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Drawing out of Distribution with Neuro-Symbolic Generative Models
Yichao Liang · Josh Tenenbaum · Tuan Anh Le · Siddharth N

Wed Nov 30 02:00 PM -- 04:00 PM (PST) @ Hall J #525

Learning general-purpose representations from perceptual inputs is a hallmark of human intelligence. For example, people can write out numbers or characters, or even draw doodles, by characterizing these tasks as different instantiations of the same generic underlying process---compositional arrangements of different forms of pen strokes. Crucially, learning to do one task, say writing, implies reasonable competence at another, say drawing, on account of this shared process. We present Drawing out of Distribution (DooD), a neuro-symbolic generative model of stroke-based drawing that can learn such general-purpose representations. In contrast to prior work, DooD operates directly on images, requires no supervision or expensive test-time inference, and performs unsupervised amortized inference with a symbolic stroke model that better enables both interpretability and generalization. We evaluate DooD on its ability to generalize across both data and tasks. We first perform zero-shot transfer from one dataset (e.g. MNIST) to another (e.g. Quickdraw), across five different datasets, and show that DooD clearly outperforms different baselines. An analysis of the learnt representations further highlights the benefits of adopting a symbolic stroke model. We then adopt a subset of the Omniglot challenge tasks, and evaluate its ability to generate new exemplars (both unconditionally and conditionally), and perform one-shot classification, showing that DooD matches the state of the art. Taken together, we demonstrate that DooD does indeed capture general-purpose representations across both data and task, and takes a further step towards building general and robust concept-learning systems.

Author Information

Yichao Liang (University of Oxford)
Josh Tenenbaum (MIT)

Josh Tenenbaum is an Associate Professor of Computational Cognitive Science at MIT in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received his PhD from MIT in 1999, and was an Assistant Professor at Stanford University from 1999 to 2002. He studies learning and inference in humans and machines, with the twin goals of understanding human intelligence in computational terms and bringing computers closer to human capacities. He focuses on problems of inductive generalization from limited data -- learning concepts and word meanings, inferring causal relations or goals -- and learning abstract knowledge that supports these inductive leaps in the form of probabilistic generative models or 'intuitive theories'. He has also developed several novel machine learning methods inspired by human learning and perception, most notably Isomap, an approach to unsupervised learning of nonlinear manifolds in high-dimensional data. He has been Associate Editor for the journal Cognitive Science, has been active on program committees for the CogSci and NIPS conferences, and has co-organized a number of workshops, tutorials and summer schools in human and machine learning. Several of his papers have received outstanding paper awards or best student paper awards at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), NIPS, and Cognitive Science conferences. He is the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Society for Mathematical Psychology (2005), the Early Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists (2007), and the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (in the area of cognition and human learning) from the American Psychological Association (2008).

Tuan Anh Le (Google)
Siddharth N (University of Edinburgh)

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