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Moderator: Monica Agrawal


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Wed 20 July 13:30 - 13:35 PDT

SoQal: Selective Oracle Questioning for Consistency Based Active Learning of Cardiac Signals

Dani Kiyasseh · Tingting Zhu · David Clifton

Clinical settings are often characterized by abundant unlabelled data and limited labelled data. This is typically driven by the high burden placed on oracles (e.g., physicians) to provide annotations. One way to mitigate this burden is via active learning (AL) which involves the (a) acquisition and (b) annotation of informative unlabelled instances. Whereas previous work addresses either one of these elements independently, we propose an AL framework that addresses both. For acquisition, we propose Bayesian Active Learning by Consistency (BALC), a sub-framework which perturbs both instances and network parameters and quantifies changes in the network output probability distribution. For annotation, we propose SoQal, a sub-framework that dynamically determines whether, for each acquired unlabelled instance, to request a label from an oracle or to pseudo-label it instead. We show that BALC can outperform start-of-the-art acquisition functions such as BALD, and SoQal outperforms baseline methods even in the presence of a noisy oracle.

Wed 20 July 13:35 - 13:40 PDT

Matching Structure for Dual Learning

Hao Fei · Shengqiong Wu · Yafeng Ren · Meishan Zhang

Many natural language processing (NLP) tasks appear in dual forms, which are generally solved by dual learning technique that models the dualities between the coupled tasks. In this work, we propose to further enhance dual learning with structure matching that explicitly builds structural connections in between. Starting with the dual text$\leftrightarrow$text generation, we perform dually-syntactic structure co-echoing of the region of interest (RoI) between the task pair, together with a syntax cross-reconstruction at the decoding side. We next extend the idea to a text$\leftrightarrow$non-text setup, making alignment between the syntactic-semantic structure. Over 2*14 tasks covering 5 dual learning scenarios, the proposed structure matching method shows its significant effectiveness in enhancing existing dual learning. Our method can retrieve the key RoIs that are highly crucial to the task performance. Besides NLP tasks, it is also revealed that our approach has great potential in facilitating more non-text$\leftrightarrow$non-text scenarios.

Wed 20 July 13:40 - 13:45 PDT

BLIP: Bootstrapping Language-Image Pre-training for Unified Vision-Language Understanding and Generation

Junnan Li · DONGXU LI · Caiming Xiong · Steven Hoi

Vision-Language Pre-training (VLP) has advanced the performance for many vision-language tasks. However, most existing pre-trained models only excel in either understanding-based tasks or generation-based tasks. Furthermore, performance improvement has been largely achieved by scaling up the dataset with noisy image-text pairs collected from the web, which is a suboptimal source of supervision. In this paper, we propose BLIP, a new VLP framework which transfers flexibly to both vision-language understanding and generation tasks. BLIP effectively utilizes the noisy web data by bootstrapping the captions, where a captioner generates synthetic captions and a filter removes the noisy ones. We achieve state-of-the-art results on a wide range of vision-language tasks, such as image-text retrieval (+2.7% in average recall@1), image captioning (+2.8% in CIDEr), and VQA (+1.6% in VQA score). BLIP also demonstrates strong generalization ability when directly transferred to video-language tasks in a zero-shot manner. Code and models are available at

Wed 20 July 13:45 - 13:50 PDT

YourTTS: Towards Zero-Shot Multi-Speaker TTS and Zero-Shot Voice Conversion for Everyone

Edresson Casanova · Julian Weber · Christopher Shulby · Arnaldo Candido Junior · Eren Gölge · Moacir Ponti

YourTTS brings the power of a multilingual approach to the task of zero-shot multi-speaker TTS. Our method builds upon the VITS model and adds several novel modifications for zero-shot multi-speaker and multilingual training. We achieved state-of-the-art (SOTA) results in zero-shot multi-speaker TTS and results comparable to SOTA in zero-shot voice conversion on the VCTK dataset. Additionally, our approach achieves promising results in a target language with a single-speaker dataset, opening possibilities for zero-shot multi-speaker TTS and zero-shot voice conversion systems in low-resource languages. Finally, it is possible to fine-tune the YourTTS model with less than 1 minute of speech and achieve state-of-the-art results in voice similarity and with reasonable quality. This is important to allow synthesis for speakers with a very different voice or recording characteristics from those seen during training.

Wed 20 July 13:50 - 13:55 PDT

Inducing Causal Structure for Interpretable Neural Networks

Atticus Geiger · Zhengxuan Wu · Hanson Lu · Joshua Rozner · Elisa Kreiss · Thomas Icard · Noah Goodman · Christopher Potts

In many areas, we have well-founded insights about causal structure that would be useful to bring into our trained models while still allowing them to learn in a data-driven fashion. To achieve this, we present the new method of interchange intervention training (IIT). In IIT, we (1) align variables in a causal model (e.g., a deterministic program or Bayesian network) with representations in a neural model and (2) train the neural model to match the counterfactual behavior of the causal model on a base input when aligned representations in both models are set to be the value they would be for a source input. IIT is fully differentiable, flexibly combines with other objectives, and guarantees that the target causal model is a causal abstraction of the neural model when its loss is zero. We evaluate IIT on a structural vision task (MNIST-PVR), a navigational language task (ReaSCAN), and a natural language inference task (MQNLI). We compare IIT against multi-task training objectives and data augmentation. In all our experiments, IIT achieves the best results and produces neural models that are more interpretable in the sense that they more successfully realize the target causal model.

Wed 20 July 13:55 - 14:00 PDT

SDQ: Stochastic Differentiable Quantization with Mixed Precision

Xijie Huang · Zhiqiang Shen · Shichao Li · Zechun Liu · Hu Xianghong · Jeffry Wicaksana · Eric Xing · Kwang-Ting Cheng

In order to deploy deep models in a computationally efficient manner, model quantization approaches have been frequently used. In addition, as new hardware that supports various-bit arithmetic operations, recent research on mixed precision quantization (MPQ) begins to fully leverage the capacity of representation by searching various bitwidths for different layers and modules in a network. However, previous studies mainly search the MPQ strategy in a costly scheme using reinforcement learning, neural architecture search, etc., or simply utilize partial prior knowledge for bitwidth distribution, which might be biased and sub-optimal. In this work, we present a novel Stochastic Differentiable Quantization (SDQ) method that can automatically learn the MPQ strategy in a more flexible and globally-optimized space with a smoother gradient approximation. Particularly, Differentiable Bitwidth Parameters (DBPs) are employed as the probability factors in stochastic quantization between adjacent bitwidth. After the optimal MPQ strategy is acquired, we further train our network with the entropy-aware bin regularization and knowledge distillation. We extensively evaluate our method on different networks, hardwares (GPUs and FPGA), and datasets. SDQ outperforms all other state-of-the-art mixed or single precision quantization with less bitwidth, and are even better than the original full-precision counterparts across various ResNet and MobileNet families, demonstrating the effectiveness and superiority of our method. Code will be publicly available.

Wed 20 July 14:00 - 14:05 PDT

IGLUE: A Benchmark for Transfer Learning across Modalities, Tasks, and Languages

Emanuele Bugliarello · Fangyu Liu · Jonas Pfeiffer · Siva Reddy · Desmond Elliott · Edoardo Maria Ponti · Ivan Vulić

Reliable evaluation benchmarks designed for replicability and comprehensiveness have driven progress in machine learning. Due to the lack of a multilingual benchmark, however, vision-and-language research has mostly focused on English language tasks. To fill this gap, we introduce the Image-Grounded Language Understanding Evaluation benchmark. IGLUE brings together—by both aggregating pre-existing datasets and creating new ones—visual question answering, cross-modal retrieval, grounded reasoning, and grounded entailment tasks across 20 diverse languages. Our benchmark enables the evaluation of multilingual multimodal models for transfer learning, not only in a zero-shot setting, but also in newly defined few-shot learning setups. Based on the evaluation of the available state-of-the-art models, we find that translate-test transfer is superior to zero-shot transfer and that few-shot learning is hard to harness for many tasks. Moreover, downstream performance is partially explained by the amount of available unlabelled textual data for pretraining, and only weakly by the typological distance of target–source languages. We hope to encourage future research efforts in this area by releasing the benchmark to the community.

Wed 20 July 14:05 - 14:25 PDT

Re-evaluating Word Mover's Distance

Ryoma Sato · Makoto Yamada · Hisashi Kashima

The word mover's distance (WMD) is a fundamental technique for measuring the similarity of two documents. As the crux of WMD, it can take advantage of the underlying geometry of the word space by employing an optimal transport formulation. The original study on WMD reported that WMD outperforms classical baselines such as bag-of-words (BOW) and TF-IDF by significant margins in various datasets. In this paper, we point out that the evaluation in the original study could be misleading. We re-evaluate the performances of WMD and the classical baselines and find that the classical baselines are competitive with WMD if we employ an appropriate preprocessing, i.e., L1 normalization. In addition, we introduce an analogy between WMD and L1-normalized BOW and find that not only the performance of WMD but also the distance values resemble those of BOW in high dimensional spaces.

Wed 20 July 14:25 - 14:30 PDT

Translatotron 2: High-quality direct speech-to-speech translation with voice preservation

Ye Jia · Michelle Tadmor Ramanovich · Tal Remez · Roi Pomerantz

We present Translatotron 2, a neural direct speech-to-speech translation model that can be trained end-to-end. Translatotron 2 consists of a speech encoder, a linguistic decoder, an acoustic synthesizer, and a single attention module that connects them together. Experimental results on three datasets consistently show that Translatotron 2 outperforms the original Translatotron by a large margin on both translation quality (up to +15.5 BLEU) and speech generation quality, and approaches the same of cascade systems. In addition, we propose a simple method for preserving speakers' voices from the source speech to the translation speech in a different language. Unlike existing approaches, the proposed method is able to preserve each speaker's voice on speaker turns without requiring for speaker segmentation. Furthermore, compared to existing approaches, it better preserves speaker's privacy and mitigates potential misuse of voice cloning for creating spoofing audio artifacts.

Wed 20 July 14:30 - 14:35 PDT

Robust alignment of cross-session recordings of neural population activity by behaviour via unsupervised domain adaptation

Justin Jude · Matthew G. Perich · Lee Miller · Matthias Hennig

Neural population activity relating to behaviour is assumed to be inherently low-dimensional despite the observed high dimensionality of data recorded using multi-electrode arrays. Therefore, predicting behaviour from neural population recordings has been shown to be most effective when using latent variable models. Over time however, the activity of single neurons can drift, and different neurons will be recorded due to movement of implanted neural probes. This means that a decoder trained to predict behaviour on one day performs worse when tested on a different day. On the other hand, evidence suggests that the latent dynamics underlying behaviour may be stable even over months and years. Based on this idea, we introduce a model capable of inferring behaviourally relevant latent dynamics from previously unseen data recorded from the same animal, without any need for decoder recalibration. We show that unsupervised domain adaptation combined with a sequential variational autoencoder, trained on several sessions, can achieve good generalisation to unseen data and correctly predict behaviour where conventional methods fail. Our results further support the hypothesis that behaviour-related neural dynamics are low-dimensional and stable over time, and will enable more effective and flexible use of brain computer interface technologies.

Wed 20 July 14:35 - 14:40 PDT

Symmetric Machine Theory of Mind

Melanie Sclar · Graham Neubig · Yonatan Bisk

Theory of mind, the ability to model others' thoughts and desires, is a cornerstone of human social intelligence. This makes it an important challenge for the machine learning community, but previous works mainly attempt to design agents that model the "mental state" of others as passive observers or in specific predefined roles, such as in speaker-listener scenarios. In contrast, we propose to model machine theory of mind in a more general symmetric scenario. We introduce a multi-agent environment SymmToM where, like in real life, all agents can speak, listen, see other agents, and move freely through the world. Effective strategies to maximize an agent's reward require it to develop a theory of mind. We show that reinforcement learning agents that model the mental states of others achieve significant performance improvements over agents with no such theory of mind model. Importantly, our best agents still fail to achieve performance comparable to agents with access to the gold-standard mental state of other agents, demonstrating that the modeling of theory of mind in multi-agent scenarios is very much an open challenge.

Wed 20 July 14:40 - 14:45 PDT

PLATON: Pruning Large Transformer Models with Upper Confidence Bound of Weight Importance

Qingru Zhang · Simiao Zuo · Chen Liang · Alexander Bukharin · Pengcheng He · Weizhu Chen · Tuo Zhao

Large Transformer-based models have exhibited superior performance in various natural language processing and computer vision tasks. However, these models contain enormous amounts of parameters, which restrict their deployment to real-world applications. To reduce the model size, researchers prune these models based on the weights' importance scores. However, such scores are usually estimated on mini-batches during training, which incurs large variability/uncertainty due to mini-batch sampling and complicated training dynamics. As a result, some crucial weights could be pruned by commonly used pruning methods because of such uncertainty, which makes training unstable and hurts generalization. To resolve this issue, we propose PLATON, which captures the uncertainty of importance scores by upper confidence bound of importance estimation. In particular, for the weights with low importance scores but high uncertainty, PLATON tends to retain them and explores their capacity. We conduct extensive experiments with several Transformer-based models on natural language understanding, question answering and image classification to validate the effectiveness of PLATON. Results demonstrate that PLATON manifests notable improvement under different sparsity levels. Our code is publicly available at

Wed 20 July 14:45 - 14:50 PDT

LCANets: Lateral Competition Improves Robustness Against Corruption and Attack

Michael Teti · Garrett T Kenyon · Benjamin Migliori · Juston Moore

Although Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) achieve high accuracy on image recognition tasks, they lack robustness against realistic corruptions and fail catastrophically when deliberately attacked. Previous CNNs with representations similar to primary visual cortex (V1) were more robust to adversarial attacks on images than current adversarial defense techniques, but they required training on large-scale neural recordings or handcrafting neuroscientific models. Motivated by evidence that neural activity in V1 is sparse, we develop a class of hybrid CNNs, called LCANets, which feature a frontend that performs sparse coding via local lateral competition. We demonstrate that LCANets achieve competitive clean accuracy to standard CNNs on action and image recognition tasks and significantly greater accuracy under various image corruptions. We also perform the first adversarial attacks with full knowledge of a sparse coding CNN layer by attacking LCANets with white-box and black-box attacks, and we show that, contrary to previous hypotheses, sparse coding layers are not very robust to white-box attacks. Finally, we propose a way to use sparse coding layers as a plug-and-play robust frontend by showing that they significantly increase the robustness of adversarially-trained CNNs over corruptions and attacks.

Wed 20 July 14:50 - 14:55 PDT

Reconstructing Nonlinear Dynamical Systems from Multi-Modal Time Series

Daniel Kramer · Philine Bommer · Daniel Durstewitz · Carlo Tombolini · Georgia Koppe

Empirically observed time series in physics, biology, or medicine, are commonly generated by some underlying dynamical system (DS) which is the target of scientific interest. There is an increasing interest to harvest machine learning methods to reconstruct this latent DS in a data-driven, unsupervised way. In many areas of science it is common to sample time series observations from many data modalities simultaneously, e.g. electrophysiological and behavioral time series in a typical neuroscience experiment. However, current machine learning tools for reconstructing DSs usually focus on just one data modality. Here we propose a general framework for multi-modal data integration for the purpose of nonlinear DS reconstruction and the analysis of cross-modal relations. This framework is based on dynamically interpretable recurrent neural networks as general approximators of nonlinear DSs, coupled to sets of modality-specific decoder models from the class of generalized linear models. Both an expectation-maximization and a variational inference algorithm for model training are advanced and compared. We show on nonlinear DS benchmarks that our algorithms can efficiently compensate for too noisy or missing information in one data channel by exploiting other channels, and demonstrate on experimental neuroscience data how the algorithm learns to link different data domains to the underlying dynamics.

Wed 20 July 14:55 - 15:00 PDT

Neural Language Models are not Born Equal to Fit Brain Data, but Training Helps

Alexandre Pasquiou · Yair Lakretz · John Hale · Thirion Bertrand · Christophe Pallier

Neural Language Models (NLMs) have made tremendous advances during the last years, achieving impressive performance on various linguistic tasks.Capitalizing on this, studies in neuroscience have started to use NLMs to study neural activity in the human brain during language processing.However, many questions remain unanswered regarding which factors determine the ability of a neural language model to capture brain activity (aka its 'brain score').Here, we make first steps in this direction and examine the impact of test loss, training corpus and model architecture (comparing GloVe, LSTM, GPT-2 and BERT), on the prediction of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging time-courses of participants listening to an audiobook.We find that (1) untrained versions of each model already explain significant amount of signal in the brain by capturing similarity in brain responses across identical words, with the untrained LSTM outperforming the transformer-based models, being less impacted by the effect of context; (2) that training NLP models improves brain scores in the same brain regions irrespective of the model's architecture; (3) that Perplexity (test loss) is not a good predictor of brain score; (4) that training data have a strong influence on the outcome and, notably, that off-the-shelf models may lack statistical power to detect brain activations. Overall, we outline the impact of model-training choices, and suggest good practices for future studies aiming at explaining the human language system using neural language models.