Deep Learning

Ballroom 1 & 2

Moderator : Jifan Zhang

Thu 21 Jul 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9 a.m. PDT


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Thu 21 July 7:30 - 7:35 PDT

Does the Data Induce Capacity Control in Deep Learning?

Rubing Yang · Jialin Mao · Pratik Chaudhari

We show that the input correlation matrix of typical classification datasets has an eigenspectrum where, after a sharp initial drop, a large number of small eigenvalues are distributed uniformly over an exponentially large range. This structure is mirrored in a network trained on this data: we show that the Hessian and the Fisher Information Matrix (FIM) have eigenvalues that are spread uniformly over exponentially large ranges. We call such eigenspectra ``sloppy'' because sets of weights corresponding to small eigenvalues can be changed by large magnitudes without affecting the loss. Networks trained on atypical datasets with non-sloppy inputs do not share these traits and deep networks trained on such datasets generalize poorly. Inspired by this, we study the hypothesis that sloppiness of inputs aids generalization in deep networks. We show that if the Hessian is sloppy, we can compute non-vacuous PAC-Bayes generalization bounds analytically. By exploiting our empirical observation that training predominantly takes place in the non-sloppy subspace of the FIM, we develop data-distribution dependent PAC-Bayes priors that lead to accurate generalization bounds using numerical optimization.

Thu 21 July 7:35 - 7:40 PDT

Fighting Fire with Fire: Avoiding DNN Shortcuts through Priming

Chuan Wen · Jianing Qian · Jierui Lin · Jiaye Teng · Dinesh Jayaraman · Yang Gao

Across applications spanning supervised classification and sequential control, deep learning has been reported to find shortcut'' solutions that fail catastrophically under minor changes in the data distribution. In this paper, we show empirically that DNNs can be coaxed to avoid poor shortcuts by providing an additionalpriming'' feature computed from key input features, usually a coarse output estimate. Priming relies on approximate domain knowledge of these task-relevant key input features, which is often easy to obtain in practical settings. For example, one might prioritize recent frames over past frames in a video input for visual imitation learning, or salient foreground over background pixels for image classification. On NICO image classification, MuJoCo continuous control, and CARLA autonomous driving, our priming strategy works significantly better than several popular state-of-the-art approaches for feature selection and data augmentation. We connect these empirical findings to recent theoretical results on DNN optimization, and argue theoretically that priming distracts the optimizer away from poor shortcuts by creating better, simpler shortcuts.

Thu 21 July 7:40 - 7:45 PDT

Memory-Based Model Editing at Scale

Eric Mitchell · Charles Lin · Antoine Bosselut · Christopher Manning · Chelsea Finn

Even the largest neural networks make errors, and once-correct predictions can become invalid as the world changes. Model editors make local updates to the behavior of base (pre-trained) models to inject updated knowledge or correct undesirable behaviors. Existing model editors have shown promise, but also suffer from insufficient expressiveness: they struggle to accurately model an edit's intended scope (examples affected by the edit), leading to inaccurate predictions for test inputs loosely related to the edit, and they often fail altogether after many edits. As a higher-capacity alternative, we propose Semi-Parametric Editing with a Retrieval-Augmented Counterfactual Model (SERAC), which stores edits in an explicit memory and learns to reason over them to modulate the base model's predictions as needed. To enable more rigorous evaluation of model editors, we introduce three challenging language model editing problems based on question answering, fact-checking, and dialogue generation. We find that only SERAC achieves high performance on all three problems, consistently outperforming existing approaches to model editing by a significant margin. Code, data, and additional project information will be made available at

Thu 21 July 7:45 - 7:50 PDT

Winning the Lottery Ahead of Time: Efficient Early Network Pruning

John Rachwan · Daniel Zügner · Bertrand Charpentier · Simon Geisler · Morgane Ayle · Stephan Günnemann

Pruning, the task of sparsifying deep neural networks, received increasing attention recently. Although state-of-the-art pruning methods extract highly sparse models, they neglect two main challenges: (1) the process of finding these sparse models is often very expensive; (2) unstructured pruning does not provide benefits in terms of GPU memory, training time, or carbon emissions. We propose Early Compression via Gradient Flow Preservation (EarlyCroP), which efficiently extracts state-of-the-art sparse models before or early in training addressing challenge (1), and can be applied in a structured manner addressing challenge (2). This enables us to train sparse networks on commodity GPUs whose dense versions would be too large, thereby saving costs and reducing hardware requirements. We empirically show that EarlyCroP outperforms a rich set of baselines for many tasks (incl. classification, regression) and domains (incl. computer vision, natural language processing, and reinforcment learning). EarlyCroP leads to accuracy comparable to dense training while outperforming pruning baselines.

Thu 21 July 7:50 - 7:55 PDT

Active Learning on a Budget: Opposite Strategies Suit High and Low Budgets

Guy Hacohen · Avihu Dekel · Daphna Weinshall

Investigating active learning, we focus on the relation between the number of labeled examples (budget size), and suitable querying strategies. Our theoretical analysis shows a behavior reminiscent of phase transition: typical examples are best queried when the budget is low, while unrepresentative examples are best queried when the budget is large. Combined evidence shows that a similar phenomenon occurs in common classification models. Accordingly, we propose TypiClust -- a deep active learning strategy suited for low budgets. In a comparative empirical investigation of supervised learning, using a variety of architectures and image datasets, TypiClust outperforms all other active learning strategies in the low-budget regime. Using TypiClust in the semi-supervised framework, performance gets an even more significant boost. In particular, state-of-the-art semi-supervised methods trained on CIFAR-10 with 10 labeled examples selected by TypiClust, reach 93.2% accuracy -- an improvement of 39.4% over random selection. Code is available at

Thu 21 July 7:55 - 8:00 PDT

AutoSNN: Towards Energy-Efficient Spiking Neural Networks

Byunggook Na · Jisoo Mok · Seongsik Park · Dongjin Lee · Hyeokjun Choe · Sungroh Yoon

Spiking neural networks (SNNs) that mimic information transmission in the brain can energy-efficiently process spatio-temporal information through discrete and sparse spikes, thereby receiving considerable attention. To improve accuracy and energy efficiency of SNNs, most previous studies have focused solely on training methods, and the effect of architecture has rarely been studied. We investigate the design choices used in the previous studies in terms of the accuracy and number of spikes and figure out that they are not best-suited for SNNs. To further improve the accuracy and reduce the spikes generated by SNNs, we propose a spike-aware neural architecture search framework called AutoSNN. We define a search space consisting of architectures without undesirable design choices. To enable the spike-aware architecture search, we introduce a fitness that considers both the accuracy and number of spikes. AutoSNN successfully searches for SNN architectures that outperform hand-crafted SNNs in accuracy and energy efficiency. We thoroughly demonstrate the effectiveness of AutoSNN on various datasets including neuromorphic datasets.

Thu 21 July 8:00 - 8:20 PDT

Overcoming Oscillations in Quantization-Aware Training

Markus Nagel · Marios Fournarakis · Yelysei Bondarenko · Tijmen Blankevoort

When training neural networks with simulated quantization, we observe that quantized weights can, rather unexpectedly, oscillate between two grid-points. The importance of this effect and its impact on quantization-aware training (QAT) are not well-understood or investigated in literature. In this paper, we delve deeper into the phenomenon of weight oscillations and show that it can lead to a significant accuracy degradation due to wrongly estimated batch-normalization statistics during inference and increased noise during training. These effects are particularly pronounced in low-bit ($\leq$ 4-bits) quantization of efficient networks with depth-wise separable layers, such as MobileNets and EfficientNets. In our analysis we investigate several previously proposed QAT algorithms and show that most of these are unable to overcome oscillations. Finally, we propose two novel QAT algorithms to overcome oscillations during training: oscillation dampening and iterative weight freezing. We demonstrate that our algorithms achieve state-of-the-art accuracy for low-bit (3 & 4 bits) weight and activation quantization of efficient architectures, such as MobileNetV2, MobileNetV3, and EfficentNet-lite on ImageNet. Our source code is available at

Thu 21 July 8:20 - 8:25 PDT

Dataset Condensation via Efficient Synthetic-Data Parameterization

Jang-Hyun Kim · Jinuk Kim · Seong Joon Oh · Sangdoo Yun · Hwanjun Song · Joonhyun Jeong · Jung-Woo Ha · Hyun Oh Song

The great success of machine learning with massive amounts of data comes at a price of huge computation costs and storage for training and tuning. Recent studies on dataset condensation attempt to reduce the dependence on such massive data by synthesizing a compact training dataset. However, the existing approaches have fundamental limitations in optimization due to the limited representability of synthetic datasets without considering any data regularity characteristics. To this end, we propose a novel condensation framework that generates multiple synthetic data with a limited storage budget via efficient parameterization considering data regularity. We further analyze the shortcomings of the existing gradient matching-based condensation methods and develop an effective optimization technique for improving the condensation of training data information. We propose a unified algorithm that drastically improves the quality of condensed data against the current state-of-the-art on CIFAR-10, ImageNet, and Speech Commands.

Thu 21 July 8:25 - 8:30 PDT

Searching for BurgerFormer with Micro-Meso-Macro Space Design

Longxing Yang · Yu Hu · Shun Lu · Zihao Sun · Jilin Mei · Yinhe Han · Xiaowei Li

With the success of Transformers in the computer vision field, the automated design of vision Transformers has attracted significant attention. Recently, MetaFormer found that simple average pooling can achieve impressive performance, which naturally raises the question of how to design a search space to search diverse and high-performance Transformer-like architectures. By revisiting typical search spaces, we design micro-meso-macro space to search for Transformer-like architectures, namely BurgerFormer. Micro, meso, and macro correspond to the granularity levels of operation, block and stage, respectively. At the microscopic level, we enrich the atomic operations to include various normalizations, activation functions, and basic operations (e.g., multi-head self attention, average pooling). At the mesoscopic level, a hamburger structure is searched out as the basic BurgerFormer block. At the macroscopic level, we search for the depth, width, and expansion ratio of the network based on the multi-stage architecture. Meanwhile, we propose a hybrid sampling method for effectively training the supernet. Experimental results demonstrate that the searched BurgerFormer architectures achieve comparable even superior performance compared with current state-of-the-art Transformers on the ImageNet and COCO datasets. The codes can be available at

Thu 21 July 8:30 - 8:35 PDT

Multi-scale Feature Learning Dynamics: Insights for Double Descent

Mohammad Pezeshki · Amartya Mitra · Yoshua Bengio · Guillaume Lajoie

An intriguing phenomenon that arises from the high-dimensional learning dynamics of neural networks is the phenomenon of ``double descent''. The more commonly studied aspect of this phenomenon corresponds to \textit{model-wise} double descent where the test error exhibits a second descent with increasing model complexity, beyond the classical U-shaped error curve. In this work, we investigate the origins of the less studied \textit{epoch-wise} double descent in which the test error undergoes two non-monotonous transitions, or descents as the training time increases. We study a linear teacher-student setup exhibiting epoch-wise double descent similar to that in deep neural networks. In this setting, we derive closed-form analytical expressions describing the generalization error in terms of low-dimensional scalar macroscopic variables. We find that double descent can be attributed to distinct features being learned at different scales: as fast-learning features overfit, slower-learning features start to fit, resulting in a second descent in test error. We validate our findings through numerical simulations where our theory accurately predicts empirical findings and remains consistent with observations in deep neural networks.

Thu 21 July 8:35 - 8:40 PDT

Dataset Condensation with Contrastive Signals

Saehyung Lee · SANGHYUK CHUN · Sangwon Jung · Sangdoo Yun · Sungroh Yoon

Recent studies have demonstrated that gradient matching-based dataset synthesis, or dataset condensation (DC), methods can achieve state-of-theart performance when applied to data-efficient learning tasks. However, in this study, we prove that the existing DC methods can perform worse than the random selection method when taskirrelevant information forms a significant part of the training dataset. We attribute this to the lack of participation of the contrastive signals between the classes resulting from the class-wise gradient matching strategy. To address this problem, we propose Dataset Condensation with Contrastive signals (DCC) by modifying the loss function to enable the DC methods to effectively capture the differences between classes. In addition, we analyze the new loss function in terms of training dynamics by tracking the kernel velocity. Furthermore, we introduce a bi-level warm-up strategy to stabilize the optimization. Our experimental results indicate that while the existing methods are ineffective for fine-grained image classification tasks, the proposed method can successfully generate informative synthetic datasets for the same tasks. Moreover, we demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms the baselines even on benchmark datasets such as SVHN, CIFAR-10, and CIFAR-100. Finally, we demonstrate the high applicability of the proposed method by applying it to continual learning tasks.

Thu 21 July 8:40 - 8:45 PDT

Equivariant Priors for compressed sensing with unknown orientation

Anna Kuzina · Kumar Pratik · Fabio Valerio Massoli · Arash Behboodi

In compressed sensing, the goal is to reconstruct the signal from an underdetermined system of linear measurements. Thus, prior knowledge about the signal of interest and its structure is required. Additionally, in many scenarios, the signal has an unknown orientation prior to measurements. To address such recovery problems, we propose using equivariant generative models as a prior, which encapsulate orientation information in their latent space. Thereby, we show that signals with unknown orientations can be recovered with iterative gradient descent on the latent space of these models and provide additional theoretical recovery guarantees. We construct an equivariant variational autoencoder and use the decoder as generative prior for compressed sensing. We discuss additional potential gains of the proposed approach in terms of convergence and latency.

Thu 21 July 8:45 - 8:50 PDT

Injecting Logical Constraints into Neural Networks via Straight-Through Estimators

Zhun Yang · Joohyung Lee · Chiyoun Park

Injecting discrete logical constraints into neural network learning is one of the main challenges in neuro-symbolic AI. We find that a straight-through-estimator, a method introduced to train binary neural networks, could effectively be applied to incorporate logical constraints into neural network learning. More specifically, we design a systematic way to represent discrete logical constraints as a loss function; minimizing this loss using gradient descent via a straight-through-estimator updates the neural network's weights in the direction that the binarized outputs satisfy the logical constraints. The experimental results show that by leveraging GPUs and batch training, this method scales significantly better than existing neuro-symbolic methods that require heavy symbolic computation for computing gradients. Also, we demonstrate that our method applies to different types of neural networks, such as MLP, CNN, and GNN, making them learn with no or fewer labeled data by learning directly from known constraints.

Thu 21 July 8:50 - 8:55 PDT

Prioritized Training on Points that are Learnable, Worth Learning, and not yet Learnt

Sören Mindermann · Jan Brauner · Muhammed Razzak · Mrinank Sharma · Andreas Kirsch · Winnie Xu · Benedikt Höltgen · Aidan Gomez · Adrien Morisot · Sebastian Farquhar · Yarin Gal

Training on web-scale data can take months. But much computation and time is wasted on redundant and noisy points that are already learnt or not learnable. To accelerate training, we introduce Reducible Holdout Loss Selection (RHO-LOSS), a simple but principled technique which selects approximately those points for training that most reduce the model's generalization loss. As a result, RHO-LOSS mitigates the weaknesses of existing data selection methods: techniques from the optimization literature typically select "hard" (e.g. high loss) points, but such points are often noisy (not learnable) or less task-relevant. Conversely, curriculum learning prioritizes "easy" points, but such points need not be trained on once learned. In contrast, RHO-LOSS selects points that are learnable, worth learning, and not yet learnt. RHO-LOSS trains in far fewer steps than prior art, improves accuracy, and speeds up training on a wide range of datasets, hyperparameters, and architectures (MLPs, CNNs, and BERT). On the large web-scraped image dataset Clothing-1M, RHO-LOSS trains in 18x fewer steps and reaches 2% higher final accuracy than uniform data shuffling.