Applications and Algorithms

Moderator: Thomas Serre


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Thu 22 July 6:00 - 6:20 PDT

Delving into Deep Imbalanced Regression

Yuzhe Yang · Kaiwen Zha · YINGCONG CHEN · Hao Wang · Dina Katabi

Real-world data often exhibit imbalanced distributions, where certain target values have significantly fewer observations. Existing techniques for dealing with imbalanced data focus on targets with categorical indices, i.e., different classes. However, many tasks involve continuous targets, where hard boundaries between classes do not exist. We define Deep Imbalanced Regression (DIR) as learning from such imbalanced data with continuous targets, dealing with potential missing data for certain target values, and generalizing to the entire target range. Motivated by the intrinsic difference between categorical and continuous label space, we propose distribution smoothing for both labels and features, which explicitly acknowledges the effects of nearby targets, and calibrates both label and learned feature distributions. We curate and benchmark large-scale DIR datasets from common real-world tasks in computer vision, natural language processing, and healthcare domains. Extensive experiments verify the superior performance of our strategies. Our work fills the gap in benchmarks and techniques for practical imbalanced regression problems. Code and data are available at:

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Thu 22 July 6:20 - 6:25 PDT

HAWQ-V3: Dyadic Neural Network Quantization

Zhewei Yao · Zhen Dong · Zhangcheng Zheng · Amir Gholaminejad · Jiali Yu · Eric Tan · Leyuan Wang · Qijing Huang · Yida Wang · Michael Mahoney · EECS Kurt Keutzer

Current low-precision quantization algorithms often have the hidden cost of conversion back and forth from floating point to quantized integer values. This hidden cost limits the latency improvement realized by quantizing Neural Networks. To address this, we present HAWQ-V3, a novel mixed-precision integer-only quantization framework. The contributions of HAWQ-V3 are the following: (i) An integer-only inference where the entire computational graph is performed only with integer multiplication, addition, and bit shifting, without any floating point operations or even integer division; (ii) A novel hardware-aware mixed-precision quantization method where the bit-precision is calculated by solving an integer linear programming problem that balances the trade-off between model perturbation and other constraints, e.g., memory footprint and latency; (iii) Direct hardware deployment and open source contribution for 4-bit uniform/mixed-precision quantization in TVM, achieving an average speed up of 1.45x for uniform 4-bit, as compared to uniform 8-bit for ResNet50 on T4 GPUs; and (iv) extensive evaluation of the proposed methods on ResNet18/50 and InceptionV3, for various model compression levels with/without mixed precision. For ResNet50, our INT8 quantization achieves an accuracy of 77.58%, which is 2.68% higher than prior integer-only work, and our mixed-precision INT4/8 quantization can reduce INT8 latency by 23% and still achieve 76.73% accuracy. Our framework and the TVM implementation have been open sourced (HAWQ, 2020).

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Thu 22 July 6:25 - 6:30 PDT

Nondeterminism and Instability in Neural Network Optimization

Cecilia Summers · Michael J Dinneen

Nondeterminism in neural network optimization produces uncertainty in performance, making small improvements difficult to discern from run-to-run variability. While uncertainty can be reduced by training multiple model copies, doing so is time-consuming, costly, and harms reproducibility. In this work, we establish an experimental protocol for understanding the effect of optimization nondeterminism on model diversity, allowing us to isolate the effects of a variety of sources of nondeterminism. Surprisingly, we find that all sources of nondeterminism have similar effects on measures of model diversity. To explain this intriguing fact, we identify the instability of model training, taken as an end-to-end procedure, as the key determinant. We show that even one-bit changes in initial parameters result in models converging to vastly different values. Last, we propose two approaches for reducing the effects of instability on run-to-run variability.

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Thu 22 July 6:30 - 6:35 PDT

Phase Transitions, Distance Functions, and Implicit Neural Representations

Yaron Lipman

Representing surfaces as zero level sets of neural networks recently emerged as a powerful modeling paradigm, named Implicit Neural Representations (INRs), serving numerous downstream applications in geometric deep learning and 3D vision. Training INRs previously required choosing between occupancy and distance function representation and different losses with unknown limit behavior and/or bias. In this paper we draw inspiration from the theory of phase transitions of fluids and suggest a loss for training INRs that learns a density function that converges to a proper occupancy function, while its log transform converges to a distance function. Furthermore, we analyze the limit minimizer of this loss showing it satisfies the reconstruction constraints and has minimal surface perimeter, a desirable inductive bias for surface reconstruction. Training INRs with this new loss leads to state-of-the-art reconstructions on a standard benchmark.

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Thu 22 July 6:35 - 6:40 PDT

PipeTransformer: Automated Elastic Pipelining for Distributed Training of Large-scale Models

Chaoyang He · Shen Li · Mahdi Soltanolkotabi · Salman Avestimehr

The size of Transformer models is growing at an unprecedented rate. It has taken less than one year to reach trillion-level parameters since the release of GPT-3 (175B). Training such models requires both substantial engineering efforts and enormous computing resources, which are luxuries most research teams cannot afford. In this paper, we propose PipeTransformer, which leverages automated elastic pipelining for efficient distributed training of Transformer models. In PipeTransformer, we design an adaptive on the fly freeze algorithm that can identify and freeze some layers gradually during training, and an elastic pipelining system that can dynamically allocate resources to train the remaining active layers. More specifically, PipeTransformer automatically excludes frozen layers from the pipeline, packs active layers into fewer GPUs, and forks more replicas to increase data-parallel width. We evaluate PipeTransformer using Vision Transformer (ViT) on ImageNet and BERT on SQuAD and GLUE datasets. Our results show that compared to the state-of-the-art baseline, PipeTransformer attains up to 2.83-fold speedup without losing accuracy. We also provide various performance analyses for a more comprehensive understanding of our algorithmic and system-wise design. Finally, we have modularized our training system with flexible APIs and made the source code publicly available at

[ Paper PDF ]
Thu 22 July 6:40 - 6:45 PDT

Conservative Objective Models for Effective Offline Model-Based Optimization

Brandon Trabucco · Aviral Kumar · Xinyang Geng · Sergey Levine

In this paper, we aim to solve data-driven model-based optimization (MBO) problems, where the goal is to find a design input that maximizes an unknown objective function provided access to only a static dataset of inputs and their corresponding objective values. Such data-driven optimization procedures are the only practical methods in many real-world domains where active data collection is expensive (e.g., when optimizing over proteins) or dangerous (e.g., when optimizing over aircraft designs, actively evaluating malformed aircraft designs is unsafe). Typical methods for MBO that optimize the input against a learned model of the unknown score function are affected by erroneous overestimation in the learned model caused due to distributional shift, that drives the optimizer to low-scoring or invalid inputs. To overcome this, we propose conservative objective models (COMs), a method that learns a model of the objective function which lower bounds the actual value of the ground-truth objective on out-of-distribution inputs and uses it for optimization. In practice, COMs outperform a number existing methods on a wide range of MBO problems, including optimizing controller parameters, robot morphologies, and superconducting materials.

[ Paper PDF ]
Thu 22 July 6:45 - 6:50 PDT

TFix: Learning to Fix Coding Errors with a Text-to-Text Transformer

Berkay Berabi · Jingxuan He · Veselin Raychev · Martin Vechev

The problem of fixing errors in programs has attracted substantial interest over the years. The key challenge for building an effective code fixing tool is to capture a wide range of errors and meanwhile maintain high accuracy. In this paper, we address this challenge and present a new learning-based system, called TFix. TFix works directly on program text and phrases the problem of code fixing as a text-to-text task. In turn, this enables it to leverage a powerful Transformer based model pre-trained on natural language and fine-tuned to generate code fixes (via a large, high-quality dataset obtained from GitHub commits). TFix is not specific to a particular programming language or class of defects and, in fact, improved its precision by simultaneously fine-tuning on 52 different error types reported by a popular static analyzer. Our evaluation on a massive dataset of JavaScript programs shows that TFix is practically effective: it is able to synthesize code that fixes the error in ~67 percent of cases and significantly outperforms existing learning-based approaches.

[ Paper PDF ]
Thu 22 July 6:50 - 6:55 PDT