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T: Learning Theory/Domain Adaptation

Hall F

Moderator: Han Zhao

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Wed 20 July 7:30 - 7:35 PDT

Learning Domain Adaptive Object Detection with Probabilistic Teacher

Meilin Chen · Weijie Chen · Shicai Yang · Jie Song · Xinchao Wang · Lei Zhang · Yunfeng Yan · Donglian Qi · Yueting Zhuang · Di Xie · Shiliang Pu

Self-training for unsupervised domain adaptive object detection is a challenging task, of which the performance depends heavily on the quality of pseudo boxes. Despite the promising results, prior works have largely overlooked the uncertainty of pseudo boxes during self-training. In this paper, we present a simple yet effective framework, termed as Probabilistic Teacher (PT), which aims to capture the uncertainty of unlabeled target data from a gradually evolving teacher and guides the learning of a student in a mutually beneficial manner. Specifically, we propose to leverage the uncertainty-guided consistency training to promote classification adaptation and localization adaptation, rather than filtering pseudo boxes via an elaborate confidence threshold. In addition, we conduct anchor adaptation in parallel with localization adaptation, since anchor can be regarded as a learnable parameter. Together with this framework, we also present a novel Entropy Focal Loss (EFL) to further facilitate the uncertainty-guided self-training. Equipped with EFL, PT outperforms all previous baselines by a large margin and achieve new state-of-the-arts.

Wed 20 July 7:35 - 7:40 PDT

Adaptive Data Analysis with Correlated Observations

Aryeh Kontorovich · Menachem Sadigurschi · Uri Stemmer

The vast majority of the work on adaptive data analysis focuses on the case where the samples in the dataset are independent. Several approaches and tools have been successfully applied in this context, such as {\em differential privacy}, {\em max-information}, {\em compression arguments}, and more. The situation is far less well-understood without the independence assumption. We embark on a systematic study of the possibilities of adaptive data analysis with correlated observations. First, we show that, in some cases, differential privacy guarantees generalization even when there are dependencies within the sample, which we quantify using a notion we call {\em Gibbs-dependence}. We complement this result with a tight negative example.%Second, we show that the connection between transcript-compression and adaptive data analysis can be extended to the non-iid setting.

Wed 20 July 7:40 - 7:45 PDT

Efficient PAC Learning from the Crowd with Pairwise Comparisons

Shiwei Zeng · Jie Shen

We study crowdsourced PAC learning of threshold function, where the labels are gathered from a pool of annotators some of whom may behave adversarially. This is yet a challenging problem and until recently has computationally and query efficient PAC learning algorithm been established by Awasthi et al. (2017). In this paper, we show that by leveraging the more easily acquired pairwise comparison queries, it is possible to exponentially reduce the label complexity while retaining the overall query complexity and runtime. Our main algorithmic contributions are a comparison-equipped labeling scheme that can faithfully recover the true labels of a small set of instances, and a label-efficient filtering process that in conjunction with the small labeled set can reliably infer the true labels of a large instance set.

Wed 20 July 7:45 - 7:50 PDT

On the Statistical Benefits of Curriculum Learning

Ziping Xu · Ambuj Tewari

Curriculum learning (CL) is a commonly used machine learning training strategy. However, we still lack a clear theoretical understanding of CL's benefits. In this paper, we study the benefits of CL in the multitask linear regression problem under both structured and unstructured settings. For both settings, we derive the minimax rates for CL with the oracle that provides the optimal curriculum and without the oracle, where the agent has to adaptively learn a good curriculum. Our results reveal that adaptive learning can be fundamentally harder than the oracle learning in the unstructured setting, but it merely introduces a small extra term in the structured setting. To connect theory with practice, we provide justification for a popular empirical method that selects tasks with highest local prediction gain by comparing its guarantees with the minimax rates mentioned above.

Wed 20 July 7:50 - 7:55 PDT

Feature and Parameter Selection in Stochastic Linear Bandits

Ahmadreza Moradipari · Berkay Turan · Yasin Abbasi-Yadkori · Mahnoosh Alizadeh · Mohammad Ghavamzadeh

We study two model selection settings in stochastic linear bandits (LB). In the first setting, which we refer to as feature selection, the expected reward of the LB problem is in the linear span of at least one of $M$ feature maps (models). In the second setting, the reward parameter of the LB problem is arbitrarily selected from $M$ models represented as (possibly) overlapping balls in $\mathbb R^d$. However, the agent only has access to misspecified models, i.e., estimates of the centers and radii of the balls. We refer to this setting as parameter selection. For each setting, we develop and analyze a computationally efficient algorithm that is based on a reduction from bandits to full-information problems. This allows us to obtain regret bounds that are not worse (up to a $\sqrt{\log M}$ factor) than the case where the true model is known. This is the best reported dependence on the number of models $M$ in these settings. Finally, we empirically show the effectiveness of our algorithms using synthetic and real-world experiments.

Wed 20 July 7:55 - 8:00 PDT

Disentangled Federated Learning for Tackling Attributes Skew via Invariant Aggregation and Diversity Transferring

Zhengquan Luo · Yunlong Wang · Zilei Wang · Zhenan Sun · Tieniu Tan

Attributes skew hinders the current federated learning (FL) frameworks from consistent optimization directions among the clients, which inevitably leads to performance reduction and unstable convergence. The core problems lie in that: 1) Domain-specific attributes, which are non-causal and only locally valid, are indeliberately mixed into global aggregation. 2) The one-stage optimizations of entangled attributes cannot simultaneously satisfy two conflicting objectives, i.e., generalization and personalization. To cope with these, we proposed disentangled federated learning (DFL) to disentangle the domain-specific and cross-invariant attributes into two complementary branches, which are trained by the proposed alternating local-global optimization independently. Importantly, convergence analysis proves that the FL system can be stably converged even if incomplete client models participate in the global aggregation, which greatly expands the application scope of FL. Extensive experiments verify that DFL facilitates FL with higher performance, better interpretability, and faster convergence rate, compared with SOTA FL methods on both manually synthesized and realistic attributes skew datasets.

Wed 20 July 8:00 - 8:20 PDT

A new similarity measure for covariate shift with applications to nonparametric regression

Reese Pathak · Cong Ma · Martin Wainwright

We study covariate shift in the context of nonparametric regression. We introduce a new measure of distribution mismatch between the source and target distributions using the integrated ratio of probabilities of balls at a given radius. We use the scaling of this measure with respect to the radius to characterize the minimax rate of estimation over a family of Hölder continuous functions under covariate shift. In comparison to the recently proposed notion of transfer exponent, this measure leads to a sharper rate of convergence and is more fine-grained. We accompany our theory with concrete instances of covariate shift that illustrate this sharp difference.

Wed 20 July 8:20 - 8:25 PDT

Contextual Bandits with Large Action Spaces: Made Practical

Yinglun Zhu · Dylan Foster · John Langford · Paul Mineiro

A central problem in sequential decision making is to develop algorithms that are practical and computationally efficient, yet support the use of flexible, general-purpose models. Focusing on the contextual bandit problem, recent progress provides provably efficient algorithms with strong empirical performance when the number of possible alternatives (``actions'') is small, but guarantees for decision making in large, continuous action spaces have remained elusive, leading to a significant gap between theory and practice. We present the first efficient, general-purpose algorithm for contextual bandits with continuous, linearly structured action spaces. Our algorithm makes use of computational oracles for (i) supervised learning, and (ii) optimization over the action space, and achieves sample complexity, runtime, and memory independent of the size of the action space. In addition, it is simple and practical. We perform a large-scale empirical evaluation, and show that our approach typically enjoys superior performance and efficiency compared to standard baselines.

Wed 20 July 8:25 - 8:30 PDT

Identifiability Conditions for Domain Adaptation

Ishaan Gulrajani · Tatsunori Hashimoto

Domain adaptation algorithms and theory have relied upon an assumption that the observed data uniquely specify the correct correspondence between the domains. Unfortunately, it is unclear under what conditions this identifiability assumption holds, even when restricting ourselves to the case where a correct bijective map between domains exists. We study this bijective domain mapping problem and provide several new sufficient conditions for the identifiability of linear domain maps. As a consequence of our analysis, we show that weak constraints on the third moment tensor suffice for identifiability, prove identifiability for common latent variable models such as topic models, and give a computationally tractable method for generating certificates for the identifiability of linear maps. Inspired by our certification method, we derive a new objective function for domain mapping that explicitly accounts for uncertainty over maps arising from unidentifiability. We demonstrate that our objective leads to improvements in uncertainty quantification and model performance estimation.

Wed 20 July 8:30 - 8:35 PDT

Streaming Algorithms for High-Dimensional Robust Statistics

Ilias Diakonikolas · Daniel Kane · Ankit Pensia · Thanasis Pittas

We study high-dimensional robust statistics tasks in the streaming model. A recent line of work obtained computationally efficient algorithms for a range of high-dimensional robust statistics tasks. Unfortunately, all previous algorithms require storing the entire dataset, incurring memory at least quadratic in the dimension. In this work, we develop the first efficient streaming algorithms for high-dimensional robust statistics with near-optimal memory requirements (up to logarithmic factors). Our main result is for the task of high-dimensional robust mean estimation in (a strengthening of) Huber's contamination model. We give an efficient single-pass streaming algorithm for this task with near-optimal error guarantees and space complexity nearly-linear in the dimension. As a corollary, we obtain streaming algorithms with near-optimal space complexity for several more complex tasks, including robust covariance estimation, robust regression, and more generally robust stochastic optimization.

Wed 20 July 8:35 - 8:40 PDT

Popular decision tree algorithms are provably noise tolerant

Guy Blanc · Jane Lange · Ali Malik · Li-Yang Tan

Using the framework of boosting, we prove that all impurity-based decision tree learning algorithms, including the classic ID3, C4.5, and CART, are highly noise tolerant. Our guarantees hold under the strongest noise model of nasty noise, and we provide near-matching upper and lower bounds on the allowable noise rate. We further show that these algorithms, which are simple and have long been central to everyday machine learning, enjoy provable guarantees in the noisy setting that are unmatched by existing algorithms in the theoretical literature on decision tree learning. Taken together, our results add to an ongoing line of research that seeks to place the empirical success of these practical decision tree algorithms on firm theoretical footing.

Wed 20 July 8:40 - 8:45 PDT

Understanding and Improving Knowledge Graph Embedding for Entity Alignment

Lingbing Guo · Qiang Zhang · Zequn Sun · Mingyang Chen · Wei Hu · Huajun Chen

Embedding-based entity alignment (EEA) has recently received great attention. Despite significant performance improvement, few efforts have been paid to facilitate understanding of EEA methods. Most existing studies rest on the assumption that a small number of pre-aligned entities can serve as anchors connecting the embedding spaces of two KGs. Nevertheless, no one has investigated the rationality of such an assumption. To fill the research gap, we define a typical paradigm abstracted from existing EEA methods and analyze how the embedding discrepancy between two potentially aligned entities is implicitly bounded by a predefined margin in the score function. Further, we find that such a bound cannot guarantee to be tight enough for alignment learning. We mitigate this problem by proposing a new approach, named NeoEA, to explicitly learn KG-invariant and principled entity embeddings. In this sense, an EEA model not only pursues the closeness of aligned entities based on geometric distance, but also aligns the neural ontologies of two KGs by eliminating the discrepancy in embedding distribution and underlying ontology knowledge. Our experiments demonstrate consistent and significant performance improvement against the best-performing EEA methods.

Wed 20 July 8:45 - 8:50 PDT

Perfectly Balanced: Improving Transfer and Robustness of Supervised Contrastive Learning

Mayee Chen · Daniel Y Fu · Avanika Narayan · Michael Zhang · Zhao Song · Kayvon Fatahalian · Christopher Re

An ideal learned representation should display transferability and robustness. Supervised contrastive learning (SupCon) is a promising method for training accurate models, but produces representations that do not capture these properties due to class collapse---when all points in a class map to the same representation. Recent work suggests that "spreading out" these representations improves them, but the precise mechanism is poorly understood. We argue that creating spread alone is insufficient for better representations, since spread is invariant to permutations within classes. Instead, both the correct degree of spread and a mechanism for breaking this invariance are necessary. We first prove that adding a weighted class-conditional InfoNCE loss to SupCon controls the degree of spread. Next, we study three mechanisms to break permutation invariance: using a constrained encoder, adding a class-conditional autoencoder, and using data augmentation. We show that the latter two encourage clustering of latent subclasses under more realistic conditions than the former. Using these insights, we show that adding a properly-weighted class-conditional InfoNCE loss and a class-conditional autoencoder to SupCon achieves 11.1 points of lift on coarse-to-fine transfer across 5 standard datasets and 4.7 points on worst-group robustness on 3 datasets, setting state-of-the-art on CelebA by 11.5 points.

Wed 20 July 8:50 - 8:55 PDT

Robust Fine-Tuning of Deep Neural Networks with Hessian-based Generalization Guarantees

Haotian Ju · Dongyue Li · Hongyang Zhang

We consider transfer learning approaches that fine-tune a pretrained deep neural network on a target task. We investigate generalization properties of fine-tuning to understand the problem of overfitting, which often happens in practice. Previous works have shown that constraining the distance from the initialization of fine-tuning improves generalization. Using a PAC-Bayesian analysis, we observe that besides distance from initialization, Hessians affect generalization through the noise stability of deep neural networks against noise injections. Motivated by the observation, we develop Hessian distance-based generalization bounds for a wide range of fine-tuning methods. Next, we investigate the robustness of fine-tuning with noisy labels. We design an algorithm that incorporates consistent losses and distance-based regularization for fine-tuning. Additionally, we prove a generalization error bound of our algorithm under class conditional independent noise in the training dataset labels. We perform a detailed empirical study of our algorithm on various noisy environments and architectures. For example, on six image classification tasks whose training labels are generated with programmatic labeling, we show a 3.26% accuracy improvement over prior methods. Meanwhile, the Hessian distance measure of the fine-tuned network using our algorithm decreases by six times more than existing approaches.

Wed 20 July 8:55 - 9:00 PDT

Understanding Gradual Domain Adaptation: Improved Analysis, Optimal Path and Beyond

Haoxiang Wang · Bo Li · Han Zhao

The vast majority of existing algorithms for unsupervised domain adaptation (UDA) focus on adapting from a labeled source domain to an unlabeled target domain directly in a one-off way. Gradual domain adaptation (GDA), on the other hand, assumes a path of $(T-1)$ unlabeled intermediate domains bridging the source and target, and aims to provide better generalization in the target domain by leveraging the intermediate ones. Under certain assumptions, Kumar et al. (2020) proposed a simple algorithm, Gradual Self-Training, along with a generalization bound in the order of $e^{O(T)} \left(\varepsilon_0+O\left(\sqrt{log(T)/n}\right)\right)$ for the target domain error, where $\varepsilon_0$ is the source domain error and $n$ is the data size of each domain. Due to the exponential factor, this upper bound becomes vacuous when $T$ is only moderately large. In this work, we analyze gradual self-training under more general and relaxed assumptions, and prove a significantly improved generalization bound as $\widetilde{O}\left(\varepsilon_0 + T\Delta + T/\sqrt{n} + 1/\sqrt{nT}\right)$, where $\Delta$ is the average distributional distance between consecutive domains. Compared with the existing bound with an exponential dependency on $T$ as a multiplicative factor, our bound only depends on $T$ linearly and additively. Perhaps more interestingly, our result implies the existence of an optimal choice of $T$ that minimizes the generalization error, and it also naturally suggests an optimal way to construct the path of intermediate domains so as to minimize the accumulative path length $T\Delta$ between the source and target. To corroborate the implications of our theory, we examine gradual self-training on multiple semi-synthetic and real datasets, which confirms our findings. We believe our insights provide a path forward toward the design of future GDA algorithms.