Deep Learning Architectures

Moderator: Baharan Mirzasoleiman


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Tue 20 July 5:00 - 5:20 PDT

Relative Positional Encoding for Transformers with Linear Complexity

Antoine Liutkus · Ondřej Cífka · Shih-Lun Wu · Umut Simsekli · Yi-Hsuan Yang · Gaël RICHARD

Recent advances in Transformer models allow for unprecedented sequence lengths, due to linear space and time complexity. In the meantime, relative positional encoding (RPE) was proposed as beneficial for classical Transformers and consists in exploiting lags instead of absolute positions for inference. Still, RPE is not available for the recent linear-variants of the Transformer, because it requires the explicit computation of the attention matrix, which is precisely what is avoided by such methods. In this paper, we bridge this gap and present Stochastic Positional Encoding as a way to generate PE that can be used as a replacement to the classical additive (sinusoidal) PE and provably behaves like RPE. The main theoretical contribution is to make a connection between positional encoding and cross-covariance structures of correlated Gaussian processes. We illustrate the performance of our approach on the Long-Range Arena benchmark and on music generation.

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Tue 20 July 5:20 - 5:25 PDT

A Free Lunch From ANN: Towards Efficient, Accurate Spiking Neural Networks Calibration

Yuhang Li · Shikuang Deng · Xin Dong · Ruihao Gong · Shi Gu

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

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Tue 20 July 5:25 - 5:30 PDT

A Unified Lottery Ticket Hypothesis for Graph Neural Networks

Tianlong Chen · Yongduo Sui · Xuxi Chen · Aston Zhang · Zhangyang Wang

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). Specifically, for node classification, our found GLTs achieve the same accuracies with 20%~98% MACs saving on small graphs and 25%~85% MACs saving on large ones. For link prediction, GLTs lead to 48%~97% and 70% MACs saving on small and large graph datasets, respectively, without compromising predictive performance. Codes are at

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Tue 20 July 5:30 - 5:35 PDT

Generative Adversarial Transformers

Drew A. Hudson · Larry Zitnick

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

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Tue 20 July 5:35 - 5:40 PDT

Evolving Attention with Residual Convolutions

Yujing Wang · Yaming Yang · Jiangang Bai · Mingliang Zhang · Jing Bai · JING YU · Ce Zhang · Gao Huang · Yunhai Tong

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.

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Tue 20 July 5:40 - 5:45 PDT

Zoo-Tuning: Adaptive Transfer from A Zoo of Models

Yang Shu · Zhi Kou · Zhangjie Cao · Jianmin Wang · Mingsheng Long

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.

[ Paper PDF ]
Tue 20 July 5:45 - 5:50 PDT

UnICORNN: A recurrent model for learning very long time dependencies

T. Konstantin Rusch · Siddhartha Mishra

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.

[ Paper PDF ]
Tue 20 July 5:50 - 5:55 PDT