Algorithms 3

Moderators: Talha Irfan · Tawsif A Ratul


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Thu 22 July 18:00 - 18:20 PDT

Integer Programming for Causal Structure Learning in the Presence of Latent Variables

Rui Chen · Sanjeeb Dash · Tian Gao

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

Thu 22 July 18:20 - 18:25 PDT

Online Selection Problems against Constrained Adversary

Zhihao Jiang · Pinyan Lu · Zhihao Gavin Tang · Yuhao Zhang

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

Thu 22 July 18:25 - 18:30 PDT

SGA: A Robust Algorithm for Partial Recovery of Tree-Structured Graphical Models with Noisy Samples

Anshoo Tandon · Aldric Han · Vincent Tan

We consider learning Ising tree models when the observations from the nodes are corrupted by independent but non-identically distributed noise with unknown statistics. Katiyar et al. (2020) showed that although the exact tree structure cannot be recovered, one can recover a partial tree structure; that is, a structure belonging to the equivalence class containing the true tree. This paper presents a systematic improvement of Katiyar et al. (2020). First, we present a novel impossibility result by deriving a bound on the necessary number of samples for partial recovery. Second, we derive a significantly improved sample complexity result in which the dependence on the minimum correlation $\rho_{\min}$ is $\rho_{\min}^{-8}$ instead of $\rho_{\min}^{-24}$. Finally, we propose Symmetrized Geometric Averaging (SGA), a more statistically robust algorithm for partial tree recovery. We provide error exponent analyses and extensive numerical results on a variety of trees to show that the sample complexity of SGA is significantly better than the algorithm of Katiyar et al. (2020). SGA can be readily extended to Gaussian models and is shown via numerical experiments to be similarly superior.

Thu 22 July 18:30 - 18:35 PDT

Efficient Online Learning for Dynamic k-Clustering

Dimitris Fotakis · Georgios Piliouras · Stratis Skoulakis

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

Thu 22 July 18:35 - 18:40 PDT

On Recovering from Modeling Errors Using Testing Bayesian Networks

Haiying Huang · Adnan Darwiche

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

Thu 22 July 18:40 - 18:45 PDT

Towards Practical Mean Bounds for Small Samples

My Phan · Philip Thomas · Erik Learned-Miller

Historically, to bound the mean for small sample sizes, practitioners have had to choose between using methods with unrealistic assumptions about the unknown distribution (e.g., Gaussianity) and methods like Hoeffding's inequality that use weaker assumptions but produce much looser (wider) intervals. In 1969, \citet{Anderson1969} proposed a mean confidence interval strictly better than or equal to Hoeffding's whose only assumption is that the distribution's support is contained in an interval $[a,b]$. For the first time since then, we present a new family of bounds that compares favorably to Anderson's. We prove that each bound in the family has {\em guaranteed coverage}, i.e., it holds with probability at least $1-\alpha$ for all distributions on an interval $[a,b]$. Furthermore, one of the bounds is tighter than or equal to Anderson's for all samples. In simulations, we show that for many distributions, the gain over Anderson's bound is substantial.

Thu 22 July 18:45 - 18:50 PDT

Monte Carlo Variational Auto-Encoders

Achille Thin · Nikita Kotelevskii · Arnaud Doucet · Alain Durmus · Eric Moulines · Maxim Panov

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

Thu 22 July 18:50 - 18:55 PDT