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DL: Algorithms

Ballroom 1 & 2

Moderator: Daniel Y Fu


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Tue 19 July 10:30 - 10:35 PDT

Online Continual Learning through Mutual Information Maximization

Yiduo Guo · Bing Liu · Dongyan Zhao

This paper proposed a new online continual learning approach called OCMM based on \textit{mutual information} (MI) \textit{maximization}. It achieves two objectives that are critical in dealing with catastrophic forgetting (CF). {\color{black}(1) It reduces feature bias caused by cross entropy (CE) as CE learns only discriminative features for each task, but these features may not be discriminative for another task. To learn a new task well, the network parameters learned before have to be modified, which causes CF.} The new approach encourages the learning of each task to make use of the full features of the task training data. (2) It encourages preservation of the previously learned knowledge when training a new batch of incrementally arriving data. Empirical evaluation shows that OCMM substantially outperforms the latest online CL baselines. For example, for CIFAR10, OCMM improves the accuracy of the best baseline by 13.1\% from 64.1\% (baseline) to 77.2\% (OCMM).The code is publicly available at

Tue 19 July 10:35 - 10:40 PDT

Learning Iterative Reasoning through Energy Minimization

Yilun Du · Shuang Li · Josh Tenenbaum · Igor Mordatch

Deep learning has excelled on complex pattern recognition tasks such as image classification and object recognition. However, it struggles with tasks requiring nontrivial reasoning, such as algorithmic computation. Humans are able to solve such tasks through iterative reasoning -- spending more time to think about harder tasks. Most existing neural networks, however, exhibit a fixed computational budget controlled by the neural network architecture, preventing additional computational processing on harder tasks. In this work, we present a new framework for iterative reasoning with neural networks. We train a neural network to parameterize an energy landscape over all outputs, and implement each step of the iterative reasoning as an energy minimization step to find a minimal energy solution. By formulating reasoning as an energy minimization problem, for harder problems that lead to more complex energy landscapes, we may then adjust our underlying computational budget by running a more complex optimization procedure. We empirically illustrate that our iterative reasoning approach can solve more accurate and generalizable algorithmic reasoning tasks in both graph and continuous domains. Finally, we illustrate that our approach can recursively solve algorithmic problems requiring nested reasoning.

Tue 19 July 10:40 - 10:45 PDT

DepthShrinker: A New Compression Paradigm Towards Boosting Real-Hardware Efficiency of Compact Neural Networks

Yonggan Fu · Haichuan Yang · Jiayi Yuan · Meng Li · Cheng Wan · Raghuraman Krishnamoorthi · Vikas Chandra · Yingyan Lin

Efficient deep neural network (DNN) models equipped with compact operators (e.g., depthwise convolutions) have shown great potential in reducing DNNs' theoretical complexity (e.g., the total number of weights/operations) while maintaining a decent model accuracy. However, existing efficient DNNs are still limited in fulfilling their promise in boosting real-hardware efficiency, due to their commonly adopted compact operators' low hardware utilization. In this work, we open up a new compression paradigm for developing real-hardware efficient DNNs, leading to boosted hardware efficiency while maintaining model accuracy. Interestingly, we observe that while some DNN layers' activation functions help DNNs' training optimization and achievable accuracy, they can be properly removed after training without compromising the model accuracy. Inspired by this observation, we propose a framework dubbed DepthShrinker, which develops hardware-friendly compact networks via shrinking the basic building blocks of existing efficient DNNs that feature irregular computation patterns into dense ones with much improved hardware utilization and thus real-hardware efficiency. Excitingly, our DepthShrinker framework delivers hardware-friendly compact networks that outperform both state-of-the-art efficient DNNs and compression techniques, e.g., a 3.06% higher accuracy and 1.53x throughput on Tesla V100 over SOTA channel-wise pruning method MetaPruning. Our codes are available at:

Tue 19 July 10:45 - 10:50 PDT

PoF: Post-Training of Feature Extractor for Improving Generalization

Ikuro Sato · Yamada Ryota · Masayuki Tanaka · Nakamasa Inoue · Rei Kawakami

It has been intensively investigated that the local shape, especially flatness, of the loss landscape near a minimum plays an important role for generalization of deep models. We developed a training algorithm called PoF: Post-Training of Feature Extractor that updates the feature extractor part of an already-trained deep model to search a flatter minimum. The characteristics are two-fold: 1) Feature extractor is trained under parameter perturbations in the higher-layer parameter space, based on observations that suggest flattening higher-layer parameter space, and 2) the perturbation range is determined in a data-driven manner aiming to reduce a part of test loss caused by the positive loss curvature. We provide a theoretical analysis that shows the proposed algorithm implicitly reduces the target Hessian components as well as the loss. Experimental results show that PoF improved model performance against baseline methods on both CIFAR-10 and CIFAR-100 datasets for only 10-epoch post-training, and on SVHN dataset for 50-epoch post-training.

Tue 19 July 10:50 - 10:55 PDT

Improving Ensemble Distillation With Weight Averaging and Diversifying Perturbation

Giung Nam · Hyungi Lee · Byeongho Heo · Juho Lee

Ensembles of deep neural networks have demonstrated superior performance, but their heavy computational cost hinders applying them for resource-limited environments. It motivates distilling knowledge from the ensemble teacher into a smaller student network, and there are two important design choices for this ensemble distillation: 1) how to construct the student network, and 2) what data should be shown during training. In this paper, we propose a weight averaging technique where a student with multiple subnetworks is trained to absorb the functional diversity of ensemble teachers, but then those subnetworks are properly averaged for inference, giving a single student network with no additional inference cost. We also propose a perturbation strategy that seeks inputs from which the diversities of teachers can be better transferred to the student. Combining these two, our method significantly improves upon previous methods on various image classification tasks.

Tue 19 July 10:55 - 11:00 PDT

Set Based Stochastic Subsampling

Bruno Andreis · Seanie Lee · A. Tuan Nguyen · Juho Lee · Eunho Yang · Sung Ju Hwang

Deep models are designed to operate on huge volumes of high dimensional data such as images. In order to reduce the volume of data these models must process, we propose a set-based two-stage end-to-end neural subsampling model that is jointly optimized with an \textit{arbitrary} downstream task network (e.g. classifier). In the first stage, we efficiently subsample \textit{candidate elements} using conditionally independent Bernoulli random variables by capturing coarse grained global information using set encoding functions, followed by conditionally dependent autoregressive subsampling of the candidate elements using Categorical random variables by modeling pair-wise interactions using set attention networks in the second stage. We apply our method to feature and instance selection and show that it outperforms the relevant baselines under low subsampling rates on a variety of tasks including image classification, image reconstruction, function reconstruction and few-shot classification. Additionally, for nonparametric models such as Neural Processes that require to leverage the whole training data at inference time, we show that our method enhances the scalability of these models.

Tue 19 July 11:00 - 11:20 PDT

Outstanding Paper Runner Up
Monarch: Expressive Structured Matrices for Efficient and Accurate Training

Tri Dao · Beidi Chen · Nimit Sohoni · Arjun Desai · Michael Poli · Jessica Grogan · Alexander Liu · Aniruddh Rao · Atri Rudra · Christopher Re

Large neural networks excel in many domains, but they are expensive to train and fine-tune. A popular approach to reduce their compute or memory requirements is to replace dense weight matrices with structured ones (e.g., sparse, low-rank, Fourier transform). These methods have not seen widespread adoption (1) in end-to-end training due to unfavorable efficiency--quality tradeoffs, and (2) in dense-to-sparse fine-tuning due to lack of tractable algorithms to approximate a given dense weight matrix. To address these issues, we propose a class of matrices (Monarch) that is hardware-efficient (they are parameterized as products of two block-diagonal matrices for better hardware utilization) and expressive (they can represent many commonly used transforms). Surprisingly, the problem of approximating a dense weight matrix with a Monarch matrix, though nonconvex, has an analytical optimal solution. These properties of Monarch matrices unlock new ways to train and fine-tune sparse and dense models. We empirically validate that Monarch can achieve favorable accuracy-efficiency tradeoffs in several end-to-end sparse training applications: speeding up ViT and GPT-2 training on ImageNet classification and Wikitext-103 language modeling by 2x with comparable model quality, and reducing the error on PDE solving and MRI reconstruction tasks by 40%. In sparse-to-dense training, with a simple technique called "reverse sparsification," Monarch matrices serve as a useful intermediate representation to speed up GPT-2 pretraining on OpenWebText by 2x without quality drop. The same technique brings 23% faster BERT pretraining than even the very optimized implementation from Nvidia that set the MLPerf 1.1 record. In dense-to-sparse fine-tuning, as a proof-of-concept, our Monarch approximation algorithm speeds up BERT fine-tuning on GLUE by 1.7x with comparable accuracy.

Tue 19 July 11:20 - 11:25 PDT

Generalizing to New Physical Systems via Context-Informed Dynamics Model

Matthieu Kirchmeyer · Yuan Yin · Jérémie DONA · Nicolas Baskiotis · alain rakotomamonjy · Patrick Gallinari

Data-driven approaches to modeling physical systems fail to generalize to unseen systems that share the same general dynamics with the learning domain, but correspond to different physical contexts. We propose a new framework for this key problem, context-informed dynamics adaptation (CoDA), which takes into account the distributional shift across systems for fast and efficient adaptation to new dynamics. CoDA leverages multiple environments, each associated to a different dynamic, and learns to condition the dynamics model on contextual parameters, specific to each environment. The conditioning is performed via a hypernetwork, learned jointly with a context vector from observed data. The proposed formulation constrains the search hypothesis space for fast adaptation and better generalization across environments with few samples. We theoretically motivate our approach and show state-of-the-art generalization results on a set of nonlinear dynamics, representative of a variety of application domains. We also show, on these systems, that new system parameters can be inferred from context vectors with minimal supervision.

Tue 19 July 11:25 - 11:30 PDT

Self-conditioning Pre-Trained Language Models

Xavier Suau · Luca Zappella · Nicholas Apostoloff

In this paper we aim to investigate the mechanisms that guide text generation with pre-trained Transformer-based Language Models (TLMs). Grounded on the Product of Experts formulation by Hinton (1999), we describe a generative mechanism that exploits expert units which naturally exist in TLMs. Such units are responsible for detecting concepts in the input and conditioning text generation on such concepts. We describe how to identify expert units and how to activate them during inference in order to induce any desired concept in the generated output. We find that the activation of a surprisingly small amount of units is sufficient to steer text generation (as little as 3 units in a model with 345M parameters). While the objective of this work is to learn more about how TLMs work, we show that our method is effective for conditioning without fine-tuning or using extra parameters, even on fine-grained homograph concepts. Additionally, we show that our method can be used to correct gender bias present in the output of TLMs and achieves gender parity for all evaluated contexts. We compare our method with FUDGE and PPLM-BoW, and show that our approach is able to achieve gender parity at a lower perplexity and better Self-BLEU score. The proposed method is accessible to a wide audience thanks to its simplicity and minimal compute needs. The findings in this paper are a step forward in understanding the generative mechanisms of TLMs.

Tue 19 July 11:30 - 11:35 PDT

TAM: Topology-Aware Margin Loss for Class-Imbalanced Node Classification

Jaeyun Song · Joonhyung Park · Eunho Yang

Learning unbiased node representations under class-imbalanced graph data is challenging due to interactions between adjacent nodes. Existing studies have in common that they compensate the minor class nodes `as a group' according to their overall quantity (ignoring node connections in graph), which inevitably increase the false positive cases for major nodes. We hypothesize that the increase in these false positive cases is highly affected by the label distribution around each node and confirm it experimentally. In addition, in order to handle this issue, we propose Topology-Aware Margin (TAM) to reflect local topology on the learning objective. Our method compares the connectivity pattern of each node with the class-averaged counter-part and adaptively adjusts the margin accordingly based on that. Our method consistently exhibits superiority over the baselines on various node classification benchmark datasets with representative GNN architectures.

Tue 19 July 11:35 - 11:40 PDT

Bitwidth Heterogeneous Federated Learning with Progressive Weight Dequantization

Jaehong Yoon · Geon Park · Wonyong Jeong · Sung Ju Hwang

In practical federated learning scenarios, the participating devices may have different bitwidths for computation and memory storage by design. However, despite the progress made in device-heterogeneous federated learning scenarios, the heterogeneity in the bitwidth specifications in the hardware has been mostly overlooked. We introduce a pragmatic FL scenario with bitwidth heterogeneity across the participating devices, dubbed as Bitwidth Heterogeneous Federated Learning (BHFL). BHFL brings in a new challenge, that the aggregation of model parameters with different bitwidths could result in severe performance degeneration, especially for high-bitwidth models. To tackle this problem, we propose ProWD framework, which has a trainable weight dequantizer at the central server that progressively reconstructs the low-bitwidth weights into higher bitwidth weights, and finally into full-precision weights. ProWD further selectively aggregates the model parameters to maximize the compatibility across bit-heterogeneous weights. We validate ProWD against relevant FL baselines on the benchmark datasets, using clients with varying bitwidths. Our ProWD largely outperforms the baseline FL algorithms as well as naive approaches (e.g. grouped averaging) under the proposed BHFL scenario.

Tue 19 July 11:40 - 11:45 PDT

Penalizing Gradient Norm for Efficiently Improving Generalization in Deep Learning

Yang Zhao · Hao Zhang · Xiuyuan Hu

How to train deep neural networks (DNNs) to generalize well is a central concern in deep learning, especially for severely overparameterized networks nowadays. In this paper, we propose an effective method to improve the model generalization by additionally penalizing the gradient norm of loss function during optimization. We demonstrate that confining the gradient norm of loss function could help lead the optimizers towards finding flat minima. We leverage the first-order approximation to efficiently implement the corresponding gradient to fit well in the gradient descent framework. In our experiments, we confirm that when using our methods, generalization performance of various models could be improved on different datasets. Also, we show that the recent sharpness-aware minimization method (Foretet al., 2021) is a special, but not the best, case of our method, where the best case of our method could give new state-of-art performance on these tasks. Code is available at

Tue 19 July 11:45 - 11:50 PDT

Knowledge Base Question Answering by Case-based Reasoning over Subgraphs

Rajarshi Das · Ameya Godbole · Ankita Rajaram Naik · Elliot Tower · Manzil Zaheer · Hannaneh Hajishirzi · Robin Jia · Andrew McCallum

Question answering (QA) over knowledge bases (KBs) is challenging because of the diverse, essentially unbounded, types of reasoning patterns needed.However, we hypothesize in a large KB, reasoning patterns required to answer a query type reoccur for various entities in their respective subgraph neighborhoods.Leveraging this structural similarity between local neighborhoods of different subgraphs, we introduce a semiparametric model (CBR-SUBG) with (i) a nonparametric component that for each query, dynamically retrieves other similar $k$-nearest neighbor (KNN) training queries along with query-specific subgraphs and (ii) a parametric component that is trained to identify the (latent) reasoning patterns from the subgraphs of KNN queries and then apply them to the subgraph of the target query. We also propose an adaptive subgraph collection strategy to select a query-specific compact subgraph, allowing us to scale to full Freebase KB containing billions of facts. We show that CBR-SUBG can answer queries requiring subgraph reasoning patterns and performs competitively with the best models on several KBQA benchmarks. Our subgraph collection strategy also produces more compact subgraphs (e.g. 55\% reduction in size for WebQSP while increasing answer recall by 4.85\%)\footnote{Code, model, and subgraphs are available at \url{}}.

Tue 19 July 11:50 - 11:55 PDT

When AUC meets DRO: Optimizing Partial AUC for Deep Learning with Non-Convex Convergence Guarantee

Dixian Zhu · Gang Li · Bokun Wang · Xiaodong Wu · Tianbao Yang

In this paper, we propose systematic and efficient gradient-based methods for both one-way and two-way partial AUC (pAUC) maximization that are applicable to deep learning. We propose new formulations of pAUC surrogate objectives by using the distributionally robust optimization (DRO) to define the loss for each individual positive data. We consider two formulations of DRO, one of which is based on conditional-value-at-risk (CVaR) that yields a non-smooth but exact estimator for pAUC, and another one is based on a KL divergence regularized DRO that yields an inexact but smooth (soft) estimator for pAUC. For both one-way and two-way pAUC maximization, we propose two algorithms and prove their convergence for optimizing their two formulations, respectively. Experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithms for pAUC maximization for deep learning on various datasets.