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Learning Neural Set Functions Under the Optimal Subset Oracle
Zijing Ou · Tingyang Xu · Qinliang Su · Yingzhen Li · Peilin Zhao · Yatao Bian

Tue Nov 29 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @ Hall J #122

Learning set functions becomes increasingly important in many applications like product recommendation and compound selection in AI-aided drug discovery. The majority of existing works study methodologies of set function learning under the function value oracle, which, however, requires expensive supervision signals. This renders it impractical for applications with only weak supervisions under the Optimal Subset (OS) oracle, the study of which is surprisingly overlooked. In this work, we present a principled yet practical maximum likelihood learning framework, termed as EquiVSet, that simultaneously meets the following desiderata of learning neural set functions under the OS oracle: i) permutation invariance of the set mass function being modeled; ii) permission of varying ground set; iii) minimum prior and iv) scalability. The main components of our framework involve: an energy-based treatment of the set mass function, DeepSet-style architectures to handle permutation invariance, mean-field variational inference, and its amortized variants. Thanks to the delicate combination of these advanced architectures, empirical studies on three real-world applications (including Amazon product recommendation, set anomaly detection, and compound selection for virtual screening) demonstrate that EquiVSet outperforms the baselines by a large margin.

Author Information

Zijing Ou (Imperial College London)
Tingyang Xu (Tencent AI Lab)
Qinliang Su (Sun Yat-sen University)
Yingzhen Li (Imperial College London)

Yingzhen Li is a senior researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge, and previously she has interned at Disney Research. She is passionate about building reliable machine learning systems, and her approach combines both Bayesian statistics and deep learning. Her contributions to the approximate inference field include: (1) algorithmic advances, such as variational inference with different divergences, combining variational inference with MCMC and approximate inference with implicit distributions; (2) applications of approximate inference, such as uncertainty estimation in Bayesian neural networks and algorithms to train deep generative models. She has served as area chairs at NeurIPS/ICML/ICLR/AISTATS on related research topics, and she is a co-organizer of the AABI2020 symposium, a flagship event of approximate inference.

Peilin Zhao (Tencent AI Lab)
Yatao Bian (Tencent AI Lab)

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