedastic data so that they are more tractable for subsequent analysis. However, most of the existing approaches focus on finding an analytical solution for a certain parametric distribution, which severely limits the applications, because simple distributions cannot faithfully describe the real data while more complicated distributions cannot be analytically solved. In this paper, we converted the VST problem into a convex optimization problem, which can always be efficiently solved, identified the specific structure of the convex problem, which further improved the efficiency of the proposed algorithm, and showed that any finite discrete distributions and the discretized version of any continuous distributions from real data can be variance-stabilized in an easy and nonparametric way. We demonstrated the new approach on bioimaging data and achieved superior performance compared to peer algorithms in terms of not only the variance homoscedasticity but also the impact on subsequent analysis such as denoising. Source codes are available at https://github.com/yu-lab-vt/ConvexVST.

The current best practice for computing optimal transport (OT) is via entropy regularization and Sinkhorn iterations. This algorithm runs in quadratic time as it requires the full pairwise cost matrix, which is prohibitively expensive for large sets of objects. In this work we propose two effective log-linear time approximations of the cost matrix: First, a sparse approximation based on locality sensitive hashing (LSH) and, second, a Nyström approximation with LSH-based sparse corrections, which we call locally corrected Nyström (LCN). These approximations enable general log-linear time algorithms for entropy-regularized OT that perform well even for the complex, high-dimensional spaces common in deep learning. We analyse these approximations theoretically and evaluate them experimentally both directly and end-to-end as a component for real-world applications. Using our approximations for unsupervised word embedding alignment enables us to speed up a state-of-the-art method by a factor of 3 while also improving the accuracy by 3.1 percentage points without any additional model changes. For graph distance regression we propose the graph transport network (GTN), which combines graph neural networks (GNNs) with enhanced Sinkhorn. GTN outcompetes previous models by 48% and still scales log-linearly in the number of nodes.

With a better understanding of the loss surfaces for multilayer networks, we can build more robust and accurate training procedures. Recently it was discovered that independently trained SGD solutions can be connected along one-dimensional paths of near-constant training loss. In this paper, we in fact demonstrate the existence of mode-connecting simplicial complexes that form multi-dimensional manifolds of low loss, connecting many independently trained models. Building on this discovery, we show how to efficiently construct simplicial complexes for fast ensembling, outperforming independently trained deep ensembles in accuracy, calibration, and robustness to dataset shift. Notably, our approach is easy to apply and only requires a few training epochs to discover a low-loss simplex.

As humans interact with autonomous agents to perform increasingly complicated, potentially risky tasks, it is important to be able to efficiently evaluate an agent's performance and correctness. In this paper we formalize and theoretically analyze the problem of efficient value alignment verification: how to efficiently test whether the behavior of another agent is aligned with a human's values? The goal is to construct a kind of "driver's test" that a human can give to any agent which will verify value alignment via a minimal number of queries. We study alignment verification problems with both idealized humans that have an explicit reward function as well as problems where they have implicit values. We analyze verification of exact value alignment for rational agents, propose and test heuristics for value alignment verification in gridworlds and a continuous autonomous driving domain, and prove that there exist sufficient conditions such that we can verify epsilon-alignment in any environment via a constant-query-complexity alignment test.

We consider the problem of training User Verification (UV) models in federated setup, where each user has access to the data of only one class and user embeddings cannot be shared with the server or other users. To address this problem, we propose Federated User Verification (FedUV), a framework in which users jointly learn a set of vectors and maximize the correlation of their instance embeddings with a secret linear combination of those vectors. We show that choosing the linear combinations from the codewords of an error-correcting code allows users to collaboratively train the model without revealing their embedding vectors. We present the experimental results for user verification with voice, face, and handwriting data and show that FedUV is on par with existing approaches, while not sharing the embeddings with other users or the server.

It is widely believed that engineering a model to be invariant/equivariant improves generalisation. Despite the growing popularity of this approach, a precise characterisation of the generalisation benefit is lacking. By considering the simplest case of linear models, this paper provides the first provably non-zero improvement in generalisation for invariant/equivariant models when the target distribution is invariant/equivariant with respect to a compact group. Moreover, our work reveals an interesting relationship between generalisation, the number of training examples and properties of the group action. Our results rest on an observation of the structure of function spaces under averaging operators which, along with its consequences for feature averaging, may be of independent interest.

The Dirichlet Belief Network~(DirBN) was recently proposed as a promising deep generative model to learn interpretable deep latent distributions for objects. However, its current representation capability is limited since its latent distributions across different layers is prone to form similar patterns and can thus hardly use multi-layer structure to form flexible distributions. In this work, we propose Poisson-randomised Dirichlet Belief Networks (Pois-DirBN), which allows large mutations for the latent distributions across layers to enlarge the representation capability. Based on our key idea of inserting Poisson random variables in the layer-wise connection, Pois-DirBN first introduces a component-wise propagation mechanism to enable latent distributions to have large variations across different layers. Then, we develop a layer-wise Gibbs sampling algorithm to infer the latent distributions, leading to a larger number of effective layers compared to DirBN. In addition, we integrate out latent distributions and form a multi-stochastic deep integer network, which provides an alternative view on Pois-DirBN. We apply Pois-DirBN to relational modelling and validate its effectiveness through improved link prediction performance and more interpretable latent distribution visualisations. The code can be downloaded at https://github.com/xuhuifan/Pois_DirBN.

Since the introduction of DQN, a vast majority of reinforcement learning research has focused on reinforcement learning with deep neural networks as function approximators. New methods are typically evaluated on a set of environments that have now become standard, such as Atari 2600 games. While these benchmarks help standardize evaluation, their computational cost has the unfortunate side effect of widening the gap between those with ample access to computational resources, and those without. In this work we argue that, despite the community’s emphasis on large-scale environments, the traditional small-scale environments can still yield valuable scientific insights and can help reduce the barriers to entry for underprivileged communities. To substantiate our claims, we empirically revisit the paper which introduced the Rainbow algorithm [Hessel et al., 2018] and present some new insights into the algorithms used by Rainbow.

Learning curves model a classifier's test error as a function of the number of training samples. Prior works show that learning curves can be used to select model parameters and extrapolate performance. We investigate how to use learning curves to evaluate design choices, such as pretraining, architecture, and data augmentation. We propose a method to robustly estimate learning curves, abstract their parameters into error and data-reliance, and evaluate the effectiveness of different parameterizations. Our experiments exemplify use of learning curves for analysis and yield several interesting observations.

Traditional supervised learning aims to train a classifier in the closed-set world, where training and test samples share the same label space. In this paper, we target a more challenging and realistic setting: open-set learning (OSL), where
there exist test samples from the classes that are unseen during training. Although researchers have designed many methods from the algorithmic perspectives, there are few methods that provide generalization guarantees on their ability to
achieve consistent performance on different training samples drawn from the same distribution. Motivated by the transfer learning and probably approximate correct (PAC) theory, we make a bold attempt to study OSL by proving its generalization error−given training samples with size n, the estimation error will get close to order Op(1/√n). This is the first study to provide a generalization bound for OSL, which we do by theoretically investigating the risk of the target classifier on unknown classes. According to our theory, a novel algorithm, called auxiliary open-set risk (AOSR) is proposed to address the OSL problem. Experiments verify the efficacy of AOSR. The code is available at github.com/AnjinLiu/Openset*Learning*AOSR.

Reinforcement Learning in large action spaces is a challenging problem. This is especially true for cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL), which often requires tractable learning while respecting various constraints like communication budget and information about other agents. In this work, we focus on the fundamental hurdle affecting both value-based and policy-gradient approaches: an exponential blowup of the action space with the number of agents. For value-based methods, it poses challenges in accurately representing the optimal value function for value-based methods, thus inducing suboptimality. For policy gradient methods, it renders the critic ineffective and exacerbates the problem of the lagging critic. We show that from a learning theory perspective, both problems can be addressed by accurately representing the associated action-value function with a low-complexity hypothesis class. This requires accurately modelling the agent interactions in a sample efficient way. To this end, we propose a novel tensorised formulation of the Bellman equation. This gives rise to our method Tesseract, which utilises the view of Q-function seen as a tensor where the modes correspond to action spaces of different agents. Algorithms derived from Tesseract decompose the Q-tensor across the agents and utilise low-rank tensor approximations to model the agent interactions relevant to the …

Adder neural network (AdderNet) is a new kind of deep model that replaces the original massive multiplications in convolutions by additions while preserving the high performance. Since the hardware complexity of additions is much lower than that of multiplications, the overall energy consumption is thus reduced significantly. To further optimize the hardware overhead of using AdderNet, this paper studies the winograd algorithm, which is a widely used fast algorithm for accelerating convolution and saving the computational costs. Unfortunately, the conventional Winograd algorithm cannot be directly applied to AdderNets since the distributive law in multiplication is not valid for the l1-norm. Therefore, we replace the element-wise multiplication in the Winograd equation by additions and then develop a new set of transform matrixes that can enhance the representation ability of output features to maintain the performance. Moreover, we propose the l2-to-l1 training strategy to mitigate the negative impacts caused by formal inconsistency. Experimental results on both FPGA and benchmarks show that the new method can further reduce the energy consumption without affecting the accuracy of the original AdderNet.

Modeling distributions on Riemannian manifolds is a crucial component in understanding non-Euclidean data that arises, e.g., in physics and geology. The budding approaches in this space are limited by representational and computational tradeoffs. We propose and study a class of flows that uses convex potentials from Riemannian optimal transport. These are universal and can model distributions on any compact Riemannian manifold without requiring domain knowledge of the manifold to be integrated into the architecture. We demonstrate that these flows can model standard distributions on spheres, and tori, on synthetic and geological data.

The performance of reinforcement learning depends upon designing an appropriate action space, where the effect of each action is measurable, yet, granular enough to permit flexible behavior. So far, this process involved non-trivial user choices in terms of the available actions and their execution frequency. We propose a novel framework for reinforcement learning that effectively lifts such constraints. Within our framework, agents learn effective behavior over a routine space: a new, higher-level action space, where each routine represents a set of 'equivalent' sequences of granular actions with arbitrary length. Our routine space is learned end-to-end to facilitate the accomplishment of underlying off-policy reinforcement learning objectives. We apply our framework to two state-of-the-art off-policy algorithms and show that the resulting agents obtain relevant performance improvements while requiring fewer interactions with the environment per episode, improving computational efficiency.

Datacenter vision systems widely use small, specialized convolutional neural networks (CNNs) trained on specific tasks for high-throughput inference. These settings employ accelerators with massive computational capacity, but which specialized CNNs underutilize due to having low arithmetic intensity. This results in suboptimal application-level throughput and poor returns on accelerator investment. Increasing batch size is the only known way to increase both application-level throughput and accelerator utilization for inference, but yields diminishing returns; specialized CNNs poorly utilize accelerators even with large batch size. We propose FoldedCNNs, a new approach to CNN design that increases inference throughput and utilization beyond large batch size. FoldedCNNs rethink the structure of inputs and layers of specialized CNNs to boost arithmetic intensity: in FoldedCNNs, f images with C channels each are concatenated into a single input with fC channels and jointly classified by a wider CNN. Increased arithmetic intensity in FoldedCNNs increases the throughput and GPU utilization of specialized CNN inference by up to 2.5x and 2.8x, with accuracy close to the original CNN in most cases.

It is well-known that stochastic gradient noise (SGN) acts as implicit regularization for deep learning and is essentially important for both optimization and generalization of deep networks. Some works attempted to artificially simulate SGN by injecting random noise to improve deep learning. However, it turned out that the injected simple random noise cannot work as well as SGN, which is anisotropic and parameter-dependent. For simulating SGN at low computational costs and without changing the learning rate or batch size, we propose the Positive-Negative Momentum (PNM) approach that is a powerful alternative to conventional Momentum in classic optimizers. The introduced PNM method maintains two approximate independent momentum terms. Then, we can control the magnitude of SGN explicitly by adjusting the momentum difference. We theoretically prove the convergence guarantee and the generalization advantage of PNM over Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD). By incorporating PNM into the two conventional optimizers, SGD with Momentum and Adam, our extensive experiments empirically verified the significant advantage of the PNM-based variants over the corresponding conventional Momentum-based optimizers. Code: \url{https://github.com/zeke-xie/Positive-Negative-Momentum}.

This paper introduces a new model to learn graph neural networks equivariant to rotations, translations, reflections and permutations called E(n)-Equivariant Graph Neural Networks (EGNNs). In contrast with existing methods, our work does not require computationally expensive higher-order representations in intermediate layers while it still achieves competitive or better performance. In addition, whereas existing methods are limited to equivariance on 3 dimensional spaces, our model is easily scaled to higher-dimensional spaces. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on dynamical systems modelling, representation learning in graph autoencoders and predicting molecular properties.

Likelihood is a standard estimate for outlier detection. The specific role of the normalization constraint is to ensure that the out-of-distribution (OOD) regime has a small likelihood when samples are learned using maximum likelihood. Because autoencoders do not possess such a process of normalization, they often fail to recognize outliers even when they are obviously OOD. We propose the Normalized Autoencoder (NAE), a normalized probabilistic model constructed from an autoencoder. The probability density of NAE is defined using the reconstruction error of an autoencoder, which is differently defined in the conventional energy-based model. In our model, normalization is enforced by suppressing the reconstruction of negative samples, significantly improving the outlier detection performance. Our experimental results confirm the efficacy of NAE, both in detecting outliers and in generating in-distribution samples.

Detecting the Maximum Common Subgraph (MCS) between two input graphs is fundamental for applications in drug synthesis, malware detection, cloud computing, etc. However, MCS computation is NP-hard, and state-of-the-art MCS solvers rely on heuristic search algorithms which in practice cannot find good solution for large graph pairs given a limited computation budget. We propose GLSearch, a Graph Neural Network (GNN) based learning to search model. Our model is built upon the branch and bound algorithm, which selects one pair of nodes from the two input graphs to expand at a time. We propose a novel GNN-based Deep Q-Network (DQN) to select the node pair, making the search process much faster. Experiments on synthetic and real-world graph pairs demonstrate that our model learns a search strategy that is able to detect significantly larger common subgraphs than existing MCS solvers given the same computation budget. GLSearch can be potentially extended to solve many other combinatorial problems with constraints on graphs.

Current reinforcement learning (RL) methods use simulation models as simple black-box oracles. In this paper, with the goal of improving the performance exhibited by RL algorithms, we explore a systematic way of leveraging the additional information provided by an emerging class of differentiable simulators. Building on concepts established by Deterministic Policy Gradients (DPG) methods, the neural network policies learned with our approach represent deterministic actions. In a departure from standard methodologies, however, learning these policies does not hinge on approximations of the value function that must be learned concurrently in an actor-critic fashion. Instead, we exploit differentiable simulators to directly compute the analytic gradient of a policy's value function with respect to the actions it outputs. This, in turn, allows us to efficiently perform locally optimal policy improvement iterations. Compared against other state-of-the-art RL methods, we show that with minimal hyper-parameter tuning our approach consistently leads to better asymptotic behavior across a set of payload manipulation tasks that demand a high degree of accuracy and precision.

As humans, our goals and our environment are persistently changing throughout our lifetime based on our experiences, actions, and internal and external drives. In contrast, typical reinforcement learning problem set-ups consider decision processes that are stationary across episodes. Can we develop reinforcement learning algorithms that can cope with the persistent change in the former, more realistic problem settings? While on-policy algorithms such as policy gradients in principle can be extended to non-stationary settings, the same cannot be said for more efficient off-policy algorithms that replay past experiences when learning. In this work, we formalize this problem setting, and draw upon ideas from the online learning and probabilistic inference literature to derive an off-policy RL algorithm that can reason about and tackle such lifelong non-stationarity. Our method leverages latent variable models to learn a representation of the environment from current and past experiences, and performs off-policy RL with this representation. We further introduce several simulation environments that exhibit lifelong non-stationarity, and empirically find that our approach substantially outperforms approaches that do not reason about environment shift.

Biological systems understand the world by simultaneously processing high-dimensional inputs from modalities as diverse as vision, audition, touch, proprioception, etc. The perception models used in deep learning on the other hand are designed for individual modalities, often relying on domain-specific assumptions such as the local grid structures exploited by virtually all existing vision models. These priors introduce helpful inductive biases, but also lock models to individual modalities. In this paper we introduce the Perceiver – a model that builds upon Transformers and hence makes few architectural assumptions about the relationship between its inputs, but that also scales to hundreds of thousands of inputs, like ConvNets. The model leverages an asymmetric attention mechanism to iteratively distill inputs into a tight latent bottleneck, allowing it to scale to handle very large inputs. We show that this architecture is competitive with or outperforms strong, specialized models on classification tasks across various modalities: images, point clouds, audio, video and video+audio. The Perceiver obtains performance comparable to ResNet-50 and ViT on ImageNet without 2D convolutions by directly attending to 50,000 pixels. It is also competitive in all modalities in AudioSet.

Group equivariant neural networks are used as building blocks of group invariant neural networks, which have been shown to improve generalisation performance and data efficiency through principled parameter sharing. Such works have mostly focused on group equivariant convolutions, building on the result that group equivariant linear maps are necessarily convolutions. In this work, we extend the scope of the literature to self-attention, that is emerging as a prominent building block of deep learning models. We propose the LieTransformer, an architecture composed of LieSelfAttention layers that are equivariant to arbitrary Lie groups and their discrete subgroups. We demonstrate the generality of our approach by showing experimental results that are competitive to baseline methods on a wide range of tasks: shape counting on point clouds, molecular property regression and modelling particle trajectories under Hamiltonian dynamics.

Variational data assimilation optimizes for an initial state of a dynamical system such that its evolution fits observational data. The physical model can subsequently be evolved into the future to make predictions. This principle is a cornerstone of large scale forecasting applications such as numerical weather prediction. As such, it is implemented in current operational systems of weather forecasting agencies across the globe. However, finding a good initial state poses a difficult optimization problem in part due to the non-invertible relationship between physical states and their corresponding observations. We learn a mapping from observational data to physical states and show how it can be used to improve optimizability. We employ this mapping in two ways: to better initialize the non-convex optimization problem, and to reformulate the objective function in better behaved physics space instead of observation space. Our experimental results for the Lorenz96 model and a two-dimensional turbulent fluid flow demonstrate that this procedure significantly improves forecast quality for chaotic systems.

In many coordination problems, independently reasoning humans are able to discover mutually compatible policies. In contrast, independently trained self-play policies are often mutually incompatible. Zero-shot coordination (ZSC) has recently been proposed as a new frontier in multi-agent reinforcement learning to address this fundamental issue. Prior work approaches the ZSC problem by assuming players can agree on a shared learning algorithm but not on labels for actions and observations, and proposes other-play as an optimal solution. However, until now, this “label-free” problem has only been informally defined. We formalize this setting as the label-free coordination (LFC) problem by defining the label-free coordination game. We show that other-play is not an optimal solution to the LFC problem as it fails to consistently break ties between incompatible maximizers of the other-play objective. We introduce an extension of the algorithm, other-play with tie-breaking, and prove that it is optimal in the LFC problem and an equilibrium in the LFC game. Since arbitrary tie-breaking is precisely what the ZSC setting aims to prevent, we conclude that the LFC problem does not reflect the aims of ZSC. To address this, we introduce an alternative informal operationalization of ZSC as a starting point for future work.

Many important real-world problems have action spaces that are high-dimensional, continuous or both, making full enumeration of all possible actions infeasible. Instead, only small subsets of actions can be sampled for the purpose of policy evaluation and improvement. In this paper, we propose a general framework to reason in a principled way about policy evaluation and improvement over such sampled action subsets. This sample-based policy iteration framework can in principle be applied to any reinforcement learning algorithm based upon policy iteration. Concretely, we propose Sampled MuZero, an extension of the MuZero algorithm that is able to learn in domains with arbitrarily complex action spaces by planning over sampled actions. We demonstrate this approach on the classical board game of Go and on two continuous control benchmark domains: DeepMind Control Suite and Real-World RL Suite.

The Euclidean projection onto a convex set is an important problem that arises in numerous constrained optimization tasks. Unfortunately, in many cases, computing projections is computationally demanding. In this work, we focus on projection problems where the constraints are smooth and the number of constraints is significantly smaller than the dimension. The runtime of existing approaches to solving such problems is either cubic in the dimension or polynomial in the inverse of the target accuracy. Conversely, we propose a simple and efficient primal-dual approach, with a runtime that scales only linearly with the dimension, and only logarithmically in the inverse of the target accuracy. We empirically demonstrate its performance, and compare it with standard baselines.

The goal of metric learning is to learn a function that maps samples to a lower-dimensional space where similar samples lie closer than dissimilar ones. Particularly, deep metric learning utilizes neural networks to learn such a mapping. Most approaches rely on losses that only take the relations between pairs or triplets of samples into account, which either belong to the same class or two different classes. However, these methods do not explore the embedding space in its entirety. To this end, we propose an approach based on message passing networks that takes all the relations in a mini-batch into account. We refine embedding vectors by exchanging messages among all samples in a given batch allowing the training process to be aware of its overall structure. Since not all samples are equally important to predict a decision boundary, we use an attention mechanism during message passing to allow samples to weigh the importance of each neighbor accordingly. We achieve state-of-the-art results on clustering and image retrieval on the CUB-200-2011, Cars196, Stanford Online Products, and In-Shop Clothes datasets. To facilitate further research, we make available the code and the models at https://github.com/dvl-tum/intra*batch*connections.

Successful negotiators must learn how to balance optimizing for self-interest and cooperation. Yet current artificial negotiation agents often heavily depend on the quality of the static datasets they were trained on, limiting their capacity to fashion an adaptive response balancing self-interest and cooperation. For this reason, we find that these agents can achieve either high utility or cooperation, but not both. To address this, we introduce a targeted data acquisition framework where we guide the exploration of a reinforcement learning agent using annotations from an expert oracle. The guided exploration incentivizes the learning agent to go beyond its static dataset and develop new negotiation strategies. We show that this enables our agents to obtain higher-reward and more Pareto-optimal solutions when negotiating with both simulated and human partners compared to standard supervised learning and reinforcement learning methods. This trend additionally holds when comparing agents using our targeted data acquisition framework to variants of agents trained with a mix of supervised learning and reinforcement learning, or to agents using tailored reward functions that explicitly optimize for utility and Pareto-optimality.

Offline Reinforcement Learning methods seek to learn a policy from logged transitions of an environment, without any interaction. In the presence of function approximation, and under the assumption of limited coverage of the state-action space of the environment, it is necessary to enforce the policy to visit state-action pairs close to the support of logged transitions. In this work, we propose an iterative procedure to learn a pseudometric (closely related to bisimulation metrics) from logged transitions, and use it to define this notion of closeness. We show its convergence and extend it to the function approximation setting. We then use this pseudometric to define a new lookup based bonus in an actor-critic algorithm: PLOFF. This bonus encourages the actor to stay close, in terms of the defined pseudometric, to the support of logged transitions. Finally, we evaluate the method on hand manipulation and locomotion tasks.

We introduce a new neural network architecture that we call "grid-functioned" neural networks. It utilises a grid structure of network parameterisations that can be specialised for different subdomains of the problem, while maintaining smooth, continuous behaviour. The grid gives the user flexibility to prevent gross features from overshadowing important minor ones. We present a full characterisation of its computational and spatial complexity, and demonstrate its potential, compared to a traditional architecture, over a set of synthetic regression problems. We further illustrate the benefits through a real-world 3D skeletal animation case study, where it offers the same visual quality as a state-of-the-art model, but with lower computational complexity and better control accuracy.

We propose a generative model that can infer a distribution for the underlying spatial signal conditioned on sparse samples e.g. plausible images given a few observed pixels. In contrast to sequential autoregressive generative models, our model allows conditioning on arbitrary samples and can answer distributional queries for any location. We empirically validate our approach across three image datasets and show that we learn to generate diverse and meaningful samples, with the distribution variance reducing given more observed pixels. We also show that our approach is applicable beyond images and can allow generating other types of spatial outputs e.g. polynomials, 3D shapes, and videos.

The ability to plan into the future while utilizing only raw high-dimensional observations, such as images, can provide autonomous agents with broad and general capabilities. However, realistic tasks require performing temporally extended reasoning, and cannot be solved with only myopic, short-sighted planning. Recent work in model-based reinforcement learning (RL) has shown impressive results on tasks that require only short-horizon reasoning. In this work, we study how the long-horizon planning abilities can be improved with an algorithm that optimizes over sequences of states, rather than actions, which allows better credit assignment. To achieve this, we draw on the idea of collocation and adapt it to the image-based setting by leveraging probabilistic latent variable models, resulting in an algorithm that optimizes trajectories over latent variables. Our latent collocation method (LatCo) provides a general and effective visual planning approach, and significantly outperforms prior model-based approaches on challenging visual control tasks with sparse rewards and long-term goals. See the videos on the supplementary website \url{https://sites.google.com/view/latco-mbrl/.}

In real world settings, numerous constraints are present which are hard to specify mathematically. However, for the real world deployment of reinforcement learning (RL), it is critical that RL agents are aware of these constraints, so that they can act safely. In this work, we consider the problem of learning constraints from demonstrations of a constraint-abiding agent's behavior. We experimentally validate our approach and show that our framework can successfully learn the most likely constraints that the agent respects. We further show that these learned constraints are \textit{transferable} to new agents that may have different morphologies and/or reward functions. Previous works in this regard have either mainly been restricted to tabular (discrete) settings, specific types of constraints or assume the environment's transition dynamics. In contrast, our framework is able to learn arbitrary \textit{Markovian} constraints in high-dimensions in a completely model-free setting. The code is available at: \url{https://github.com/shehryar-malik/icrl}.

This paper bridges discrete and continuous optimization approaches for decomposable submodular function minimization, in both the standard and parametric settings. We provide improved running times for this problem by reducing it to a number of calls to a maximum flow oracle. When each function in the decomposition acts on O(1) elements of the ground set V and is polynomially bounded, our running time is up to polylogarithmic factors equal to that of solving maximum flow in a sparse graph with O(|V|) vertices and polynomial integral capacities. We achieve this by providing a simple iterative method which can optimize to high precision any convex function defined on the submodular base polytope, provided we can efficiently minimize it on the base polytope corresponding to the cut function of a certain graph that we construct. We solve this minimization problem by lifting the solutions of a parametric cut problem, which we obtain via a new efficient combinatorial reduction to maximum flow. This reduction is of independent interest and implies some previously unknown bounds for the parametric minimum s,t-cut problem in multiple settings.

Off-policy reinforcement learning (RL) holds the promise of sample-efficient learning of decision-making policies by leveraging past experience. However, in the offline RL setting -- where a fixed collection of interactions are provided and no further interactions are allowed -- it has been shown that standard off-policy RL methods can significantly underperform. In this work, we closely investigate an important simplification of BCQ (Fujimoto et al., 2018) -- a prior approach for offline RL -- removing a heuristic design choice. Importantly, in contrast to their original theoretical considerations, we derive this simplified algorithm through the introduction of a novel backup operator, Expected-Max Q-Learning (EMaQ), which is more closely related to the resulting practical algorithm. Specifically, in addition to the distribution support, EMaQ explicitly considers the number of samples and the proposal distribution, allowing us to derive new sub-optimality bounds. In the offline RL setting -- the main focus of this work -- EMaQ matches and outperforms prior state-of-the-art in the D4RL benchmarks (Fu et al., 2020). In the online RL setting, we demonstrate that EMaQ is competitive with Soft Actor Critic (SAC). The key contributions of our empirical findings are demonstrating the importance of careful generative model design for estimating behavior …

Unsupervised protein language models trained across millions of diverse sequences learn structure and function of proteins. Protein language models studied to date have been trained to perform inference from individual sequences. The longstanding approach in computational biology has been to make inferences from a family of evolutionarily related sequences by fitting a model to each family independently. In this work we combine the two paradigms. We introduce a protein language model which takes as input a set of sequences in the form of a multiple sequence alignment. The model interleaves row and column attention across the input sequences and is trained with a variant of the masked language modeling objective across many protein families. The performance of the model surpasses current state-of-the-art unsupervised structure learning methods by a wide margin, with far greater parameter efficiency than prior state-of-the-art protein language models.

In this paper, we present a novel generative adversarial network (GAN) that can describe Markovian temporal dynamics. To generate stochastic sequential data, we introduce a novel stochastic differential equation-based conditional generator and spatial-temporal constrained discriminator networks. To stabilize the learning dynamics of the min-max type of the GAN objective function, we propose well-posed constraint terms for both networks. We also propose a novel conditional Markov Wasserstein distance to induce a pathwise Wasserstein distance. The experimental results demonstrate that our method outperforms state-of-the-art methods using several different types of data.

We introduce the Graph Mixture Density Networks, a new family of machine learning models that can fit multimodal output distributions conditioned on graphs of arbitrary topology. By combining ideas from mixture models and graph representation learning, we address a broader class of challenging conditional density estimation problems that rely on structured data. In this respect, we evaluate our method on a new benchmark application that leverages random graphs for stochastic epidemic simulations. We show a significant improvement in the likelihood of epidemic outcomes when taking into account both multimodality and structure. The empirical analysis is complemented by two real-world regression tasks showing the effectiveness of our approach in modeling the output prediction uncertainty. Graph Mixture Density Networks open appealing research opportunities in the study of structure-dependent phenomena that exhibit non-trivial conditional output distributions.

Deep Metric Learning (DML) provides a crucial tool for visual similarity and zero-shot retrieval applications by learning generalizing embedding spaces, although recent work in DML has shown strong performance saturation across training objectives. However, generalization capacity is known to scale with the embedding space dimensionality. Unfortunately, high dimensional embeddings also create higher retrieval cost for downstream applications. To remedy this, we propose S2SD - Simultaneous Similarity-based Self-distillation. S2SD extends DML with knowledge distillation from auxiliary, high-dimensional embedding and feature spaces to leverage complementary context during training while retaining test-time cost and with negligible changes to the training time. Experiments and ablations across different objectives and standard benchmarks show S2SD offering highly significant improvements of up to 7% in Recall@1, while also setting a new state-of-the-art.

In contrast to traditional weight optimization in a continuous space, we demonstrate the existence of effective random networks whose weights are never updated. By selecting a weight among a fixed set of random values for each individual connection, our method uncovers combinations of random weights that match the performance of traditionally-trained networks of the same capacity. We refer to our networks as "slot machines" where each reel (connection) contains a fixed set of symbols (random values). Our backpropagation algorithm "spins" the reels to seek "winning" combinations, i.e., selections of random weight values that minimize the given loss. Quite surprisingly, we find that allocating just a few random values to each connection (e.g., 8 values per connection) yields highly competitive combinations despite being dramatically more constrained compared to traditionally learned weights. Moreover, finetuning these combinations often improves performance over the trained baselines. A randomly initialized VGG-19 with 8 values per connection contains a combination that achieves 91% test accuracy on CIFAR-10. Our method also achieves an impressive performance of 98.2% on MNIST for neural networks containing only random weights.

Selective labels are a common feature of high-stakes decision-making applications, referring to the lack of observed outcomes under one of the possible decisions. This paper studies the learning of decision policies in the face of selective labels, in an online setting that balances learning costs against future utility. In the homogeneous case in which individuals' features are disregarded, the optimal decision policy is shown to be a threshold policy. The threshold becomes more stringent as more labels are collected; the rate at which this occurs is characterized. In the case of features drawn from a finite domain, the optimal policy consists of multiple homogeneous policies in parallel. For the general infinite-domain case, the homogeneous policy is extended by using a probabilistic classifier and bootstrapping to provide its inputs. In experiments on synthetic and real data, the proposed policies achieve consistently superior utility with no parameter tuning in the finite-domain case and lower parameter sensitivity in the general case.

The training of deep residual neural networks (ResNets) with backpropagation has a memory cost that increases linearly with respect to the depth of the network. A simple way to circumvent this issue is to use reversible architectures. In this paper, we propose to change the forward rule of a ResNet by adding a momentum term. The resulting networks, momentum residual neural networks (MomentumNets), are invertible. Unlike previous invertible architectures, they can be used as a drop-in replacement for any existing ResNet block. We show that MomentumNets can be interpreted in the infinitesimal step size regime as second-order ordinary differential equations (ODEs) and exactly characterize how adding momentum progressively increases the representation capabilities of MomentumNets: they can learn any linear mapping up to a multiplicative factor, while ResNets cannot. In a learning to optimize setting, where convergence to a fixed point is required, we show theoretically and empirically that our method succeeds while existing invertible architectures fail. We show on CIFAR and ImageNet that MomentumNets have the same accuracy as ResNets, while having a much smaller memory footprint, and show that pre-trained MomentumNets are promising for fine-tuning models.

Credit assignment in reinforcement learning is the problem of measuring an action’s influence on future rewards. In particular, this requires separating skill from luck, i.e. disentangling the effect of an action on rewards from that of external factors and subsequent actions. To achieve this, we adapt the notion of counterfactuals from causality theory to a model-free RL setup. The key idea is to condition value functions on future events, by learning to extract relevant information from a trajectory. We formulate a family of policy gradient algorithms that use these future-conditional value functions as baselines or critics, and show that they are provably low variance. To avoid the potential bias from conditioning on future information, we constrain the hindsight information to not contain information about the agent's actions. We demonstrate the efficacy and validity of our algorithm on a number of illustrative and challenging problems.

Recent developments in the field of model-based RL have proven successful in a range of environments, especially ones where planning is essential. However, such successes have been limited to deterministic fully-observed environments. We present a new approach that handles stochastic and partially-observable environments. Our key insight is to use discrete autoencoders to capture the multiple possible effects of an action in a stochastic environment. We use a stochastic variant of Monte Carlo tree search to plan over both the agent's actions and the discrete latent variables representing the environment's response. Our approach significantly outperforms an offline version of MuZero on a stochastic interpretation of chess where the opponent is considered part of the environment. We also show that our approach scales to DeepMind Lab, a first-person 3D environment with large visual observations and partial observability.

Existing methods for vision-and-language learning typically require designing task-specific architectures and objectives for each task. For example, a multi-label answer classifier for visual question answering, a region scorer for referring expression comprehension, and a language decoder for image captioning, etc. To alleviate these hassles, in this work, we propose a unified framework that learns different tasks in a single architecture with the same language modeling objective, i.e., multimodal conditional text generation, where our models learn to generate labels in text based on the visual and textual inputs. On 7 popular vision-and-language benchmarks, including visual question answering, referring expression comprehension, visual commonsense reasoning, most of which have been previously modeled as discriminative tasks, our generative approach (with a single unified architecture) reaches comparable performance to recent task-specific state-of-the-art vision-and-language models. Moreover, our generative approach shows better generalization ability on questions that have rare answers. Also, we show that our framework allows multi-task learning in a single architecture with a single set of parameters, achieving similar performance to separately optimized single-task models. Our code is publicly available at: https://github.com/j-min/VL-T5

One of the fascinating properties of deep learning is the ability of the network to reveal the underlying factors characterizing elements in datasets of different types. Autoencoders represent an effective approach for computing these factors. Autoencoders have been studied in the context of enabling interpolation between data points by decoding convex combinations of latent vectors. However, this interpolation often leads to artifacts or produces unrealistic results during reconstruction. We argue that these incongruities are due to the structure of the latent space and to the fact that such naively interpolated latent vectors deviate from the data manifold. In this paper, we propose a regularization technique that shapes the latent representation to follow a manifold that is consistent with the training images and that forces the manifold to be smooth and locally convex. This regularization not only enables faithful interpolation between data points, as we show herein but can also be used as a general regularization technique to avoid overfitting or to produce new samples for data augmentation.

Recently, a new recurrent neural network (RNN) named the Legendre Memory Unit (LMU) was proposed and shown to achieve state-of-the-art performance on several benchmark datasets. Here we leverage the linear time-invariant (LTI) memory component of the LMU to construct a simplified variant that can be parallelized during training (and yet executed as an RNN during inference), resulting in up to 200 times faster training. We note that our efficient parallelizing scheme is general and is applicable to any deep network whose recurrent components are linear dynamical systems. We demonstrate the improved accuracy of our new architecture compared to the original LMU and a variety of published LSTM and transformer networks across seven benchmarks. For instance, our LMU sets a new state-of-the-art result on psMNIST, and uses half the parameters while outperforming DistilBERT and LSTM models on IMDB sentiment analysis.

Although stochastic optimization is central to modern machine learning, the precise mechanisms underlying its success, and in particular, the precise role of the stochasticity, still remain unclear. Modeling stochastic optimization algorithms as discrete random recurrence relations, we show that multiplicative noise, as it commonly arises due to variance in local rates of convergence, results in heavy-tailed stationary behaviour in the parameters. Theoretical results are obtained characterizing this for a large class of (non-linear and even non-convex) models and optimizers (including momentum, Adam, and stochastic Newton), demonstrating that this phenomenon holds generally. We describe dependence on key factors, including step size, batch size, and data variability, all of which exhibit similar qualitative behavior to recent empirical results on state-of-the-art neural network models. Furthermore, we empirically illustrate how multiplicative noise and heavy-tailed structure improve capacity for basin hopping and exploration of non-convex loss surfaces, over commonly-considered stochastic dynamics with only additive noise and light-tailed structure.

We propose a novel method for exploring how neurons within neural networks interact. In particular, we consider activation values of a network for given data, and propose to mine noise-robust rules of the form X → Y , where X and Y are sets of neurons in different layers. We identify the best set of rules by the Minimum Description Length Principle as the rules that together are most descriptive of the activation data. To learn good rule sets in practice, we propose the unsupervised ExplaiNN algorithm. Extensive evaluation shows that the patterns it discovers give clear insight in how networks perceive the world: they identify shared, respectively class-specific traits, compositionality within the network, as well as locality in convolutional layers. Moreover, these patterns are not only easily interpretable, but also supercharge prototyping as they identify which groups of neurons to consider in unison.

Denoising diffusion probabilistic models (DDPM) are a class of generative models which have recently been shown to produce excellent samples. We show that with a few simple modifications, DDPMs can also achieve competitive log-likelihoods while maintaining high sample quality. Additionally, we find that learning variances of the reverse diffusion process allows sampling with an order of magnitude fewer forward passes with a negligible difference in sample quality, which is important for the practical deployment of these models. We additionally use precision and recall to compare how well DDPMs and GANs cover the target distribution. Finally, we show that the sample quality and likelihood of these models scale smoothly with model capacity and training compute, making them easily scalable. We release our code and pre-trained models at https://github.com/openai/improved-diffusion.

Reconstructing continuous surfaces from 3D point clouds is a fundamental operation in 3D geometry processing. Several recent state-of-the-art methods address this problem using neural networks to learn signed distance functions (SDFs). In this paper, we introduce Neural-Pull, a new approach that is simple and leads to high quality SDFs. Specifically, we train a neural network to pull query 3D locations to their closest points on the surface using the predicted signed distance values and the gradient at the query locations, both of which are computed by the network itself. The pulling operation moves each query location with a stride given by the distance predicted by the network. Based on the sign of the distance, this may move the query location along or against the direction of the gradient of the SDF. This is a differentiable operation that allows us to update the signed distance value and the gradient simultaneously during training. Our outperforming results under widely used benchmarks demonstrate that we can learn SDFs more accurately and flexibly for surface reconstruction and single image reconstruction than the state-of-the-art methods. Our code and data are available at https://github.com/mabaorui/NeuralPull.

We employ constraints to control the parameter space of deep neural networks throughout training. The use of customised, appropriately designed constraints can reduce the vanishing/exploding gradients problem, improve smoothness of classification boundaries, control weight magnitudes and stabilize deep neural networks, and thus enhance the robustness of training algorithms and the generalization capabilities of neural networks. We provide a general approach to efficiently incorporate constraints into a stochastic gradient Langevin framework, allowing enhanced exploration of the loss landscape. We also present specific examples of constrained training methods motivated by orthogonality preservation for weight matrices and explicit weight normalizations. Discretization schemes are provided both for the overdamped formulation of Langevin dynamics and the underdamped form, in which momenta further improve sampling efficiency. These optimisation schemes can be used directly, without needing to adapt neural network architecture design choices or to modify the objective with regularization terms, and see performance improvements in classification tasks.

We develop several new communication-efficient second-order methods for distributed optimization. Our first method, NEWTON-STAR, is a variant of Newton's method from which it inherits its fast local quadratic rate. However, unlike Newton's method, NEWTON-STAR enjoys the same per iteration communication cost as gradient descent. While this method is impractical as it relies on the use of certain unknown parameters characterizing the Hessian of the objective function at the optimum, it serves as the starting point which enables us to design practical variants thereof with strong theoretical guarantees. In particular, we design a stochastic sparsification strategy for learning the unknown parameters in an iterative fashion in a communication efficient manner. Applying this strategy to NEWTON-STAR leads to our next method, NEWTON-LEARN, for which we prove local linear and superlinear rates independent of the condition number. When applicable, this method can have dramatically superior convergence behavior when compared to state-of-the-art methods. Finally, we develop a globalization strategy using cubic regularization which leads to our next method, CUBIC-NEWTON-LEARN, for which we prove global sublinear and linear convergence rates, and a fast superlinear rate. Our results are supported with experimental results on real datasets, and show several orders of magnitude improvement on baseline and …

We present a novel interactive learning protocol that enables training request-fulfilling agents by verbally describing their activities. Unlike imitation learning (IL), our protocol allows the teaching agent to provide feedback in a language that is most appropriate for them. Compared with reward in reinforcement learning (RL), the description feedback is richer and allows for improved sample complexity. We develop a probabilistic framework and an algorithm that practically implements our protocol. Empirical results in two challenging request-fulfilling problems demonstrate the strengths of our approach: compared with RL baselines, it is more sample-efficient; compared with IL baselines, it achieves competitive success rates without requiring the teaching agent to be able to demonstrate the desired behavior using the learning agent’s actions. Apart from empirical evaluation, we also provide theoretical guarantees for our algorithm under certain assumptions about the teacher and the environment.

Understanding classifier decision under novel environments is central to the community, and a common practice is evaluating it on labeled test sets. However, in real-world testing, image annotations are difficult and expensive to obtain, especially when the test environment is changing. A natural question then arises: given a trained classifier, can we evaluate its accuracy on varying unlabeled test sets? In this work, we train semantic classification and rotation prediction in a multi-task way. On a series of datasets, we report an interesting finding, i.e., the semantic classification accuracy exhibits a strong linear relationship with the accuracy of the rotation prediction task (Pearson's Correlation r > 0.88). This finding allows us to utilize linear regression to estimate classifier performance from the accuracy of rotation prediction which can be obtained on the test set through the freely generated rotation labels.

Deep equilibrium networks (DEQs) are a new class of models that eschews traditional depth in favor of finding the fixed point of a single non-linear layer. These models have been shown to achieve performance competitive with the state-of-the-art deep networks while using significantly less memory. Yet they are also slower, brittle to architectural choices, and introduce potential instability to the model. In this paper, we propose a regularization scheme for DEQ models that explicitly regularizes the Jacobian of the fixed-point update equations to stabilize the learning of equilibrium models. We show that this regularization adds only minimal computational cost, significantly stabilizes the fixed-point convergence in both forward and backward passes, and scales well to high-dimensional, realistic domains (e.g., WikiText-103 language modeling and ImageNet classification). Using this method, we demonstrate, for the first time, an implicit-depth model that runs with approximately the same speed and level of performance as popular conventional deep networks such as ResNet-101, while still maintaining the constant memory footprint and architectural simplicity of DEQs. Code is available https://github.com/locuslab/deq.

The predominant measure for the performance of an algorithm is its worst-case approximation guarantee. While worst-case approximations give desirable robustness guarantees, they can differ significantly from the performance of an algorithm in practice. For the problem of monotone submodular maximization under a cardinality constraint, the greedy algorithm is known to obtain a 1-1/e approximation guarantee, which is optimal for a polynomial-time algorithm. However, very little is known about the approximation achieved by greedy and other submodular maximization algorithms on real instances.

We develop an algorithm that gives an instance-specific approximation for any solution of an instance of monotone submodular maximization under a cardinality constraint. This algorithm uses a novel dual approach to submodular maximization. In particular, it relies on the construction of a lower bound to the dual objective that can also be exactly minimized. We use this algorithm to show that on a wide variety of real-world datasets and objectives, greedy and other algorithms find solutions that approximate the optimal solution significantly better than the 1-1/e ~ 0.63 worst-case approximation guarantee, often exceeding 0.9.

We consider the problem of spatial path planning. In contrast to the classical solutions which optimize a new plan from scratch and assume access to the full map with ground truth obstacle locations, we learn a planner from the data in a differentiable manner that allows us to leverage statistical regularities from past data. We propose Spatial Planning Transformers (SPT), which given an obstacle map learns to generate actions by planning over long-range spatial dependencies, unlike prior data-driven planners that propagate information locally via convolutional structure in an iterative manner. In the setting where the ground truth map is not known to the agent, we leverage pre-trained SPTs in an end-to-end framework that has the structure of mapper and planner built into it which allows seamless generalization to out-of-distribution maps and goals. SPTs outperform prior state-of-the-art differentiable planners across all the setups for both manipulation and navigation tasks, leading to an absolute improvement of 7-19\%.

Variational autoencoder (VAE) estimates the posterior parameters (mean and variance) of latent variables corresponding to each input data. While it is used for many tasks, the transparency of the model is still an underlying issue. This paper provides a quantitative understanding of VAE property through the differential geometric and information-theoretic interpretations of VAE. According to the Rate-distortion theory, the optimal transform coding is achieved by using an orthonormal transform with PCA basis where the transform space is isometric to the input. Considering the analogy of transform coding to VAE, we clarify theoretically and experimentally that VAE can be mapped to an implicit isometric embedding with a scale factor derived from the posterior parameter. As a result, we can estimate the data probabilities in the input space from the prior, loss metrics, and corresponding posterior parameters, and further, the quantitative importance of each latent variable can be evaluated like the eigenvalue of PCA.

Most neural network pruning methods, such as filter-level and layer-level prunings, prune the network model along one dimension (depth, width, or resolution) solely to meet a computational budget. However, such a pruning policy often leads to excessive reduction of that dimension, thus inducing a huge accuracy loss. To alleviate this issue, we argue that pruning should be conducted along three dimensions comprehensively. For this purpose, our pruning framework formulates pruning as an optimization problem. Specifically, it first casts the relationships between a certain model's accuracy and depth/width/resolution into a polynomial regression and then maximizes the polynomial to acquire the optimal values for the three dimensions. Finally, the model is pruned along the three optimal dimensions accordingly. In this framework, since collecting too much data for training the regression is very time-costly, we propose two approaches to lower the cost: 1) specializing the polynomial to ensure an accurate regression even with less training data; 2) employing iterative pruning and fine-tuning to collect the data faster. Extensive experiments show that our proposed algorithm surpasses state-of-the-art pruning algorithms and even neural architecture search-based algorithms.

We introduce an approach for understanding control policies represented as recurrent neural networks. Recent work has approached this problem by transforming such recurrent policy networks into finite-state machines (FSM) and then analyzing the equivalent minimized FSM. While this led to interesting insights, the minimization process can obscure a deeper understanding of a machine's operation by merging states that are semantically distinct. To address this issue, we introduce an analysis approach that starts with an unminimized FSM and applies more-interpretable reductions that preserve the key decision points of the policy. We also contribute an attention tool to attain a deeper understanding of the role of observations in the decisions. Our case studies on 7 Atari games and 3 control benchmarks demonstrate that the approach can reveal insights that have not been previously noticed.

Model parallelism has become a necessity for training modern large-scale deep language models. In this work, we identify a new and orthogonal dimension from existing model parallel approaches: it is possible to perform pipeline parallelism within a single training sequence for Transformer-based language models thanks to its autoregressive property. This enables a more fine-grained pipeline compared with previous work. With this key idea, we design TeraPipe, a high-performance token-level pipeline parallel algorithm for synchronous model-parallel training of Transformer-based language models. We develop a novel dynamic programming-based algorithm to calculate the optimal pipelining execution scheme given a specific model and cluster configuration. We show that TeraPipe can speed up the training by 5.0x for the largest GPT-3 model with 175 billion parameters on an AWS cluster with 48 p3.16xlarge instances compared with state-of-the-art model-parallel methods. The code for reproduction can be found at https://github.com/zhuohan123/terapipe

We propose the k-Shortest-Path (k-SP) constraint: a novel constraint on the agent’s trajectory that improves the sample efficiency in sparse-reward MDPs. We show that any optimal policy necessarily satisfies the k-SP constraint. Notably, the k-SP constraint prevents the policy from exploring state-action pairs along the non-k-SP trajectories (e.g., going back and forth). However, in practice, excluding state-action pairs may hinder the convergence of RL algorithms. To overcome this, we propose a novel cost function that penalizes the policy violating SP constraint, instead of completely excluding it. Our numerical experiment in a tabular RL setting demonstrates that the SP-constraint can significantly reduce the trajectory space of policy. As a result, our constraint enables more sample efficient learning by suppressing redundant exploration and exploitation. Our experiments on MiniGrid, DeepMind Lab, Atari, and Fetch show that the proposed method significantly improves proximal policy optimization (PPO) and outperforms existing novelty-seeking exploration methods including count-based exploration even in continuous control tasks, indicating that it improves the sample efficiency by preventing the agent from taking redundant actions.

Quantization is one of the core components in lossy image compression. For neural image compression, end-to-end optimization requires differentiable approximations of quantization, which can generally be grouped into three categories: additive uniform noise, straight-through estimator and soft-to-hard annealing. Training with additive uniform noise approximates the quantization error variationally but suffers from the train-test mismatch. The other two methods do not encounter this mismatch but, as shown in this paper, hurt the rate-distortion performance since the latent representation ability is weakened. We thus propose a novel soft-then-hard quantization strategy for neural image compression that first learns an expressive latent space softly, then closes the train-test mismatch with hard quantization. In addition, beyond the fixed integer-quantization, we apply scaled additive uniform noise to adaptively control the quantization granularity by deriving a new variational upper bound on actual rate. Experiments demonstrate that our proposed methods are easy to adopt, stable to train, and highly effective especially on complex compression models.

Despite recent successes, most contrastive self-supervised learning methods are domain-specific, relying heavily on data augmentation techniques that require knowledge about a particular domain, such as image cropping and rotation. To overcome such limitation, we propose a domain-agnostic approach to contrastive learning, named DACL, that is applicable to problems where domain-specific data augmentations are not readily available. Key to our approach is the use of Mixup noise to create similar and dissimilar examples by mixing data samples differently either at the input or hidden-state levels. We theoretically analyze our method and show advantages over the Gaussian-noise based contrastive learning approach. To demonstrate the effectiveness of DACL, we conduct experiments across various domains such as tabular data, images, and graphs. Our results show that DACL not only outperforms other domain-agnostic noising methods, such as Gaussian-noise, but also combines well with domain-specific methods, such as SimCLR, to improve self-supervised visual representation learning.

Monte-Carlo planning and Reinforcement Learning (RL) are essential to sequential decision making. The recent AlphaGo and AlphaZero algorithms have shown how to successfully combine these two paradigms to solve large-scale sequential decision problems. These methodologies exploit a variant of the well-known UCT algorithm to trade off the exploitation of good actions and the exploration of unvisited states, but their empirical success comes at the cost of poor sample-efficiency and high computation time. In this paper, we overcome these limitations by introducing the use of convex regularization in Monte-Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) to drive exploration efficiently and to improve policy updates. First, we introduce a unifying theory on the use of generic convex regularizers in MCTS, deriving the first regret analysis of regularized MCTS and showing that it guarantees an exponential convergence rate. Second, we exploit our theoretical framework to introduce novel regularized backup operators for MCTS, based on the relative entropy of the policy update and, more importantly, on the Tsallis entropy of the policy, for which we prove superior theoretical guarantees. We empirically verify the consequence of our theoretical results on a toy problem. Finally, we show how our framework can easily be incorporated in AlphaGo and we empirically …

Social learning is a key component of human and animal intelligence. By taking cues from the behavior of experts in their environment, social learners can acquire sophisticated behavior and rapidly adapt to new circumstances. This paper investigates whether independent reinforcement learning (RL) agents in a multi-agent environment can learn to use social learning to improve their performance. We find that in most circumstances, vanilla model-free RL agents do not use social learning. We analyze the reasons for this deficiency, and show that by imposing constraints on the training environment and introducing a model-based auxiliary loss we are able to obtain generalized social learning policies which enable agents to: i) discover complex skills that are not learned from single-agent training, and ii) adapt online to novel environments by taking cues from experts present in the new environment. In contrast, agents trained with model-free RL or imitation learning generalize poorly and do not succeed in the transfer tasks. By mixing multi-agent and solo training, we can obtain agents that use social learning to gain skills that they can deploy when alone, even out-performing agents trained alone from the start.

We show that the error of iteratively magnitude-pruned networks empirically follows a scaling law with interpretable coefficients that depend on the architecture and task. We functionally approximate the error of the pruned networks, showing it is predictable in terms of an invariant tying width, depth, and pruning level, such that networks of vastly different pruned densities are interchangeable. We demonstrate the accuracy of this approximation over orders of magnitude in depth, width, dataset size, and density. We show that the functional form holds (generalizes) for large scale data (e.g., ImageNet) and architectures (e.g., ResNets). As neural networks become ever larger and costlier to train, our findings suggest a framework for reasoning conceptually and analytically about a standard method for unstructured pruning.

Most, if not all, modern deep learning systems restrict themselves to a single dataset for neural network training and inference. In this article, we are interested in systematic ways to join datasets that are made of similar purposes. Unlike previous published works that ubiquitously conduct the dataset joining in the uninterpretable latent vectorial space, the core to our method is an augmentation procedure in the label space. The primary challenge to address the label space for dataset joining is the discrepancy between labels: non-overlapping label annotation sets, different labeling granularity or hierarchy and etc. Notably we propose a new technique leveraging artificially created knowledge graph, recurrent neural networks and policy gradient that successfully achieve the dataset joining in the label space. Empirical results on both image and text classification justify the validity of our approach.

In this paper we investigate the Follow the Regularized Leader dynamics in sequential imperfect information games (IIG). We generalize existing results of Poincaré recurrence from normal-form games to zero-sum two-player imperfect information games and other sequential game settings. We then investigate how adapting the reward (by adding a regularization term) of the game can give strong convergence guarantees in monotone games. We continue by showing how this reward adaptation technique can be leveraged to build algorithms that converge exactly to the Nash equilibrium. Finally, we show how these insights can be directly used to build state-of-the-art model-free algorithms for zero-sum two-player Imperfect Information Games (IIG).

Existing deep learning methods for solving mean-field games (MFGs) with common noise fix the sampling common noise paths and then solve the corresponding MFGs. This leads to a nested loop structure with millions of simulations of common noise paths in order to produce accurate solutions, which results in prohibitive computational cost and limits the applications to a large extent. In this paper, based on the rough path theory, we propose a novel single-loop algorithm, named signatured deep fictitious play (Sig-DFP), by which we can work with the unfixed common noise setup to avoid the nested loop structure and reduce the computational complexity significantly. The proposed algorithm can accurately capture the effect of common uncertainty changes on mean-field equilibria without further training of neural networks, as previously needed in the existing machine learning algorithms. The efficiency is supported by three applications, including linear-quadratic MFGs, mean-field portfolio game, and mean-field game of optimal consumption and investment. Overall, we provide a new point of view from the rough path theory to solve MFGs with common noise with significantly improved efficiency and an extensive range of applications. In addition, we report the first deep learning work to deal with extended MFGs (a mean-field interaction …

Motivated by the needs from an airline crew scheduling application, we introduce structured convolutional kernel networks (Struct-CKN), which combine CKNs from Mairal et al. (2014) in a structured prediction framework that supports constraints on the outputs. CKNs are a particular kind of convolutional neural networks that approximate a kernel feature map on training data, thus combining properties of deep learning with the non-parametric flexibility of kernel methods. Extending CKNs to structured outputs allows us to obtain useful initial solutions on a flight-connection dataset that can be further refined by an airline crew scheduling solver. More specifically, we use a flight-based network modeled as a general conditional random field capable of incorporating local constraints in the learning process. Our experiments demonstrate that this approach yields significant improvements for the large-scale crew pairing problem (50,000 flights per month) over standard approaches, reducing the solution cost by 17% (a gain of millions of dollars) and the cost of global constraints by 97%.

In deep model compression, the recent finding "Lottery Ticket Hypothesis" (LTH) pointed out that there could exist a winning ticket (i.e., a properly pruned sub-network together with original weight initialization) that can achieve competitive performance than the original dense network. However, it is not easy to observe such winning property in many scenarios, where for example, a relatively large learning rate is used even if it benefits training the original dense model. In this work, we investigate the underlying condition and rationale behind the winning property, and find that the underlying reason is largely attributed to the correlation between initialized weights and final-trained weights when the learning rate is not sufficiently large. Thus, the existence of winning property is correlated with an insufficient DNN pretraining, and is unlikely to occur for a well-trained DNN. To overcome this limitation, we propose the "pruning & fine-tuning" method that consistently outperforms lottery ticket sparse training under the same pruning algorithm and the same total training epochs. Extensive experiments over multiple deep models (VGG, ResNet, MobileNet-v2) on different datasets have been conducted to justify our proposals.

The recent work by Rendle et al. (2020), based on empirical observations, argues that matrix-factorization collaborative filtering (MCF) compares favorably to neural collaborative filtering (NCF), and conjectures the dot product's superiority over the feed-forward neural network as similarity function. In this paper, we address the comparison rigorously by answering the following questions: 1. what is the limiting expressivity of each model; 2. under the practical gradient descent, to which solution does each optimization path converge; 3. how would the models generalize under the inductive and transductive learning setting. Our results highlight the similar expressivity for the overparameterized NCF and MCF as kernelized predictors, and reveal the relation between their optimization paths. We further show their different generalization behaviors, where MCF and NCF experience specific tradeoff and comparison in the transductive and inductive collaborative filtering setting. Lastly, by showing a novel generalization result, we reveal the critical role of correcting exposure bias for model evaluation in the inductive setting. Our results explain some of the previously observed conflicts, and we provide synthetic and real-data experiments to shed further insights to this topic.

We develop theory and algorithms for average-reward on-policy Reinforcement Learning (RL). We first consider bounding the difference of the long-term average reward for two policies. We show that previous work based on the discounted return (Schulman et al. 2015, Achiam et al. 2017) results in a non-meaningful lower bound in the average reward setting. By addressing the average-reward criterion directly, we then derive a novel bound which depends on the average divergence between the policies and on Kemeny's constant. Based on this bound, we develop an iterative procedure which produces a sequence of monotonically improved policies for the average reward criterion. This iterative procedure can then be combined with classic Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) methods, resulting in practical DRL algorithms that target the long-run average reward criterion. In particular, we demonstrate that Average-Reward TRPO (ATRPO), which adapts the on-policy TRPO algorithm to the average-reward criterion, significantly outperforms TRPO in the most challenging MuJuCo environments.

Many modern approaches to offline Reinforcement Learning (RL) utilize behavior regularization, typically augmenting a model-free actor critic algorithm with a penalty measuring divergence of the policy from the offline data. In this work, we propose an alternative approach to encouraging the learned policy to stay close to the data, namely parameterizing the critic as the log-behavior-policy, which generated the offline data, plus a state-action value offset term, which can be learned using a neural network. Behavior regularization then corresponds to an appropriate regularizer on the offset term. We propose using a gradient penalty regularizer for the offset term and demonstrate its equivalence to Fisher divergence regularization, suggesting connections to the score matching and generative energy-based model literature. We thus term our resulting algorithm Fisher-BRC (Behavior Regularized Critic). On standard offline RL benchmarks, Fisher-BRC achieves both improved performance and faster convergence over existing state-of-the-art methods.

Contrastive divergence is a popular method of training energy-based models, but is known to have difficulties with training stability. We propose an adaptation to improve contrastive divergence training by scrutinizing a gradient term that is difficult to calculate and is often left out for convenience. We show that this gradient term is numerically significant and in practice is important to avoid training instabilities, while being tractable to estimate. We further highlight how data augmentation and multi-scale processing can be used to improve model robustness and generation quality. Finally, we empirically evaluate stability of model architectures and show improved performance on a host of benchmarks and use cases, such as image generation, OOD detection, and compositional generation.

We consider the problem of learning useful robotic skills from previously collected offline data without access to manually specified rewards or additional online exploration, a setting that is becoming increasingly important for scaling robot learning by reusing past robotic data. In particular, we propose the objective of learning a functional understanding of the environment by learning to reach any goal state in a given dataset. We employ goal-conditioned Q-learning with hindsight relabeling and develop several techniques that enable training in a particularly challenging offline setting. We find that our method can operate on high-dimensional camera images and learn a variety of skills on real robots that generalize to previously unseen scenes and objects. We also show that our method can learn to reach long-horizon goals across multiple episodes through goal chaining, and learn rich representations that can help with downstream tasks through pre-training or auxiliary objectives.

While designing inductive bias in neural architectures has been widely studied, we hypothesize that transformer networks are flexible enough to learn inductive bias from suitable generic tasks. Here, we replace architecture engineering by encoding inductive bias in the form of datasets. Inspired by Peirce's view that deduction, induction, and abduction are the primitives of reasoning, we design three synthetic tasks that are intended to require the model to have these three abilities. We specifically design these tasks to be synthetic and devoid of mathematical knowledge to ensure that only the fundamental reasoning biases can be learned from these tasks. This defines a new pre-training methodology called "LIME" (Learning Inductive bias for Mathematical rEasoning). Models trained with LIME significantly outperform vanilla transformers on four very different large mathematical reasoning benchmarks. Unlike dominating the computation cost as traditional pre-training approaches, LIME requires only a small fraction of the computation cost of the typical downstream task. The code for generating LIME tasks is available at https://github.com/tonywu95/LIME.

Dictionary learning is a key tool for representation learning, that explains the data as linear combination of few basic elements. Yet, this analysis is not amenable in the context of graph learning, as graphs usually belong to different metric spaces. We fill this gap by proposing a new online Graph Dictionary Learning approach, which uses the Gromov Wasserstein divergence for the data fitting term. In our work, graphs are encoded through their nodes' pairwise relations and modeled as convex combination of graph atoms, i.e. dictionary elements, estimated thanks to an online stochastic algorithm, which operates on a dataset of unregistered graphs with potentially different number of nodes. Our approach naturally extends to labeled graphs, and is completed by a novel upper bound that can be used as a fast approximation of Gromov Wasserstein in the embedding space. We provide numerical evidences showing the interest of our approach for unsupervised embedding of graph datasets and for online graph subspace estimation and tracking.

We propose to learn a generative model via entropy interpolation with a Schrödinger Bridge. The generative learning task can be formulated as interpolating between a reference distribution and a target distribution based on the Kullback-Leibler divergence. At the population level, this entropy interpolation is characterized via an SDE on [0,1] with a time-varying drift term. At the sample level, we derive our Schrödinger Bridge algorithm by plugging the drift term estimated by a deep score estimator and a deep density ratio estimator into the Euler-Maruyama method. Under some mild smoothness assumptions of the target distribution, we prove the consistency of both the score estimator and the density ratio estimator, and then establish the consistency of the proposed Schrödinger Bridge approach. Our theoretical results guarantee that the distribution learned by our approach converges to the target distribution. Experimental results on multimodal synthetic data and benchmark data support our theoretical findings and indicate that the generative model via Schrödinger Bridge is comparable with state-of-the-art GANs, suggesting a new formulation of generative learning. We demonstrate its usefulness in image interpolation and image inpainting.

Message passing neural networks have become a method of choice for learning on graphs, in particular the prediction of chemical properties and the acceleration of molecular dynamics studies. While they readily scale to large training data sets, previous approaches have proven to be less data efficient than kernel methods. We identify limitations of invariant representations as a major reason and extend the message passing formulation to rotationally equivariant representations. On this basis, we propose the polarizable atom interaction neural network (PaiNN) and improve on common molecule benchmarks over previous networks, while reducing model size and inference time. We leverage the equivariant atomwise representations obtained by PaiNN for the prediction of tensorial properties. Finally, we apply this to the simulation of molecular spectra, achieving speedups of 4-5 orders of magnitude compared to the electronic structure reference.

Sorting and ranking supervision is a method for training neural networks end-to-end based on ordering constraints. That is, the ground truth order of sets of samples is known, while their absolute values remain unsupervised. For that, we propose differentiable sorting networks by relaxing their pairwise conditional swap operations. To address the problems of vanishing gradients and extensive blurring that arise with larger numbers of layers, we propose mapping activations to regions with moderate gradients. We consider odd-even as well as bitonic sorting networks, which outperform existing relaxations of the sorting operation. We show that bitonic sorting networks can achieve stable training on large input sets of up to 1024 elements.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lRV72XaKoxZjgQrLXBJhsM82x54_1Vc4/view?usp=sharing

Recent works apply Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) to graph matching tasks and show promising results. Considering that model outputs are complex matchings, we devise several techniques to improve the learning of GNNs and obtain a new model, Stochastic Iterative Graph MAtching (SIGMA). Our model predicts a distribution of matchings, instead of a single matching, for a graph pair so the model can explore several probable matchings. We further introduce a novel multi-step matching procedure, which learns how to refine a graph pair's matching results incrementally. The model also includes dummy nodes so that the model does not have to find matchings for nodes without correspondence. We fit this model to data via scalable stochastic optimization. We conduct extensive experiments across synthetic graph datasets as well as biochemistry and computer vision applications. Across all tasks, our results show that SIGMA can produce significantly improved graph matching results compared to state-of-the-art models. Ablation studies verify that each of our components (stochastic training, iterative matching, and dummy nodes) offers noticeable improvement.

We consider the offline reinforcement learning (RL) setting where the agent aims to optimize the policy solely from the data without further environment interactions. In offline RL, the distributional shift becomes the primary source of difficulty, which arises from the deviation of the target policy being optimized from the behavior policy used for data collection. This typically causes overestimation of action values, which poses severe problems for model-free algorithms that use bootstrapping. To mitigate the problem, prior offline RL algorithms often used sophisticated techniques that encourage underestimation of action values, which introduces an additional set of hyperparameters that need to be tuned properly. In this paper, we present an offline RL algorithm that prevents overestimation in a more principled way. Our algorithm, OptiDICE, directly estimates the stationary distribution corrections of the optimal policy and does not rely on policy-gradients, unlike previous offline RL algorithms. Using an extensive set of benchmark datasets for offline RL, we show that OptiDICE performs competitively with the state-of-the-art methods.

That neural networks may be pruned to high sparsities and retain high accuracy is well established. Recent research efforts focus on pruning immediately after initialization so as to allow the computational savings afforded by sparsity to extend to the training process. In this work, we introduce a new `DCT plus Sparse' layer architecture, which maintains information propagation and trainability even with as little as 0.01% trainable parameters remaining. We show that standard training of networks built with these layers, and pruned at initialization, achieves state-of-the-art accuracy for extreme sparsities on a variety of benchmark network architectures and datasets. Moreover, these results are achieved using only simple heuristics to determine the locations of the trainable parameters in the network, and thus without having to initially store or compute with the full, unpruned network, as is required by competing prune-at-initialization algorithms. Switching from standard sparse layers to DCT plus Sparse layers does not increase the storage footprint of a network and incurs only a small additional computational overhead.

We study the problem of zero-shot coordination (ZSC), where agents must independently produce strategies for a collaborative game that are compatible with novel partners not seen during training. Our first contribution is to consider the need for diversity in generating such agents. Because self-play (SP) agents control their own trajectory distribution during training, each policy typically only performs well on this exact distribution. As a result, they achieve low scores in ZSC, since playing with another agent is likely to put them in situations they have not encountered during training. To address this issue, we train a common best response (BR) to a population of agents, which we regulate to be diverse. To this end, we introduce \textit{Trajectory Diversity} (TrajeDi) -- a differentiable objective for generating diverse reinforcement learning policies. We derive TrajeDi as a generalization of the Jensen-Shannon divergence between policies and motivate it experimentally in two simple settings. We then focus on the collaborative card game Hanabi, demonstrating the scalability of our method and improving upon the cross-play scores of both independently trained SP agents and BRs to unregularized populations.

Modeling dependencies among features is fundamental for many machine learning tasks. Although there are often multiple related instances that may be leveraged to inform conditional dependencies, typical approaches only model conditional dependencies over individual instances. In this work, we propose a novel framework, partially observed exchangeable modeling (POEx) that takes in a set of related partially observed instances and infers the conditional distribution for the unobserved dimensions over multiple elements. Our approach jointly models the intra-instance (among features in a point) and inter-instance (among multiple points in a set) dependencies in data. POEx is a general framework that encompasses many existing tasks such as point cloud expansion and few-shot generation, as well as new tasks like few-shot imputation. Despite its generality, extensive empirical evaluations show that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance across a range of applications.

With rapid progress in neural text-to-speech (TTS) models, personalized speech generation is now in high demand for many applications. For practical applicability, a TTS model should generate high-quality speech with only a few audio samples from the given speaker, that are also short in length. However, existing methods either require to fine-tune the model or achieve low adaptation quality without fine-tuning. In this work, we propose StyleSpeech, a new TTS model which not only synthesizes high-quality speech but also effectively adapts to new speakers. Specifically, we propose Style-Adaptive Layer Normalization (SALN) which aligns gain and bias of the text input according to the style extracted from a reference speech audio. With SALN, our model effectively synthesizes speech in the style of the target speaker even from a single speech audio. Furthermore, to enhance StyleSpeech's adaptation to speech from new speakers, we extend it to Meta-StyleSpeech by introducing two discriminators trained with style prototypes, and performing episodic training. The experimental results show that our models generate high-quality speech which accurately follows the speaker's voice with single short-duration (1-3 sec) speech audio, significantly outperforming baselines.

In this work, we focus on the ability of graph neural networks (GNNs) to learn long-range patterns in graphs with edge features. Learning patterns that involve longer paths in the graph, requires using deeper GNNs. However, GNNs suffer from a drop in performance with increasing network depth. To improve the performance of deeper GNNs, previous works have investigated normalization techniques and various types of skip connections. While they are designed to improve depth-wise backpropagation between the representations of the same node in successive layers, they do not improve breadth-wise backpropagation between representations of neighbouring nodes. To analyse the consequences, we design synthetic datasets serving as a testbed for the ability of GNNs to learn long-range patterns. Our analysis shows that several commonly used GNN variants with only depth-wise skip connections indeed have problems learning long-range patterns. They are clearly outperformed by an attention-based GNN architecture that we propose for improving both depth- and breadth-wise backpropagation. We also verify that the presented architecture is competitive on real-world data.

We present several classes of reinforcement learning algorithms that safely generalize to Markov decision processes (MDPs) not seen during training. Specifically, we study the setting in which some set of MDPs is accessible for training. The goal is to generalize safely to MDPs that are sampled from the same distribution, but which may not be in the set accessible for training. For various definitions of safety, our algorithms give probabilistic guarantees that agents can safely generalize to MDPs that are sampled from the same distribution but are not necessarily in the training set. These algorithms are a type of Seldonian algorithm (Thomas et al., 2019), which is a class of machine learning algorithms that return models with probabilistic safety guarantees for user-specified definitions of safety.

A major challenge in reinforcement learning is the design of exploration strategies, especially for environments with sparse reward structures and continuous state and action spaces. Intuitively, if the reinforcement signal is very scarce, the agent should rely on some form of short-term memory in order to cover its environment efficiently. We propose a new exploration method, based on two intuitions: (1) the choice of the next exploratory action should depend not only on the (Markovian) state of the environment, but also on the agent's trajectory so far, and (2) the agent should utilize a measure of spread in the state space to avoid getting stuck in a small region. Our method leverages concepts often used in statistical physics to provide explanations for the behavior of simplified (polymer) chains in order to generate persistent (locally self-avoiding) trajectories in state space. We discuss the theoretical properties of locally self-avoiding walks and their ability to provide a kind of short-term memory through a decaying temporal correlation within the trajectory. We provide empirical evaluations of our approach in a simulated 2D navigation task, as well as higher-dimensional MuJoCo continuous control locomotion tasks with sparse rewards.

Decentralized learning enables a group of collaborative agents to learn models using a distributed dataset without the need for a central parameter server. Recently, decentralized learning algorithms have demonstrated state-of-the-art results on benchmark data sets, comparable with centralized algorithms. However, the key assumption to achieve competitive performance is that the data is independently and identically distributed (IID) among the agents which, in real-life applications, is often not applicable. Inspired by ideas from continual learning, we propose Cross-Gradient Aggregation (CGA), a novel decentralized learning algorithm where (i) each agent aggregates cross-gradient information, i.e., derivatives of its model with respect to its neighbors' datasets, and (ii) updates its model using a projected gradient based on quadratic programming (QP). We theoretically analyze the convergence characteristics of CGA and demonstrate its efficiency on non-IID data distributions sampled from the MNIST and CIFAR-10 datasets. Our empirical comparisons show superior learning performance of CGA over existing state-of-the-art decentralized learning algorithms, as well as maintaining the improved performance under information compression to reduce peer-to-peer communication overhead. The code is available here on GitHub.

Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) has proven successful for many difficult control problems by learning policies represented by neural networks. However, the complexity of neural network-based policies—involving thousands of composed non-linear operators—can render them problematic to understand, trust, and deploy. In contrast, simple policies comprising short symbolic expressions can facilitate human understanding, while also being transparent and exhibiting predictable behavior. To this end, we propose deep symbolic policy, a novel approach to directly search the space of symbolic policies. We use an autoregressive recurrent neural network to generate control policies represented by tractable mathematical expressions, employing a risk-seeking policy gradient to maximize performance of the generated policies. To scale to environments with multi-dimensional action spaces, we propose an "anchoring" algorithm that distills pre-trained neural network-based policies into fully symbolic policies, one action dimension at a time. We also introduce two novel methods to improve exploration in DRL-based combinatorial optimization, building on ideas of entropy regularization and distribution initialization. Despite their dramatically reduced complexity, we demonstrate that discovered symbolic policies outperform seven state-of-the-art DRL algorithms in terms of average rank and average normalized episodic reward across eight benchmark environments.

Recent observations have advanced our understanding of the neural network optimization landscape, revealing the existence of (1) paths of high accuracy containing diverse solutions and (2) wider minima offering improved performance. Previous methods observing diverse paths require multiple training runs. In contrast we aim to leverage both property (1) and (2) with a single method and in a single training run. With a similar computational cost as training one model, we learn lines, curves, and simplexes of high-accuracy neural networks. These neural network subspaces contain diverse solutions that can be ensembled, approaching the ensemble performance of independently trained networks without the training cost. Moreover, using the subspace midpoint boosts accuracy, calibration, and robustness to label noise, outperforming Stochastic Weight Averaging.

Deep generative models (DGMs) seem a natural fit for detecting out-of-distribution (OOD) inputs, but such models have been shown to assign higher probabilities or densities to OOD images than images from the training distribution. In this work, we explain why this behavior should be attributed to model misestimation. We first prove that no method can guarantee performance beyond random chance without assumptions on which out-distributions are relevant. We then interrogate the typical set hypothesis, the claim that relevant out-distributions can lie in high likelihood regions of the data distribution, and that OOD detection should be defined based on the data distribution's typical set. We highlight the consequences implied by assuming support overlap between in- and out-distributions, as well as the arbitrariness of the typical set for OOD detection. Our results suggest that estimation error is a more plausible explanation than the misalignment between likelihood-based OOD detection and out-distributions of interest, and we illustrate how even minimal estimation error can lead to OOD detection failures, yielding implications for future work in deep generative modeling and OOD detection.

Neural networks (NNs) have been extremely successful across many tasks in machine learning. Quantization of NN weights has become an important topic due to its impact on their energy efficiency, inference time and deployment on hardware. Although post-training quantization is well-studied, training optimal quantized NNs involves combinatorial non-convex optimization problems which appear intractable. In this work, we introduce a convex optimization strategy to train quantized NNs with polynomial activations. Our method leverages hidden convexity in two-layer neural networks from the recent literature, semidefinite lifting, and Grothendieck's identity. Surprisingly, we show that certain quantized NN problems can be solved to global optimality provably in polynomial time in all relevant parameters via tight semidefinite relaxations. We present numerical examples to illustrate the effectiveness of our method.

Value decomposition recently injects vigorous vitality into multi-agent actor-critic methods. However, existing decomposed actor-critic methods cannot guarantee the convergence of global optimum. In this paper, we present a novel multi-agent actor-critic method, FOP, which can factorize the optimal joint policy induced by maximum-entropy multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) into individual policies. Theoretically, we prove that factorized individual policies of FOP converge to the global optimum. Empirically, in the well-known matrix game and differential game, we verify that FOP can converge to the global optimum for both discrete and continuous action spaces. We also evaluate FOP on a set of StarCraft II micromanagement tasks, and demonstrate that FOP substantially outperforms state-of-the-art decomposed value-based and actor-critic methods.

Face recognition is an important yet challenging problem in computer vision. A major challenge in practical face recognition applications lies in significant variations between profile and frontal faces. Traditional techniques address this challenge either by synthesizing frontal faces or by pose invariant learning. In this paper, we propose a novel method with Lie algebra theory to explore how face rotation in the 3D space affects the deep feature generation process of convolutional neural networks (CNNs). We prove that face rotation in the image space is equivalent to an additive residual component in the feature space of CNNs, which is determined solely by the rotation. Based on this theoretical finding, we further design a Lie Algebraic Residual Network (LARNet) for tackling pose robust face recognition. Our LARNet consists of a residual subnet for decoding rotation information from input face images, and a gating subnet to learn rotation magnitude for controlling the strength of the residual component contributing to the feature learning process. Comprehensive experimental evaluations on both frontal-profile face datasets and general face recognition datasets convincingly demonstrate that our method consistently outperforms the state-of-the-art ones.

In this paper, we introduce a two-level attention schema, Poolingformer, for long document modeling. Its first level uses a smaller sliding window pattern to aggregate information from neighbors. Its second level employs a larger window to increase receptive fields with pooling attention to reduce both computational cost and memory consumption. We first evaluate Poolingformer on two long sequence QA tasks: the monolingual NQ and the multilingual TyDi QA. Experimental results show that Poolingformer sits atop three official leaderboards measured by F1, outperforming previous state-of-the-art models by 1.9 points (79.8 vs. 77.9) on NQ long answer, 1.9 points (79.5 vs. 77.6) on TyDi QA passage answer, and 1.6 points (67.6 vs. 66.0) on TyDi QA minimal answer. We further evaluate Poolingformer on a long sequence summarization task. Experimental results on the arXiv benchmark continue to demonstrate its superior performance.

Differentiable ARchiTecture Search(DARTS) has recently become the mainstream in the neural architecture search (NAS) due to its efficiency and simplicity. With a gradient-based bi-level optimization, DARTS alternately optimizes the inner model weights and the outer architecture parameter in a weight-sharing supernet. A key challenge to the scalability and quality of the learned architectures is the need for differentiating through the inner-loop optimisation. While much has been discussed about several potentially fatal factors in DARTS, the architecture gradient, a.k.a. hypergradient, has received less attention. In this paper, we tackle the hypergradient computation in DARTS based on the implicit function theorem, making it only depends on the obtained solution to the inner-loop optimization and agnostic to the optimization path. To further reduce the computational requirements, we formulate a stochastic hypergradient approximation for differentiable NAS, and theoretically show that the architecture optimization with the proposed method is expected to converge to a stationary point. Comprehensive experiments on two NAS benchmark search spaces and the common NAS search space verify the effectiveness of our proposed method. It leads to architectures outperforming, with large margins, those learned by the baseline methods.

Lately, post-training quantization methods have gained considerable attention, as they are simple to use, and require only a small unlabeled calibration set. This small dataset cannot be used to fine-tune the model without significant over-fitting. Instead, these methods only use the calibration set to set the activations' dynamic ranges. However, such methods always resulted in significant accuracy degradation, when used below 8-bits (except on small datasets). Here we aim to break the 8-bit barrier. To this end, we minimize the quantization errors of each layer or block separately by optimizing its parameters over the calibration set. We empirically demonstrate that this approach is: (1) much less susceptible to over-fitting than the standard fine-tuning approaches, and can be used even on a very small calibration set; and (2) more powerful than previous methods, which only set the activations' dynamic ranges. We suggest two flavors for our method, parallel and sequential aim for a fixed and flexible bit-width allocation. For the latter, we demonstrate how to optimally allocate the bit-widths for each layer, while constraining accuracy degradation or model compression by proposing a novel integer programming formulation. Finally, we suggest model global statistics tuning, to correct biases introduced during quantization. Together, these …

Neural architecture search (NAS) automates the design of deep neural networks. One of the main challenges in searching complex and non-continuous architectures is to compare the similarity of networks that the conventional Euclidean metric may fail to capture. Optimal transport (OT) is resilient to such complex structure by considering the minimal cost for transporting a network into another. However, the OT is generally not negative definite which may limit its ability to build the positive-definite kernels required in many kernel-dependent frameworks. Building upon tree-Wasserstein (TW), which is a negative definite variant of OT, we develop a novel discrepancy for neural architectures, and demonstrate it within a Gaussian process surrogate model for the sequential NAS settings. Furthermore, we derive a novel parallel NAS, using quality k-determinantal point process on the GP posterior, to select diverse and high-performing architectures from a discrete set of candidates. Empirically, we demonstrate that our TW-based approaches outperform other baselines in both sequential and parallel NAS.

Stochastic Neural Networks (SNNs) that inject noise into their hidden layers have recently been shown to achieve strong robustness against adversarial attacks. However, existing SNNs are usually heuristically motivated, and often rely on adversarial training, which is computationally costly. We propose a new SNN that achieves state-of-the-art performance without relying on adversarial training, and enjoys solid theoretical justification. Specifically, while existing SNNs inject learned or hand-tuned isotropic noise, our SNN learns an anisotropic noise distribution to optimize a learning-theoretic bound on adversarial robustness. We evaluate our method on a number of popular benchmarks, show that it can be applied to different architectures, and that it provides robustness to a variety of white-box and black-box attacks, while being simple and fast to train compared to existing alternatives.

Environments with procedurally generated content serve as important benchmarks for testing systematic generalization in deep reinforcement learning. In this setting, each level is an algorithmically created environment instance with a unique configuration of its factors of variation. Training on a prespecified subset of levels allows for testing generalization to unseen levels. What can be learned from a level depends on the current policy, yet prior work defaults to uniform sampling of training levels independently of the policy. We introduce Prioritized Level Replay (PLR), a general framework for selectively sampling the next training level by prioritizing those with higher estimated learning potential when revisited in the future. We show TD-errors effectively estimate a level's future learning potential and, when used to guide the sampling procedure, induce an emergent curriculum of increasingly difficult levels. By adapting the sampling of training levels, PLR significantly improves sample-efficiency and generalization on Procgen Benchmark—matching the previous state-of-the-art in test return—and readily combines with other methods. Combined with the previous leading method, PLR raises the state-of-the-art to over 76% improvement in test return relative to standard RL baselines.

Offline Reinforcement Learning promises to learn effective policies from previously-collected, static datasets without the need for exploration. However, existing Q-learning and actor-critic based off-policy RL algorithms fail when bootstrapping from out-of-distribution (OOD) actions or states. We hypothesize that a key missing ingredient from the existing methods is a proper treatment of uncertainty in the offline setting. We propose Uncertainty Weighted Actor-Critic (UWAC), an algorithm that detects OOD state-action pairs and down-weights their contribution in the training objectives accordingly. Implementation-wise, we adopt a practical and effective dropout-based uncertainty estimation method that introduces very little overhead over existing RL algorithms. Empirically, we observe that UWAC substantially improves model stability during training. In addition, UWAC out-performs existing offline RL methods on a variety of competitive tasks, and achieves significant performance gains over the state-of-the-art baseline on datasets with sparse demonstrations collected from human experts.

A large part of the literature on learning disentangled representations focuses on variational autoencoders (VAEs). Recent developments demonstrate that disentanglement cannot be obtained in a fully unsupervised setting without inductive biases on models and data. However, Khemakhem et al., AISTATS, 2020 suggest that employing a particular form of factorized prior, conditionally dependent on auxiliary variables complementing input observations, can be one such bias, resulting in an identifiable model with guarantees on disentanglement. Working along this line, we propose a novel VAE-based generative model with theoretical guarantees on identifiability. We obtain our conditional prior over the latents by learning an optimal representation, which imposes an additional strength on their regularization. We also extend our method to semi-supervised settings. Experimental results indicate superior performance with respect to state-of-the-art approaches, according to several established metrics proposed in the literature on disentanglement.

In fully cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) settings, the environments are highly stochastic due to the partial observability of each agent and the continuously changing policies of the other agents. To address the above issues, we integrate distributional RL and value function factorization methods by proposing a Distributional Value Function Factorization (DFAC) framework to generalize expected value function factorization methods to their distributional variants. DFAC extends the individual utility functions from deterministic variables to random variables, and models the quantile function of the total return as a quantile mixture. To validate DFAC, we demonstrate DFAC's ability to factorize a simple two-step matrix game with stochastic rewards and perform experiments on all Super Hard tasks of StarCraft Multi-Agent Challenge, showing that DFAC is able to outperform expected value function factorization baselines.

This paper introduces EfficientNetV2, a new family of convolutional networks that have faster training speed and better parameter efficiency than previous models. To develop these models, we use a combination of training-aware neural architecture search and scaling, to jointly optimize training speed and parameter efficiency. The models were searched from the search space enriched with new ops such as Fused-MBConv. Our experiments show that EfficientNetV2 models train much faster than state-of-the-art models while being up to 6.8x smaller. Our training can be further sped up by progressively increasing the image size during training, but it often causes a drop in accuracy. To compensate for this accuracy drop, we propose an improved method of progressive learning, which adaptively adjusts regularization (e.g. data augmentation) along with image size. With progressive learning, our EfficientNetV2 significantly outperforms previous models on ImageNet and CIFAR/Cars/Flowers datasets. By pretraining on the same ImageNet21k, our EfficientNetV2 achieves 87.3% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet ILSVRC2012, outperforming the recent ViT by 2.0% accuracy while training 5x-11x faster using the same computing resources.

Federated Learning (FL) is a distributed learning paradigm that scales on-device learning collaboratively and privately. Standard FL algorithms such as FᴇᴅAᴠɢ are primarily geared towards smooth unconstrained settings. In this paper, we study the Federated Composite Optimization (FCO) problem, in which the loss function contains a non-smooth regularizer. Such problems arise naturally in FL applications that involve sparsity, low-rank, monotonicity, or more general constraints. We first show that straightforward extensions of primal algorithms such as FedAvg are not well-suited for FCO since they suffer from the "curse of primal averaging," resulting in poor convergence. As a solution, we propose a new primal-dual algorithm, Federated Dual Averaging (FedDualAvg), which by employing a novel server dual averaging procedure circumvents the curse of primal averaging. Our theoretical analysis and empirical experiments demonstrate that FedDualAvg outperforms the other baselines.

Norm emergence is a process where agents in a multi-agent system establish self-enforcing conformity through repeated interactions. When such interactions are confined to a social topology, several self-reinforcing substructures (SRS) may emerge within the population. This prevents a formation of a global norm. We propose incremental social instruments (ISI) to dissolve these SRSs by creating ties between agents. Establishing ties requires some effort and cost. Hence, it is worth to design methods that build a small number of ties yet dissolve the SRSs. By using the notion of information entropy, we propose an indicator called the BA-ratio that measures the current SRSs. We find that by building ties with minimal BA-ratio, our ISI is effective in facilitating the global norm emergence. We explain this through our experiments and theoretical results. Furthermore, we propose the small-degree principle in minimising the BA-ratio that helps us to design efficient ISI algorithms for finding the optimal ties. Experiments on both synthetic and real-world network topologies demonstrate that our adaptive ISI is efficient at dissolving SRS.

Boundary discontinuity and its inconsistency to the final detection metric have been the bottleneck for rotating detection regression loss design. In this paper, we propose a novel regression loss based on Gaussian Wasserstein distance as a fundamental approach to solve the problem. Specifically, the rotated bounding box is converted to a 2-D Gaussian distribution, which enables to approximate the indifferentiable rotational IoU induced loss by the Gaussian Wasserstein distance (GWD) which can be learned efficiently by gradient back-propagation. GWD can still be informative for learning even there is no overlapping between two rotating bounding boxes which is often the case for small object detection. Thanks to its three unique properties, GWD can also elegantly solve the boundary discontinuity and square-like problem regardless how the bounding box is defined. Experiments on five datasets using different detectors show the effectiveness of our approach, and codes are available at https://github.com/yangxue0827/RotationDetection.

Humans show an innate ability to learn the regularities of the world through interaction. By performing experiments in our environment, we are able to discern the causal factors of variation and infer how they affect the dynamics of our world. Analogously, here we attempt to equip reinforcement learning agents with the ability to perform experiments that facilitate a categorization of the rolled-out trajectories, and to subsequently infer the causal factors of the environment in a hierarchical manner. We introduce a novel intrinsic reward, called causal curiosity, and show that it allows our agents to learn optimal sequences of actions, and to discover causal factors in the dynamics. The learned behavior allows the agent to infer a binary quantized representation for the ground-truth causal factors in every environment. Additionally, we find that these experimental behaviors are semantically meaningful (e.g., to differentiate between heavy and light blocks, our agents learn to lift them), and are learnt in a self-supervised manner with approximately 2.5 times less data than conventional supervised planners. We show that these behaviors can be re-purposed and fine-tuned (e.g., from lifting to pushing or other downstream tasks). Finally, we show that the knowledge of causal factor representations aids zero-shot learning …

Imitation learning trains control policies by mimicking pre-recorded expert demonstrations. In partially observable settings, imitation policies must rely on observation histories, but many seemingly paradoxical results show better performance for policies that only access the most recent observation. Recent solutions ranging from causal graph learning to deep information bottlenecks have shown promising results, but failed to scale to realistic settings such as visual imitation. We propose a solution that outperforms these prior approaches by upweighting demonstration keyframes corresponding to expert action changepoints. This simple approach easily scales to complex visual imitation settings. Our experimental results demonstrate consistent performance improvements over all baselines on image-based Gym MuJoCo continuous control tasks. Finally, on the CARLA photorealistic vision-based urban driving simulator, we resolve a long-standing issue in behavioral cloning for driving by demonstrating effective imitation from observation histories. Supplementary materials and code at: \url{https://tinyurl.com/imitation-keyframes}.

In recent years, methods were proposed for assigning feature importance scores to measure the contribution of individual features. While in some cases the goal is to understand a specific model, in many cases the goal is to understand the contribution of certain properties (features) to a real-world phenomenon. Thus, a distinction has been made between feature importance scores that explain a model and scores that explain the data. When explaining the data, machine learning models are used as proxies in settings where conducting many real-world experiments is expensive or prohibited. While existing feature importance scores show great success in explaining models, we demonstrate their limitations when explaining the data, especially in the presence of correlations between features. Therefore, we develop a set of axioms to capture properties expected from a feature importance score when explaining data and prove that there exists only one score that satisfies all of them, the Marginal Contribution Feature Importance (MCI). We analyze the theoretical properties of this score function and demonstrate its merits empirically.

We propose a novel GAN training scheme that can handle any level of labeling in a unified manner. Our scheme introduces a form of artificial labeling that can incorporate manually defined labels, when available, and induce an alignment between them. To define the artificial labels, we exploit the assumption that neural network generators can be trained more easily to map nearby latent vectors to data with semantic similarities, than across separate categories. We use generated data samples and their corresponding artificial conditioning labels to train a classifier. The classifier is then used to self-label real data. To boost the accuracy of the self-labeling, we also use the exponential moving average of the classifier. However, because the classifier might still make mistakes, especially at the beginning of the training, we also refine the labels through self-attention, by using the labeling of real data samples only when the classifier outputs a high classification probability score. We evaluate our approach on CIFAR-10, STL-10 and SVHN, and show that both self-labeling and self-attention consistently improve the quality of generated data. More surprisingly, we find that the proposed scheme can even outperform class-conditional GANs.

Generalization has been a long-standing challenge for reinforcement learning (RL). Visual RL, in particular, can be easily distracted by irrelevant factors in high-dimensional observation space. In this work, we consider robust policy learning which targets zero-shot generalization to unseen visual environments with large distributional shift. We propose SECANT, a novel self-expert cloning technique that leverages image augmentation in two stages to *decouple* robust representation learning from policy optimization. Specifically, an expert policy is first trained by RL from scratch with weak augmentations. A student network then learns to mimic the expert policy by supervised learning with strong augmentations, making its representation more robust against visual variations compared to the expert.
Extensive experiments demonstrate that SECANT significantly advances the state of the art in zero-shot generalization across 4 challenging domains. Our average reward improvements over prior SOTAs are: DeepMind Control (+26.5%), robotic manipulation (+337.8%), vision-based autonomous driving (+47.7%), and indoor object navigation (+15.8%). Code release and video are available at https://linxifan.github.io/secant-site/.

We study reinforcement learning in mean-field games. To achieve the Nash equilibrium, which consists of a policy and a mean-field state, existing algorithms require obtaining the optimal policy while fixing any mean-field state. In practice, however, the policy and the mean-field state evolve simultaneously, as each agent is learning while playing. To bridge such a gap, we propose a fictitious play algorithm, which alternatively updates the policy (learning) and the mean-field state (playing) by one step of policy optimization and gradient descent, respectively. Despite the nonstationarity induced by such an alternating scheme, we prove that the proposed algorithm converges to the Nash equilibrium with an explicit convergence rate. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first provably efficient algorithm that achieves learning while playing via alternating updates.

We introduce learning and planning algorithms for average-reward MDPs, including 1) the first general proven-convergent off-policy model-free control algorithm without reference states, 2) the first proven-convergent off-policy model-free prediction algorithm, and 3) the first off-policy learning algorithm that converges to the actual value function rather than to the value function plus an offset. All of our algorithms are based on using the temporal-difference error rather than the conventional error when updating the estimate of the average reward. Our proof techniques are a slight generalization of those by Abounadi, Bertsekas, and Borkar (2001). In experiments with an Access-Control Queuing Task, we show some of the difficulties that can arise when using methods that rely on reference states and argue that our new algorithms are significantly easier to use.

Despite the accomplishments of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) in modeling data distributions, training them remains a challenging task. A contributing factor to this difficulty is the non-intuitive nature of the GAN loss curves, which necessitates a subjective evaluation of the generated output to infer training progress. Recently, motivated by game theory, Duality Gap has been proposed as a domain agnostic measure to monitor GAN training. However, it is restricted to the setting when the GAN converges to a Nash equilibrium. But GANs need not always converge to a Nash equilibrium to model the data distribution. In this work, we extend the notion of duality gap to proximal duality gap that is applicable to the general context of training GANs where Nash equilibria may not exist. We show theoretically that the proximal duality gap can monitor the convergence of GANs to a broader spectrum of equilibria that subsumes Nash equilibria. We also theoretically establish the relationship between the proximal duality gap and the divergence between the real and generated data distributions for different GAN formulations. Our results provide new insights into the nature of GAN convergence. Finally, we validate experimentally the usefulness of proximal duality gap for monitoring and influencing GAN …

In this paper, we devise a distributional framework on actor-critic as a solution to distributional instability, action type restriction, and conflation between samples and statistics. We propose a new method that minimizes the Cramér distance with the multi-step Bellman target distribution generated from a novel Sample-Replacement algorithm denoted SR(\lambda), which learns the correct value distribution under multiple Bellman operations. Parameterizing a value distribution with Gaussian Mixture Model further improves the efficiency and the performance of the method, which we name GMAC. We empirically show that GMAC captures the correct representation of value distributions and improves the performance of a conventional actor-critic method with low computational cost, in both discrete and continuous action spaces using Arcade Learning Environment (ALE) and PyBullet environment.

Deep domain adaptation (DDA) approaches have recently been shown to perform better than their shallow rivals with better modeling capacity on complex domains (e.g., image, structural data, and sequential data). The underlying idea is to learn domain invariant representations on a latent space that can bridge the gap between source and target domains. Several theoretical studies have established insightful understanding and the benefit of learning domain invariant features; however, they are usually limited to the case where there is no label shift, hence hindering its applicability. In this paper, we propose and study a new challenging setting that allows us to use a Wasserstein distance (WS) to not only quantify the data shift but also to define the label shift directly. We further develop a theory to demonstrate that minimizing the WS of the data shift leads to closing the gap between the source and target data distributions on the latent space (e.g., an intermediate layer of a deep net), while still being able to quantify the label shift with respect to this latent space. Interestingly, our theory can consequently explain certain drawbacks of learning domain invariant features on the latent space. Finally, grounded on the results and guidance of …

Recent research has recognized interpretability and robustness as essential properties of trustworthy classification. Curiously, a connection between robustness and interpretability was empirically observed, but the theoretical reasoning behind it remained elusive. In this paper, we rigorously investigate this connection. Specifically, we focus on interpretation using decision trees and robustness to l_{\infty}-perturbation. Previous works defined the notion of r-separation as a sufficient condition for robustness. We prove upper and lower bounds on the tree size in case the data is r-separated. We then show that a tighter bound on the size is possible when the data is linearly separated. We provide the first algorithm with provable guarantees both on robustness, interpretability, and accuracy in the context of decision trees. Experiments confirm that our algorithm yields classifiers that are both interpretable and robust and have high accuracy.

Latent variable models have been playing a central role in statistics, econometrics, machine learning with applications to repeated observation study, panel data inference, user behavior analysis, etc. In many modern applications, the inference based on latent variable models involves one or several of the following features: the presence of complex latent structure, the observed and latent variables being continuous or discrete, constraints on parameters, and data size being large. Therefore, solving an estimation problem for general latent variable models is highly non-trivial. In this paper, we consider a gradient based method via using variance reduction technique to accelerate estimation procedure. Theoretically, we show the convergence results for the proposed method under general and mild model assumptions. The algorithm has better computational complexity compared with the classical gradient methods and maintains nice statistical properties. Various numerical results corroborate our theory.

Goal-conditioned reinforcement learning endows an agent with a large variety of skills, but it often struggles to solve tasks that require more temporally extended reasoning. In this work, we propose to incorporate imagined subgoals into policy learning to facilitate learning of complex tasks. Imagined subgoals are predicted by a separate high-level policy, which is trained simultaneously with the policy and its critic. This high-level policy predicts intermediate states halfway to the goal using the value function as a reachability metric. We don’t require the policy to reach these subgoals explicitly. Instead, we use them to define a prior policy, and incorporate this prior into a KL-constrained policy iteration scheme to speed up and regularize learning. Imagined subgoals are used during policy learning, but not during test time, where we only apply the learned policy. We evaluate our approach on complex robotic navigation and manipulation tasks and show that it outperforms existing methods by a large margin.

Self-attention mechanisms have been widely adopted in many machine learning areas, including Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Graph Representation Learning (GRL), etc. However, existing works heavily rely on hand-crafted design to obtain customized attention mechanisms. In this paper, we automate Key, Query and Value representation design, which is one of the most important steps to obtain effective self-attentions. We propose an automated self-attention representation model, AutoAttend, which can automatically search powerful attention representations for downstream tasks leveraging Neural Architecture Search (NAS). In particular, we design a tailored search space for attention representation automation, which is flexible to produce effective attention representation designs. Based on the design prior obtained from attention representations in previous works, we further regularize our search space to reduce the space complexity without the loss of expressivity. Moreover, we propose a novel context-aware parameter sharing mechanism considering special characteristics of each sub-architecture to provide more accurate architecture estimations when conducting parameter sharing in our tailored search space. Experiments show the superiority of our proposed AutoAttend model over previous state-of-the-arts on eight text classification tasks in NLP and four node classification tasks in GRL.

Modeling sets is an important problem in machine learning since this type of data can be found in many domains. A promising approach defines a family of permutation invariant densities with continuous normalizing flows. This allows us to maximize the likelihood directly and sample new realizations with ease. In this work, we demonstrate how calculating the trace, a crucial step in this method, raises issues that occur both during training and inference, limiting its practicality. We propose an alternative way of defining permutation equivariant transformations that give closed form trace. This leads not only to improvements while training, but also to better final performance. We demonstrate the benefits of our approach on point processes and general set modeling.

We consider stochastic convex optimization problems, where several machines act asynchronously in parallel while sharing a common memory. We propose a robust training method for the constrained setting and derive non asymptotic convergence guarantees that do not depend on prior knowledge of update delays, objective smoothness, and gradient variance. Conversely, existing methods for this setting crucially rely on this prior knowledge, which render them unsuitable for essentially all shared-resources computational environments, such as clouds and data centers. Concretely, existing approaches are unable to accommodate changes in the delays which result from dynamic allocation of the machines, while our method implicitly adapts to such changes.

Sequence learning has attracted much research attention from the machine learning community in recent years. In many applications, a sequence learning task is usually associated with multiple temporally correlated auxiliary tasks, which are different in terms of how much input information to use or which future step to predict. For example, (i) in simultaneous machine translation, one can conduct translation under different latency (i.e., how many input words to read/wait before translation); (ii) in stock trend forecasting, one can predict the price of a stock in different future days (e.g., tomorrow, the day after tomorrow). While it is clear that those temporally correlated tasks can help each other, there is a very limited exploration on how to better leverage multiple auxiliary tasks to boost the performance of the main task. In this work, we introduce a learnable scheduler to sequence learning, which can adaptively select auxiliary tasks for training depending on the model status and the current training data. The scheduler and the model for the main task are jointly trained through bi-level optimization. Experiments show that our method significantly improves the performance of simultaneous machine translation and stock trend forecasting.

We consider the problem of learning fair policies in (deep) cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL). We formalize it in a principled way as the problem of optimizing a welfare function that explicitly encodes two important aspects of fairness: efficiency and equity. We provide a theoretical analysis of the convergence of policy gradient for this problem. As a solution method, we propose a novel neural network architecture, which is composed of two sub-networks specifically designed for taking into account these two aspects of fairness. In experiments, we demonstrate the importance of the two sub-networks for fair optimization. Our overall approach is general as it can accommodate any (sub)differentiable welfare function. Therefore, it is compatible with various notions of fairness that have been proposed in the literature (e.g., lexicographic maximin, generalized Gini social welfare function, proportional fairness). Our method is generic and can be implemented in various MARL settings: centralized training and decentralized execution, or fully decentralized. Finally, we experimentally validate our approach in various domains and show that it can perform much better than previous methods, both in terms of efficiency and equity.

The Laplacian representation recently gains increasing attention for reinforcement learning as it provides succinct and informative representation for states, by taking the eigenvectors of the Laplacian matrix of the state-transition graph as state embeddings. Such representation captures the geometry of the underlying state space and is beneficial to RL tasks such as option discovery and reward shaping. To approximate the Laplacian representation in large (or even continuous) state spaces, recent works propose to minimize a spectral graph drawing objective, which however has infinitely many global minimizers other than the eigenvectors. As a result, their learned Laplacian representation may differ from the ground truth. To solve this problem, we reformulate the graph drawing objective into a generalized form and derive a new learning objective, which is proved to have eigenvectors as its unique global minimizer. It enables learning high-quality Laplacian representations that faithfully approximate the ground truth. We validate this via comprehensive experiments on a set of gridworld and continuous control environments. Moreover, we show that our learned Laplacian representations lead to more exploratory options and better reward shaping.

This paper introduces an alternative approach to sampling from autoregressive models. Autoregressive models are typically sampled sequentially, according to the transition dynamics defined by the model. Instead, we propose a sampling procedure that initializes a sequence with white noise and follows a Markov chain defined by Langevin dynamics on the global log-likelihood of the sequence. This approach parallelizes the sampling process and generalizes to conditional sampling. Using an autoregressive model as a Bayesian prior, we can steer the output of a generative model using a conditional likelihood or constraints. We apply these techniques to autoregressive models in the visual and audio domains, with competitive results for audio source separation, super-resolution, and inpainting.

While the advent of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) has greatly improved node and graph representation learning in many applications, the neighborhood aggregation scheme exposes additional vulnerabilities to adversaries seeking to extract node-level information about sensitive attributes. In this paper, we study the problem of protecting sensitive attributes by information obfuscation when learning with graph structured data. We propose a framework to locally filter out pre-determined sensitive attributes via adversarial training with the total variation and the Wasserstein distance. Our method creates a strong defense against inference attacks, while only suffering small loss in task performance. Theoretically, we analyze the effectiveness of our framework against a worst-case adversary, and characterize an inherent trade-off between maximizing predictive accuracy and minimizing information leakage. Experiments across multiple datasets from recommender systems, knowledge graphs and quantum chemistry demonstrate that the proposed approach provides a robust defense across various graph structures and tasks, while producing competitive GNN encoders for downstream tasks.

Low-precision training has become a popular approach to reduce compute requirements, memory footprint, and energy consumption in supervised learning. In contrast, this promising approach has not yet enjoyed similarly widespread adoption within the reinforcement learning (RL) community, partly because RL agents can be notoriously hard to train even in full precision. In this paper we consider continuous control with the state-of-the-art SAC agent and demonstrate that a na\"ive adaptation of low-precision methods from supervised learning fails. We propose a set of six modifications, all straightforward to implement, that leaves the underlying agent and its hyperparameters unchanged but improves the numerical stability dramatically. The resulting modified SAC agent has lower memory and compute requirements while matching full-precision rewards, demonstrating that low-precision training can substantially accelerate state-of-the-art RL without parameter tuning.

The difficulty in specifying rewards for many real-world problems has led to an increased focus on learning rewards from human feedback, such as demonstrations. However, there are often many different reward functions that explain the human feedback, leaving agents with uncertainty over what the true reward function is. While most policy optimization approaches handle this uncertainty by optimizing for expected performance, many applications demand risk-averse behavior. We derive a novel policy gradient-style robust optimization approach, PG-BROIL, that optimizes a soft-robust objective that balances expected performance and risk. To the best of our knowledge, PG-BROIL is the first policy optimization algorithm robust to a distribution of reward hypotheses which can scale to continuous MDPs. Results suggest that PG-BROIL can produce a family of behaviors ranging from risk-neutral to risk-averse and outperforms state-of-the-art imitation learning algorithms when learning from ambiguous demonstrations by hedging against uncertainty, rather than seeking to uniquely identify the demonstrator's reward function.

High-dimensional black-box optimisation remains an important yet notoriously challenging problem. Despite the success of Bayesian optimisation methods on continuous domains, domains that are categorical, or that mix continuous and categorical variables, remain challenging. We propose a novel solution---we combine local optimisation with a tailored kernel design, effectively handling high-dimensional categorical and mixed search spaces, whilst retaining sample efficiency. We further derive convergence guarantee for the proposed approach. Finally, we demonstrate empirically that our method outperforms the current baselines on a variety of synthetic and real-world tasks in terms of performance, computational costs, or both.

Reinforcement learning from large-scale offline datasets provides us with the ability to learn policies without potentially unsafe or impractical exploration. Significant progress has been made in the past few years in dealing with the challenge of correcting for differing behavior between the data collection and learned policies. However, little attention has been paid to potentially changing dynamics when transferring a policy to the online setting, where performance can be up to 90% reduced for existing methods. In this paper we address this problem with Augmented World Models (AugWM). We augment a learned dynamics model with simple transformations that seek to capture potential changes in physical properties of the robot, leading to more robust policies. We not only train our policy in this new setting, but also provide it with the sampled augmentation as a context, allowing it to adapt to changes in the environment. At test time we learn the context in a self-supervised fashion by approximating the augmentation which corresponds to the new environment. We rigorously evaluate our approach on over 100 different changed dynamics settings, and show that this simple approach can significantly improve the zero-shot generalization of a recent state-of-the-art baseline, often achieving successful policies where the …

We consider a best arm identification (BAI) problem for stochastic bandits with adversarial corruptions in the fixed-budget setting of T steps. We design a novel randomized algorithm, Probabilistic Sequential Shrinking(u) (PSS(u)), which is agnostic to the amount of corruptions. When the amount of corruptions per step (CPS) is below a threshold, PSS(u) identifies the best arm or item with probability tending to 1 as T→∞. Otherwise, the optimality gap of the identified item degrades gracefully with the CPS.We argue that such a bifurcation is necessary. In PSS(u), the parameter u serves to balance between the optimality gap and success probability. The injection of randomization is shown to be essential to mitigate the impact of corruptions. To demonstrate this, we design two attack strategies that are applicable to any algorithm. We apply one of them to a deterministic analogue of PSS(u) known as Successive Halving (SH) by Karnin et al. (2013). The attack strategy results in a high failure probability for SH, but PSS(u) remains robust. In the absence of corruptions, PSS(2)'s performance guarantee matches SH's. We show that when the CPS is sufficiently large, no algorithm can achieve a BAI probability tending to 1 as T→∞. Numerical experiments corroborate our …

Bridging logical and algorithmic reasoning with modern machine learning techniques is a fundamental challenge with potentially transformative impact. On the algorithmic side, many NP-hard problems can be expressed as integer programs, in which the constraints play the role of their 'combinatorial specification'. In this work, we aim to integrate integer programming solvers into neural network architectures as layers capable of learning both the cost terms and the constraints. The resulting end-to-end trainable architectures jointly extract features from raw data and solve a suitable (learned) combinatorial problem with state-of-the-art integer programming solvers. We demonstrate the potential of such layers with an extensive performance analysis on synthetic data and with a demonstration on a competitive computer vision keypoint matching benchmark.

Distributed learning has become a hot research topic due to its wide application in cluster-based large-scale learning, federated learning, edge computing and so on. Most traditional distributed learning methods typically assume no failure or attack. However, many unexpected cases, such as communication failure and even malicious attack, may happen in real applications. Hence, Byzantine learning (BL), which refers to distributed learning with failure or attack, has recently attracted much attention. Most existing BL methods are synchronous, which are impractical in some applications due to heterogeneous or offline workers. In these cases, asynchronous BL (ABL) is usually preferred. In this paper, we propose a novel method, called buffered asynchronous stochastic gradient descent (BASGD), for ABL. To the best of our knowledge, BASGD is the first ABL method that can resist malicious attack without storing any instances on server. Compared with those methods which need to store instances on server, BASGD has a wider scope of application. BASGD is proved to be convergent, and be able to resist failure or attack. Empirical results show that BASGD significantly outperforms vanilla asynchronous stochastic gradient descent (ASGD) and other ABL baselines when there exists failure or attack on workers.

While maximizing deep neural networks' (DNNs') acceleration efficiency requires a joint search/design of three different yet highly coupled aspects, including the networks, bitwidths, and accelerators, the challenges associated with such a joint search have not yet been fully understood and addressed. The key challenges include (1) the dilemma of whether to explode the memory consumption due to the huge joint space or achieve sub-optimal designs, (2) the discrete nature of the accelerator design space that is coupled yet different from that of the networks and bitwidths, and (3) the chicken and egg problem associated with network-accelerator co-search, i.e., co-search requires operation-wise hardware cost, which is lacking during search as the optimal accelerator depending on the whole network is still unknown during search. To tackle these daunting challenges towards optimal and fast development of DNN accelerators, we propose a framework dubbed Auto-NBA to enable jointly searching for the Networks, Bitwidths, and Accelerators, by efficiently localizing the optimal design within the huge joint design space for each target dataset and acceleration specification. Our Auto-NBA integrates a heterogeneous sampling strategy to achieve unbiased search with constant memory consumption, and a novel joint-search pipeline equipped with a generic differentiable accelerator search engine. Extensive experiments …

Off-policy learning allows us to learn about possible policies of behavior from experience generated by a different behavior policy. Temporal difference (TD) learning algorithms can become unstable when combined with function approximation and off-policy sampling---this is known as the ``deadly triad''. Emphatic temporal difference (ETD(λ)) algorithm ensures convergence in the linear case by appropriately weighting the TD(λ) updates. In this paper, we extend the use of emphatic methods to deep reinforcement learning agents. We show that naively adapting ETD(λ) to popular deep reinforcement learning algorithms, which use forward view multi-step returns, results in poor performance. We then derive new emphatic algorithms for use in the context of such algorithms, and we demonstrate that they provide noticeable benefits in small problems designed to highlight the instability of TD methods. Finally, we observed improved performance when applying these algorithms at scale on classic Atari games from the Arcade Learning Environment.

Text-to-image generation has traditionally focused on finding better modeling assumptions for training on a fixed dataset. These assumptions might involve complex architectures, auxiliary losses, or side information such as object part labels or segmentation masks supplied during training. We describe a simple approach for this task based on a transformer that autoregressively models the text and image tokens as a single stream of data. With sufficient data and scale, our approach is competitive with previous domain-specific models when evaluated in a zero-shot fashion.

Inductive program synthesis, or inferring programs from examples of desired behavior, offers a general paradigm for building interpretable, robust, andgeneralizable machine learning systems. Effective program synthesis depends on two key ingredients: a strong library of functions from which to build programs, and an efficient search strategy for finding programs that solve a given task. We introduce LAPS (Language for Abstraction and Program Search), a technique for using natural language annotations to guide joint learning of libraries and neurally-guided search models for synthesis. When integrated into a state-of-the-art library learning system (DreamCoder), LAPS produces higher-quality libraries and improves search efficiency and generalization on three domains – string editing, image composition, and abstract reasoning about scenes – even when no natural language hints are available at test time.

Learning to flexibly follow task instructions in dynamic environments poses interesting challenges for reinforcement learning agents. We focus here on the problem of learning control flow that deviates from a strict step-by-step execution of instructions—that is, control flow that may skip forward over parts of the instructions or return backward to previously completed or skipped steps. Demand for such flexible control arises in two fundamental ways: explicitly when control is specified in the instructions themselves (such as conditional branching and looping) and implicitly when stochastic environment dynamics require re-completion of instructions whose effects have been perturbed, or opportunistic skipping of instructions whose effects are already present. We formulate an attention-based architecture that meets these challenges by learning, from task reward only, to flexibly attend to and condition behavior on an internal encoding of the instructions. We test the architecture's ability to learn both explicit and implicit control in two illustrative domains---one inspired by Minecraft and the other by StarCraft---and show that the architecture exhibits zero-shot generalization to novel instructions of length greater than those in a training set, at a performance level unmatched by three baseline recurrent architectures and one ablation architecture.

Transformer architectures are widely used, but training them is non-trivial, requiring custom learning rate schedules, scaling terms, residual connections, careful placement of submodules such as normalization, and so on. In this paper, we improve upon recent analysis of Transformers and formalize a notion of sensitivity to capture the difficulty of training. Sensitivity characterizes how the variance of activation and gradient norms change in expectation when parameters are randomly perturbed. We analyze the sensitivity of previous Transformer architectures and design a new architecture, the Catformer, which replaces residual connections or RNN-based gating mechanisms with concatenation. We prove that Catformers are less sensitive than other Transformer variants and demonstrate that this leads to more stable training. On DMLab30, a suite of high-dimension reinforcement tasks, Catformer outperforms other transformers, including Gated Transformer-XL---the state-of-the-art architecture designed to address stability---by 13%.

Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have been studied through the lens of expressive power and generalization. However, their optimization properties are less well understood. We take the first step towards analyzing GNN training by studying the gradient dynamics of GNNs. First, we analyze linearized GNNs and prove that despite the non-convexity of training, convergence to a global minimum at a linear rate is guaranteed under mild assumptions that we validate on real-world graphs. Second, we study what may affect the GNNs' training speed. Our results show that the training of GNNs is implicitly accelerated by skip connections, more depth, and/or a good label distribution. Empirical results confirm that our theoretical results for linearized GNNs align with the training behavior of nonlinear GNNs. Our results provide the first theoretical support for the success of GNNs with skip connections in terms of optimization, and suggest that deep GNNs with skip connections would be promising in practice.

Marginalized importance sampling (MIS), which measures the density ratio between the state-action occupancy of a target policy and that of a sampling distribution, is a promising approach for off-policy evaluation. However, current state-of-the-art MIS methods rely on complex optimization tricks and succeed mostly on simple toy problems. We bridge the gap between MIS and deep reinforcement learning by observing that the density ratio can be computed from the successor representation of the target policy. The successor representation can be trained through deep reinforcement learning methodology and decouples the reward optimization from the dynamics of the environment, making the resulting algorithm stable and applicable to high-dimensional domains. We evaluate the empirical performance of our approach on a variety of challenging Atari and MuJoCo environments.

Object detection has recently achieved a breakthrough for removing the last one non-differentiable component in the pipeline, Non-Maximum Suppression (NMS), and building up an end-to-end system. However, what makes for its one-to-one prediction has not been well understood. In this paper, we first point out that one-to-one positive sample assignment is the key factor, while, one-to-many assignment in previous detectors causes redundant predictions in inference. Second, we surprisingly find that even training with one-to-one assignment, previous detectors still produce redundant predictions. We identify that classification cost in matching cost is the main ingredient: (1) previous detectors only consider location cost, (2) by additionally introducing classification cost, previous detectors immediately produce one-to-one prediction during inference. We introduce the concept of score gap to explore the effect of matching cost. Classification cost enlarges the score gap by choosing positive samples as those of highest score in the training iteration and reducing noisy positive samples brought by only location cost. Finally, we demonstrate the advantages of end-to-end object detection on crowded scenes.

Modern policy gradient algorithms such as Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) rely on an arsenal of heuristics, including loss clipping and gradient clipping, to ensure successful learning. These heuristics are reminiscent of techniques from robust statistics, commonly used for estimation in outlier-rich ("heavy-tailed") regimes. In this paper, we present a detailed empirical study to characterize the heavy-tailed nature of the gradients of the PPO surrogate reward function. We demonstrate that the gradients, especially for the actor network, exhibit pronounced heavy-tailedness and that it increases as the agent's policy diverges from the behavioral policy (i.e., as the agent goes further off policy). Further examination implicates the likelihood ratios and advantages in the surrogate reward as the main sources of the observed heavy-tailedness. We then highlight issues arising due to the heavy-tailed nature of the gradients. In this light, we study the effects of the standard PPO clipping heuristics, demonstrating that these tricks primarily serve to offset heavy-tailedness in gradients. Thus motivated, we propose incorporating GMOM, a high-dimensional robust estimator, into PPO as a substitute for three clipping tricks. Despite requiring less hyperparameter tuning, our method matches the performance of PPO (with all heuristics enabled) on a battery of MuJoCo continuous control tasks.

State-of-the-art deep reinforcement learning (DRL) algorithms tend to overfit due to the model discrepancy between source and target environments. Though applying domain randomization during training can improve the average performance by randomly generating a sufficient diversity of environments in simulator, the worst-case environment is still neglected without any performance guarantee. Since the average and worst-case performance are both important for generalization in RL, in this paper, we propose a policy optimization approach for concurrently improving the policy's performance in the average and worst-case environment. We theoretically derive a lower bound for the worst-case performance of a given policy by relating it to the expected performance. Guided by this lower bound, we formulate an optimization problem to jointly optimize the policy and sampling distribution, and prove that by iteratively solving it the worst-case performance is monotonically improved. We then develop a practical algorithm, named monotonic robust policy optimization (MRPO). Experimental evaluations in several robot control tasks demonstrate that MRPO can generally improve both the average and worst-case performance in the source environments for training, and facilitate in all cases the learned policy with a better generalization capability in some unseen testing environments.

Gradient staleness is a major side effect in decoupled learning when training convolutional neural networks asynchronously. Existing methods that ignore this effect might result in reduced generalization and even divergence. In this paper, we propose an accumulated decoupled learning (ADL), which includes a module-wise gradient accumulation in order to mitigate the gradient staleness. Unlike prior arts ignoring the gradient staleness, we quantify the staleness in such a way that its mitigation can be quantitatively visualized. As a new learning scheme, the proposed ADL is theoretically shown to converge to critical points in spite of its asynchronism. Extensive experiments on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet datasets are conducted, demonstrating that ADL gives promising generalization results while the state-of-the-art methods experience reduced generalization and divergence. In addition, our ADL is shown to have the fastest training speed among the compared methods.

Progress in deep reinforcement learning (RL) research is largely enabled by benchmark task environments. However, analyzing the nature of those environments is often overlooked. In particular, we still do not have agreeable ways to measure the difficulty or solvability of a task, given that each has fundamentally different actions, observations, dynamics, rewards, and can be tackled with diverse RL algorithms. In this work, we propose policy information capacity (PIC) -- the mutual information between policy parameters and episodic return -- and policy-optimal information capacity (POIC) -- between policy parameters and episodic optimality -- as two environment-agnostic, algorithm-agnostic quantitative metrics for task difficulty. Evaluating our metrics across toy environments as well as continuous control benchmark tasks from OpenAI Gym and DeepMind Control Suite, we empirically demonstrate that these information-theoretic metrics have higher correlations with normalized task solvability scores than a variety of alternatives. Lastly, we show that these metrics can also be used for fast and compute-efficient optimizations of key design parameters such as reward shaping, policy architectures, and MDP properties for better solvability by RL algorithms without ever running full RL experiments.

This paper investigates how to weight imperfect expert demonstrations for generative adversarial imitation learning (GAIL). The agent is expected to perform behaviors demonstrated by experts. But in many applications, experts could also make mistakes and their demonstrations would mislead or slow the learning process of the agent. Recently, existing methods for imitation learning from imperfect demonstrations mostly focus on using the preference or confidence scores to distinguish imperfect demonstrations. However, these auxiliary information needs to be collected with the help of an oracle, which is usually hard and expensive to afford in practice. In contrast, this paper proposes a method of learning to weight imperfect demonstrations in GAIL without imposing extensive prior information. We provide a rigorous mathematical analysis, presenting that the weights of demonstrations can be exactly determined by combining the discriminator and agent policy in GAIL. Theoretical analysis suggests that with the estimated weights the agent can learn a better policy beyond those plain expert demonstrations. Experiments in the Mujoco and Atari environments demonstrate that the proposed algorithm outperforms baseline methods in handling imperfect expert demonstrations.

In previous Capsule Neural Networks (CapsNets), routing algorithms often performed clustering processes to assemble the child capsules' representations into parent capsules. Such routing algorithms were typically implemented with iterative processes and incurred high computing complexity. This paper presents a new capsule structure, which contains a set of optimizable receptors and a transmitter is devised on the capsule's representation. Specifically, child capsules' representations are sent to the parent capsules whose receptors match well the transmitters of the child capsules' representations, avoiding applying computationally complex routing algorithms. To ensure the receptors in a CapsNet work cooperatively, we build a skeleton to organize the receptors in different capsule layers in a CapsNet. The receptor skeleton assigns a share-out objective for each receptor, making the CapsNet perform as a hierarchical agglomerative clustering process. Comprehensive experiments verify that our approach facilitates efficient clustering processes, and CapsNets with our approach significantly outperform CapsNets with previous routing algorithms on image classification, affine transformation generalization, overlapped object recognition, and representation semantic decoupling.

We consider the problem of optimizing hybrid structures (mixture of discrete and continuous input variables) via expensive black-box function evaluations. This problem arises in many real-world applications. For example, in materials design optimization via lab experiments, discrete and continuous variables correspond to the presence/absence of primitive elements and their relative concentrations respectively. The key challenge is to accurately model the complex interactions between discrete and continuous variables. In this paper, we propose a novel approach referred as Hybrid Bayesian Optimization (HyBO) by utilizing diffusion kernels, which are naturally defined over continuous and discrete variables. We develop a principled approach for constructing diffusion kernels over hybrid spaces by utilizing the additive kernel formulation, which allows additive interactions of all orders in a tractable manner. We theoretically analyze the modeling strength of additive hybrid kernels and prove that it has the universal approximation property. Our experiments on synthetic and six diverse real-world benchmarks show that HyBO significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.

We consider the problem of explaining the predictions of graph neural networks (GNNs), which otherwise are considered as black boxes. Existing methods invariably focus on explaining the importance of graph nodes or edges but ignore the substructures of graphs, which are more intuitive and human-intelligible. In this work, we propose a novel method, known as SubgraphX, to explain GNNs by identifying important subgraphs. Given a trained GNN model and an input graph, our SubgraphX explains its predictions by efficiently exploring different subgraphs with Monte Carlo tree search. To make the tree search more effective, we propose to use Shapley values as a measure of subgraph importance, which can also capture the interactions among different subgraphs. To expedite computations, we propose efficient approximation schemes to compute Shapley values for graph data. Our work represents the first attempt to explain GNNs via identifying subgraphs explicitly and directly. Experimental results show that our SubgraphX achieves significantly improved explanations, while keeping computations at a reasonable level.

Normalization is known to help the optimization of deep neural networks. Curiously, different architectures require specialized normalization methods. In this paper, we study what normalization is effective for Graph Neural Networks (GNNs). First, we adapt and evaluate the existing methods from other domains to GNNs. Faster convergence is achieved with InstanceNorm compared to BatchNorm and LayerNorm. We provide an explanation by showing that InstanceNorm serves as a preconditioner for GNNs, but such preconditioning effect is weaker with BatchNorm due to the heavy batch noise in graph datasets. Second, we show that the shift operation in InstanceNorm results in an expressiveness degradation of GNNs for highly regular graphs. We address this issue by proposing GraphNorm with a learnable shift. Empirically, GNNs with GraphNorm converge faster compared to GNNs using other normalization. GraphNorm also improves the generalization of GNNs, achieving better performance on graph classification benchmarks.

Deep graph neural networks (GNNs) have achieved excellent results on various tasks on increasingly large graph datasets with millions of nodes and edges. However, memory complexity has become a major obstacle when training deep GNNs for practical applications due to the immense number of nodes, edges, and intermediate activations. To improve the scalability of GNNs, prior works propose smart graph sampling or partitioning strategies to train GNNs with a smaller set of nodes or sub-graphs. In this work, we study reversible connections, group convolutions, weight tying, and equilibrium models to advance the memory and parameter efficiency of GNNs. We find that reversible connections in combination with deep network architectures enable the training of overparameterized GNNs that significantly outperform existing methods on multiple datasets. Our models RevGNN-Deep (1001 layers with 80 channels each) and RevGNN-Wide (448 layers with 224 channels each) were both trained on a single commodity GPU and achieve an ROC-AUC of 87.74 ± 0.13 and 88.14 ± 0.15 on the ogbn-proteins dataset. To the best of our knowledge, RevGNN-Deep is the deepest GNN in the literature by one order of magnitude.

Games are abstractions of the real world, where artificial agents learn to compete and cooperate with other agents. While significant achievements have been made in various perfect- and imperfect-information games, DouDizhu (a.k.a. Fighting the Landlord), a three-player card game, is still unsolved. DouDizhu is a very challenging domain with competition, collaboration, imperfect information, large state space, and particularly a massive set of possible actions where the legal actions vary significantly from turn to turn. Unfortunately, modern reinforcement learning algorithms mainly focus on simple and small action spaces, and not surprisingly, are shown not to make satisfactory progress in DouDizhu. In this work, we propose a conceptually simple yet effective DouDizhu AI system, namely DouZero, which enhances traditional Monte-Carlo methods with deep neural networks, action encoding, and parallel actors. Starting from scratch in a single server with four GPUs, DouZero outperformed all the existing DouDizhu AI programs in days of training and was ranked the first in the Botzone leaderboard among 344 AI agents. Through building DouZero, we show that classic Monte-Carlo methods can be made to deliver strong results in a hard domain with a complex action space. The code and an online demo are released at https://github.com/kwai/DouZero with the …

Learning to reach goal states and learning diverse skills through mutual information maximization have been proposed as principled frameworks for unsupervised reinforcement learning, allowing agents to acquire broadly applicable multi-task policies with minimal reward engineering. In this paper, we discuss how these two approaches — goal-conditioned RL (GCRL) and MI-based RL — can be generalized into a single family of methods, interpreting mutual information maximization and variational empowerment as representation learning methods that acquire function-ally aware state representations for goal reaching.Starting from a simple observation that the standard GCRL is encapsulated by the optimization objective of variational empowerment, we can derive novel variants of GCRL and variational empowerment under a single, unified optimization objective, such as adaptive-variance GCRL and linear-mapping GCRL, and study the characteristics of representation learning each variant provides. Furthermore, through the lens of GCRL, we show that adapting powerful techniques fromGCRL such as goal relabeling into the variationalMI context as well as proper regularization on the variational posterior provides substantial gains in algorithm performance, and propose a novel evaluation metric named latent goal reaching (LGR)as an objective measure for evaluating empowerment algorithms akin to goal-based RL. Through principled mathematical derivations and careful experimental validations, our work lays …

We study the problem of minimizing a relatively-smooth convex function using stochastic Bregman gradient methods. We first prove the convergence of Bregman Stochastic Gradient Descent (BSGD) to a region that depends on the noise (magnitude of the gradients) at the optimum. In particular, BSGD quickly converges to the exact minimizer when this noise is zero (interpolation setting, in which the data is fit perfectly). Otherwise, when the objective has a finite sum structure, we show that variance reduction can be used to counter the effect of noise. In particular, fast convergence to the exact minimizer can be obtained under additional regularity assumptions on the Bregman reference function. We illustrate the effectiveness of our approach on two key applications of relative smoothness: tomographic reconstruction with Poisson noise and statistical preconditioning for distributed optimization.

Human beings acquire the ability of image classification through visual concept learning, in which the process of concept formation involves intertwined searches of common properties and concept descriptions. However, in most image classification algorithms using deep convolutional neural network (ConvNet), the representation space is constructed under the premise that concept descriptions are fixed as one-hot codes, which limits the mining of properties and the ability of identifying unseen samples. Inspired by this, we propose a learning strategy of visual concept formation (LSOVCF) based on the ConvNet, in which the two intertwined parts of concept formation, i.e. feature extraction and concept description, are learned together. First, LSOVCF takes sample response in the last layer of ConvNet to induct concept description being assumed as Gaussian distribution, which is part of the training process. Second, the exploration and experience loss is designed for optimization, which adopts experience cache pool to speed up convergence. Experiments show that LSOVCF improves the ability of identifying unseen samples on cifar10, STL10, flower17 and ImageNet based on several backbones, from the classic VGG to the SOTA Ghostnet. The code is available at \url{https://github.com/elvintanhust/LSOVCF}.

In practical reinforcement learning (RL), the discount factor used for estimating value functions often differs from that used for defining the evaluation objective. In this work, we study the effect that this discrepancy of discount factors has during learning, and discover a family of objectives that interpolate value functions of two distinct discount factors. Our analysis suggests new ways for estimating value functions and performing policy optimization updates, which demonstrate empirical performance gains. This framework also leads to new insights on commonly-used deep RL heuristic modifications to policy optimization algorithms.

Data poisoning and backdoor attacks manipulate training data in order to cause models to fail during inference. A recent survey of industry practitioners found that data poisoning is the number one concern among threats ranging from model stealing to adversarial attacks. However, it remains unclear exactly how dangerous poisoning methods are and which ones are more effective considering that these methods, even ones with identical objectives, have not been tested in consistent or realistic settings. We observe that data poisoning and backdoor attacks are highly sensitive to variations in the testing setup. Moreover, we find that existing methods may not generalize to realistic settings. While these existing works serve as valuable prototypes for data poisoning, we apply rigorous tests to determine the extent to which we should fear them. In order to promote fair comparison in future work, we develop standardized benchmarks for data poisoning and backdoor attacks.

Domain generalization is challenging due to the domain shift and the uncertainty caused by the inaccessibility of target domain data. In this paper, we address both challenges with a probabilistic framework based on variational Bayesian inference, by incorporating uncertainty into neural network weights. We couple domain invariance in a probabilistic formula with the variational Bayesian inference. This enables us to explore domain-invariant learning in a principled way. Specifically, we derive domain-invariant representations and classifiers, which are jointly established in a two-layer Bayesian neural network. We empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposal on four widely used cross-domain visual recognition benchmarks. Ablation studies validate the synergistic benefits of our Bayesian treatment when jointly learning domain-invariant representations and classifiers for domain generalization. Further, our method consistently delivers state-of-the-art mean accuracy on all benchmarks.

This paper presents new estimates of the score function and its gradient with respect to the model parameters in a general energy-based latent variable model (EBLVM). The score function and its gradient can be expressed as combinations of expectation and covariance terms over the (generally intractable) posterior of the latent variables. New estimates are obtained by introducing a variational posterior to approximate the true posterior in these terms. The variational posterior is trained to minimize a certain divergence (e.g., the KL divergence) between itself and the true posterior. Theoretically, the divergence characterizes upper bounds of the bias of the estimates. In principle, our estimates can be applied to a wide range of objectives, including kernelized Stein discrepancy (KSD), score matching (SM)-based methods and exact Fisher divergence with a minimal model assumption. In particular, these estimates applied to SM-based methods outperform existing methods in learning EBLVMs on several image datasets.

Videos of actions are complex signals containing rich compositional structure in space and time. Current video generation methods lack the ability to condition the generation on multiple coordinated and potentially simultaneous timed actions. To address this challenge, we propose to represent the actions in a graph structure called Action Graph and present the new "Action Graph To Video" synthesis task. Our generative model for this task (AG2Vid) disentangles motion and appearance features, and by incorporating a scheduling mechanism for actions facilitates a timely and coordinated video generation. We train and evaluate AG2Vid on CATER and Something-Something V2 datasets, which results in videos that have better visual quality and semantic consistency compared to baselines. Finally, our model demonstrates zero-shot abilities by synthesizing novel compositions of the learned actions.

Episodic memory-based methods can rapidly latch onto past successful strategies by a non-parametric memory and improve sample efficiency of traditional reinforcement learning. However, little effort is put into the continuous domain, where a state is never visited twice, and previous episodic methods fail to efficiently aggregate experience across trajectories. To address this problem, we propose Generalizable Episodic Memory (GEM), which effectively organizes the state-action values of episodic memory in a generalizable manner and supports implicit planning on memorized trajectories. GEM utilizes a double estimator to reduce the overestimation bias induced by value propagation in the planning process. Empirical evaluation shows that our method significantly outperforms existing trajectory-based methods on various MuJoCo continuous control tasks. To further show the general applicability, we evaluate our method on Atari games with discrete action space, which also shows a significant improvement over baseline algorithms.

Exploration in reinforcement learning is, in general, a challenging problem. A common technique to make learning easier is providing demonstrations from a human supervisor, but such demonstrations can be expensive and time-consuming to acquire. In this work, we study a more tractable class of reinforcement learning problems defined simply by examples of successful outcome states, which can be much easier to provide while still making the exploration problem more tractable. In this problem setting, the reward function can be obtained automatically by training a classifier to categorize states as successful or not. However, as we will show, this requires the classifier to make uncertainty-aware predictions that are very difficult using standard techniques for training deep networks. To address this, we propose a novel mechanism for obtaining calibrated uncertainty based on an amortized technique for computing the normalized maximum likelihood (NML) distribution, leveraging tools from meta-learning to make this distribution tractable. We show that the resulting algorithm has a number of intriguing connections to both count-based exploration methods and prior algorithms for learning reward functions, while also providing more effective guidance towards the goal. We demonstrate that our algorithm solves a number of challenging navigation and robotic manipulation tasks which prove …

Scalable training of large models (like BERT and GPT-3) requires careful optimization rooted in model design, architecture, and system capabilities. From a system standpoint, communication has become a major bottleneck, especially on commodity systems with standard TCP interconnects that offer limited network bandwidth. Communication compression is an important technique to reduce training time on such systems. One of the most effective ways to compress communication is via error compensation compression, which offers robust convergence speed, even under 1-bit compression. However, state-of-the-art error compensation techniques only work with basic optimizers like SGD and momentum SGD, which are linearly dependent on the gradients. They do not work with non-linear gradient-based optimizers like Adam, which offer state-of-the-art convergence efficiency and accuracy for models like BERT. In this paper, we propose 1-bit Adam that reduces the communication volume by up to 5x, offers much better scalability, and provides the same convergence speed as uncompressed Adam. Our key finding is that Adam's variance becomes stable (after a warmup phase) and can be used as a fixed precondition for the rest of the training (compression phase). We performed experiments on up to 256 GPUs and show that 1-bit Adam enables up to 3.3x higher throughput for …

We study offline reinforcement learning (RL), which aims to learn an optimal policy based on a dataset collected a priori. Due to the lack of further interactions with the environment, offline RL suffers from the insufficient coverage of the dataset, which eludes most existing theoretical analysis. In this paper, we propose a pessimistic variant of the value iteration algorithm (PEVI), which incorporates an uncertainty quantifier as the penalty function. Such a penalty function simply flips the sign of the bonus function for promoting exploration in online RL, which makes it easily implementable and compatible with general function approximators.

Without assuming the sufficient coverage of the dataset, we establish a data-dependent upper bound on the suboptimality of PEVI for general Markov decision processes (MDPs). When specialized to linear MDPs, it matches the information-theoretic lower bound up to multiplicative factors of the dimension and horizon. In other words, pessimism is not only provably efficient but also minimax optimal. In particular, given the dataset, the learned policy serves as the `best effort'' among all policies, as no other policies can do better. Our theoretical analysis identifies the critical role of pessimism in eliminating a notion of spurious correlation, which emerges from the`

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Neural controlled differential equations (CDEs) are the continuous-time analogue of recurrent neural networks, as Neural ODEs are to residual networks, and offer a memory-efficient continuous-time way to model functions of potentially irregular time series. Existing methods for computing the forward pass of a Neural CDE involve embedding the incoming time series into path space, often via interpolation, and using evaluations of this path to drive the hidden state. Here, we use rough path theory to extend this formulation. Instead of directly embedding into path space, we instead represent the input signal over small time intervals through its \textit{log-signature}, which are statistics describing how the signal drives a CDE. This is the approach for solving \textit{rough differential equations} (RDEs), and correspondingly we describe our main contribution as the introduction of Neural RDEs. This extension has a purpose: by generalising the Neural CDE approach to a broader class of driving signals, we demonstrate particular advantages for tackling long time series. In this regime, we demonstrate efficacy on problems of length up to 17k observations and observe significant training speed-ups, improvements in model performance, and reduced memory requirements compared to existing approaches.

Conventional image classifiers are trained by randomly sampling mini-batches of images. To achieve state-of-the-art performance, practitioners use sophisticated data augmentation schemes to expand the amount of training data available for sampling. In contrast, meta-learning algorithms sample support data, query data, and tasks on each training step. In this complex sampling scenario, data augmentation can be used not only to expand the number of images available per class, but also to generate entirely new classes/tasks. We systematically dissect the meta-learning pipeline and investigate the distinct ways in which data augmentation can be integrated at both the image and class levels. Our proposed meta-specific data augmentation significantly improves the performance of meta-learners on few-shot classification benchmarks.

A discriminatively trained neural net classifier can fit the training data perfectly if all information about its input other than class membership has been discarded prior to the output layer. Surprisingly, past research has discovered that some extraneous visual detail remains in the unnormalized logits. This finding is based on inversion techniques that map deep embeddings back to images. We explore this phenomenon further using a novel synthesis of methods, yielding a feedforward inversion model that produces remarkably high fidelity reconstructions, qualitatively superior to those of past efforts. When applied to an adversarially robust classifier model, the reconstructions contain sufficient local detail and global structure that they might be confused with the original image in a quick glance, and the object category can clearly be gleaned from the reconstruction. Our approach is based on BigGAN (Brock, 2019), with conditioning on logits instead of one-hot class labels. We use our reconstruction model as a tool for exploring the nature of representations, including: the influence of model architecture and training objectives (specifically robust losses), the forms of invariance that networks achieve, representational differences between correctly and incorrectly classified images, and the effects of manipulating logits and images. We believe that our method …

Deep AUC (area under the ROC curve) Maximization (DAM) has attracted much attention recently due to its great potential for imbalanced data classification. However, the research on Federated Deep AUC Maximization (FDAM) is still limited. Compared with standard federated learning (FL) approaches that focus on decomposable minimization objectives, FDAM is more complicated due to its minimization objective is non-decomposable over individual examples. In this paper, we propose improved FDAM algorithms for heterogeneous data by solving the popular non-convex strongly-concave min-max formulation of DAM in a distributed fashion, which can also be applied to a class of non-convex strongly-concave min-max problems. A striking result of this paper is that the communication complexity of the proposed algorithm is a constant independent of the number of machines and also independent of the accuracy level, which improves an existing result by orders of magnitude. The experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of our FDAM algorithm on benchmark datasets, and on medical chest X-ray images from different organizations. Our experiment shows that the performance of FDAM using data from multiple hospitals can improve the AUC score on testing data from a single hospital for detecting life-threatening diseases based on chest radiographs.

The recent success of supervised learning methods on ever larger offline datasets has spurred interest in the reinforcement learning (RL) field to investigate whether the same paradigms can be translated to RL algorithms. This research area, known as offline RL, has largely focused on offline policy optimization, aiming to find a return-maximizing policy exclusively from offline data. In this paper, we consider a slightly different approach to incorporating offline data into sequential decision-making. We aim to answer the question, what unsupervised objectives applied to offline datasets are able to learn state representations which elevate performance on downstream tasks, whether those downstream tasks be online RL, imitation learning from expert demonstrations, or even offline policy optimization based on the same offline dataset? Through a variety of experiments utilizing standard offline RL datasets, we find that the use of pretraining with unsupervised learning objectives can dramatically improve the performance of policy learning algorithms that otherwise yield mediocre performance on their own. Extensive ablations further provide insights into what components of these unsupervised objectives – e.g., reward prediction, continuous or discrete representations, pretraining or finetuning – are most important and in which settings.

Batch normalization is a key component of most image classification models, but it has many undesirable properties stemming from its dependence on the batch size and interactions between examples. Although recent work has succeeded in training deep ResNets without normalization layers, these models do not match the test accuracies of the best batch-normalized networks, and are often unstable for large learning rates or strong data augmentations. In this work, we develop an adaptive gradient clipping technique which overcomes these instabilities, and design a significantly improved class of Normalizer-Free ResNets. Our smaller models match the test accuracy of an EfficientNet-B7 on ImageNet while being up to 8.7x faster to train, and our largest models attain a new state-of-the-art top-1 accuracy of 86.5%. In addition, Normalizer-Free models attain significantly better performance than their batch-normalized counterparts when fine-tuning on ImageNet after large-scale pre-training on a dataset of 300 million labeled images, with our best models obtaining an accuracy of 89.2%.

Machine learning is predicated on the concept of generalization: a model achieving low error on a sufficiently large training set should also perform well on novel samples from the same distribution. We show that both data whitening and second order optimization can harm or entirely prevent generalization. In general, model training harnesses information contained in the sample-sample second moment matrix of a dataset. For a general class of models, namely models with a fully connected first layer, we prove that the information contained in this matrix is the only information which can be used to generalize. Models trained using whitened data, or with certain second order optimization schemes, have less access to this information, resulting in reduced or nonexistent generalization ability. We experimentally verify these predictions for several architectures, and further demonstrate that generalization continues to be harmed even when theoretical requirements are relaxed. However, we also show experimentally that regularized second order optimization can provide a practical tradeoff, where training is accelerated but less information is lost, and generalization can in some circumstances even improve.

Bandit and reinforcement learning (RL) problems can often be framed as optimization problems where the goal is to maximize average performance while having access only to stochastic estimates of the true gradient. Traditionally, stochastic optimization theory predicts that learning dynamics are governed by the curvature of the loss function and the noise of the gradient estimates. In this paper we demonstrate that the standard view is too limited for bandit and RL problems. To allow our analysis to be interpreted in light of multi-step MDPs, we focus on techniques derived from stochastic optimization principles~(e.g., natural policy gradient and EXP3) and we show that some standard assumptions from optimization theory are violated in these problems. We present theoretical results showing that, at least for bandit problems, curvature and noise are not sufficient to explain the learning dynamics and that seemingly innocuous choices like the baseline can determine whether an algorithm converges. These theoretical findings match our empirical evaluation, which we extend to multi-state MDPs.

Modeling the time-series of high-dimensional, longitudinal data is important for predicting patient disease progression. However, existing neural network based approaches that learn representations of patient state, while very flexible, are susceptible to overfitting. We propose a deep generative model that makes use of a novel attention-based neural architecture inspired by the physics of how treatments affect disease state. The result is a scalable and accurate model of high-dimensional patient biomarkers as they vary over time. Our proposed model yields significant improvements in generalization and, on real-world clinical data, provides interpretable insights into the dynamics of cancer progression.

The ability to autonomously learn behaviors via direct interactions in uninstrumented environments can lead to generalist robots capable of enhancing productivity or providing care in unstructured settings like homes. Such uninstrumented settings warrant operations only using the robot’s proprioceptive sensor such as onboard cameras, joint encoders, etc which can be challenging for policy learning owing to the high dimensionality and partial observability issues. We propose RRL: Resnet as representation for Reinforcement Learning – a straightforward yet effective approach that can learn complex behaviors directly from proprioceptive inputs. RRL fuses features extracted from pre-trained Resnet into the standard reinforcement learning pipeline and delivers results comparable to learning directly from the state. In a simulated dexterous manipulation benchmark, where the state of the art methods fails to make significant progress, RRL delivers contact rich behaviors. The appeal of RRL lies in its simplicity in bringing together progress from the fields of Representation Learning, Imitation Learning, and Reinforcement Learning. Its effectiveness in learning behaviors directly from visual inputs with performance and sample efficiency matching learning directly from the state, even in complex high dimensional domains, is far from obvious.

Attention based neural networks are state of the art in a large range of applications. However, their performance tends to degrade when the number of layers increases. In this work, we show that enforcing Lipschitz continuity by normalizing the attention scores can significantly improve the performance of deep attention models. First, we show that, for deep graph attention networks (GAT), gradient explosion appears during training, leading to poor performance of gradient-based training algorithms. To address this issue, we derive a theoretical analysis of the Lipschitz continuity of attention modules and introduce LipschitzNorm, a simple and parameter-free normalization for self-attention mechanisms that enforces the model to be Lipschitz continuous. We then apply LipschitzNorm to GAT and Graph Transformers and show that their performance is substantially improved in the deep setting (10 to 30 layers). More specifically, we show that a deep GAT model with LipschitzNorm achieves state of the art results for node label prediction tasks that exhibit long-range dependencies, while showing consistent improvements over their unnormalized counterparts in benchmark node classification tasks.

Deep neural networks have emerged as very successful tools for image restoration and reconstruction tasks. These networks are often trained end-to-end to directly reconstruct an image from a noisy or corrupted measurement of that image. To achieve state-of-the-art performance, training on large and diverse sets of images is considered critical. However, it is often difficult and/or expensive to collect large amounts of training images. Inspired by the success of Data Augmentation (DA) for classification problems, in this paper, we propose a pipeline for data augmentation for accelerated MRI reconstruction and study its effectiveness at reducing the required training data in a variety of settings. Our DA pipeline, MRAugment, is specifically designed to utilize the invariances present in medical imaging measurements as naive DA strategies that neglect the physics of the problem fail. Through extensive studies on multiple datasets we demonstrate that in the low-data regime DA prevents overfitting and can match or even surpass the state of the art while using significantly fewer training data, whereas in the high-data regime it has diminishing returns. Furthermore, our findings show that DA improves the robustness of the model against various shifts in the test distribution.

Symbolic equations are at the core of scientific discovery. The task of discovering the underlying equation from a set of input-output pairs is called symbolic regression. Traditionally, symbolic regression methods use hand-designed strategies that do not improve with experience. In this paper, we introduce the first symbolic regression method that leverages large scale pre-training. We procedurally generate an unbounded set of equations, and simultaneously pre-train a Transformer to predict the symbolic equation from a corresponding set of input-output-pairs. At test time, we query the model on a new set of points and use its output to guide the search for the equation. We show empirically that this approach can re-discover a set of well-known physical equations, and that it improves over time with more data and compute.

We consider the problem of minimizing the sum of three functions, one of which is nonconvex but differentiable, and the other two are convex but possibly nondifferentiable. We investigate the Three Operator Splitting method (TOS) of Davis & Yin (2017) with an aim to extend its theoretical guarantees for this nonconvex problem template. In particular, we prove convergence of TOS with nonasymptotic bounds on its nonstationarity and infeasibility errors. In contrast with the existing work on nonconvex TOS, our guarantees do not require additional smoothness assumptions on the terms comprising the objective; hence they cover instances of particular interest where the nondifferentiable terms are indicator functions. We also extend our results to a stochastic setting where we have access only to an unbiased estimator of the gradient. Finally, we illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed method through numerical experiments on quadratic assignment problems.

An ambitious goal for machine learning is to create agents that behave ethically: The capacity to abide by human moral norms would greatly expand the context in which autonomous agents could be practically and safely deployed, e.g. fully autonomous vehicles will encounter charged moral decisions that complicate their deployment. While ethical agents could be trained by rewarding correct behavior under a specific moral theory (e.g. utilitarianism), there remains widespread disagreement about the nature of morality. Acknowledging such disagreement, recent work in moral philosophy proposes that ethical behavior requires acting under moral uncertainty, i.e. to take into account when acting that one's credence is split across several plausible ethical theories. This paper translates such insights to the field of reinforcement learning, proposes two training methods that realize different points among competing desiderata, and trains agents in simple environments to act under moral uncertainty. The results illustrate (1) how such uncertainty can help curb extreme behavior from commitment to single theories and (2) several technical complications arising from attempting to ground moral philosophy in RL (e.g. how can a principled trade-off between two competing but incomparable reward functions be reached). The aim is to catalyze progress towards morally-competent agents and highlight the …

Fairness and robustness are two important concerns for federated learning systems. In this work, we identify that robustness to data and model poisoning attacks and fairness, measured as the uniformity of performance across devices, are competing constraints in statistically heterogeneous networks. To address these constraints, we propose employing a simple, general framework for personalized federated learning, Ditto, that can inherently provide fairness and robustness benefits, and develop a scalable solver for it. Theoretically, we analyze the ability of Ditto to achieve fairness and robustness simultaneously on a class of linear problems. Empirically, across a suite of federated datasets, we show that Ditto not only achieves competitive performance relative to recent personalization methods, but also enables more accurate, robust, and fair models relative to state-of-the-art fair or robust baselines.

We study constrained reinforcement learning (CRL) from a novel perspective by setting constraints directly on state density functions, rather than the value functions considered by previous works. State density has a clear physical and mathematical interpretation, and is able to express a wide variety of constraints such as resource limits and safety requirements. Density constraints can also avoid the time-consuming process of designing and tuning cost functions required by value function-based constraints to encode system specifications. We leverage the duality between density functions and Q functions to develop an effective algorithm to solve the density constrained RL problem optimally and the constrains are guaranteed to be satisfied. We prove that the proposed algorithm converges to a near-optimal solution with a bounded error even when the policy update is imperfect. We use a set of comprehensive experiments to demonstrate the advantages of our approach over state-of-the-art CRL methods, with a wide range of density constrained tasks as well as standard CRL benchmarks such as Safety-Gym.

AlphaStar, the AI that reaches GrandMaster level in StarCraft II, is a remarkable milestone demonstrating what deep reinforcement learning can achieve in complex Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games. However, the complexities of the game, algorithms and systems, and especially the tremendous amount of computation needed are big obstacles for the community to conduct further research in this direction. We propose a deep reinforcement learning agent, StarCraft Commander (SCC). With order of magnitude less computation, it demonstrates top human performance defeating GrandMaster players in test matches and top professional players in a live event. Moreover, it shows strong robustness to various human strategies and discovers novel strategies unseen from human plays. In this paper, we’ll share the key insights and optimizations on efficient imitation learning and reinforcement learning for StarCraft II full game.

Solving sparse reward tasks through exploration is one of the major challenges in deep reinforcement learning, especially in three-dimensional, partially-observable environments. Critically, the algorithm proposed in this article is capable of using a single human demonstration to solve hard-exploration problems. We train an agent on a combination of demonstrations and own experience to solve problems with variable initial conditions and we integrate it with proximal policy optimization (PPO). The agent is also able to increase its performance and to tackle harder problems by replaying its own past trajectories prioritizing them based on the obtained reward and the maximum value of the trajectory. We finally compare variations of this algorithm to different imitation learning algorithms on a set of hard-exploration tasks in the Animal-AI Olympics environment. To the best of our knowledge, learning a task in a three-dimensional environment with comparable difficulty has never been considered before using only one human demonstration.

Off-policy deep reinforcement learning (RL) has been successful in a range of challenging domains. However, standard off-policy RL algorithms can suffer from several issues, such as instability in Q-learning and balancing exploration and exploitation. To mitigate these issues, we present SUNRISE, a simple unified ensemble method, which is compatible with various off-policy RL algorithms. SUNRISE integrates two key ingredients: (a) ensemble-based weighted Bellman backups, which re-weight target Q-values based on uncertainty estimates from a Q-ensemble, and (b) an inference method that selects actions using the highest upper-confidence bounds for efficient exploration. By enforcing the diversity between agents using Bootstrap with random initialization, we show that these different ideas are largely orthogonal and can be fruitfully integrated, together further improving the performance of existing off-policy RL algorithms, such as Soft Actor-Critic and Rainbow DQN, for both continuous and discrete control tasks on both low-dimensional and high-dimensional environments.

Spectral method is a commonly used scheme to cluster data points lying close to Union of Subspaces, a task known as Subspace Clustering. The typical usage is to construct a Random Geometry Graph first and then apply spectral method to the graph to obtain clustering result. The latter step has been coined the name Spectral Clustering. As far as we know, in spite of the significance of both steps in spectral-method-based Subspace Clustering, all existing theoretical results focus on the first step of constructing the graph, but ignore the final step to correct false connections through spectral clustering. This paper establishes a theory to show the power of this method for the first time, in which we demonstrate the mechanism of spectral clustering by analyzing a simplified algorithm under the widely used semi-random model. Based on this theory, we prove the efficiency of Subspace Clustering in fairly broad conditions. The insights and analysis techniques developed in this paper might also have implications for other random graph problems.

Hierarchical topic models such as the gamma belief network (GBN) have delivered promising results in mining multi-layer document representations and discovering interpretable topic taxonomies. However, they often assume in the prior that the topics at each layer are independently drawn from the Dirichlet distribution, ignoring the dependencies between the topics both at the same layer and across different layers. To relax this assumption, we propose sawtooth factorial topic embedding guided GBN, a deep generative model of documents that captures the dependencies and semantic similarities between the topics in the embedding space. Specifically, both the words and topics are represented as embedding vectors of the same dimension. The topic matrix at a layer is factorized into the product of a factor loading matrix and a topic embedding matrix, the transpose of which is set as the factor loading matrix of the layer above. Repeating this particular type of factorization, which shares components between adjacent layers, leads to a structure referred to as sawtooth factorization. An auto-encoding variational inference network is constructed to optimize the model parameter via stochastic gradient descent. Experiments on big corpora show that our models outperform other neural topic models on extracting deeper interpretable topics and deriving better …

We make progress in a long-standing problem of batch reinforcement learning (RL): learning Q* from an exploratory and polynomial-sized dataset, using a realizable and otherwise arbitrary function class. In fact, all existing algorithms demand function-approximation assumptions stronger than realizability, and the mounting negative evidence has led to a conjecture that sample-efficient learning is impossible in this setting (Chen & Jiang, 2019). Our algorithm, BVFT, breaks the hardness conjecture (albeit under a stronger notion of exploratory data) via a tournament procedure that reduces the learning problem to pairwise comparison, and solves the latter with the help of a state-action-space partition constructed from the compared functions. We also discuss how BVFT can be applied to model selection among other extensions and open problems.

In contrast to the empirical mean, the Median-of-Means (MoM) is an estimator of the mean θ of a square integrable r.v. Z, around which accurate nonasymptotic confidence bounds can be built, even when Z does not exhibit a sub-Gaussian tail behavior. Thanks to the high confidence it achieves on heavy-tailed data, MoM has found various applications in machine learning, where it is used to design training procedures that are not sensitive to atypical observations. More recently, a new line of work is now trying to characterize and leverage MoM’s ability to deal with corrupted data. In this context, the present work proposes a general study of MoM’s concentration properties under the contamination regime, that provides a clear understanding on the impact of the outlier proportion and the number of blocks chosen. The analysis is extended to (multisample) U-statistics, i.e. averages over tuples of observations, that raise additional challenges due to the dependence induced. Finally, we show that the latter bounds can be used in a straightforward fashion to derive generalization guarantees for pairwise learning in a contaminated setting, and propose an algorithm to compute provably reliable decision functions.

The compelling synthesis results of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) demonstrate rich semantic knowledge in their latent codes. To obtain this knowledge for downstream applications, encoding GANs has been proposed to learn encoders, such that real world data can be encoded to latent codes, which can be fed to generators to reconstruct those data.
However, despite the theoretical guarantees of precise reconstruction in previous works, current algorithms generally reconstruct inputs with non-negligible deviations from inputs. In this paper we study this predicament of encoding GANs, which is indispensable research for the GAN community. We prove three uncertainty principles of encoding GANs in practice: a) the `perfect' encoder and generator cannot be continuous at the same time, which implies that current framework of encoding GANs is ill-posed and needs rethinking; b) neural networks cannot approximate the underlying encoder and generator precisely at the same time, which explains why we cannot get`

perfect' encoders and generators as promised in previous theories; c) neural networks cannot be stable and accurate at the same time, which demonstrates the difficulty of training and trade-off between fidelity and disentanglement encountered in previous works. Our work may eliminate gaps between previous theories and empirical results, promote the understanding …

Deep extreme multi-label learning (XML) requires training deep architectures that can tag a data point with its most relevant subset of labels from an extremely large label set. XML applications such as ad and product recommendation involve labels rarely seen during training but which nevertheless hold the key to recommendations that delight users. Effective utilization of label metadata and high quality predictions for rare labels at the scale of millions of labels are thus key challenges in contemporary XML research. To address these, this paper develops the SiameseXML framework based on a novel probabilistic model that naturally motivates a modular approach melding Siamese architectures with high-capacity extreme classifiers, and a training pipeline that effortlessly scales to tasks with 100 million labels. SiameseXML offers predictions 2--13% more accurate than leading XML methods on public benchmark datasets, as well as in live A/B tests on the Bing search engine, it offers significant gains in click-through-rates, coverage, revenue and other online metrics over state-of-the-art techniques currently in production. Code for SiameseXML is available at https://github.com/Extreme-classification/siamesexml

This paper introduces kernel continual learning, a simple but effective variant of continual learning that leverages the non-parametric nature of kernel methods to tackle catastrophic forgetting. We deploy an episodic memory unit that stores a subset of samples for each task to learn task-specific classifiers based on kernel ridge regression. This does not require memory replay and systematically avoids task interference in the classifiers. We further introduce variational random features to learn a data-driven kernel for each task. To do so, we formulate kernel continual learning as a variational inference problem, where a random Fourier basis is incorporated as the latent variable. The variational posterior distribution over the random Fourier basis is inferred from the coreset of each task. In this way, we are able to generate more informative kernels specific to each task, and, more importantly, the coreset size can be reduced to achieve more compact memory, resulting in more efficient continual learning based on episodic memory. Extensive evaluation on four benchmarks demonstrates the effectiveness and promise of kernels for continual learning.

Negative sampling schemes enable efficient training given a large number of classes, by offering a means to approximate a computationally expensive loss function that takes all labels into account. In this paper, we present a new connection between these schemes and loss modification techniques for countering label imbalance. We show that different negative sampling schemes implicitly trade-off performance on dominant versus rare labels. Further, we provide a unified means to explicitly tackle both sampling bias, arising from working with a subset of all labels, and labeling bias, which is inherent to the data due to label imbalance. We empirically verify our findings on long-tail classification and retrieval benchmarks.

The goal of meta-reinforcement learning (meta-RL) is to build agents that can quickly learn new tasks by leveraging prior experience on related tasks. Learning a new task often requires both exploring to gather task-relevant information and exploiting this information to solve the task. In principle, optimal exploration and exploitation can be learned end-to-end by simply maximizing task performance. However, such meta-RL approaches struggle with local optima due to a chicken-and-egg problem: learning to explore requires good exploitation to gauge the exploration’s utility, but learning to exploit requires information gathered via exploration. Optimizing separate objectives for exploration and exploitation can avoid this problem, but prior meta-RL exploration objectives yield suboptimal policies that gather information irrelevant to the task. We alleviate both concerns by constructing an exploitation objective that automatically identifies task-relevant information and an exploration objective to recover only this information. This avoids local optima in end-to-end training, without sacrificing optimal exploration. Empirically, DREAM substantially outperforms existing approaches on complex meta-RL problems, such as sparse-reward 3D visual navigation. Videos of DREAM: https://ezliu.github.io/dream/

We consider a novel challenge: approximating a distribution without the ability to randomly sample from that distribution. We study how such an approximation can be obtained using *weight queries*. Given some data set of examples, a weight query presents one of the examples to an oracle, which returns the probability, according to the target distribution, of observing examples similar to the presented example. This oracle can represent, for instance, counting queries to a database of the target population, or an interface to a search engine which returns the number of results that match a given search.

We propose an interactive algorithm that iteratively selects data set examples and performs corresponding weight queries. The algorithm finds a reweighting of the data set that approximates the weights according to the target distribution, using a limited number of weight queries. We derive an approximation bound on the total variation distance between the reweighting found by the algorithm and the best achievable reweighting. Our algorithm takes inspiration from the UCB approach common in multi-armed bandits problems, and combines it with a new discrepancy estimator and a greedy iterative procedure. In addition to our theoretical guarantees, we demonstrate in experiments the advantages of the …

Reinforcement learning (RL) has made a lot of advances for solving a single problem in a given environment; but learning policies that generalize to unseen variations of a problem remains challenging. To improve sample efficiency for learning on such instances of a problem domain, we present Self-Paced Context Evaluation (SPaCE). Based on self-paced learning, SPaCE automatically generates instance curricula online with little computational overhead. To this end, SPaCE leverages information contained in state values during training to accelerate and improve training performance as well as generalization capabilities to new \tasks from the same problem domain. Nevertheless, SPaCE is independent of the problem domain at hand and can be applied on top of any RL agent with state-value function approximation. We demonstrate SPaCE's ability to speed up learning of different value-based RL agents on two environments, showing better generalization capabilities and up to 10x faster learning compared to naive approaches such as round robin or SPDRL, as the closest state-of-the-art approach.

Direct loss minimization is a popular approach for learning predictors over structured label spaces. This approach is computationally appealing as it replaces integration with optimization and allows to propagate gradients in a deep net using loss-perturbed prediction. Recently, this technique was extended to generative models, by introducing a randomized predictor that samples a structure from a randomly perturbed score function. In this work, we interpolate between these techniques by learning the variance of randomized structured predictors as well as their mean, in order to balance between the learned score function and the randomized noise. We demonstrate empirically the effectiveness of learning this balance in structured discrete spaces.

When decision-makers can directly intervene, policy evaluation algorithms give valid causal estimates. In off-policy evaluation (OPE), there may exist unobserved variables that both impact the dynamics and are used by the unknown behavior policy. These ``confounders'' will introduce spurious correlations and naive estimates for a new policy will be biased. We develop worst-case bounds to assess sensitivity to these unobserved confounders in finite horizons when confounders are drawn iid each period. We demonstrate that a model-based approach with robust MDPs gives sharper lower bounds by exploiting domain knowledge about the dynamics. Finally, we show that when unobserved confounders are persistent over time, OPE is far more difficult and existing techniques produce extremely conservative bounds.

Many real-world situations allow for the acquisition of additional relevant information when making an assessment with limited or uncertain data. However, traditional ML approaches either require all features to be acquired beforehand or regard part of them as missing data that cannot be acquired. In this work, we consider models that perform active feature acquisition (AFA) and query the environment for unobserved features to improve the prediction assessments at evaluation time. Our work reformulates the Markov decision process (MDP) that underlies the AFA problem as a generative modeling task and optimizes a policy via a novel model-based approach. We propose learning a generative surrogate model (GSM) that captures the dependencies among input features to assess potential information gain from acquisitions. The GSM is leveraged to provide intermediate rewards and auxiliary information to aid the agent navigate a complicated high-dimensional action space and sparse rewards. Furthermore, we extend AFA in a task we coin active instance recognition (AIR) for the unsupervised case where the target variables are the unobserved features themselves and the goal is to collect information for a particular instance in a cost-efficient way. Empirical results demonstrate that our approach achieves considerably better performance than previous state of the …

We propose a residual randomization procedure designed for robust inference using Lasso estimates in the high-dimensional setting. Compared to earlier work that focuses on sub-Gaussian errors, the proposed procedure is designed to work robustly in settings that also include heavy-tailed covariates and errors. Moreover, our procedure can be valid under clustered errors, which is important in practice, but has been largely overlooked by earlier work. Through extensive simulations, we illustrate our method's wider range of applicability as suggested by theory. In particular, we show that our method outperforms state-of-art methods in challenging, yet more realistic, settings where the distribution of covariates is heavy-tailed or the sample size is small, while it remains competitive in standard, ``well behaved" settings previously studied in the literature.

This paper develops a methodology for regret minimization with stochastic first-order oracle feedback in online, constrained, non-smooth, non-convex problems. In this setting, the minimization of external regret is beyond reach for first-order methods, and there are no gradient-based algorithmic frameworks capable of providing a solution. On that account, we propose a conceptual approach that leverages non-convex optimality measures, leading to a suitable generalization of the learner's local regret. We focus on a local regret measure defined via a proximal-gradient mapping, that also encompasses the original notion proposed by Hazan et al. (2017). To achieve no local regret in this setting, we develop a proximal-gradient method based on stochastic first-order feedback, and a simpler method for when access to a perfect first-order oracle is possible. Both methods are order-optimal (in the min-max sense), and we also establish a bound on the number of proximal-gradient queries these methods require. As an important application of our results, we also obtain a link between online and offline non-convex stochastic optimization manifested as a new proximal-gradient scheme with complexity guarantees matching those obtained via variance reduction techniques.

Having the ability to acquire inherent skills from environments without any external rewards or supervision like humans is an important problem. We propose a novel unsupervised skill discovery method named Information Bottleneck Option Learning (IBOL). On top of the linearization of environments that promotes more various and distant state transitions, IBOL enables the discovery of diverse skills. It provides the abstraction of the skills learned with the information bottleneck framework for the options with improved stability and encouraged disentanglement. We empirically demonstrate that IBOL outperforms multiple state-of-the-art unsupervised skill discovery methods on the information-theoretic evaluations and downstream tasks in MuJoCo environments, including Ant, HalfCheetah, Hopper and D'Kitty. Our code is available at https://vision.snu.ac.kr/projects/ibol.

We propose XOR-Contrastive Divergence learning (XOR-CD), a provable approach for constrained structure generation, which remains difficult for state-of-the-art neural network and constraint reasoning approaches. XOR-CD harnesses XOR-Sampling to generate samples from the model distribution in CD learning and is guaranteed to generate valid structures. In addition, XOR-CD has a linear convergence rate towards the global maximum of the likelihood function within a vanishing constant in learning exponential family models. Constraint satisfaction enabled by XOR-CD also boosts its learning performance. Our real-world experiments on data-driven experimental design, dispatching route generation, and sequence-based protein homology detection demonstrate the superior performance of XOR-CD compared to baseline approaches in generating valid structures as well as capturing the inductive bias in the training set.

Bootstrapping provides a flexible and effective approach for assessing the quality of batch reinforcement learning, yet its theoretical properties are poorly understood. In this paper, we study the use of bootstrapping in off-policy evaluation (OPE), and in particular, we focus on the fitted Q-evaluation (FQE) that is known to be minimax-optimal in the tabular and linear-model cases. We propose a bootstrapping FQE method for inferring the distribution of the policy evaluation error and show that this method is asymptotically efficient and distributionally consistent for off-policy statistical inference. To overcome the computation limit of bootstrapping, we further adapt a subsampling procedure that improves the runtime by an order of magnitude. We numerically evaluate the bootrapping method in classical RL environments for confidence interval estimation, estimating the variance of off-policy evaluator, and estimating the correlation between multiple off-policy evaluators.

Actor-critic (AC) methods are ubiquitous in reinforcement learning. Although it is understood that AC methods are closely related to policy gradient (PG), their precise connection has not been fully characterized previously. In this paper, we explain the gap between AC and PG methods by identifying the exact adjustment to the AC objective/gradient that recovers the true policy gradient of the cumulative reward objective (PG). Furthermore, by viewing the AC method as a two-player Stackelberg game between the actor and critic, we show that the Stackelberg policy gradient can be recovered as a special case of our more general analysis. Based on these results, we develop practical algorithms, Residual Actor-Critic and Stackelberg Actor-Critic, for estimating the correction between AC and PG and use these to modify the standard AC algorithm. Experiments on popular tabular and continuous environments show the proposed corrections can improve both the sample efficiency and final performance of existing AC methods.

Rationalizing which parts of a molecule drive the predictions of a molecular graph convolutional neural network (GCNN) can be difficult. To help, we propose two simple regularization techniques to apply during the training of GCNNs: Batch Representation Orthonormalization (BRO) and Gini regularization. BRO, inspired by molecular orbital theory, encourages graph convolution operations to generate orthonormal node embeddings. Gini regularization is applied to the weights of the output layer and constrains the number of dimensions the model can use to make predictions. We show that Gini and BRO regularization can improve the accuracy of state-of-the-art GCNN attribution methods on artificial benchmark datasets. In a real-world setting, we demonstrate that medicinal chemists significantly prefer explanations extracted from regularized models. While we only study these regularizers in the context of GCNNs, both can be applied to other types of neural networks.

Modern machine learning models with high accuracy are often miscalibrated---the predicted top probability does not reflect the actual accuracy, and tends to be \emph{over-confident}. It is commonly believed that such over-confidence is mainly due to \emph{over-parametrization}, in particular when the model is large enough to memorize the training data and maximize the confidence.

In this paper, we show theoretically that over-parametrization is not the only reason for over-confidence. We prove that \emph{logistic regression is inherently over-confident}, in the realizable, under-parametrized setting where the data is generated from the logistic model, and the sample size is much larger than the number of parameters. Further, this over-confidence happens for general well-specified binary classification problems as long as the activation is symmetric and concave on the positive part. Perhaps surprisingly, we also show that over-confidence is not always the case---there exists another activation function (and a suitable loss function) under which the learned classifier is \emph{under-confident} at some probability values. Overall, our theory provides a precise characterization of calibration in realizable binary classification, which we verify on simulations and real data experiments.

Recent work demonstrated the benefits of studying continuous-time dynamics governing the GAN training. However, this dynamics is analyzed in the model parameter space, which results in finite-dimensional dynamical systems. We propose a novel perspective where we study the local dynamics of adversarial training in the general functional space and show how it can be represented as a system of partial differential equations. Thus, the convergence properties can be inferred from the eigenvalues of the resulting differential operator. We show that these eigenvalues can be efficiently estimated from the target dataset before training. Our perspective reveals several insights on the practical tricks commonly used to stabilize GANs, such as gradient penalty, data augmentation, and advanced integration schemes. As an immediate practical benefit, we demonstrate how one can a priori select an optimal data augmentation strategy for a particular generation task.

Estimating the gradients for binary variables is a task that arises frequently in various domains, such as training discrete latent variable models. What has been commonly used is a REINFORCE based Monte Carlo estimation method that uses either independent samples or pairs of negatively correlated samples. To better utilize more than two samples, we propose ARMS, an Antithetic REINFORCE-based Multi-Sample gradient estimator. ARMS uses a copula to generate any number of mutually antithetic samples. It is unbiased, has low variance, and generalizes both DisARM, which we show to be ARMS with two samples, and the leave-one-out REINFORCE (LOORF) estimator, which is ARMS with uncorrelated samples. We evaluate ARMS on several datasets for training generative models, and our experimental results show that it outperforms competing methods. We also develop a version of ARMS for optimizing the multi-sample variational bound, and show that it outperforms both VIMCO and DisARM. The code is publicly available.

We develop and analyze MARINA: a new communication efficient method for non-convex distributed learning over heterogeneous datasets. MARINA employs a novel communication compression strategy based on the compression of gradient differences that is reminiscent of but different from the strategy employed in the DIANA method of Mishchenko et al. (2019). Unlike virtually all competing distributed first-order methods, including DIANA, ours is based on a carefully designed biased gradient estimator, which is the key to its superior theoretical and practical performance. The communication complexity bounds we prove for MARINA are evidently better than those of all previous first-order methods. Further, we develop and analyze two variants of MARINA: VR-MARINA and PP-MARINA. The first method is designed for the case when the local loss functions owned by clients are either of a finite sum or of an expectation form, and the second method allows for a partial participation of clients – a feature important in federated learning. All our methods are superior to previous state-of-the-art methods in terms of oracle/communication complexity. Finally, we provide a convergence analysis of all methods for problems satisfying the Polyak-Łojasiewicz condition.

Online advertisements are primarily sold via repeated auctions with reserve prices. In this paper, we study how to set reserves to boost revenue based on the historical bids of strategic buyers, while controlling the impact of such a policy on the incentive compatibility of the repeated auctions. Adopting an incentive compatibility metric which quantifies the incentives to shade bids, we propose a novel class of reserve pricing policies and provide analytical tradeoffs between their revenue performance and bid-shading incentives. The policies are inspired by the exponential mechanism from the literature on differential privacy, but our study uncovers mechanisms with significantly better revenue-incentive tradeoffs than the exponential mechanism in practice. We further empirically evaluate the tradeoffs on synthetic data as well as real ad auction data from a major ad exchange to verify and support our theoretical findings.

Training autonomous agents able to generalize to multiple tasks is a key target of Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) research. In parallel to improving DRL algorithms themselves, Automatic Curriculum Learning (ACL) study how teacher algorithms can train DRL agents more efficiently by adapting task selection to their evolving abilities. While multiple standard benchmarks exist to compare DRL agents, there is currently no such thing for ACL algorithms. Thus, comparing existing approaches is difficult, as too many experimental parameters differ from paper to paper. In this work, we identify several key challenges faced by ACL algorithms. Based on these, we present TeachMyAgent (TA), a benchmark of current ACL algorithms leveraging procedural task generation. It includes 1) challenge-specific unit-tests using variants of a procedural Box2D bipedal walker environment, and 2) a new procedural Parkour environment combining most ACL challenges, making it ideal for global performance assessment. We then use TeachMyAgent to conduct a comparative study of representative existing approaches, showcasing the competitiveness of some ACL algorithms that do not use expert knowledge. We also show that the Parkour environment remains an open problem. We open-source our environments, all studied ACL algorithms (collected from open-source code or re-implemented), and DRL students in a Python …

Given an inverse problem with a normalizing flow prior, we wish to estimate the distribution of the underlying signal conditioned on the observations. We approach this problem as a task of conditional inference on the pre-trained unconditional flow model. We first establish that this is computationally hard for a large class of flow models. Motivated by this, we propose a framework for approximate inference that estimates the target conditional as a composition of two flow models. This formulation leads to a stable variational inference training procedure that avoids adversarial training. Our method is evaluated on a variety of inverse problems and is shown to produce high-quality samples with uncertainty quantification. We further demonstrate that our approach can be amortized for zero-shot inference.

Neural Architecture Search (NAS) is a popular method for automatically designing optimized deep-learning architectures. NAS methods commonly use bilevel optimization where one optimizes the weights over the training data (lower-level problem) and hyperparameters - such as the architecture - over the validation data (upper-level problem). This paper explores the statistical aspects of such problems with train-validation splits. In practice, the lower-level problem is often overparameterized and can easily achieve zero loss. Thus, a-priori, it seems impossible to distinguish the right hyperparameters based on training loss alone which motivates a better understanding of train-validation split. To this aim, we first show that refined properties of the validation loss such as risk and hyper-gradients are indicative of those of the true test loss and help prevent overfitting with a near-minimal validation sample size. Importantly, this is established for continuous search spaces which are relevant for differentiable search schemes. We then establish generalization bounds for NAS problems with an emphasis on an activation search problem and gradient-based methods. Finally, we show rigorous connections between NAS and low-rank matrix learning which leads to algorithmic insights where the solution of the upper problem can be accurately learned via spectral methods to achieve near-minimal risk.

Most of the recent deep reinforcement learning advances take an RL-centric perspective and focus on refinements of the training objective. We diverge from this view and show we can recover the performance of these developments not by changing the objective, but by regularising the value-function estimator. Constraining the Lipschitz constant of a single layer using spectral normalisation is sufficient to elevate the performance of a Categorical-DQN agent to that of a more elaborated agent on the challenging Atari domain. We conduct ablation studies to disentangle the various effects normalisation has on the learning dynamics and show that is sufficient to modulate the parameter updates to recover most of the performance of spectral normalisation. These findings hint towards the need to also focus on the neural component and its learning dynamics to tackle the peculiarities of Deep Reinforcement Learning.

Deep learning empirically achieves high performance in many applications, but its training dynamics has not been fully understood theoretically. In this paper, we explore theoretical analysis on training two-layer ReLU neural networks in a teacher-student regression model, in which a student network learns an unknown teacher network through its outputs. We show that with a specific regularization and sufficient over-parameterization, the student network can identify the parameters of the teacher network with high probability via gradient descent with a norm dependent stepsize even though the objective function is highly non-convex. The key theoretical tool is the measure representation of the neural networks and a novel application of a dual certificate argument for sparse estimation on a measure space. We analyze the global minima and global convergence property in the measure space.

We investigate the use of natural language to drive the generalization of control policies and introduce the new multi-task environment Messenger with free-form text manuals describing the environment dynamics. Unlike previous work, Messenger does not assume prior knowledge connecting text and state observations — the control policy must simultaneously ground the game manual to entity symbols and dynamics in the environment. We develop a new model, EMMA (Entity Mapper with Multi-modal Attention) which uses an entity-conditioned attention module that allows for selective focus over relevant descriptions in the manual for each entity in the environment. EMMA is end-to-end differentiable and learns a latent grounding of entities and dynamics from text to observations using only environment rewards. EMMA achieves successful zero-shot generalization to unseen games with new dynamics, obtaining a 40% higher win rate compared to multiple baselines. However, win rate on the hardest stage of Messenger remains low (10%), demonstrating the need for additional work in this direction.

Dirichlet-based uncertainty (DBU) models are a recent and promising class of uncertainty-aware models. DBU models predict the parameters of a Dirichlet distribution to provide fast, high-quality uncertainty estimates alongside with class predictions. In this work, we present the first large-scale, in-depth study of the robustness of DBU models under adversarial attacks. Our results suggest that uncertainty estimates of DBU models are not robust w.r.t. three important tasks: (1) indicating correctly and wrongly classified samples; (2) detecting adversarial examples; and (3) distinguishing between in-distribution (ID) and out-of-distribution (OOD) data. Additionally, we explore the first approaches to make DBU mod- els more robust. While adversarial training has a minor effect, our median smoothing based ap- proach significantly increases robustness of DBU models.

As machine learning black boxes are increasingly being deployed in critical domains such as healthcare and criminal justice, there has been a growing emphasis on developing techniques for explaining these black boxes in a post hoc manner. In this work, we analyze two popular post hoc interpretation techniques: SmoothGrad which is a gradient based method, and a variant of LIME which is a perturbation based method. More specifically, we derive explicit closed form expressions for the explanations output by these two methods and show that they both converge to the same explanation in expectation, i.e., when the number of perturbed samples used by these methods is large. We then leverage this connection to establish other desirable properties, such as robustness, for these techniques. We also derive finite sample complexity bounds for the number of perturbations required for these methods to converge to their expected explanation. Finally, we empirically validate our theory using extensive experimentation on both synthetic and real-world datasets.

Graph sparsification is a powerful tool to approximate an arbitrary graph and has been used in machine learning over graphs. As real-world networks are becoming very large and naturally distributed, distributed graph sparsification has drawn considerable attention. In this work, we design communication-efficient distributed algorithms for constructing spectral vertex sparsifiers, which closely preserve effective resistance distances on a subset of vertices of interest in the original graphs, under the well-established message passing communication model. We prove that the communication cost approximates the lower bound with only a small gap. We further provide algorithms for constructing pair-wise spanners which approximate the shortest distances between each pair of vertices in a target set, instead of all pairs, and incur communication costs that are much smaller than those of existing algorithms in the message passing model. Experiments are performed to validate the communication efficiency of the proposed algorithms under the guarantee that the constructed sparsifiers have a good approximation quality.

A recent series of theoretical works showed that the dynamics of neural
networks with a certain initialisation are well-captured by kernel methods.
Concurrent empirical work demonstrated that kernel methods can come close to
the performance of neural networks on some image classification tasks.
These results raise the question of whether neural networks only learn
successfully if kernels also learn successfully, despite being the more
expressive function class.
Here, we show that two-layer neural networks with *only a few neurons* achieve
near-optimal performance on high-dimensional Gaussian mixture classification
while lazy training approaches such as random features and kernel methods do
not.
Our analysis is based on the derivation of a set of ordinary differential
equations that exactly track the dynamics of the network and thus allow to
extract the asymptotic performance of the network as a function of
regularisation or signal-to-noise ratio.
We also show how over-parametrising the neural network leads to faster convergence, but does not improve its final performance.

We introduce Hindsight Off-policy Options (HO2), a data-efficient option learning algorithm. Given any trajectory, HO2 infers likely option choices and backpropagates through the dynamic programming inference procedure to robustly train all policy components off-policy and end-to-end. The approach outperforms existing option learning methods on common benchmarks. To better understand the option framework and disentangle benefits from both temporal and action abstraction, we evaluate ablations with flat policies and mixture policies with comparable optimization. The results highlight the importance of both types of abstraction as well as off-policy training and trust-region constraints, particularly in challenging, simulated 3D robot manipulation tasks from raw pixel inputs. Finally, we intuitively adapt the inference step to investigate the effect of increased temporal abstraction on training with pre-trained options and from scratch.

Byzantine robustness has received significant attention recently given its importance for distributed and federated learning. In spite of this, we identify severe flaws in existing algorithms even when the data across the participants is identically distributed. First, we show realistic examples where current state of the art robust aggregation rules fail to converge even in the absence of any Byzantine attackers. Secondly, we prove that even if the aggregation rules may succeed in limiting the influence of the attackers in a single round, the attackers can couple their attacks across time eventually leading to divergence. To address these issues, we present two surprisingly simple strategies: a new robust iterative clipping procedure, and incorporating worker momentum to overcome time-coupled attacks. This is the first provably robust method for the standard stochastic optimization setting.

The surrogate that predicts the performance of hyperparameters has been a key component for sequential model-based hyperparameter optimization. In practical applications, a trial of a hyper-parameter configuration may be so costly that a surrogate is expected to return an optimal configuration with as few trials as possible. Observing that human experts draw on their expertise in a machine learning model by trying configurations that once performed well on other datasets, we are inspired to build a trial-efficient surrogate by transferring the meta-knowledge learned from historical trials on other datasets. We propose an end-to-end surrogate named as Transfer NeuralProcesses (TNP) that learns a comprehensive set of meta-knowledge, including the parameters of historical surrogates, historical trials, and initial configurations for other datasets. Experiments on extensive OpenML datasets and three computer vision datasets demonstrate that the proposed algorithm achieves state-of-the-art performance in at least one order of magnitude less trials.

We consider a one-hidden-layer leaky ReLU network of arbitrary width trained by stochastic gradient descent (SGD) following an arbitrary initialization. We prove that SGD produces neural networks that have classification accuracy competitive with that of the best halfspace over the distribution for a broad class of distributions that includes log-concave isotropic and hard margin distributions. Equivalently, such networks can generalize when the data distribution is linearly separable but corrupted with adversarial label noise, despite the capacity to overfit. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to show that overparameterized neural networks trained by SGD can generalize when the data is corrupted with adversarial label noise.

We consider the problem of reinforcement learning when provided with (1) a baseline control policy and (2) a set of constraints that the learner must satisfy. The baseline policy can arise from demonstration data or a teacher agent and may provide useful cues for learning, but it might also be sub-optimal for the task at hand, and is not guaranteed to satisfy the specified constraints, which might encode safety, fairness or other application-specific requirements. In order to safely learn from baseline policies, we propose an iterative policy optimization algorithm that alternates between maximizing expected return on the task, minimizing distance to the baseline policy, and projecting the policy onto the constraint-satisfying set. We analyze our algorithm theoretically and provide a finite-time convergence guarantee. In our experiments on five different control tasks, our algorithm consistently outperforms several state-of-the-art baselines, achieving 10 times fewer constraint violations and 40% higher reward on average.

Probabilistic programming uses programs to express generative models whose posterior probability is then computed by built-in inference engines. A challenging goal is to develop general purpose inference algorithms that work out-of-the-box for arbitrary programs in a universal probabilistic programming language (PPL). The densities defined by such programs, which may use stochastic branching and recursion, are (in general) nonparametric, in the sense that they correspond to models on an infinite-dimensional parameter space. However standard inference algorithms, such as the Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) algorithm, target distributions with a fixed number of parameters. This paper introduces the Nonparametric Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (NP-HMC) algorithm which generalises HMC to nonparametric models. Inputs to NP-HMC are a new class of measurable functions called “tree representable”, which serve as a language-independent representation of the density functions of probabilistic programs in a universal PPL. We provide a correctness proof of NP-HMC, and empirically demonstrate significant performance improvements over existing approaches on several nonparametric examples.

This paper considers batch Reinforcement Learning (RL) with general value function approximation. Our study investigates the minimal assumptions to reliably estimate/minimize Bellman error, and characterizes the generalization performance by (local) Rademacher complexities of general function classes, which makes initial steps in bridging the gap between statistical learning theory and batch RL. Concretely, we view the Bellman error as a surrogate loss for the optimality gap, and prove the followings: (1) In double sampling regime, the excess risk of Empirical Risk Minimizer (ERM) is bounded by the Rademacher complexity of the function class. (2) In the single sampling regime, sample-efficient risk minimization is not possible without further assumptions, regardless of algorithms. However, with completeness assumptions, the excess risk of FQI and a minimax style algorithm can be again bounded by the Rademacher complexity of the corresponding function classes. (3) Fast statistical rates can be achieved by using tools of local Rademacher complexity. Our analysis covers a wide range of function classes, including finite classes, linear spaces, kernel spaces, sparse linear features, etc.

One principled approach for provably efficient exploration is incorporating the upper confidence bound (UCB) into the value function as a bonus. However, UCB is specified to deal with linear and tabular settings and is incompatible with Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL). In this paper, we propose a principled exploration method for DRL through Optimistic Bootstrapping and Backward Induction (OB2I). OB2I constructs a general-purpose UCB-bonus through non-parametric bootstrap in DRL. The UCB-bonus estimates the epistemic uncertainty of state-action pairs for optimistic exploration. We build theoretical connections between the proposed UCB-bonus and the LSVI-UCB in linear setting. We propagate future uncertainty in a time-consistent manner through episodic backward update, which exploits the theoretical advantage and empirically improves the sample-efficiency. Our experiments in MNIST maze and Atari suit suggest that OB2I outperforms several state-of-the-art exploration approaches.

Machine learning models trained with purely observational data and the principle of empirical risk minimization (Vapnik 1992) can fail to generalize to unseen domains. In this paper, we focus on the case where the problem arises through spurious correlation between the observed domains and the actual task labels. We find that many domain generalization methods do not explicitly take this spurious correlation into account. Instead, especially in more application-oriented research areas like medical imaging or robotics, data augmentation techniques that are based on heuristics are used to learn domain invariant features. To bridge the gap between theory and practice, we develop a causal perspective on the problem of domain generalization. We argue that causal concepts can be used to explain the success of data augmentation by describing how they can weaken the spurious correlation between the observed domains and the task labels. We demonstrate that data augmentation can serve as a tool for simulating interventional data. We use these theoretical insights to derive a simple algorithm that is able to select data augmentation techniques that will lead to better domain generalization.

We present Megaverse, a new 3D simulation platform for reinforcement learning and embodied AI research. The efficient design of our engine enables physics-based simulation with high-dimensional egocentric observations at more than 1,000,000 actions per second on a single 8-GPU node. Megaverse is up to 70x faster than DeepMind Lab in fully-shaded 3D scenes with interactive objects. We achieve this high simulation performance by leveraging batched simulation, thereby taking full advantage of the massive parallelism of modern GPUs. We use Megaverse to build a new benchmark that consists of several single-agent and multi-agent tasks covering a variety of cognitive challenges. We evaluate model-free RL on this benchmark to provide baselines and facilitate future research.

Knowledge distillation (KD) is a successful approach for deep neural network acceleration, with which a compact network (student) is trained by mimicking the softmax output of a pre-trained high-capacity network (teacher). In tradition, KD usually relies on access to the training samples and the parameters of the white-box teacher to acquire the transferred knowledge. However, these prerequisites are not always realistic due to storage costs or privacy issues in real-world applications. Here we propose the concept of decision-based black-box (DB3) knowledge distillation, with which the student is trained by distilling the knowledge from a black-box teacher (parameters are not accessible) that only returns classes rather than softmax outputs. We start with the scenario when the training set is accessible. We represent a sample's robustness against other classes by computing its distances to the teacher's decision boundaries and use it to construct the soft label for each training sample. After that, the student can be trained via standard KD. We then extend this approach to a more challenging scenario in which even accessing the training data is not feasible. We propose to generate pseudo samples that are distinguished by the decision boundaries of the DB3 teacher to the largest extent and …

Semantic understanding of programs is a fundamental problem for programming language processing (PLP). Recent works that learn representations of code based on pre-training techniques in NLP have pushed the frontiers in this direction. However, the semantics of PL and NL have essential differences. These being ignored, we believe it is difficult to build a model to better understand programs, by either directly applying off-the-shelf NLP pre-training techniques to the source code, or adding features to the model by the heuristic. In fact, the semantics of a program can be rigorously defined by formal semantics in PL theory. For example, the operational semantics, describes the meaning of a valid program as updating the environment (i.e., the memory address-value function) through fundamental operations, such as memory I/O and conditional branching. Inspired by this, we propose a novel program semantics learning paradigm, that the model should learn from information composed of (1) the representations which align well with the fundamental operations in operational semantics, and (2) the information of environment transition, which is indispensable for program understanding. To validate our proposal, we present a hierarchical Transformer-based pre-training model called OSCAR to better facilitate the understanding of programs. OSCAR learns from intermediate representation (IR) …

Direct Feedback Alignment (DFA) is emerging as an efficient and biologically plausible alternative to backpropagation for training deep neural networks. Despite relying on random feedback weights for the backward pass, DFA successfully trains state-of-the-art models such as Transformers. On the other hand, it notoriously fails to train convolutional networks. An understanding of the inner workings of DFA to explain these diverging results remains elusive. Here, we propose a theory of feedback alignment algorithms. We first show that learning in shallow networks proceeds in two steps: an alignment phase, where the model adapts its weights to align the approximate gradient with the true gradient of the loss function, is followed by a memorisation phase, where the model focuses on fitting the data. This two-step process has a degeneracy breaking effect: out of all the low-loss solutions in the landscape, a net-work trained with DFA naturally converges to the solution which maximises gradient alignment. We also identify a key quantity underlying alignment in deep linear networks: the conditioning of the alignment matrices. The latter enables a detailed understanding of the impact of data structure on alignment, and suggests a simple explanation for the well-known failure of DFA to train convolutional neural networks. …

Many inference problems, such as sequential decision problems like A/B testing, adaptive sampling schemes like bandit selection, are often online in nature. The fundamental problem for online inference is to provide a sequence of confidence intervals that are valid uniformly over the growing-into-infinity sample sizes. To address this question, we provide a near-optimal confidence sequence for bounded random variables by utilizing Bentkus' concentration results. We show that it improves on the existing approaches that use the Cram{\'e}r-Chernoff technique such as the Hoeffding, Bernstein, and Bennett inequalities. The resulting confidence sequence is confirmed to be favorable in synthetic coverage problems, adaptive stopping algorithms, and multi-armed bandit problems.

We focus on the problem of finding an optimal strategy for a team of players that faces an opponent in an imperfect-information zero-sum extensive-form game. Team members are not allowed to communicate during play but can coordinate before the game. In this setting, it is known that the best the team can do is sample a profile of potentially randomized strategies (one per player) from a joint (a.k.a. correlated) probability distribution at the beginning of the game. In this paper, we first provide new modeling results about computing such an optimal distribution by drawing a connection to a different literature on extensive-form correlation. Second, we provide an algorithm that allows one for capping the number of profiles employed in the solution. This begets an anytime algorithm by increasing the cap. We find that often a handful of well-chosen such profiles suffices to reach optimal utility for the team. This enables team members to reach coordination through a simple and understandable plan. Finally, inspired by this observation and leveraging theoretical concepts that we introduce, we develop an efficient column-generation algorithm for finding an optimal distribution for the team. We evaluate it on a suite of common benchmark games. It is three …

We consider the task of learning to control a linear dynamical system under fixed quadratic costs, known as the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) problem. While model-free approaches are often favorable in practice, thus far only model-based methods, which rely on costly system identification, have been shown to achieve regret that scales with the optimal dependence on the time horizon T. We present the first model-free algorithm that achieves similar regret guarantees. Our method relies on an efficient policy gradient scheme, and a novel and tighter analysis of the cost of exploration in policy space in this setting.

Machine learning (ML) is increasingly seen as a viable approach for building compiler optimization heuristics, but many ML methods cannot replicate even the simplest of the data flow analyses that are critical to making good optimization decisions. We posit that if ML cannot do that, then it is insufficiently able to reason about programs. We formulate data flow analyses as supervised learning tasks and introduce a large open dataset of programs and their corresponding labels from several analyses. We use this dataset to benchmark ML methods and show that they struggle on these fundamental program reasoning tasks. We propose ProGraML - Program Graphs for Machine Learning - a language-independent, portable representation of program semantics. ProGraML overcomes the limitations of prior works and yields improved performance on downstream optimization tasks.

Sharing parameters in multi-agent deep reinforcement learning has played an essential role in allowing algorithms to scale to a large number of agents. Parameter sharing between agents significantly decreases the number of trainable parameters, shortening training times to tractable levels, and has been linked to more efficient learning. However, having all agents share the same parameters can also have a detrimental effect on learning. We demonstrate the impact of parameter sharing methods on training speed and converged returns, establishing that when applied indiscriminately, their effectiveness is highly dependent on the environment. We propose a novel method to automatically identify agents which may benefit from sharing parameters by partitioning them based on their abilities and goals. Our approach combines the increased sample efficiency of parameter sharing with the representational capacity of multiple independent networks to reduce training time and increase final returns.

Q-learning (QL), a common reinforcement learning algorithm, suffers from over-estimation bias due to the maximization term in the optimal Bellman operator. This bias may lead to sub-optimal behavior. Double-Q-learning tackles this issue by utilizing two estimators, yet results in an under-estimation bias. Similar to over-estimation in Q-learning, in certain scenarios, the under-estimation bias may degrade performance. In this work, we introduce a new bias-reduced algorithm called Ensemble Bootstrapped Q-Learning (EBQL), a natural extension of Double-Q-learning to ensembles. We analyze our method both theoretically and empirically. Theoretically, we prove that EBQL-like updates yield lower MSE when estimating the maximal mean of a set of independent random variables. Empirically, we show that there exist domains where both over and under-estimation result in sub-optimal performance. Finally, We demonstrate the superior performance of a deep RL variant of EBQL over other deep QL algorithms for a suite of ATARI games.

The best performing Binary Neural Networks (BNNs) are usually attained using Adam optimization and its multi-step training variants. However, to the best of our knowledge, few studies explore the fundamental reasons why Adam is superior to other optimizers like SGD for BNN optimization or provide analytical explanations that support specific training strategies. To address this, in this paper we first investigate the trajectories of gradients and weights in BNNs during the training process. We show the regularization effect of second-order momentum in Adam is crucial to revitalize the weights that are dead due to the activation saturation in BNNs. We find that Adam, through its adaptive learning rate strategy, is better equipped to handle the rugged loss surface of BNNs and reaches a better optimum with higher generalization ability. Furthermore, we inspect the intriguing role of the real-valued weights in binary networks, and reveal the effect of weight decay on the stability and sluggishness of BNN optimization. Through extensive experiments and analysis, we derive a simple training scheme, building on existing Adam-based optimization, which achieves 70.5% top-1 accuracy on the ImageNet dataset using the same architecture as the state-of-the-art ReActNet while achieving 1.1% higher accuracy. Code and models are available …

Choosing the optimizer is considered to be among the most crucial design decisions in deep learning, and it is not an easy one. The growing literature now lists hundreds of optimization methods. In the absence of clear theoretical guidance and conclusive empirical evidence, the decision is often made based on anecdotes. In this work, we aim to replace these anecdotes, if not with a conclusive ranking, then at least with evidence-backed heuristics. To do so, we perform an extensive, standardized benchmark of fifteen particularly popular deep learning optimizers while giving a concise overview of the wide range of possible choices. Analyzing more than 50,000 individual runs, we contribute the following three points: (i) Optimizer performance varies greatly across tasks. (ii) We observe that evaluating multiple optimizers with default parameters works approximately as well as tuning the hyperparameters of a single, fixed optimizer. (iii) While we cannot discern an optimization method clearly dominating across all tested tasks, we identify a significantly reduced subset of specific optimizers and parameter choices that generally lead to competitive results in our experiments: Adam remains a strong contender, with newer methods failing to significantly and consistently outperform it. Our open-sourced results are available as challenging and …

Ad hoc teamwork is the challenging problem of designing an autonomous agent which can adapt quickly to collaborate with teammates without prior coordination mechanisms, including joint training. Prior work in this area has focused on closed teams in which the number of agents is fixed. In this work, we consider open teams by allowing agents with different fixed policies to enter and leave the environment without prior notification. Our solution builds on graph neural networks to learn agent models and joint-action value models under varying team compositions. We contribute a novel action-value computation that integrates the agent model and joint-action value model to produce action-value estimates. We empirically demonstrate that our approach successfully models the effects other agents have on the learner, leading to policies that robustly adapt to dynamic team compositions and significantly outperform several alternative methods.

Democratization of machine learning requires architectures that automatically adapt to new problems. Neural Differential Equations (NDEs) have emerged as a popular modeling framework by removing the need for ML practitioners to choose the number of layers in a recurrent model. While we can control the computational cost by choosing the number of layers in standard architectures, in NDEs the number of neural network evaluations for a forward pass can depend on the number of steps of the adaptive ODE solver. But, can we force the NDE to learn the version with the least steps while not increasing the training cost? Current strategies to overcome slow prediction require high order automatic differentiation, leading to significantly higher training time. We describe a novel regularization method that uses the internal cost heuristics of adaptive differential equation solvers combined with discrete adjoint sensitivities to guide the training process towards learning NDEs that are easier to solve. This approach opens up the blackbox numerical analysis behind the differential equation solver's algorithm and directly uses its local error estimates and stiffness heuristics as cheap and accurate cost estimates. We incorporate our method without any change in the underlying NDE framework and show that our method extends …

In the Learning to Price setting, a seller posts prices over time with the goal of maximizing revenue while learning the buyer's valuation. This problem is very well understood when values are stationary (fixed or iid). Here we study the problem where the buyer's value is a moving target, i.e., they change over time either by a stochastic process or adversarially with bounded variation. In either case, we provide matching upper and lower bounds on the optimal revenue loss. Since the target is moving, any information learned soon becomes out-dated, which forces the algorithms to keep switching between exploring and exploiting phases.

We study the problem of reward identifiability in the context of Inverse Reinforcement Learning (IRL). The reward identifiability question is critical to answer when reasoning about the effectiveness of using Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) as computational models of real world decision makers in order to understand complex decision making behavior and perform counterfactual reasoning. While identifiability has been acknowledged as a fundamental theoretical question in IRL, little is known about the types of MDPs for which rewards are identifiable, or even if there exist such MDPs. In this work, we formalize the reward identification problem in IRL and study how identifiability relates to properties of the MDP model. For deterministic MDP models with the MaxEntRL objective, we prove necessary and sufficient conditions for identifiability. Building on these results, we present efficient algorithms for testing whether or not an MDP model is identifiable.

The Stackelberg prediction game (SPG) has been extensively used to model the interactions between the learner and data provider in the training process of various machine learning algorithms. Particularly, SPGs played prominent roles in cybersecurity applications, such as intrusion detection, banking fraud detection, spam filtering, and malware detection. Often formulated as NP-hard bi-level optimization problems, it is generally computationally intractable to find global solutions to SPGs. As an interesting progress in this area, a special class of SPGs with the least squares loss (SPG-LS) have recently been shown polynomially solvable by a bisection method. However, in each iteration of this method, a semidefinite program (SDP) needs to be solved. The resulted high computational costs prevent its applications for large-scale problems. In contrast, we propose a novel approach that reformulates a SPG-LS as a single SDP of a similar form and the same dimension as those solved in the bisection method. Our SDP reformulation is, evidenced by our numerical experiments, orders of magnitude faster than the existing bisection method. We further show that the obtained SDP can be reduced to a second order cone program (SOCP). This allows us to provide real-time response to large-scale SPG-LS problems. Numerical results on both …

Detecting influential features in non-linear and/or high-dimensional data is a challenging and increasingly important task in machine learning. Variable selection methods have thus been gaining much attention as well as post-selection inference. Indeed, the selected features can be significantly flawed when the selection procedure is not accounted for. We propose a selective inference procedure using the so-called model-free "HSIC-Lasso" based on the framework of truncated Gaussians combined with the polyhedral lemma. We then develop an algorithm, which allows for low computational costs and provides a selection of the regularisation parameter. The performance of our method is illustrated by both artificial and real-world data based experiments, which emphasise a tight control of the type-I error, even for small sample sizes.

We present a novel control-theoretic understanding of online optimization and learning in games, via the notion of passivity. Passivity is a fundamental concept in control theory, which abstracts energy conservation and dissipation in physical systems. It has become a standard tool in analysis of general feedback systems, to which game dynamics belong. Our starting point is to show that all continuous-time Follow-the-Regularized-Leader (FTRL) dynamics, which include the well-known Replicator Dynamic, are lossless, i.e. it is passive with no energy dissipation. Interestingly, we prove that passivity implies bounded regret, connecting two fundamental primitives of control theory and online optimization.

The observation of energy conservation in FTRL inspires us to present a family of lossless learning dynamics, each of which has an underlying energy function with a simple gradient structure. This family is closed under convex combination; as an immediate corollary, any convex combination of FTRL dynamics is lossless and thus has bounded regret. This allows us to extend the framework of Fox & Shamma [Games 2013] to prove not just global asymptotic stability results for game dynamics, but Poincaré recurrence results as well. Intuitively, when a lossless game (e.g. graphical constant-sum game) is coupled with lossless learning dynamic, their interconnection is …

There is growing awareness and concern about fairness in machine learning and algorithm design. This is particularly true in online selection problems where decisions are often biased, for example, when assessing credit risks or hiring staff. We address the issues of fairness and bias in online selection by introducing multi-color versions of the classic secretary and prophet problem. Interestingly, existing algorithms for these problems are either very unfair or very inefficient, so we develop optimal fair algorithms for these new problems and provide tight bounds on their competitiveness. We validate our theoretical findings on real-world data.

Natural-gradient descent (NGD) on structured parameter spaces (e.g., low-rank covariances) is computationally challenging due to difficult Fisher-matrix computations. We address this issue by using \emph{local-parameter coordinates} to obtain a flexible and efficient NGD method that works well for a wide-variety of structured parameterizations. We show four applications where our method (1) generalizes the exponential natural evolutionary strategy, (2) recovers existing Newton-like algorithms, (3) yields new structured second-order algorithms, and (4) gives new algorithms to learn covariances of Gaussian and Wishart-based distributions. We show results on a range of problems from deep learning, variational inference, and evolution strategies. Our work opens a new direction for scalable structured geometric methods.

Anomaly estimation, or the problem of finding a subset of a dataset that differs from the rest of the dataset, is a classic problem in machine learning and data mining. In both theoretical work and in applications, the anomaly is assumed to have a specific structure defined by membership in an anomaly family. For example, in temporal data the anomaly family may be time intervals, while in network data the anomaly family may be connected subgraphs. The most prominent approach for anomaly estimation is to compute the Maximum Likelihood Estimator (MLE) of the anomaly; however, it was recently observed that for normally distributed data, the MLE is a biased estimator for some anomaly families. In this work, we demonstrate that in the normal means setting, the bias of the MLE depends on the size of the anomaly family. We prove that if the number of sets in the anomaly family that contain the anomaly is sub-exponential, then the MLE is asymptotically unbiased. We also provide empirical evidence that the converse is true: if the number of such sets is exponential, then the MLE is asymptotically biased. Our analysis unifies a number of earlier results on the bias of the MLE …

We consider the setting of iterative learning control, or model-based policy learning in the presence of uncertain, time-varying dynamics. In this setting, we propose a new performance metric, planning regret, which replaces the standard stochastic uncertainty assumptions with worst case regret. Based on recent advances in non-stochastic control, we design a new iterative algorithm for minimizing planning regret that is more robust to model mismatch and uncertainty. We provide theoretical and empirical evidence that the proposed algorithm outperforms existing methods on several benchmarks.