APP: Physics/Computer Vision

Hall F

Moderator: Henry Li


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Thu 21 July 7:30 - 7:35 PDT

Structure Preserving Neural Networks: A Case Study in the Entropy Closure of the Boltzmann Equation

Steffen Schotthöfer · Tianbai Xiao · Martin Frank · Cory Hauck

In this paper, we explore applications of deep learning in statistical physics. We choose the Boltzmann equation as a typical example, where neural networks serve as a closure to its moment system. We present two types of neural networks to embed the convexity of entropy and to preserve the minimum entropy principle and intrinsic mathematical structures of the moment system of the Boltzmann equation. We derive an error bound for the generalization gap of convex neural networks which are trained in Sobolev norm and use the results to construct data sampling methods for neural network training. Numerical experiments demonstrate that the neural entropy closure is significantly faster than classical optimizers while maintaining sufficient accuracy.

Thu 21 July 7:35 - 7:40 PDT

Composing Partial Differential Equations with Physics-Aware Neural Networks

Matthias Karlbauer · Timothy Praditia · Sebastian Otte · Sergey Oladyshkin · Wolfgang Nowak · Martin V Butz

We introduce a compositional physics-aware FInite volume Neural Network (FINN) for learning spatiotemporal advection-diffusion processes. FINN implements a new way of combining the learning abilities of artificial neural networks with physical and structural knowledge from numerical simulation by modeling the constituents of partial differential equations (PDEs) in a compositional manner. Results on both one- and two-dimensional PDEs (Burgers’, diffusion-sorption, diffusion-reaction, Allen–Cahn) demonstrate FINN’s superior modeling accuracy and excellent out-of-distribution generalization ability beyond initial and boundary conditions. With only one tenth of the number of parameters on average, FINN outperforms pure machine learning and other state-of-the-art physics-aware models in all cases—often even by multiple orders of magnitude. Moreover, FINN outperforms a calibrated physical model when approximating sparse real-world data in a diffusion-sorption scenario, confirming its generalization abilities and showing explanatory potential by revealing the unknown retardation factor of the observed process.

Thu 21 July 7:40 - 7:45 PDT

Neuro-Symbolic Language Modeling with Automaton-augmented Retrieval

Uri Alon · Frank Xu · Junxian He · Sudipta Sengupta · Dan Roth · Graham Neubig

Retrieval-based language models (R-LM) model the probability of natural language text by combining a standard language model (LM) with examples retrieved from an external datastore at test time. While effective, a major bottleneck of using these models in practice is the computationally costly datastore search, which can be performed as frequently as every time step.In this paper, we present RetoMaton - retrieval automaton - which approximates the datastore search, based on (1) saving pointers between consecutive datastore entries, and(2) clustering of entries into "states".This effectively results in a weighted finite automaton built on top of the datastore, instead of representing the datastore as a flat list.The creation of the automaton is unsupervised, and a RetoMaton can be constructed from any text collection: either the original training corpus or from another domain. Traversing this automaton at inference time, in parallel to the LM inference, reduces its perplexity by up to 1.85, or alternativelysaves up to 83% of the nearest neighbor searches over $k$NN-LM (Khandelwal et al., 2020) without hurting perplexity. Our code and trained models are available at .

Thu 21 July 7:45 - 7:50 PDT

Towards Coherent and Consistent Use of Entities in Narrative Generation

Pinelopi Papalampidi · Kris Cao · Tomas Kocisky

Large pre-trained language models (LMs) have demonstrated impressive capabilities in generating long, fluent text; however, there is little to no analysis on their ability to maintain entity coherence and consistency. In this work, we focus on the end task of narrative generation and systematically analyse the long-range entity coherence and consistency in generated stories. First, we propose a set of automatic metrics for measuring model performance in terms of entity usage. Given these metrics, we quantify the limitations of current LMs. Next, we propose augmenting a pre-trained LM with a dynamic entity memory in an end-to-end manner by using an auxiliary entity-related loss for guiding the reads and writes to the memory. We demonstrate that the dynamic entity memory increases entity coherence according to both automatic and human judgment and helps preserving entity-related information especially in settings with a limited context window. Finally, we also validate that our automatic metrics are correlated with human ratings and serve as a good indicator of the quality of generated stories.

Thu 21 July 7:50 - 7:55 PDT

Pure Noise to the Rescue of Insufficient Data: Improving Imbalanced Classification by Training on Random Noise Images

Shiran Zada · Itay Benou · Michal Irani

Despite remarkable progress on visual recognition tasks, deep neural-nets still struggle to generalize well when training data is scarce or highly imbalanced, rendering them extremely vulnerable to real-world examples. In this paper, we present a surprisingly simple yet highly effective method to mitigate this limitation: using pure noise images as additional training data. Unlike the common use of additive noise or adversarial noise for data augmentation, we propose an entirely different perspective by directly training on pure random noise images. We present a new Distribution-Aware Routing Batch Normalization layer (DAR-BN), which enables training on pure noise images in addition to natural images within the same network. This encourages generalization and suppresses overfitting. Our proposed method significantly improves imbalanced classification performance, obtaining state-of-the-art results on a large variety of long-tailed image classification datasets (CIFAR-10-LT, CIFAR-100-LT, ImageNet-LT, Places-LT, and CelebA-5). Furthermore, our method is extremely simple and easy to use as a general new augmentation tool (on top of existing augmentations), and can be incorporated in any training scheme. It does not require any specialized data generation or training procedures, thus keeping training fast and efficient.

Thu 21 July 7:55 - 8:00 PDT

Optimally Controllable Perceptual Lossy Compression

Zeyu Yan · Fei Wen · Peilin Liu

Recent studies in lossy compression show that distortion and perceptual quality are at odds with each other, which put forward the tradeoff between distortion and perception (D-P). Intuitively, to attain different perceptual quality, different decoders have to be trained. In this paper, we present a nontrivial finding that only two decoders are sufficient for optimally achieving arbitrary (an infinite number of different) D-P tradeoff. We prove that arbitrary points of the D-P tradeoff bound can be achieved by a simple linear interpolation between the outputs of a minimum MSE decoder and a specifically constructed perfect perceptual decoder. Meanwhile, the perceptual quality (in terms of the squared Wasserstein-2 distancemetric) can be quantitatively controlled by the interpolation factor. Furthermore, to construct a perfect perceptual decoder, we propose two theoretically optimal training frameworks. The new frameworks are different from the distortion-plus-adversarial loss based heuristic framework widely used in existing methods, which are not only theoretically optimal but also can yield state-of-the-art performance in practical perceptual decoding. Finally, we validate our theoretical finding and demonstrate the superiority of our frameworks via experiments. Code is available at:

Thu 21 July 8:00 - 8:05 PDT

Learning to Solve PDE-constrained Inverse Problems with Graph Networks

QINGQING ZHAO · David B. Lindell · Gordon Wetzstein

Learned graph neural networks (GNNs) have recently been established as fast and accurate alternatives for principled solvers in simulating the dynamics of physical systems. In many application domains across science and engineering, however, we are not only interested in a forward simulation but also in solving inverse problems with constraints defined by a partial differential equation (PDE). Here we explore GNNs to solve such PDE-constrained inverse problems. Given a sparse set of measurements, we are interested in recovering the initial condition or parameters of the PDE. We demonstrate that GNNs combined with autodecoder-style priors are well-suited for these tasks, achieving more accurate estimates of initial conditions or physical parameters than other learned approaches when applied to the wave equation or Navier Stokes equations. We also demonstrate computational speedups of up to 90x using GNNs compared to principled solvers.

Thu 21 July 8:05 - 8:25 PDT

ModLaNets: Learning Generalisable Dynamics via Modularity and Physical Inductive Bias

Yupu Lu · Shijie Lin · Guanqi Chen · Jia Pan

Deep learning models are able to approximate one specific dynamical system but struggle at learning generalisable dynamics, where dynamical systems obey the same laws of physics but contain different numbers of elements (e.g., double- and triple-pendulum systems). To relieve this issue, we proposed the Modular Lagrangian Network (ModLaNet), a structural neural network framework with modularity and physical inductive bias. This framework models the energy of each element using modularity and then construct the target dynamical system via Lagrangian mechanics. Modularity is beneficial for reusing trained networks and reducing the scale of networks and datasets. As a result, our framework can learn from the dynamics of simpler systems and extend to more complex ones, which is not feasible using other relevant physics-informed neural networks. We examine our framework for modelling double-pendulum or three-body systems with small training datasets, where our models achieve the best data efficiency and accuracy performance compared with counterparts. We also reorganise our models as extensions to model multi-pendulum and multi-body systems, demonstrating the intriguing reusable feature of our framework.

Thu 21 July 8:25 - 8:30 PDT

Learning to Estimate and Refine Fluid Motion with Physical Dynamics

Mingrui Zhang · Jianhong Wang · James Tlhomole · Matthew Piggott

Extracting information on fluid motion directly from images is challenging. Fluid flow represents a complex dynamic system governed by the Navier-Stokes equations. General optical flow methods are typically designed for rigid body motion, and thus struggle if applied to fluid motion estimation directly. Further, optical flow methods only focus on two consecutive frames without utilising historical temporal information, while the fluid motion (velocity field) can be considered a continuous trajectory constrained by time-dependent partial differential equations (PDEs). This discrepancy has the potential to induce physically inconsistent estimations. Here we propose an unsupervised learning based prediction-correction scheme for fluid flow estimation. An estimate is first given by a PDE-constrained optical flow predictor, which is then refined by a physical based corrector. The proposed approach outperforms optical flow methods and shows competitive results compared to existing supervised learning based methods on a benchmark dataset. Furthermore, the proposed approach can generalize to complex real-world fluid scenarios where ground truth information is effectively unknowable. Finally, experiments demonstrate that the physical corrector can refine flow estimates by mimicking the operator splitting method commonly utilised in fluid dynamical simulation.

Thu 21 July 8:30 - 8:35 PDT

Tractable Dendritic RNNs for Reconstructing Nonlinear Dynamical Systems

Manuel Brenner · Florian Hess · Jonas M Mikhaeil · Leonard Bereska · Zahra Monfared · Po-Chen Kuo · Daniel Durstewitz

In many scientific disciplines, we are interested in inferring the nonlinear dynamical system underlying a set of observed time series, a challenging task in the face of chaotic behavior and noise. Previous deep learning approaches toward this goal often suffered from a lack of interpretability and tractability. In particular, the high-dimensional latent spaces often required for a faithful embedding, even when the underlying dynamics lives on a lower-dimensional manifold, can hamper theoretical analysis. Motivated by the emerging principles of dendritic computation, we augment a dynamically interpretable and mathematically tractable piecewise-linear (PL) recurrent neural network (RNN) by a linear spline basis expansion. We show that this approach retains all the theoretically appealing properties of the simple PLRNN, yet boosts its capacity for approximating arbitrary nonlinear dynamical systems in comparatively low dimensions. We employ two frameworks for training the system, one combining BPTT with teacher forcing, and another based on fast and scalable variational inference. We show that the dendritically expanded PLRNN achieves better reconstructions with fewer parameters and dimensions on various dynamical systems benchmarks and compares favorably to other methods, while retaining a tractable and interpretable structure.

Thu 21 July 8:35 - 8:40 PDT

An Intriguing Property of Geophysics Inversion

Yinan Feng · Yinpeng Chen · Shihang Feng · Peng Jin · Zicheng Liu · Youzuo Lin

Inversion techniques are widely used to reconstruct subsurface physical properties (e.g., velocity, conductivity) from surface-based geophysical measurements (e.g., seismic, electric/magnetic (EM) data). The problems are governed by partial differential equations (PDEs) like the wave or Maxwell's equations. Solving geophysical inversion problems is challenging due to the ill-posedness and high computational cost. To alleviate those issues, recent studies leverage deep neural networks to learn the inversion mappings from measurements to the property directly.In this paper, we show that such a mapping can be well modeled by a very shallow (but not wide) network with only five layers. This is achieved based on our new finding of an intriguing property: a near-linear relationship between the input and output, after applying integral transform in high dimensional space. In particular, when dealing with the inversion from seismic data to subsurface velocity governed by a wave equation, the integral results of velocity with Gaussian kernels are linearly correlated to the integral of seismic data with sine kernels. Furthermore, this property can be easily turned into a light-weight encoder-decoder network for inversion. The encoder contains the integration of seismic data and the linear transformation without need for fine-tuning. The decoder only consists of a single transformer block to reverse the integral of velocity.Experiments show that this interesting property holds for two geophysics inversion problems over four different datasets. Compared to much deeper InversionNet, our method achieves comparable accuracy, but consumes significantly fewer parameters

Thu 21 July 8:40 - 8:45 PDT

Particle Transformer for Jet Tagging

Huilin Qu · Congqiao Li · Sitian Qian

Jet tagging is a critical yet challenging classification task in particle physics. While deep learning has transformed jet tagging and significantly improved performance, the lack of a large-scale public dataset impedes further enhancement. In this work, we present JetClass, a new comprehensive dataset for jet tagging. The JetClass dataset consists of 100 M jets, about two orders of magnitude larger than existing public datasets. A total of 10 types of jets are simulated, including several types unexplored for tagging so far. Based on the large dataset, we propose a new Transformer-based architecture for jet tagging, called Particle Transformer (ParT). By incorporating pairwise particle interactions in the attention mechanism, ParT achieves higher tagging performance than a plain Transformer and surpasses the previous state-of-the-art, ParticleNet, by a large margin. The pre-trained ParT models, once fine-tuned, also substantially enhance the performance on two widely adopted jet tagging benchmarks. The dataset, code and models are publicly available at

Thu 21 July 8:45 - 8:50 PDT

BabelTower: Learning to Auto-parallelized Program Translation

Yuanbo Wen · Qi Guo · Qiang Fu · XiaQing Li · jianxing xu · Yanlin Tang · Yongwei Zhao · Xing Hu · Zidong Du · Ling Li · Chao Wang · Xuehai Zhou · Yunji Chen

GPUs have become the dominant computing platforms for many applications, while programming GPUs with the widely-used CUDA parallel programming model is difficult. As sequential C code is relatively easy to obtain either from legacy repositories or by manual implementation, automatically translating C to its parallel CUDA counterpart is promising to relieve the burden of GPU programming. However, because of huge differences between the sequential C and the parallel CUDA programming model, existing approaches fail to conduct the challenging auto-parallelized program translation. In this paper, we propose a learning-based framework, i.e., BabelTower, to address this problem. We first create a large-scale dataset consisting of compute-intensive function-level monolingual corpora. We further propose using back-translation with a discriminative reranker to cope with unpaired corpora and parallel semantic conversion. Experimental results show that BabelTower outperforms state-of-the-art by 1.79, 6.09, and 9.39 in terms of BLEU, CodeBLEU, and specifically designed ParaBLEU, respectively. The CUDA code generated by BabelTower attains a speedup of up to 347x over the sequential C code, and the developer productivity is improved by at most 3.8x.

Thu 21 July 8:50 - 8:55 PDT

ContentVec: An Improved Self-Supervised Speech Representation by Disentangling Speakers

Kaizhi Qian · Yang Zhang · Heting Gao · Junrui Ni · Cheng-I Lai · David Cox · Mark Hasegawa-Johnson · Shiyu Chang

Self-supervised learning in speech involves training a speech representation network on a large-scale unannotated speech corpus, and then applying the learned representations to downstream tasks. Since the majority of the downstream tasks of SSL learning in speech largely focus on the content information in speech, the most desirable speech representations should be able to disentangle unwanted variations, such as speaker variations, from the content. However, disentangling speakers is very challenging, because removing the speaker information could easily result in a loss of content as well, and the damage of the latter usually far outweighs the benefit of the former. In this paper, we propose a new SSL method that can achieve speaker disentanglement without severe loss of content. Our approach is adapted from the HuBERT framework, and incorporates disentangling mechanisms to regularize both the teacher labels and the learned representations. We evaluate the benefit of speaker disentanglement on a set of content-related downstream tasks, and observe a consistent and notable performance advantage of our speaker-disentangled representations.

Thu 21 July 8:55 - 9:00 PDT

On Distribution Shift in Learning-based Bug Detectors

Jingxuan He · Luca Beurer-Kellner · Martin Vechev

Deep learning has recently achieved initial success in program analysis tasks such as bug detection. Lacking real bugs, most existing works construct training and test data by injecting synthetic bugs into correct programs. Despite achieving high test accuracy (e.g., >90%), the resulting bug detectors are found to be surprisingly unusable in practice, i.e., <10% precision when used to scan real software repositories. In this work, we argue that this massive performance difference is caused by a distribution shift, i.e., a fundamental mismatch between the real bug distribution and the synthetic bug distribution used to train and evaluate the detectors. To address this key challenge, we propose to train a bug detector in two phases, first on a synthetic bug distribution to adapt the model to the bug detection domain, and then on a real bug distribution to drive the model towards the real distribution. During these two phases, we leverage a multi-task hierarchy, focal loss, and contrastive learning to further boost performance. We evaluate our approach extensively on three widely studied bug types, for which we construct new datasets carefully designed to capture the real bug distribution. The results demonstrate that our approach is practically effective and successfully mitigates the distribution shift: our learned detectors are highly performant on both our test set and the latest version of open source repositories. Our code, datasets, and models are publicly available at