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Poster Session 3


Neighborhood Reconstructing Autoencoders

Yonghyeon LEE · Hyeokjun Kwon · Frank Park

Vanilla autoencoders often produce manifolds that overfit to noisy training data, or have the wrong local connectivity and geometry. Autoencoder regularization techniques, e.g., the denoising autoencoder, have had some success in reducing overfitting, whereas recent graph-based methods that exploit local connectivity information provided by neighborhood graphs have had some success in mitigating local connectivity errors. Neither of these two approaches satisfactorily reduce both overfitting and connectivity errors; moreover, graph-based methods typically involve considerable preprocessing and tuning. To simultaneously address the two issues of overfitting and local connectivity, we propose a new graph-based autoencoder, the Neighborhood Reconstructing Autoencoder (NRAE). Unlike existing graph-based methods that attempt to encode the training data to some prescribed latent space distribution -- one consequence being that only the encoder is the object of the regularization -- NRAE merges local connectivity information contained in the neighborhood graphs with local quadratic approximations of the decoder function to formulate a new neighborhood reconstruction loss. Compared to existing graph-based methods, our new loss function is simple and easy to implement, and the resulting algorithm is scalable and computationally efficient; the only required preprocessing step is the construction of the neighborhood graph. Extensive experiments with standard datasets demonstrate that, compared to existing methods, NRAE improves both overfitting and local connectivity in the learned manifold, in some cases by significant margins. Code for NRAE is available at

Towards Better Understanding of Training Certifiably Robust Models against Adversarial Examples

Sungyoon Lee · Woojin Lee · Jinseong Park · Jaewook Lee

We study the problem of training certifiably robust models against adversarial examples. Certifiable training minimizes an upper bound on the worst-case loss over the allowed perturbation, and thus the tightness of the upper bound is an important factor in building certifiably robust models. However, many studies have shown that Interval Bound Propagation (IBP) training uses much looser bounds but outperforms other models that use tighter bounds. We identify another key factor that influences the performance of certifiable training: \textit{smoothness of the loss landscape}. We find significant differences in the loss landscapes across many linear relaxation-based methods, and that the current state-of-the-arts method often has a landscape with favorable optimization properties. Moreover, to test the claim, we design a new certifiable training method with the desired properties. With the tightness and the smoothness, the proposed method achieves a decent performance under a wide range of perturbations, while others with only one of the two factors can perform well only for a specific range of perturbations. Our code is available at \url{}.

Compacter: Efficient Low-Rank Hypercomplex Adapter Layers

Rabeeh Karimi Mahabadi · James Henderson · Sebastian Ruder

Adapting large-scale pretrained language models to downstream tasks via fine-tuning is the standard method for achieving state-of-the-art performance on NLP benchmarks. However, fine-tuning all weights of models with millions or billions of parameters is sample-inefficient, unstable in low-resource settings, and wasteful as it requires storing a separate copy of the model for each task. Recent work has developed parameter-efficient fine-tuning methods, but these approaches either still require a relatively large number of parameters or underperform standard fine-tuning. In this work, we propose Compacter, a method for fine-tuning large-scale language models with a better trade-off between task performance and the number of trainable parameters than prior work. Compacter accomplishes this by building on top of ideas from adapters, low-rank optimization, and parameterized hypercomplex multiplication layers.Specifically, Compacter inserts task-specific weight matrices into a pretrained model's weights, which are computed efficiently as a sum of Kronecker products between shared slow'' weights andfast'' rank-one matrices defined per Compacter layer. By only training 0.047% of a pretrained model's parameters, Compacter performs on par with standard fine-tuning on GLUE and outperforms standard fine-tuning on SuperGLUE and low-resource settings. Our code is publicly available at

Distilling Image Classifiers in Object Detectors

Shuxuan Guo · Jose M. Alvarez · Mathieu Salzmann

Knowledge distillation constitutes a simple yet effective way to improve the performance of a compact student network by exploiting the knowledge of a more powerful teacher. Nevertheless, the knowledge distillation literature remains limited to the scenario where the student and the teacher tackle the same task. Here, we investigate the problem of transferring knowledge not only across architectures but also across tasks. To this end, we study the case of object detection and, instead of following the standard detector-to-detector distillation approach, introduce a classifier-to-detector knowledge transfer framework. In particular, we propose strategies to exploit the classification teacher to improve both the detector's recognition accuracy and localization performance. Our experiments on several detectors with different backbones demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, allowing us to outperform the state-of-the-art detector-to-detector distillation methods.

Learning on Random Balls is Sufficient for Estimating (Some) Graph Parameters

Takanori Maehara · Hoang NT

Theoretical analyses for graph learning methods often assume a complete observation of the input graph. Such an assumption might not be useful for handling any-size graphs due to the scalability issues in practice. In this work, we develop a theoretical framework for graph classification problems in the partial observation setting (i.e., subgraph samplings). Equipped with insights from graph limit theory, we propose a new graph classification model that works on a randomly sampled subgraph and a novel topology to characterize the representability of the model. Our theoretical framework contributes a theoretical validation of mini-batch learning on graphs and leads to new learning-theoretic results on generalization bounds as well as size-generalizability without assumptions on the input.

Regularized Frank-Wolfe for Dense CRFs: Generalizing Mean Field and Beyond

Đ.Khuê Lê-Huu · Karteek Alahari

We introduce regularized Frank-Wolfe, a general and effective algorithm for inference and learning of dense conditional random fields (CRFs). The algorithm optimizes a nonconvex continuous relaxation of the CRF inference problem using vanilla Frank-Wolfe with approximate updates, which are equivalent to minimizing a regularized energy function. Our proposed method is a generalization of existing algorithms such as mean field or concave-convex procedure. This perspective not only offers a unified analysis of these algorithms, but also allows an easy way of exploring different variants that potentially yield better performance. We illustrate this in our empirical results on standard semantic segmentation datasets, where several instantiations of our regularized Frank-Wolfe outperform mean field inference, both as a standalone component and as an end-to-end trainable layer in a neural network. We also show that dense CRFs, coupled with our new algorithms, produce significant improvements over strong CNN baselines.

Learning Conjoint Attentions for Graph Neural Nets

Tiantian He · Yew Soon Ong · L Bai

In this paper, we present Conjoint Attentions (CAs), a class of novel learning-to-attend strategies for graph neural networks (GNNs). Besides considering the layer-wise node features propagated within the GNN, CAs can additionally incorporate various structural interventions, such as node cluster embedding, and higher-order structural correlations that can be learned outside of GNN, when computing attention scores. The node features that are regarded as significant by the conjoint criteria are therefore more likely to be propagated in the GNN. Given the novel Conjoint Attention strategies, we then propose Graph conjoint attention networks (CATs) that can learn representations embedded with significant latent features deemed by the Conjoint Attentions. Besides, we theoretically validate the discriminative capacity of CATs. CATs utilizing the proposed Conjoint Attention strategies have been extensively tested in well-established benchmarking datasets and comprehensively compared with state-of-the-art baselines. The obtained notable performance demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed Conjoint Attentions.

Convex-Concave Min-Max Stackelberg Games

Denizalp Goktas · Amy Greenwald

Min-max optimization problems (i.e., min-max games) have been attracting a great deal of attention because of their applicability to a wide range of machine learning problems. Although significant progress has been made recently, the literature to date has focused on games with independent strategy sets; little is known about solving games with dependent strategy sets, which can be characterized as min-max Stackelberg games. We introduce two first-order methods that solve a large class of convex-concave min-max Stackelberg games, and show that our methods converge in polynomial time. Min-max Stackelberg games were first studied by Wald, under the posthumous name of Wald’s maximin model, a variant of which is the main paradigm used in robust optimization, which means that our methods can likewise solve many convex robust optimization problems. We observe that the computation of competitive equilibria in Fisher markets also comprises a min-max Stackelberg game. Further, we demonstrate the efficacy and efficiency of our algorithms in practice by computing competitive equilibria in Fisher markets with varying utility structures. Our experiments suggest potential ways to extend our theoretical results, by demonstrating how different smoothness properties can affect the convergence rate of our algorithms.

3D Pose Transfer with Correspondence Learning and Mesh Refinement

Chaoyue Song · Jiacheng Wei · Ruibo Li · Fayao Liu · Guosheng Lin

3D pose transfer is one of the most challenging 3D generation tasks. It aims to transfer the pose of a source mesh to a target mesh and keep the identity (e.g., body shape) of the target mesh. Some previous works require key point annotations to build reliable correspondence between the source and target meshes, while other methods do not consider any shape correspondence between sources and targets, which leads to limited generation quality. In this work, we propose a correspondence-refinement network to achieve the 3D pose transfer for both human and animal meshes. The correspondence between source and target meshes is first established by solving an optimal transport problem. Then, we warp the source mesh according to the dense correspondence and obtain a coarse warped mesh. The warped mesh will be better refined with our proposed Elastic Instance Normalization, which is a conditional normalization layer and can help to generate high-quality meshes. Extensive experimental results show that the proposed architecture can effectively transfer the poses from source to target meshes and produce better results with satisfied visual performance than state-of-the-art methods.

Learning to Generate Realistic Noisy Images via Pixel-level Noise-aware Adversarial Training

Yuanhao Cai · Xiaowan Hu · Haoqian Wang · Yulun Zhang · Hanspeter Pfister · Donglai Wei

Existing deep learning real denoising methods require a large amount of noisy-clean image pairs for supervision. Nonetheless, capturing a real noisy-clean dataset is an unacceptable expensive and cumbersome procedure. To alleviate this problem, this work investigates how to generate realistic noisy images. Firstly, we formulate a simple yet reasonable noise model that treats each real noisy pixel as a random variable. This model splits the noisy image generation problem into two sub-problems: image domain alignment and noise domain alignment. Subsequently, we propose a novel framework, namely Pixel-level Noise-aware Generative Adversarial Network (PNGAN). PNGAN employs a pre-trained real denoiser to map the fake and real noisy images into a nearly noise-free solution space to perform image domain alignment. Simultaneously, PNGAN establishes a pixel-level adversarial training to conduct noise domain alignment. Additionally, for better noise fitting, we present an efficient architecture Simple Multi-scale Network (SMNet) as the generator. Qualitative validation shows that noise generated by PNGAN is highly similar to real noise in terms of intensity and distribution. Quantitative experiments demonstrate that a series of denoisers trained with the generated noisy images achieve state-of-the-art (SOTA) results on four real denoising benchmarks.

Towards a Unified Game-Theoretic View of Adversarial Perturbations and Robustness

Jie Ren · Die Zhang · Yisen Wang · Lu Chen · Zhanpeng Zhou · Yiting Chen · Xu Cheng · Xin Wang · Meng Zhou · Jie Shi · Quanshi Zhang

This paper provides a unified view to explain different adversarial attacks and defense methods, i.e. the view of multi-order interactions between input variables of DNNs. Based on the multi-order interaction, we discover that adversarial attacks mainly affect high-order interactions to fool the DNN. Furthermore, we find that the robustness of adversarially trained DNNs comes from category-specific low-order interactions. Our findings provide a potential method to unify adversarial perturbations and robustness, which can explain the existing robustness-boosting methods in a principle way. Besides, our findings also make a revision of previous inaccurate understanding of the shape bias of adversarially learned features. Our code is available online at

IQ-Learn: Inverse soft-Q Learning for Imitation

Divyansh Garg · Shuvam Chakraborty · Chris Cundy · Jiaming Song · Stefano Ermon

In many sequential decision-making problems (e.g., robotics control, game playing, sequential prediction), human or expert data is available containing useful information about the task. However, imitation learning (IL) from a small amount of expert data can be challenging in high-dimensional environments with complex dynamics. Behavioral cloning is a simple method that is widely used due to its simplicity of implementation and stable convergence but doesn't utilize any information involving the environment’s dynamics. Many existing methods that exploit dynamics information are difficult to train in practice due to an adversarial optimization process over reward and policy approximators or biased, high variance gradient estimators. We introduce a method for dynamics-aware IL which avoids adversarial training by learning a single Q-function, implicitly representing both reward and policy. On standard benchmarks, the implicitly learned rewards show a high positive correlation with the ground-truth rewards, illustrating our method can also be used for inverse reinforcement learning (IRL). Our method, Inverse soft-Q learning (IQ-Learn) obtains state-of-the-art results in offline and online imitation learning settings, significantly outperforming existing methods both in the number of required environment interactions and scalability in high-dimensional spaces, often by more than 3x.

Invertible Tabular GANs: Killing Two Birds with One Stone for Tabular Data Synthesis

JAEHOON LEE · Jihyeon Hyeong · Jinsung Jeon · Noseong Park · Jihoon Cho

Tabular data synthesis has received wide attention in the literature. This is because available data is often limited, incomplete, or cannot be obtained easily, and data privacy is becoming increasingly important. In this work, we present a generalized GAN framework for tabular synthesis, which combines the adversarial training of GANs and the negative log-density regularization of invertible neural networks. The proposed framework can be used for two distinctive objectives. First, we can further improve the synthesis quality, by decreasing the negative log-density of real records in the process of adversarial training. On the other hand, by increasing the negative log-density of real records, realistic fake records can be synthesized in a way that they are not too much close to real records and reduce the chance of potential information leakage. We conduct experiments with real-world datasets for classification, regression, and privacy attacks. In general, the proposed method demonstrates the best synthesis quality (in terms of task-oriented evaluation metrics, e.g., F1) when decreasing the negative log-density during the adversarial training. If increasing the negative log-density, our experimental results show that the distance between real and fake records increases, enhancing robustness against privacy attacks.

Pruning Randomly Initialized Neural Networks with Iterative Randomization

Daiki Chijiwa · Shin'ya Yamaguchi · Yasutoshi Ida · Kenji Umakoshi · Tomohiro INOUE

Pruning the weights of randomly initialized neural networks plays an important role in the context of lottery ticket hypothesis. Ramanujan et al. (2020) empirically showed that only pruning the weights can achieve remarkable performance instead of optimizing the weight values. However, to achieve the same level of performance as the weight optimization, the pruning approach requires more parameters in the networks before pruning and thus more memory space. To overcome this parameter inefficiency, we introduce a novel framework to prune randomly initialized neural networks with iteratively randomizing weight values (IteRand). Theoretically, we prove an approximation theorem in our framework, which indicates that the randomizing operations are provably effective to reduce the required number of the parameters. We also empirically demonstrate the parameter efficiency in multiple experiments on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet.

MixACM: Mixup-Based Robustness Transfer via Distillation of Activated Channel Maps

Awais Muhammad · Fengwei Zhou · Chuanlong Xie · Jiawei Li · Sung-Ho Bae · Zhenguo Li

Deep neural networks are susceptible to adversarially crafted, small, and imperceptible changes in the natural inputs. The most effective defense mechanism against these examples is adversarial training which constructs adversarial examples during training by iterative maximization of loss. The model is then trained to minimize the loss on these constructed examples. This min-max optimization requires more data, larger capacity models, and additional computing resources. It also degrades the standard generalization performance of a model. Can we achieve robustness more efficiently? In this work, we explore this question from the perspective of knowledge transfer. First, we theoretically show the transferability of robustness from an adversarially trained teacher model to a student model with the help of mixup augmentation. Second, we propose a novel robustness transfer method called Mixup-Based Activated Channel Maps (MixACM) Transfer. MixACM transfers robustness from a robust teacher to a student by matching activated channel maps generated without expensive adversarial perturbations. Finally, extensive experiments on multiple datasets and different learning scenarios show our method can transfer robustness while also improving generalization on natural images.

Credit Assignment in Neural Networks through Deep Feedback Control

Alexander Meulemans · Matilde Tristany Farinha · Javier Garcia Ordonez · Pau Vilimelis Aceituno · João Sacramento · Benjamin F. Grewe

The success of deep learning sparked interest in whether the brain learns by using similar techniques for assigning credit to each synaptic weight for its contribution to the network output. However, the majority of current attempts at biologically-plausible learning methods are either non-local in time, require highly specific connectivity motifs, or have no clear link to any known mathematical optimization method. Here, we introduce Deep Feedback Control (DFC), a new learning method that uses a feedback controller to drive a deep neural network to match a desired output target and whose control signal can be used for credit assignment. The resulting learning rule is fully local in space and time and approximates Gauss-Newton optimization for a wide range of feedback connectivity patterns. To further underline its biological plausibility, we relate DFC to a multi-compartment model of cortical pyramidal neurons with a local voltage-dependent synaptic plasticity rule, consistent with recent theories of dendritic processing. By combining dynamical system theory with mathematical optimization theory, we provide a strong theoretical foundation for DFC that we corroborate with detailed results on toy experiments and standard computer-vision benchmarks.

Accurately Solving Rod Dynamics with Graph Learning

Han Shao · Tassilo Kugelstadt · Torsten Hädrich · Wojtek Palubicki · Jan Bender · Soeren Pirk · Dominik L Michels

Iterative solvers are widely used to accurately simulate physical systems. These solvers require initial guesses to generate a sequence of improving approximate solutions. In this contribution, we introduce a novel method to accelerate iterative solvers for rod dynamics with graph networks (GNs) by predicting the initial guesses to reduce the number of iterations. Unlike existing methods that aim to learn physical systems in an end-to-end manner, our approach guarantees long-term stability and therefore leads to more accurate solutions. Furthermore, our method improves the run time performance of traditional iterative solvers for rod dynamics. To explore our method we make use of position-based dynamics (PBD) as a common solver for physical systems and evaluate it by simulating the dynamics of elastic rods. Our approach is able to generalize across different initial conditions, discretizations, and realistic material properties. We demonstrate that it also performs well when taking discontinuous effects into account such as collisions between individual rods. Finally, to illustrate the scalability of our approach, we simulate complex 3D tree models composed of over a thousand individual branch segments swaying in wind fields.

Distilling Object Detectors with Feature Richness

Du Zhixing · Rui Zhang · Ming Chang · xishan zhang · Shaoli Liu · Tianshi Chen · Yunji Chen

In recent years, large-scale deep models have achieved great success, but the huge computational complexity and massive storage requirements make it a great challenge to deploy them in resource-limited devices. As a model compression and acceleration method, knowledge distillation effectively improves the performance of small models by transferring the dark knowledge from the teacher detector. However, most of the existing distillation-based detection methods mainly imitating features near bounding boxes, which suffer from two limitations. First, they ignore the beneficial features outside the bounding boxes. Second, these methods imitate some features which are mistakenly regarded as the background by the teacher detector. To address the above issues, we propose a novel Feature-Richness Score (FRS) method to choose important features that improve generalized detectability during distilling. The proposed method effectively retrieves the important features outside the bounding boxes and removes the detrimental features within the bounding boxes. Extensive experiments show that our methods achieve excellent performance on both anchor-based and anchor-free detectors. For example, RetinaNet with ResNet-50 achieves 39.7% in mAP on the COCO2017 dataset, which even surpasses the ResNet-101 based teacher detector 38.9% by 0.8%. Our implementation is available at

Learning Causal Semantic Representation for Out-of-Distribution Prediction

Chang Liu · Xinwei Sun · Jindong Wang · Haoyue Tang · Tao Li · Tao Qin · Wei Chen · Tie-Yan Liu

Conventional supervised learning methods, especially deep ones, are found to be sensitive to out-of-distribution (OOD) examples, largely because the learned representation mixes the semantic factor with the variation factor due to their domain-specific correlation, while only the semantic factor causes the output. To address the problem, we propose a Causal Semantic Generative model (CSG) based on a causal reasoning so that the two factors are modeled separately, and develop methods for OOD prediction from a single training domain, which is common and challenging. The methods are based on the causal invariance principle, with a novel design in variational Bayes for both efficient learning and easy prediction. Theoretically, we prove that under certain conditions, CSG can identify the semantic factor by fitting training data, and this semantic-identification guarantees the boundedness of OOD generalization error and the success of adaptation. Empirical study shows improved OOD performance over prevailing baselines.

Ising Model Selection Using $\ell_{1}$-Regularized Linear Regression: A Statistical Mechanics Analysis

Xiangming Meng · Tomoyuki Obuchi · Yoshiyuki Kabashima

We theoretically analyze the typical learning performance of $\ell_{1}$-regularized linear regression ($\ell_1$-LinR) for Ising model selection using the replica method from statistical mechanics. For typical random regular graphs in the paramagnetic phase, an accurate estimate of the typical sample complexity of $\ell_1$-LinR is obtained. Remarkably, despite the model misspecification, $\ell_1$-LinR is model selection consistent with the same order of sample complexity as $\ell_{1}$-regularized logistic regression ($\ell_1$-LogR), i.e., $M=\mathcal{O}\left(\log N\right)$, where $N$ is the number of variables of the Ising model. Moreover, we provide an efficient method to accurately predict the non-asymptotic behavior of $\ell_1$-LinR for moderate $M, N$, such as precision and recall. Simulations show a fairly good agreement between theoretical predictions and experimental results, even for graphs with many loops, which supports our findings. Although this paper mainly focuses on $\ell_1$-LinR, our method is readily applicable for precisely characterizing the typical learning performances of a wide class of $\ell_{1}$-regularized $M$-estimators including $\ell_1$-LogR and interaction screening.

Learnability of Linear Thresholds from Label Proportions

Rishi Saket

We study the problem of properly learning linear threshold functions (LTFs) in the learning from label proportions (LLP) framework. In this, the learning is on a collection of bags of feature-vectors with only the proportion of labels available for each bag. First, we provide an algorithm that, given a collection of such bags each of size at most two whose label proportions are consistent with (i.e., the bags are satisfied by) an unknown LTF, efficiently produces an LTF that satisfies at least $(2/5)$-fraction of the bags. If all the bags are non-monochromatic (i.e., bags of size two with differently labeled feature-vectors) the algorithm satisfies at least $(1/2)$-fraction of them. For the special case of OR over the $d$-dimensional boolean vectors, we give an algorithm which computes an LTF achieving an additional $\Omega(1/d)$ in accuracy for the two cases.Our main result provides evidence that these algorithmic bounds cannot be significantly improved, even for learning monotone ORs using LTFs. We prove that it is NP-hard, given a collection of non-monochromatic bags which are all satisfied by some monotone OR, to compute any function of constantly many LTFs that satisfies $(1/2 + \varepsilon)$-fraction of the bags for any constant $\varepsilon > 0$. This bound is tight for the non-monochromatic bags case.The above is in contrast to the usual supervised learning setup (i.e., unit-sized bags) in which LTFs are efficiently learnable to arbitrary accuracy using linear programming, and even a trivial algorithm (any LTF or its complement) achieves an accuracy of $1/2$. These techniques however, fail in the LLP setting. Indeed, we show that the LLP learning of LTFs (even for the special case of monotone ORs) using LTFs dramatically increases in complexity as soon as bags of size two are allowed.Our work gives the first inapproximability for LLP learning LTFs, and a strong complexity separation between LLP and traditional supervised learning.

Shape your Space: A Gaussian Mixture Regularization Approach to Deterministic Autoencoders

Amrutha Saseendran · Kathrin Skubch · Stefan Falkner · Margret Keuper

Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) are powerful probabilistic models to learn representations of complex data distributions. One important limitation of VAEs is the strong prior assumption that latent representations learned by the model follow a simple uni-modal Gaussian distribution. Further, the variational training procedure poses considerable practical challenges. Recently proposed regularized autoencoders offer a deterministic autoencoding framework, that simplifies the original VAE objective and is significantly easier to train. Since these models only provide weak control over the learned latent distribution, they require an ex-post density estimation step to generate samples comparable to those of VAEs. In this paper, we propose a simple and end-to-end trainable deterministic autoencoding framework, that efficiently shapes the latent space of the model during training and utilizes the capacity of expressive multi-modal latent distributions. The proposed training procedure provides direct evidence if the latent distribution adequately captures complex aspects of the encoded data. We show in experiments the expressiveness and sample quality of our model in various challenging continuous and discrete domains. An implementation is available at

SAPE: Spatially-Adaptive Progressive Encoding for Neural Optimization

Amir Hertz · Or Perel · Raja Giryes · Olga Sorkine-hornung · Daniel Cohen-or

Multilayer-perceptrons (MLP) are known to struggle learning functions of high-frequencies, and in particular, instances of wide frequency bands.We present a progressive mapping scheme for input signals of MLP networks, enabling them to better fit a wide range of frequencies without sacrificing training stability or requiring any domain specific preprocessing. We introduce Spatially Adaptive Progressive Encoding (SAPE) layers, which gradually unmask signal components with increasing frequencies as a function of time and space. The progressive exposure of frequencies is monitored by a feedback loop throughout the neural optimization process, allowing changes to propagate at different rates among local spatial portions of the signal space. We demonstrate the advantage of our method on variety of domains and applications: regression of low dimensional signals and images, representation learning of occupancy networks, and a geometric task of mesh transfer between 3D shapes.

Interpreting Representation Quality of DNNs for 3D Point Cloud Processing

Wen Shen · Qihan Ren · Dongrui Liu · Quanshi Zhang

In this paper, we evaluate the quality of knowledge representations encoded in deep neural networks (DNNs) for 3D point cloud processing. We propose a method to disentangle the overall model vulnerability into the sensitivity to the rotation, the translation, the scale, and local 3D structures. Besides, we also propose metrics to evaluate the spatial smoothness of encoding 3D structures, and the representation complexity of the DNN. Based on such analysis, experiments expose representation problems with classic DNNs, and explain the utility of the adversarial training. The code will be released when this paper is accepted.

Differentiable Learning Under Triage

Nastaran Okati · Abir De · Manuel Rodriguez

Multiple lines of evidence suggest that predictive models may benefit from algorithmic triage. Under algorithmic triage, a predictive model does not predict all instances but instead defers some of them to human experts. However, the interplay between the prediction accuracy of the model and the human experts under algorithmic triage is not well understood. In this work, we start by formally characterizing under which circumstances a predictive model may benefit from algorithmic triage. In doing so, we also demonstrate that models trained for full automation may be suboptimal under triage. Then, given any model and desired level of triage, we show that the optimal triage policy is a deterministic threshold rule in which triage decisions are derived deterministically by thresholding the difference between the model and human errors on a per-instance level. Building upon these results, we introduce a practical gradient-based algorithm that is guaranteed to find a sequence of predictive models and triage policies of increasing performance. Experiments on a wide variety of supervised learning tasks using synthetic and real data from two important applications---content moderation and scientific discovery---illustrate our theoretical results and show that the models and triage policies provided by our gradient-based algorithm outperform those provided by several competitive baselines.

Generalization Error Rates in Kernel Regression: The Crossover from the Noiseless to Noisy Regime

Hugo Cui · Bruno Loureiro · Florent Krzakala · Lenka Zdeborová

In this manuscript we consider Kernel Ridge Regression (KRR) under the Gaussian design. Exponents for the decay of the excess generalization error of KRR have been reported in various works under the assumption of power-law decay of eigenvalues of the features co-variance. These decays were, however, provided for sizeably different setups, namely in the noiseless case with constant regularization and in the noisy optimally regularized case. Intermediary settings have been left substantially uncharted. In this work, we unify and extend this line of work, providing characterization of all regimes and excess error decay rates that can be observed in terms of the interplay of noise and regularization. In particular, we show the existence of a transition in the noisy setting between the noiseless exponents to its noisy values as the sample complexity is increased. Finally, we illustrate how this crossover can also be observed on real data sets.

Learning Collaborative Policies to Solve NP-hard Routing Problems

Minsu Kim · Jinkyoo Park · joungho kim

Recently, deep reinforcement learning (DRL) frameworks have shown potential for solving NP-hard routing problems such as the traveling salesman problem (TSP) without problem-specific expert knowledge. Although DRL can be used to solve complex problems, DRL frameworks still struggle to compete with state-of-the-art heuristics showing a substantial performance gap. This paper proposes a novel hierarchical problem-solving strategy, termed learning collaborative policies (LCP), which can effectively find the near-optimum solution using two iterative DRL policies: the seeder and reviser. The seeder generates as diversified candidate solutions as possible (seeds) while being dedicated to exploring over the full combinatorial action space (i.e., sequence of assignment action). To this end, we train the seeder's policy using a simple yet effective entropy regularization reward to encourage the seeder to find diverse solutions. On the other hand, the reviser modifies each candidate solution generated by the seeder; it partitions the full trajectory into sub-tours and simultaneously revises each sub-tour to minimize its traveling distance. Thus, the reviser is trained to improve the candidate solution's quality, focusing on the reduced solution space (which is beneficial for exploitation). Extensive experiments demonstrate that the proposed two-policies collaboration scheme improves over single-policy DRL framework on various NP-hard routing problems, including TSP, prize collecting TSP (PCTSP), and capacitated vehicle routing problem (CVRP).

Modality-Agnostic Topology Aware Localization

Farhad Ghazvinian Zanjani · Ilia Karmanov · Hanno Ackermann · Daniel Dijkman · Simone Merlin · Max Welling · Fatih Porikli

This work presents a data-driven approach for the indoor localization of an observer on a 2D topological map of the environment. State-of-the-art techniques may yield accurate estimates only when they are tailor-made for a specific data modality like camera-based system that prevents their applicability to broader domains. Here, we establish a modality-agnostic framework (called OT-Isomap) and formulate the localization problem in the context of parametric manifold learning while leveraging optimal transportation. This framework allows jointly learning a low-dimensional embedding as well as correspondences with a topological map. We examine the generalizability of the proposed algorithm by applying it to data from diverse modalities such as image sequences and radio frequency signals. The experimental results demonstrate decimeter-level accuracy for localization using different sensory inputs.

Learning to Iteratively Solve Routing Problems with Dual-Aspect Collaborative Transformer

Yining Ma · Jingwen Li · Zhiguang Cao · Wen Song · Le Zhang · Zhenghua Chen · Jing Tang

Recently, Transformer has become a prevailing deep architecture for solving vehicle routing problems (VRPs). However, it is less effective in learning improvement models for VRP because its positional encoding (PE) method is not suitable in representing VRP solutions. This paper presents a novel Dual-Aspect Collaborative Transformer (DACT) to learn embeddings for the node and positional features separately, instead of fusing them together as done in existing ones, so as to avoid potential noises and incompatible correlations. Moreover, the positional features are embedded through a novel cyclic positional encoding (CPE) method to allow Transformer to effectively capture the circularity and symmetry of VRP solutions (i.e., cyclic sequences). We train DACT using Proximal Policy Optimization and design a curriculum learning strategy for better sample efficiency. We apply DACT to solve the traveling salesman problem (TSP) and capacitated vehicle routing problem (CVRP). Results show that our DACT outperforms existing Transformer based improvement models, and exhibits much better generalization performance across different problem sizes on synthetic and benchmark instances, respectively.

Differentiable Synthesis of Program Architectures

Guofeng Cui · He Zhu

Differentiable programs have recently attracted much interest due to their interpretability, compositionality, and their efficiency to leverage differentiable training. However, synthesizing differentiable programs requires optimizing over a combinatorial, rapidly exploded space of program architectures. Despite the development of effective pruning heuristics, previous works essentially enumerate the discrete search space of program architectures, which is inefficient. We propose to encode program architecture search as learning the probability distribution over all possible program derivations induced by a context-free grammar. This allows the search algorithm to efficiently prune away unlikely program derivations to synthesize optimal program architectures. To this end, an efficient gradient-descent based method is developed to conduct program architecture search in a continuous relaxation of the discrete space of grammar rules. Experiment results on four sequence classification tasks demonstrate that our program synthesizer excels in discovering program architectures that lead to differentiable programs with higher F1 scores, while being more efficient than state-of-the-art program synthesis methods.

Integrating Expert ODEs into Neural ODEs: Pharmacology and Disease Progression

Zhaozhi Qian · William Zame · Lucas Fleuren · Paul Elbers · Mihaela van der Schaar

Modeling a system's temporal behaviour in reaction to external stimuli is a fundamental problem in many areas. Pure Machine Learning (ML) approaches often fail in the small sample regime and cannot provide actionable insights beyond predictions. A promising modification has been to incorporate expert domain knowledge into ML models. The application we consider is predicting the patient health status and disease progression over time, where a wealth of domain knowledge is available from pharmacology. Pharmacological models describe the dynamics of carefully-chosen medically meaningful variables in terms of systems of Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs). However, these models only describe a limited collection of variables, and these variables are often not observable in clinical environments. To close this gap, we propose the latent hybridisation model (LHM) that integrates a system of expert-designed ODEs with machine-learned Neural ODEs to fully describe the dynamics of the system and to link the expert and latent variables to observable quantities. We evaluated LHM on synthetic data as well as real-world intensive care data of COVID-19 patients. LHM consistently outperforms previous works, especially when few training samples are available such as at the beginning of the pandemic.

Learning to dehaze with polarization

Chu Zhou · Minggui Teng · Yufei Han · Chao Xu · Boxin Shi

Haze, a common kind of bad weather caused by atmospheric scattering, decreases the visibility of scenes and degenerates the performance of computer vision algorithms. Single-image dehazing methods have shown their effectiveness in a large variety of scenes, however, they are based on handcrafted priors or learned features, which do not generalize well to real-world images. Polarization information can be used to relieve its ill-posedness, however, real-world images are still challenging since existing polarization-based methods usually assume that the transmitted light is not significantly polarized, and they require specific clues to estimate necessary physical parameters. In this paper, we propose a generalized physical formation model of hazy images and a robust polarization-based dehazing pipeline without the above assumption or requirement, along with a neural network tailored to the pipeline. Experimental results show that our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance on both synthetic data and real-world hazy images.

Coarse-to-fine Animal Pose and Shape Estimation

Chen Li · Gim Hee Lee

Most existing animal pose and shape estimation approaches reconstruct animal meshes with a parametric SMAL model. This is because the low-dimensional pose and shape parameters of the SMAL model makes it easier for deep networks to learn the high-dimensional animal meshes. However, the SMAL model is learned from scans of toy animals with limited pose and shape variations, and thus may not be able to represent highly varying real animals well. This may result in poor fittings of the estimated meshes to the 2D evidences, e.g. 2D keypoints or silhouettes. To mitigate this problem, we propose a coarse-to-fine approach to reconstruct 3D animal mesh from a single image. The coarse estimation stage first estimates the pose, shape and translation parameters of the SMAL model. The estimated meshes are then used as a starting point by a graph convolutional network (GCN) to predict a per-vertex deformation in the refinement stage. This combination of SMAL-based and vertex-based representations benefits from both parametric and non-parametric representations. We design our mesh refinement GCN (MRGCN) as an encoder-decoder structure with hierarchical feature representations to overcome the limited receptive field of traditional GCNs. Moreover, we observe that the global image feature used by existing animal mesh reconstruction works is unable to capture detailed shape information for mesh refinement. We thus introduce a local feature extractor to retrieve a vertex-level feature and use it together with the global feature as the input of the MRGCN. We test our approach on the StanfordExtra dataset and achieve state-of-the-art results. Furthermore, we test the generalization capacity of our approach on the Animal Pose and BADJA datasets. Our code is available at the project website.

Video Instance Segmentation using Inter-Frame Communication Transformers

Sukjun Hwang · Miran Heo · Seoung Wug Oh · Seon Joo Kim

We propose a novel end-to-end solution for video instance segmentation (VIS) based on transformers. Recently, the per-clip pipeline shows superior performance over per-frame methods leveraging richer information from multiple frames. However, previous per-clip models require heavy computation and memory usage to achieve frame-to-frame communications, limiting practicality.In this work, we propose Inter-frame Communication Transformers (IFC), which significantly reduces the overhead for information-passing between frames by efficiently encoding the context within the input clip.Specifically, we propose to utilize concise memory tokens as a means of conveying information as well as summarizing each frame scene.The features of each frame are enriched and correlated with other frames through exchange of information between the precisely encoded memory tokens.We validate our method on the latest benchmark sets and achieved state-of-the-art performance (AP 42.6 on YouTube-VIS 2019 val set using the offline inference) while having a considerably fast runtime (89.4 FPS). Our method can also be applied to near-online inference for processing a video in real-time with only a small delay.The code is available at

RETRIEVE: Coreset Selection for Efficient and Robust Semi-Supervised Learning

Krishnateja Killamsetty · Xujiang Zhao · Feng Chen · Rishabh Iyer

Semi-supervised learning (SSL) algorithms have had great success in recent years in limited labeled data regimes. However, the current state-of-the-art SSL algorithms are computationally expensive and entail significant compute time and energy requirements. This can prove to be a huge limitation for many smaller companies and academic groups. Our main insight is that training on a subset of unlabeled data instead of entire unlabeled data enables the current SSL algorithms to converge faster, significantly reducing computational costs. In this work, we propose RETRIEVE, a coreset selection framework for efficient and robust semi-supervised learning. RETRIEVE selects the coreset by solving a mixed discrete-continuous bi-level optimization problem such that the selected coreset minimizes the labeled set loss. We use a one-step gradient approximation and show that the discrete optimization problem is approximately submodular, enabling simple greedy algorithms to obtain the coreset. We empirically demonstrate on several real-world datasets that existing SSL algorithms like VAT, Mean-Teacher, FixMatch, when used with RETRIEVE, achieve a) faster training times, b) better performance when unlabeled data consists of Out-of-Distribution (OOD) data and imbalance. More specifically, we show that with minimal accuracy degradation, RETRIEVE achieves a speedup of around $3\times$ in the traditional SSL setting and achieves a speedup of $5\times$ compared to state-of-the-art (SOTA) robust SSL algorithms in the case of imbalance and OOD data. RETRIEVE is available as a part of the CORDS toolkit:

Hard-Attention for Scalable Image Classification

Athanasios Papadopoulos · Pawel Korus · Nasir Memon

Can we leverage high-resolution information without the unsustainable quadratic complexity to input scale? We propose Traversal Network (TNet), a novel multi-scale hard-attention architecture, which traverses image scale-space in a top-down fashion, visiting only the most informative image regions along the way. TNet offers an adjustable trade-off between accuracy and complexity, by changing the number of attended image locations. We compare our model against hard-attention baselines on ImageNet, achieving higher accuracy with less resources (FLOPs, processing time and memory). We further test our model on fMoW dataset, where we process satellite images of size up to $896 \times 896$ px, getting up to $2.5$x faster processing compared to baselines operating on the same resolution, while achieving higher accuracy as well. TNet is modular, meaning that most classification models could be adopted as its backbone for feature extraction, making the reported performance gains orthogonal to benefits offered by existing optimized deep models. Finally, hard-attention guarantees a degree of interpretability to our model's predictions, without any extra cost beyond inference.

Neural Relightable Participating Media Rendering

Quan Zheng · Gurprit Singh · Hans-peter Seidel

Learning neural radiance fields of a scene has recently allowed realistic novel view synthesis of the scene, but they are limited to synthesize images under the original fixed lighting condition. Therefore, they are not flexible for the eagerly desired tasks like relighting, scene editing and scene composition. To tackle this problem, several recent methods propose to disentangle reflectance and illumination from the radiance field. These methods can cope with solid objects with opaque surfaces but participating media are neglected. Also, they take into account only direct illumination or at most one-bounce indirect illumination, thus suffer from energy loss due to ignoring the high-order indirect illumination. We propose to learn neural representations for participating media with a complete simulation of global illumination. We estimate direct illumination via ray tracing and compute indirect illumination with spherical harmonics. Our approach avoids computing the lengthy indirect bounces and does not suffer from energy loss. Our experiments on multiple scenes show that our approach achieves superior visual quality and numerical performance compared to state-of-the-art methods, and it can generalize to deal with solid objects with opaque surfaces as well.

Self-Supervised Representation Learning on Neural Network Weights for Model Characteristic Prediction

Konstantin Schürholt · Dimche Kostadinov · Damian Borth

Self-Supervised Learning (SSL) has been shown to learn useful and information-preserving representations. Neural Networks (NNs) are widely applied, yet their weight space is still not fully understood. Therefore, we propose to use SSL to learn hyper-representations of the weights of populations of NNs. To that end, we introduce domain specific data augmentations and an adapted attention architecture. Our empirical evaluation demonstrates that self-supervised representation learning in this domain is able to recover diverse NN model characteristics. Further, we show that the proposed learned representations outperform prior work for predicting hyper-parameters, test accuracy, and generalization gap as well as transfer to out-of-distribution settings.

Few-Shot Object Detection via Association and DIscrimination

Yuhang Cao · Jiaqi Wang · Ying Jin · Tong Wu · Kai Chen · Ziwei Liu · Dahua Lin

Object detection has achieved substantial progress in the last decade. However, detecting novel classes with only few samples remains challenging, since deep learning under low data regime usually leads to a degraded feature space. Existing works employ a holistic fine-tuning paradigm to tackle this problem, where the model is first pre-trained on all base classes with abundant samples, and then it is used to carve the novel class feature space. Nonetheless, this paradigm is still imperfect. Durning fine-tuning, a novel class may implicitly leverage the knowledge of multiple base classes to construct its feature space, which induces a scattered feature space, hence violating the inter-class separability. To overcome these obstacles, we propose a two-step fine-tuning framework, Few-shot object detection via Association and DIscrimination (FADI), which builds up a discriminative feature space for each novel class with two integral steps. 1) In the association step, in contrast to implicitly leveraging multiple base classes, we construct a compact novel class feature space via explicitly imitating a specific base class feature space. Specifically, we associate each novel class with a base class according to their semantic similarity. After that, the feature space of a novel class can readily imitate the well-trained feature space of the associated base class. 2) In the discrimination step, to ensure the separability between the novel classes and associated base classes, we disentangle the classification branches for base and novel classes. To further enlarge the inter-class separability between all classes, a set-specialized margin loss is imposed. Extensive experiments on standard Pascal VOC and MS-COCO datasets demonstrate that FADI achieves new state-of-the-art performance, significantly improving the baseline in any shot/split by +18.7. Notably, the advantage of FADI is most announced on extremely few-shot scenarios (e.g. 1- and 3- shot).

Linear Convergence of Gradient Methods for Estimating Structured Transition Matrices in High-dimensional Vector Autoregressive Models

Xiao Lv · Wei Cui · Yulong Liu

In this paper, we present non-asymptotic optimization guarantees of gradient descent methods for estimating structured transition matrices in high-dimensional vector autoregressive (VAR) models. We adopt the projected gradient descent (PGD) for single-structured transition matrices and the alternating projected gradient descent (AltPGD) for superposition-structured ones. Our analysis demonstrates that both gradient algorithms converge linearly to the statistical error even though the strong convexity of the objective function is absent under the high-dimensional settings. Moreover our result is sharp (up to a constant factor) in the sense of matching the phase transition theory of the corresponding model with independent samples. To the best of our knowledge, this analysis constitutes first non-asymptotic optimization guarantees of the linear rate for regularized estimation in high-dimensional VAR models. Numerical results are provided to support our theoretical analysis.

PTR: A Benchmark for Part-based Conceptual, Relational, and Physical Reasoning

Yining Hong · Li Yi · Josh Tenenbaum · Antonio Torralba · Chuang Gan

A critical aspect of human visual perception is the ability to parse visual scenes into individual objects and further into object parts, forming part-whole hierarchies. Such composite structures could induce a rich set of semantic concepts and relations, thus playing an important role in the interpretation and organization of visual signals as well as for the generalization of visual perception and reasoning. However, existing visual reasoning benchmarks mostly focus on objects rather than parts. Visual reasoning based on the full part-whole hierarchy is much more challenging than object-centric reasoning due to finer-grained concepts, richer geometry relations, and more complex physics. Therefore, to better serve for part-based conceptual, relational and physical reasoning, we introduce a new large-scale diagnostic visual reasoning dataset named PTR. PTR contains around 80k RGBD synthetic images with ground truth object and part level annotations regarding semantic instance segmentation, color attributes, spatial and geometric relationships, and certain physical properties such as stability. These images are paired with 800k machine-generated questions covering various types of reasoning types, making them a good testbed for visual reasoning models. We examine several state-of-the-art visual reasoning models on this dataset and observe that they still make many surprising mistakes in situations where humans can easily infer the correct answer. We believe this dataset will open up new opportunities for part-based reasoning. PTR dataset and baseline models are publicly available.

Latent Equilibrium: A unified learning theory for arbitrarily fast computation with arbitrarily slow neurons

Paul Haider · Benjamin Ellenberger · Laura Kriener · Jakob Jordan · Walter Senn · Mihai A. Petrovici

The response time of physical computational elements is finite, and neurons are no exception. In hierarchical models of cortical networks each layer thus introduces a response lag. This inherent property of physical dynamical systems results in delayed processing of stimuli and causes a timing mismatch between network output and instructive signals, thus afflicting not only inference, but also learning. We introduce Latent Equilibrium, a new framework for inference and learning in networks of slow components which avoids these issues by harnessing the ability of biological neurons to phase-advance their output with respect to their membrane potential. This principle enables quasi-instantaneous inference independent of network depth and avoids the need for phased plasticity or computationally expensive network relaxation phases. We jointly derive disentangled neuron and synapse dynamics from a prospective energy function that depends on a network's generalized position and momentum. The resulting model can be interpreted as a biologically plausible approximation of error backpropagation in deep cortical networks with continuous-time, leaky neuronal dynamics and continuously active, local plasticity. We demonstrate successful learning of standard benchmark datasets, achieving competitive performance using both fully-connected and convolutional architectures, and show how our principle can be applied to detailed models of cortical microcircuitry. Furthermore, we study the robustness of our model to spatio-temporal substrate imperfections to demonstrate its feasibility for physical realization, be it in vivo or in silico.

Vector-valued Distance and Gyrocalculus on the Space of Symmetric Positive Definite Matrices

Federico López · Beatrice Pozzetti · Steve Trettel · Michael Strube · Anna Wienhard

We propose the use of the vector-valued distance to compute distances and extract geometric information from the manifold of symmetric positive definite matrices (SPD), and develop gyrovector calculus, constructing analogs of vector space operations in this curved space. We implement these operations and showcase their versatility in the tasks of knowledge graph completion, item recommendation, and question answering. In experiments, the SPD models outperform their equivalents in Euclidean and hyperbolic space. The vector-valued distance allows us to visualize embeddings, showing that the models learn to disentangle representations of positive samples from negative ones.

FlexMatch: Boosting Semi-Supervised Learning with Curriculum Pseudo Labeling

Bowen Zhang · Yidong Wang · Wenxin Hou · HAO WU · Jindong Wang · Manabu Okumura · Takahiro Shinozaki

The recently proposed FixMatch achieved state-of-the-art results on most semi-supervised learning (SSL) benchmarks. However, like other modern SSL algorithms, FixMatch uses a pre-defined constant threshold for all classes to select unlabeled data that contribute to the training, thus failing to consider different learning status and learning difficulties of different classes. To address this issue, we propose Curriculum Pseudo Labeling (CPL), a curriculum learning approach to leverage unlabeled data according to the model's learning status. The core of CPL is to flexibly adjust thresholds for different classes at each time step to let pass informative unlabeled data and their pseudo labels. CPL does not introduce additional parameters or computations (forward or backward propagation). We apply CPL to FixMatch and call our improved algorithm FlexMatch. FlexMatch achieves state-of-the-art performance on a variety of SSL benchmarks, with especially strong performances when the labeled data are extremely limited or when the task is challenging. For example, FlexMatch achieves 13.96% and 18.96% error rate reduction over FixMatch on CIFAR-100 and STL-10 datasets respectively, when there are only 4 labels per class. CPL also significantly boosts the convergence speed, e.g., FlexMatch can use only 1/5 training time of FixMatch to achieve even better performance. Furthermore, we show that CPL can be easily adapted to other SSL algorithms and remarkably improve their performances. We open-source our code at

The Image Local Autoregressive Transformer

Chenjie Cao · Yuxin Hong · Xiang Li · Chengrong Wang · Chengming Xu · Yanwei Fu · Xiangyang Xue

Recently, AutoRegressive (AR) models for the whole image generation empowered by transformers have achieved comparable or even better performance compared to Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs). Unfortunately, directly applying such AR models to edit/change local image regions, may suffer from the problems of missing global information, slow inference speed, and information leakage of local guidance. To address these limitations, we propose a novel model -- image Local Autoregressive Transformer (iLAT), to better facilitate the locally guided image synthesis. Our iLAT learns the novel local discrete representations, by the newly proposed local autoregressive (LA) transformer of the attention mask and convolution mechanism. Thus iLAT can efficiently synthesize the local image regions by key guidance information. Our iLAT is evaluated on various locally guided image syntheses, such as pose-guided person image synthesis and face editing. Both quantitative and qualitative results show the efficacy of our model.

All Tokens Matter: Token Labeling for Training Better Vision Transformers

Zi-Hang Jiang · Qibin Hou · Li Yuan · Daquan Zhou · Yujun Shi · Xiaojie Jin · Anran Wang · Jiashi Feng

In this paper, we present token labeling---a new training objective for training high-performance vision transformers (ViTs). Different from the standard training objective of ViTs that computes the classification loss on an additional trainable class token, our proposed one takes advantage of all the image patch tokens to compute the training loss in a dense manner. Specifically, token labeling reformulates the image classification problem into multiple token-level recognition problems and assigns each patch token with an individual location-specific supervision generated by a machine annotator. Experiments show that token labeling can clearly and consistently improve the performance of various ViT models across a wide spectrum. For a vision transformer with 26M learnable parameters serving as an example, with token labeling, the model can achieve 84.4% Top-1 accuracy on ImageNet. The result can be further increased to 86.4% by slightly scaling the model size up to 150M, delivering the minimal-sized model among previous models (250M+) reaching 86%. We also show that token labeling can clearly improve the generalization capability of the pretrained models on downstream tasks with dense prediction, such as semantic segmentation. Our code and model are publiclyavailable at

Policy Learning Using Weak Supervision

Jingkang Wang · Hongyi Guo · Zhaowei Zhu · Yang Liu

Most existing policy learning solutions require the learning agents to receive high-quality supervision signals, e.g., rewards in reinforcement learning (RL) or high-quality expert demonstrations in behavioral cloning (BC). These quality supervisions are either infeasible or prohibitively expensive to obtain in practice. We aim for a unified framework that leverages the available cheap weak supervisions to perform policy learning efficiently. To handle this problem, we treat the weak supervision'' as imperfect information coming from a peer agent, and evaluate the learning agent's policy based on a correlated agreement'' with the peer agent's policy (instead of simple agreements). Our approach explicitly punishes a policy for overfitting to the weak supervision. In addition to theoretical guarantees, extensive evaluations on tasks including RL with noisy reward, BC with weak demonstrations, and standard policy co-training (RL + BC) show that our method leads to substantial performance improvements, especially when the complexity or the noise of the learning environments is high.

Uncertainty Quantification and Deep Ensembles

Rahul Rahaman · alexandre thiery

Deep Learning methods are known to suffer from calibration issues: they typically produce over-confident estimates. These problems are exacerbated in the low data regime. Although the calibration of probabilistic models is well studied, calibrating extremely over-parametrized models in the low-data regime presents unique challenges. We show that deep-ensembles do not necessarily lead to improved calibration properties. In fact, we show that standard ensembling methods, when used in conjunction with modern techniques such as mixup regularization, can lead to less calibrated models. This text examines the interplay between three of the most simple and commonly used approaches to leverage deep learning when data is scarce: data-augmentation, ensembling, and post-processing calibration methods. We demonstrate that, although standard ensembling techniques certainly help to boost accuracy, the calibration of deep ensembles relies on subtle trade-offs. We also find that calibration methods such as temperature scaling need to be slightly tweaked when used with deep-ensembles and, crucially, need to be executed after the averaging process. Our simulations indicate that, in the low data regime, this simple strategy can halve the Expected Calibration Error (ECE) on a range of benchmark classification problems when compared to standard deep-ensembles.

BCORLE($\lambda$): An Offline Reinforcement Learning and Evaluation Framework for Coupons Allocation in E-commerce Market

Yang Zhang · Bo Tang · Qingyu Yang · Dou An · Hongyin Tang · Chenyang Xi · Xueying LI · Feiyu Xiong

Coupons allocation is an important tool for enterprises to increase the activity and loyalty of users on the e-commerce market. One fundamental problem related is how to allocate coupons within a fixed budget while maximizing users' retention on the e-commerce platform. The online e-commerce environment is complicated and ever changing, so it requires the coupons allocation policy learning can quickly adapt to the changes of the company's business strategy. Unfortunately, existing studies with a huge computation overhead can hardly satisfy the requirements of real-time and fast-response in the real world. Specifically, the problem of coupons allocation within a fixed budget is usually formulated as a Lagrangian problem. Existing solutions need to re-learn the policy once the value of Lagrangian multiplier variable $\lambda$ is updated, causing a great computation overhead. Besides, a mature e-commerce market often faces tens of millions of users and dozens of types of coupons which construct the huge policy space, further increasing the difficulty of solving the problem. To tackle with above problems, we propose a budget constrained offline reinforcement learning and evaluation with $\lambda$-generalization (BCORLE($\lambda$)) framework. The proposed method can help enterprises develop a coupons allocation policy which greatly improves users' retention rate on the platform while ensuring the cost does not exceed the budget. Specifically, $\lambda$-generalization method is proposed to lead the policy learning process can be executed according to different $\lambda$ values adaptively, avoiding re-learning new polices from scratch. Thus the computation overhead is greatly reduced. Further, a novel offline reinforcement learning method and an off-policy evaluation algorithm are proposed for policy learning and policy evaluation, respectively. Finally, experiments on the simulation platform and real-world e-commerce market validate the effectiveness of our approach.

TestRank: Bringing Order into Unlabeled Test Instances for Deep Learning Tasks

YU LI · Min LI · Qiuxia LAI · Yannan Liu · Qiang Xu

Deep learning (DL) systems are notoriously difficult to test and debug due to the lack of correctness proof and the huge test input space to cover. Given the ubiquitous unlabeled test data and high labeling cost, in this paper, we propose a novel test prioritization technique, namely TestRank, which aims at revealing more model failures with less labeling effort. TestRank brings order into the unlabeled test data according to their likelihood of being a failure, i.e., their failure-revealing capabilities. Different from existing solutions, TestRank leverages both intrinsic and contextual attributes of the unlabeled test data when prioritizing them. To be specific, we first build a similarity graph on both unlabeled test samples and labeled samples (e.g., training or previously labeled test samples). Then, we conduct graph-based semi-supervised learning to extract contextual features from the correctness of similar labeled samples. For a particular test instance, the contextual features extracted with the graph neural network and the intrinsic features obtained with the DL model itself are combined to predict its failure-revealing capability. Finally, TestRank prioritizes unlabeled test inputs in descending order of the above probability value. We evaluate TestRank on three popular image classification datasets, and results show that TestRank significantly outperforms existing test prioritization techniques.

Exploiting Domain-Specific Features to Enhance Domain Generalization

Manh-Ha Bui · Toan Tran · Anh Tran · Dinh Phung

Domain Generalization (DG) aims to train a model, from multiple observed source domains, in order to perform well on unseen target domains. To obtain the generalization capability, prior DG approaches have focused on extracting domain-invariant information across sources to generalize on target domains, while useful domain-specific information which strongly correlates with labels in individual domains and the generalization to target domains is usually ignored. In this paper, we propose meta-Domain Specific-Domain Invariant (mDSDI) - a novel theoretically sound framework that extends beyond the invariance view to further capture the usefulness of domain-specific information. Our key insight is to disentangle features in the latent space while jointly learning both domain-invariant and domain-specific features in a unified framework. The domain-specific representation is optimized through the meta-learning framework to adapt from source domains, targeting a robust generalization on unseen domains. We empirically show that mDSDI provides competitive results with state-of-the-art techniques in DG. A further ablation study with our generated dataset, Background-Colored-MNIST, confirms the hypothesis that domain-specific is essential, leading to better results when compared with only using domain-invariant.

Probabilistic Entity Representation Model for Reasoning over Knowledge Graphs

Nurendra Choudhary · Nikhil Rao · Sumeet Katariya · Karthik Subbian · Chandan Reddy

Logical reasoning over Knowledge Graphs (KGs) is a fundamental technique that can provide an efficient querying mechanism over large and incomplete databases. Current approaches employ spatial geometries such as boxes to learn query representations that encompass the answer entities and model the logical operations of projection and intersection. However, their geometry is restrictive and leads to non-smooth strict boundaries, which further results in ambiguous answer entities. Furthermore, previous works propose transformation tricks to handle unions which results in non-closure and, thus, cannot be chained in a stream. In this paper, we propose a Probabilistic Entity Representation Model (PERM) to encode entities as a Multivariate Gaussian density with mean and covariance parameters to capture its semantic position and smooth decision boundary, respectively. Additionally, we also define the closed logical operations of projection, intersection, and union that can be aggregated using an end-to-end objective function. On the logical query reasoning problem, we demonstrate that the proposed PERM significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods on various public benchmark KG datasets on standard evaluation metrics. We also evaluate PERM’s competence on a COVID-19 drug-repurposing case study and show that our proposed work is able to recommend drugs with substantially better F1 than current methods. Finally, we demonstrate the working of our PERM’s query answering process through a low-dimensional visualization of the Gaussian representations.

VAST: Value Function Factorization with Variable Agent Sub-Teams

Thomy Phan · Fabian Ritz · Lenz Belzner · Philipp Altmann · Thomas Gabor · Claudia Linnhoff-Popien

Value function factorization (VFF) is a popular approach to cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning in order to learn local value functions from global rewards. However, state-of-the-art VFF is limited to a handful of agents in most domains. We hypothesize that this is due to the flat factorization scheme, where the VFF operator becomes a performance bottleneck with an increasing number of agents. Therefore, we propose VFF with variable agent sub-teams (VAST). VAST approximates a factorization for sub-teams which can be defined in an arbitrary way and vary over time, e.g., to adapt to different situations. The sub-team values are then linearly decomposed for all sub-team members. Thus, VAST can learn on a more focused and compact input representation of the original VFF operator. We evaluate VAST in three multi-agent domains and show that VAST can significantly outperform state-of-the-art VFF, when the number of agents is sufficiently large.

A Framework to Learn with Interpretation

Jayneel Parekh · Pavlo Mozharovskyi · Florence d'Alché-Buc

To tackle interpretability in deep learning, we present a novel framework to jointly learn a predictive model and its associated interpretation model. The interpreter provides both local and global interpretability about the predictive model in terms of human-understandable high level attribute functions, with minimal loss of accuracy. This is achieved by a dedicated architecture and well chosen regularization penalties. We seek for a small-size dictionary of high level attribute functions that take as inputs the outputs of selected hidden layers and whose outputs feed a linear classifier. We impose strong conciseness on the activation of attributes with an entropy-based criterion while enforcing fidelity to both inputs and outputs of the predictive model. A detailed pipeline to visualize the learnt features is also developed. Moreover, besides generating interpretable models by design, our approach can be specialized to provide post-hoc interpretations for a pre-trained neural network. We validate our approach against several state-of-the-art methods on multiple datasets and show its efficacy on both kinds of tasks.

Using Random Effects to Account for High-Cardinality Categorical Features and Repeated Measures in Deep Neural Networks

Giora Simchoni · Saharon Rosset

High-cardinality categorical features are a major challenge for machine learning methods in general and for deep learning in particular. Existing solutions such as one-hot encoding and entity embeddings can be hard to scale when the cardinality is very high, require much space, are hard to interpret or may overfit the data. A special scenario of interest is that of repeated measures, where the categorical feature is the identity of the individual or object, and each object is measured several times, possibly under different conditions (values of the other features). We propose accounting for high-cardinality categorical features as random effects variables in a regression setting, and consequently adopt the corresponding negative log likelihood loss from the linear mixed models (LMM) statistical literature and integrate it in a deep learning framework. We test our model which we call LMMNN on simulated as well as real datasets with a single categorical feature with high cardinality, using various baseline neural networks architectures such as convolutional networks and LSTM, and various applications in e-commerce, healthcare and computer vision. Our results show that treating high-cardinality categorical features as random effects leads to a significant improvement in prediction performance compared to state of the art alternatives. Potential extensions such as accounting for multiple categorical features and classification settings are discussed. Our code and simulations are available at

Robust Inverse Reinforcement Learning under Transition Dynamics Mismatch

Luca Viano · Yu-Ting Huang · Parameswaran Kamalaruban · Adrian Weller · Volkan Cevher

We study the inverse reinforcement learning (IRL) problem under a transition dynamics mismatch between the expert and the learner. Specifically, we consider the Maximum Causal Entropy (MCE) IRL learner model and provide a tight upper bound on the learner's performance degradation based on the $\ell_1$-distance between the transition dynamics of the expert and the learner. Leveraging insights from the Robust RL literature, we propose a robust MCE IRL algorithm, which is a principled approach to help with this mismatch. Finally, we empirically demonstrate the stable performance of our algorithm compared to the standard MCE IRL algorithm under transition dynamics mismatches in both finite and continuous MDP problems.

Learning from Inside: Self-driven Siamese Sampling and Reasoning for Video Question Answering

Weijiang Yu · Haoteng Zheng · Mengfei Li · Lei Ji · Lijun Wu · Nong Xiao · Nan Duan

Recent advances in the video question answering (i.e., VideoQA) task have achieved strong success by following the paradigm of fine-tuning each clip-text pair independently on the pretrained transformer-based model via supervised learning. Intuitively, multiple samples (i.e., clips) should be interdependent to capture similar visual and key semantic information in the same video. To consider the interdependent knowledge between contextual clips into the network inference, we propose a Siamese Sampling and Reasoning (SiaSamRea) approach, which consists of a siamese sampling mechanism to generate sparse and similar clips (i.e., siamese clips) from the same video, and a novel reasoning strategy for integrating the interdependent knowledge between contextual clips into the network. The reasoning strategy contains two modules: (1) siamese knowledge generation to learn the inter-relationship among clips; (2) siamese knowledge reasoning to produce the refined soft label by propagating the weights of inter-relationship to the predicted candidates of all clips. Finally, our SiaSamRea can endow the current multimodal reasoning paradigm with the ability of learning from inside via the guidance of soft labels. Extensive experiments demonstrate our SiaSamRea achieves state-of-the-art performance on five VideoQA benchmarks, e.g., a significant +2.1% gain on MSRVTT-QA, +2.9% on MSVD-QA, +1.0% on ActivityNet-QA, +1.8% on How2QA and +4.3% (action) on TGIF-QA.

Fast Abductive Learning by Similarity-based Consistency Optimization

Yu-Xuan Huang · Wang-Zhou Dai · Le-Wen Cai · Stephen H Muggleton · Yuan Jiang

To utilize the raw inputs and symbolic knowledge simultaneously, some recent neuro-symbolic learning methods use abduction, i.e., abductive reasoning, to integrate sub-symbolic perception and logical inference. While the perception model, e.g., a neural network, outputs some facts that are inconsistent with the symbolic background knowledge base, abduction can help revise the incorrect perceived facts by minimizing the inconsistency between them and the background knowledge. However, to enable effective abduction, previous approaches need an initialized perception model that discriminates the input raw instances. This limits the application of these methods, as the discrimination ability is usually acquired from a thorough pre-training when the raw inputs are difficult to classify. In this paper, we propose a novel abduction strategy, which leverages the similarity between samples, rather than the output information by the perceptual neural network, to guide the search in abduction. Based on this principle, we further present ABductive Learning with Similarity (ABLSim) and apply it to some difficult neuro-symbolic learning tasks. Experiments show that the efficiency of ABLSim is significantly higher than the state-of-the-art neuro-symbolic methods, allowing it to achieve better performance with less labeled data and weaker domain knowledge.

Shape from Blur: Recovering Textured 3D Shape and Motion of Fast Moving Objects

Denys Rozumnyi · Martin R. Oswald · Vittorio Ferrari · Marc Pollefeys

We address the novel task of jointly reconstructing the 3D shape, texture, and motion of an object from a single motion-blurred image. While previous approaches address the deblurring problem only in the 2D image domain, our proposed rigorous modeling of all object properties in the 3D domain enables the correct description of arbitrary object motion. This leads to significantly better image decomposition and sharper deblurring results. We model the observed appearance of a motion-blurred object as a combination of the background and a 3D object with constant translation and rotation. Our method minimizes a loss on reconstructing the input image via differentiable rendering with suitable regularizers. This enables estimating the textured 3D mesh of the blurred object with high fidelity. Our method substantially outperforms competing approaches on several benchmarks for fast moving objects deblurring. Qualitative results show that the reconstructed 3D mesh generates high-quality temporal super-resolution and novel views of the deblurred object.

Action-guided 3D Human Motion Prediction

Jiangxin Sun · Zihang Lin · Xintong Han · Jian-Fang Hu · Jia Xu · Wei-Shi Zheng

The ability of forecasting future human motion is important for human-machine interaction systems to understand human behaviors and make interaction. In this work, we focus on developing models to predict future human motion from past observed video frames. Motivated by the observation that human motion is closely related to the action being performed, we propose to explore action context to guide motion prediction. Specifically, we construct an action-specific memory bank to store representative motion dynamics for each action category, and design a query-read process to retrieve some motion dynamics from the memory bank. The retrieved dynamics are consistent with the action depicted in the observed video frames and serve as a strong prior knowledge to guide motion prediction. We further formulate an action constraint loss to ensure the global semantic consistency of the predicted motion. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach, and we achieve state-of-the-art performance on 3D human motion prediction.

Scalable Rule-Based Representation Learning for Interpretable Classification

Zhuo Wang · Wei Zhang · Ning Liu · Jianyong Wang

Rule-based models, e.g., decision trees, are widely used in scenarios demanding high model interpretability for their transparent inner structures and good model expressivity. However, rule-based models are hard to optimize, especially on large data sets, due to their discrete parameters and structures. Ensemble methods and fuzzy/soft rules are commonly used to improve performance, but they sacrifice the model interpretability. To obtain both good scalability and interpretability, we propose a new classifier, named Rule-based Representation Learner (RRL), that automatically learns interpretable non-fuzzy rules for data representation and classification. To train the non-differentiable RRL effectively, we project it to a continuous space and propose a novel training method, called Gradient Grafting, that can directly optimize the discrete model using gradient descent. An improved design of logical activation functions is also devised to increase the scalability of RRL and enable it to discretize the continuous features end-to-end. Exhaustive experiments on nine small and four large data sets show that RRL outperforms the competitive interpretable approaches and can be easily adjusted to obtain a trade-off between classification accuracy and model complexity for different scenarios. Our code is available at:

Bridging Non Co-occurrence with Unlabeled In-the-wild Data for Incremental Object Detection

NA DONG · Yongqiang Zhang · Mingli Ding · Gim Hee Lee

Deep networks have shown remarkable results in the task of object detection. However, their performance suffers critical drops when they are subsequently trained on novel classes without any sample from the base classes originally used to train the model. This phenomenon is known as catastrophic forgetting. Recently, several incremental learning methods are proposed to mitigate catastrophic forgetting for object detection. Despite the effectiveness, these methods require co-occurrence of the unlabeled base classes in the training data of the novel classes. This requirement is impractical in many real-world settings since the base classes do not necessarily co-occur with the novel classes. In view of this limitation, we consider a more practical setting of complete absence of co-occurrence of the base and novel classes for the object detection task. We propose the use of unlabeled in-the-wild data to bridge the non co-occurrence caused by the missing base classes during the training of additional novel classes. To this end, we introduce a blind sampling strategy based on the responses of the base-class model and pre-trained novel-class model to select a smaller relevant dataset from the large in-the-wild dataset for incremental learning. We then design a dual-teacher distillation framework to transfer the knowledge distilled from the base- and novel-class teacher models to the student model using the sampled in-the-wild data. Experimental results on the PASCAL VOC and MS COCO datasets show that our proposed method significantly outperforms other state-of-the-art class-incremental object detection methods when there is no co-occurrence between the base and novel classes during training.

Finding Discriminative Filters for Specific Degradations in Blind Super-Resolution

Liangbin Xie · Xintao Wang · Chao Dong · Zhongang Qi · Ying Shan

Recent blind super-resolution (SR) methods typically consist of two branches, one for degradation prediction and the other for conditional restoration. However, our experiments show that a one-branch network can achieve comparable performance to the two-branch scheme. Then we wonder: how can one-branch networks automatically learn to distinguish degradations? To find the answer, we propose a new diagnostic tool -- Filter Attribution method based on Integral Gradient (FAIG). Unlike previous integral gradient methods, our FAIG aims at finding the most discriminative filters instead of input pixels/features for degradation removal in blind SR networks. With the discovered filters, we further develop a simple yet effective method to predict the degradation of an input image. Based on FAIG, we show that, in one-branch blind SR networks, 1) we could find a very small number of (1%) discriminative filters for each specific degradation; 2) The weights, locations and connections of the discovered filters are all important to determine the specific network function. 3) The task of degradation prediction can be implicitly realized by these discriminative filters without explicit supervised learning. Our findings can not only help us better understand network behaviors inside one-branch blind SR networks, but also provide guidance on designing more efficient architectures and diagnosing networks for blind SR.

BAST: Bayesian Additive Regression Spanning Trees for Complex Constrained Domain

Zhao Tang Luo · Huiyan Sang · Bani Mallick

Nonparametric regression on complex domains has been a challenging task as most existing methods, such as ensemble models based on binary decision trees, are not designed to account for intrinsic geometries and domain boundaries. This article proposes a Bayesian additive regression spanning trees (BAST) model for nonparametric regression on manifolds, with an emphasis on complex constrained domains or irregularly shaped spaces embedded in Euclidean spaces. Our model is built upon a random spanning tree manifold partition model as each weak learner, which is capable of capturing any irregularly shaped spatially contiguous partitions while respecting intrinsic geometries and domain boundary constraints. Utilizing many nice properties of spanning tree structures, we design an efficient Bayesian inference algorithm. Equipped with a soft prediction scheme, BAST is demonstrated to significantly outperform other competing methods in simulation experiments and in an application to the chlorophyll data in Aral Sea, due to its strong local adaptivity to different levels of smoothness.

VoiceMixer: Adversarial Voice Style Mixup

Sang-Hoon Lee · Ji-Hoon Kim · Hyunseung Chung · Seong-Whan Lee

Although recent advances in voice conversion have shown significant improvement, there still remains a gap between the converted voice and target voice. A key factor that maintains this gap is the insufficient decomposition of content and voice style from the source speech. This insufficiency leads to the converted speech containing source speech style or losing source speech content. In this paper, we present VoiceMixer which can effectively decompose and transfer voice style through a novel information bottleneck and adversarial feedback. With self-supervised representation learning, the proposed information bottleneck can decompose the content and style with only a small loss of content information. Also, for adversarial feedback of each information, the discriminator is decomposed into content and style discriminator with self-supervision, which enable our model to achieve better generalization to the voice style of the converted speech. The experimental results show the superiority of our model in disentanglement and transfer performance, and improve audio quality by preserving content information.

CentripetalText: An Efficient Text Instance Representation for Scene Text Detection

Tao Sheng · Jie Chen · Zhouhui Lian

Scene text detection remains a grand challenge due to the variation in text curvatures, orientations, and aspect ratios. One of the hardest problems in this task is how to represent text instances of arbitrary shapes. Although many methods have been proposed to model irregular texts in a flexible manner, most of them lose simplicity and robustness. Their complicated post-processings and the regression under Dirac delta distribution undermine the detection performance and the generalization ability. In this paper, we propose an efficient text instance representation named CentripetalText (CT), which decomposes text instances into the combination of text kernels and centripetal shifts. Specifically, we utilize the centripetal shifts to implement pixel aggregation, guiding the external text pixels to the internal text kernels. The relaxation operation is integrated into the dense regression for centripetal shifts, allowing the correct prediction in a range instead of a specific value. The convenient reconstruction of text contours and the tolerance of prediction errors in our method guarantee the high detection accuracy and the fast inference speed, respectively. Besides, we shrink our text detector into a proposal generation module, namely CentripetalText Proposal Network (CPN), replacing Segmentation Proposal Network (SPN) in Mask TextSpotter v3 and producing more accurate proposals. To validate the effectiveness of our method, we conduct experiments on several commonly used scene text benchmarks, including both curved and multi-oriented text datasets. For the task of scene text detection, our approach achieves superior or competitive performance compared to other existing methods, e.g., F-measure of 86.3% at 40.0 FPS on Total-Text, F-measure of 86.1% at 34.8 FPS on MSRA-TD500, etc. For the task of end-to-end scene text recognition, our method outperforms Mask TextSpotter v3 by 1.1% in F-measure on Total-Text.

Landmark-RxR: Solving Vision-and-Language Navigation with Fine-Grained Alignment Supervision

Keji He · Yan Huang · Qi Wu · Jianhua Yang · Dong An · Shuanglin Sima · Liang Wang

In Vision-and-Language Navigation (VLN) task, an agent is asked to navigate inside 3D indoor environments following given instructions. Cross-modal alignment is one of the most critical challenges in VLN because the predicted trajectory needs to match the given instruction accurately. In this paper, we address the cross-modal alignment challenge from the perspective of fine-grain. Firstly, to alleviate weak cross-modal alignment supervision from coarse-grained data, we introduce a human-annotated fine-grained VLN dataset, namely Landmark-RxR. Secondly, to further enhance local cross-modal alignment under fine-grained supervision, we investigate the focal-oriented rewards with soft and hard forms, by focusing on the critical points sampled from fine-grained Landmark-RxR. Moreover, to fully evaluate the navigation process, we also propose a re-initialization mechanism that makes metrics insensitive to difficult points, which can cause the agent to deviate from the correct trajectories. Experimental results show that our agent has superior navigation performance on Landmark-RxR, en-RxR and R2R. Our dataset and code are available at

Improving black-box optimization in VAE latent space using decoder uncertainty

Pascal Notin · José Miguel Hernández-Lobato · Yarin Gal

Optimization in the latent space of variational autoencoders is a promising approach to generate high-dimensional discrete objects that maximize an expensive black-box property (e.g., drug-likeness in molecular generation, function approximation with arithmetic expressions). However, existing methods lack robustness as they may decide to explore areas of the latent space for which no data was available during training and where the decoder can be unreliable, leading to the generation of unrealistic or invalid objects. We propose to leverage the epistemic uncertainty of the decoder to guide the optimization process. This is not trivial though, as a naive estimation of uncertainty in the high-dimensional and structured settings we consider would result in high estimator variance. To solve this problem, we introduce an importance sampling-based estimator that provides more robust estimates of epistemic uncertainty. Our uncertainty-guided optimization approach does not require modifications of the model architecture nor the training process. It produces samples with a better trade-off between black-box objective and validity of the generated samples, sometimes improving both simultaneously. We illustrate these advantages across several experimental settings in digit generation, arithmetic expression approximation and molecule generation for drug design.

Alias-Free Generative Adversarial Networks

Tero Karras · Miika Aittala · Samuli Laine · Erik Härkönen · Janne Hellsten · Jaakko Lehtinen · Timo Aila

We observe that despite their hierarchical convolutional nature, the synthesis process of typical generative adversarial networks depends on absolute pixel coordinates in an unhealthy manner. This manifests itself as, e.g., detail appearing to be glued to image coordinates instead of the surfaces of depicted objects. We trace the root cause to careless signal processing that causes aliasing in the generator network. Interpreting all signals in the network as continuous, we derive generally applicable, small architectural changes that guarantee that unwanted information cannot leak into the hierarchical synthesis process. The resulting networks match the FID of StyleGAN2 but differ dramatically in their internal representations, and they are fully equivariant to translation and rotation even at subpixel scales. Our results pave the way for generative models better suited for video and animation.

Global Filter Networks for Image Classification

Yongming Rao · Wenliang Zhao · Zheng Zhu · Jiwen Lu · Jie Zhou

Recent advances in self-attention and pure multi-layer perceptrons (MLP) models for vision have shown great potential in achieving promising performance with fewer inductive biases. These models are generally based on learning interaction among spatial locations from raw data. The complexity of self-attention and MLP grows quadratically as the image size increases, which makes these models hard to scale up when high-resolution features are required. In this paper, we present the Global Filter Network (GFNet), a conceptually simple yet computationally efficient architecture, that learns long-term spatial dependencies in the frequency domain with log-linear complexity. Our architecture replaces the self-attention layer in vision transformers with three key operations: a 2D discrete Fourier transform, an element-wise multiplication between frequency-domain features and learnable global filters, and a 2D inverse Fourier transform. We exhibit favorable accuracy/complexity trade-offs of our models on both ImageNet and downstream tasks. Our results demonstrate that GFNet can be a very competitive alternative to transformer-style models and CNNs in efficiency, generalization ability and robustness. Code is available at

Prototypical Cross-Attention Networks for Multiple Object Tracking and Segmentation

Lei Ke · Xia Li · Martin Danelljan · Yu-Wing Tai · Chi-Keung Tang · Fisher Yu

Multiple object tracking and segmentation requires detecting, tracking, and segmenting objects belonging to a set of given classes. Most approaches only exploit the temporal dimension to address the association problem, while relying on single frame predictions for the segmentation mask itself. We propose Prototypical Cross-Attention Network (PCAN), capable of leveraging rich spatio-temporal information for online multiple object tracking and segmentation. PCAN first distills a space-time memory into a set of prototypes and then employs cross-attention to retrieve rich information from the past frames. To segment each object, PCAN adopts a prototypical appearance module to learn a set of contrastive foreground and background prototypes, which are then propagated over time. Extensive experiments demonstrate that PCAN outperforms current video instance tracking and segmentation competition winners on both Youtube-VIS and BDD100K datasets, and shows efficacy to both one-stage and two-stage segmentation frameworks. Code and video resources are available at

Generalization Bounds for Graph Embedding Using Negative Sampling: Linear vs Hyperbolic

Atsushi Suzuki · Atsushi Nitanda · jing wang · Linchuan Xu · Kenji Yamanishi · Marc Cavazza

Graph embedding, which represents real-world entities in a mathematical space, has enabled numerous applications such as analyzing natural languages, social networks, biochemical networks, and knowledge bases.It has been experimentally shown that graph embedding in hyperbolic space can represent hierarchical tree-like data more effectively than embedding in linear space, owing to hyperbolic space's exponential growth property. However, since the theoretical comparison has been limited to ideal noiseless settings, the potential for the hyperbolic space's property to worsen the generalization error for practical data has not been analyzed.In this paper, we provide a generalization error bound applicable for graph embedding both in linear and hyperbolic spaces under various negative sampling settings that appear in graph embedding. Our bound states that error is polynomial and exponential with respect to the embedding space's radius in linear and hyperbolic spaces, respectively, which implies that hyperbolic space's exponential growth property worsens the error.Using our bound, we clarify the data size condition on which graph embedding in hyperbolic space can represent a tree better than in Euclidean space by discussing the bias-variance trade-off.Our bound also shows that imbalanced data distribution, which often appears in graph embedding, can worsen the error.

Regularized Softmax Deep Multi-Agent Q-Learning

Ling Pan · Tabish Rashid · Bei Peng · Longbo Huang · Shimon Whiteson

Tackling overestimation in $Q$-learning is an important problem that has been extensively studied in single-agent reinforcement learning, but has received comparatively little attention in the multi-agent setting. In this work, we empirically demonstrate that QMIX, a popular $Q$-learning algorithm for cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL), suffers from a more severe overestimation in practice than previously acknowledged, and is not mitigated by existing approaches. We rectify this with a novel regularization-based update scheme that penalizes large joint action-values that deviate from a baseline and demonstrate its effectiveness in stabilizing learning. Furthermore, we propose to employ a softmax operator, which we efficiently approximate in a novel way in the multi-agent setting, to further reduce the potential overestimation bias. Our approach, Regularized Softmax (RES) Deep Multi-Agent $Q$-Learning, is general and can be applied to any $Q$-learning based MARL algorithm. We demonstrate that, when applied to QMIX, RES avoids severe overestimation and significantly improves performance, yielding state-of-the-art results in a variety of cooperative multi-agent tasks, including the challenging StarCraft II micromanagement benchmarks.

Physics-Aware Downsampling with Deep Learning for Scalable Flood Modeling

Niv Giladi · Zvika Ben-Haim · Sella Nevo · Yossi Matias · Daniel Soudry

Background. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the world, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions. Flood forecasting is therefore a vitally important endeavor, typically achieved using physical water flow simulations, which rely on accurate terrain elevation maps. However, such simulations, based on solving partial differential equations, are computationally prohibitive on a large scale. This scalability issue is commonly alleviated using a coarse grid representation of the elevation map, though this representation may distort crucial terrain details, leading to significant inaccuracies in the simulation.\Contributions. We train a deep neural network to perform physics-informed downsampling of the terrain map: we optimize the coarse grid representation of the terrain maps, so that the flood prediction will match the fine grid solution. For the learning process to succeed, we configure a dataset specifically for this task. We demonstrate that with this method, it is possible to achieve a significant reduction in computational cost, while maintaining an accurate solution. A reference implementation accompanies the paper as well as documentation and code for dataset reproduction.

Smooth Bilevel Programming for Sparse Regularization

Clarice Poon · Gabriel Peyré

Iteratively reweighted least square (IRLS) is a popular approach to solve sparsity-enforcing regression problems in machine learning. State of the art approaches are more efficient but typically rely on specific coordinate pruning schemes. In this work, we show how a surprisingly simple re-parametrization of IRLS, coupled with a bilevel resolution (instead of an alternating scheme) is able to achieve top performances on a wide range of sparsity (such as Lasso, group Lasso and trace norm regularizations), regularization strength (including hard constraints), and design matrices (ranging from correlated designs to differential operators). Similarly to IRLS, our method only involves linear systems resolutions, but in sharp contrast, corresponds to the minimization of a smooth function. Despite being non-convex, we show that there is no spurious minima and that saddle points are "ridable'', so that there always exists a descent direction. We thus advocate for the use of a BFGS quasi-Newton solver, which makes our approach simple, robust and efficient. We perform a numerical benchmark of the convergence speed of our algorithm against state of the art solvers for Lasso, group Lasso, trace norm and linearly constrained problems. These results highlight the versatility of our approach, removing the need to use different solvers depending on the specificity of the ML problem under study.

Learning to Execute: Efficient Learning of Universal Plan-Conditioned Policies in Robotics

Ingmar Schubert · Danny Driess · Ozgur S. Oguz · Marc Toussaint

Applications of Reinforcement Learning (RL) in robotics are often limited by high data demand. On the other hand, approximate models are readily available in many robotics scenarios, making model-based approaches like planning a data-efficient alternative. Still, the performance of these methods suffers if the model is imprecise or wrong. In this sense, the respective strengths and weaknesses of RL and model-based planners are complementary. In the present work, we investigate how both approaches can be integrated into one framework that combines their strengths. We introduce Learning to Execute (L2E), which leverages information contained in approximate plans to learn universal policies that are conditioned on plans. In our robotic manipulation experiments, L2E exhibits increased performance when compared to pure RL, pure planning, or baseline methods combining learning and planning.

Do Input Gradients Highlight Discriminative Features?

Harshay Shah · Prateek Jain · Praneeth Netrapalli

Post-hoc gradient-based interpretability methods [Simonyan et al., 2013, Smilkov et al., 2017] that provide instance-specific explanations of model predictions are often based on assumption (A): magnitude of input gradients—gradients of logits with respect to input—noisily highlight discriminative task-relevant features. In this work, we test the validity of assumption (A) using a three-pronged approach:1. We develop an evaluation framework, DiffROAR, to test assumption (A) on four image classification benchmarks. Our results suggest that (i) input gradients of standard models (i.e., trained on original data) may grossly violate (A), whereas (ii) input gradients of adversarially robust models satisfy (A).2. We then introduce BlockMNIST, an MNIST-based semi-real dataset, that by design encodes a priori knowledge of discriminative features. Our analysis on BlockMNIST leverages this information to validate as well as characterize differences between input gradient attributions of standard and robust models.3. Finally, we theoretically prove that our empirical findings hold on a simplified version of the BlockMNIST dataset. Specifically, we prove that input gradients of standard one-hidden-layer MLPs trained on this dataset do not highlight instance-specific signal coordinates, thus grossly violating assumption (A).Our findings motivate the need to formalize and test common assumptions in interpretability in a falsifiable manner [Leavitt and Morcos, 2020]. We believe that the DiffROAR evaluation framework and BlockMNIST-based datasets can serve as sanity checks to audit instance-specific interpretability methods; code and data available at

Word2Fun: Modelling Words as Functions for Diachronic Word Representation

Benyou Wang · Emanuele Di Buccio · Massimo Melucci

Word meaning may change over time as a reflection of changes in human society. Therefore, modeling time in word representation is necessary for some diachronic tasks. Most existing diachronic word representation approaches train the embeddings separately for each pre-grouped time-stamped corpus and align these embeddings, e.g., by orthogonal projections, vector initialization, temporal referencing, and compass. However, not only does word meaning change in a short time, word meaning may also be subject to evolution over long timespans, thus resulting in a unified continuous process. A recent approach called `DiffTime' models semantic evolution as functions parameterized by multiple-layer nonlinear neural networks over time. In this paper, we will carry on this line of work by learning explicit functions over time for each word. Our approach, called `Word2Fun', reduces the space complexity from $\mathcal{O}(TVD)$ to $\mathcal{O}(kVD)$ where $k$ is a small constant ($k \ll T $). In particular, a specific instance based on polynomial functions could provably approximate any function modeling word evolution with a given negligible error thanks to the Weierstrass Approximation Theorem. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is evaluated in diverse tasks including time-aware word clustering, temporal analogy, and semantic change detection. Code at: {\url{}}.

Object-Aware Regularization for Addressing Causal Confusion in Imitation Learning

Jongjin Park · Younggyo Seo · Chang Liu · Li Zhao · Tao Qin · Jinwoo Shin · Tie-Yan Liu

Behavioral cloning has proven to be effective for learning sequential decision-making policies from expert demonstrations. However, behavioral cloning often suffers from the causal confusion problem where a policy relies on the noticeable effect of expert actions due to the strong correlation but not the cause we desire. This paper presents Object-aware REgularizatiOn (OREO), a simple technique that regularizes an imitation policy in an object-aware manner. Our main idea is to encourage a policy to uniformly attend to all semantic objects, in order to prevent the policy from exploiting nuisance variables strongly correlated with expert actions. To this end, we introduce a two-stage approach: (a) we extract semantic objects from images by utilizing discrete codes from a vector-quantized variational autoencoder, and (b) we randomly drop the units that share the same discrete code together, i.e., masking out semantic objects. Our experiments demonstrate that OREO significantly improves the performance of behavioral cloning, outperforming various other regularization and causality-based methods on a variety of Atari environments and a self-driving CARLA environment. We also show that our method even outperforms inverse reinforcement learning methods trained with a considerable amount of environment interaction.

Contextual Similarity Aggregation with Self-attention for Visual Re-ranking

Jianbo Ouyang · Hui Wu · Min Wang · Wengang Zhou · Houqiang Li

In content-based image retrieval, the first-round retrieval result by simple visual feature comparison may be unsatisfactory, which can be refined by visual re-ranking techniques. In image retrieval, it is observed that the contextual similarity among the top-ranked images is an important clue to distinguish the semantic relevance. Inspired by this observation, in this paper, we propose a visual re-ranking method by contextual similarity aggregation with self-attention. In our approach, for each image in the top-K ranking list, we represent it into an affinity feature vector by comparing it with a set of anchor images. Then, the affinity features of the top-K images are refined by aggregating the contextual information with a transformer encoder. Finally, the affinity features are used to recalculate the similarity scores between the query and the top-K images for re-ranking of the latter. To further improve the robustness of our re-ranking model and enhance the performance of our method, a new data augmentation scheme is designed. Since our re-ranking model is not directly involved with the visual feature used in the initial retrieval, it is ready to be applied to retrieval result lists obtained from various retrieval algorithms. We conduct comprehensive experiments on four benchmark datasets to demonstrate the generality and effectiveness of our proposed visual re-ranking method.

Deep learning is adaptive to intrinsic dimensionality of model smoothness in anisotropic Besov space

Taiji Suzuki · Atsushi Nitanda

Deep learning has exhibited superior performance for various tasks, especially for high-dimensional datasets, such as images. To understand this property, we investigate the approximation and estimation ability of deep learning on {\it anisotropic Besov spaces}.The anisotropic Besov space is characterized by direction-dependent smoothness and includes several function classes that have been investigated thus far.We demonstrate that the approximation error and estimation error of deep learning only depend on the average value of the smoothness parameters in all directions. Consequently, the curse of dimensionality can be avoided if the smoothness of the target function is highly anisotropic.Unlike existing studies, our analysis does not require a low-dimensional structure of the input data.We also investigate the minimax optimality of deep learning and compare its performance with that of the kernel method (more generally, linear estimators).The results show that deep learning has better dependence on the input dimensionality if the target function possesses anisotropic smoothness, and it achieves an adaptive rate for functions with spatially inhomogeneous smoothness.

Control Variates for Slate Off-Policy Evaluation

Nikos Vlassis · Ashok Chandrashekar · Fernando Amat · Nathan Kallus

We study the problem of off-policy evaluation from batched contextual bandit data with multidimensional actions, often termed slates. The problem is common to recommender systems and user-interface optimization, and it is particularly challenging because of the combinatorially-sized action space. Swaminathan et al. (2017) have proposed the pseudoinverse (PI) estimator under the assumption that the conditional mean rewards are additive in actions. Using control variates, we consider a large class of unbiased estimators that includes as specific cases the PI estimator and (asymptotically) its self-normalized variant. By optimizing over this class, we obtain new estimators with risk improvement guarantees over both the PI and the self-normalized PI estimators. Experiments with real-world recommender data as well as synthetic data validate these improvements in practice.

Debiased Visual Question Answering from Feature and Sample Perspectives

Zhiquan Wen · Guanghui Xu · Mingkui Tan · Qingyao Wu · Qi Wu

Visual question answering (VQA) is designed to examine the visual-textual reasoning ability of an intelligent agent. However, recent observations show that many VQA models may only capture the biases between questions and answers in a dataset rather than showing real reasoning abilities. For example, given a question, some VQA models tend to output the answer that occurs frequently in the dataset and ignore the images. To reduce this tendency, existing methods focus on weakening the language bias. Meanwhile, only a few works also consider vision bias implicitly. However, these methods introduce additional annotations or show unsatisfactory performance. Moreover, not all biases are harmful to the models. Some “biases” learnt from datasets represent natural rules of the world and can help limit the range of answers. Thus, how to filter and remove the true negative biases in language and vision modalities remain a major challenge. In this paper, we propose a method named D-VQA to alleviate the above challenges from the feature and sample perspectives. Specifically, from the feature perspective, we build a question-to-answer and vision-to-answer branch to capture the language and vision biases, respectively. Next, we apply two unimodal bias detection modules to explicitly recognise and remove the negative biases. From the sample perspective, we construct two types of negative samples to assist the training of the models, without introducing additional annotations. Extensive experiments on the VQA-CP v2 and VQA v2 datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our D-VQA method.

Mixed Supervised Object Detection by Transferring Mask Prior and Semantic Similarity

Yan Liu · Zhijie Zhang · Li Niu · Junjie Chen · Liqing Zhang

Object detection has achieved promising success, but requires large-scale fully-annotated data, which is time-consuming and labor-extensive. Therefore, we consider object detection with mixed supervision, which learns novel object categories using weak annotations with the help of full annotations of existing base object categories. Previous works using mixed supervision mainly learn the class-agnostic objectness from fully-annotated categories, which can be transferred to upgrade the weak annotations to pseudo full annotations for novel categories. In this paper, we further transfer mask prior and semantic similarity to bridge the gap between novel categories and base categories. Specifically, the ability of using mask prior to help detect objects is learned from base categories and transferred to novel categories. Moreover, the semantic similarity between objects learned from base categories is transferred to denoise the pseudo full annotations for novel categories. Experimental results on three benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our method over existing methods. Codes are available at

Celebrating Diversity in Shared Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

Chenghao Li · Tonghan Wang · Chengjie Wu · Qianchuan Zhao · Jun Yang · Chongjie Zhang

Recently, deep multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) has shown the promise to solve complex cooperative tasks. Its success is partly because of parameter sharing among agents. However, such sharing may lead agents to behave similarly and limit their coordination capacity. In this paper, we aim to introduce diversity in both optimization and representation of shared multi-agent reinforcement learning. Specifically, we propose an information-theoretical regularization to maximize the mutual information between agents' identities and their trajectories, encouraging extensive exploration and diverse individualized behaviors. In representation, we incorporate agent-specific modules in the shared neural network architecture, which are regularized by L1-norm to promote learning sharing among agents while keeping necessary diversity. Empirical results show that our method achieves state-of-the-art performance on Google Research Football and super hard StarCraft II micromanagement tasks.

Optimizing Conditional Value-At-Risk of Black-Box Functions

Quoc Phong Nguyen · Zhongxiang Dai · Bryan Kian Hsiang Low · Patrick Jaillet

This paper presents two Bayesian optimization (BO) algorithms with theoretical performance guarantee to maximize the conditional value-at-risk (CVaR) of a black-box function: CV-UCB and CV-TS which are based on the well-established principle of optimism in the face of uncertainty and Thompson sampling, respectively. To achieve this, we develop an upper confidence bound of CVaR and prove the no-regret guarantee of CV-UCB by utilizing an interesting connection between CVaR and value-at-risk (VaR). For CV-TS, though it is straightforwardly performed with Thompson sampling, bounding its Bayesian regret is non-trivial because it requires a tail expectation bound for the distribution of CVaR of a black-box function, which has not been shown in the literature. The performances of both CV-UCB and CV-TS are empirically evaluated in optimizing CVaR of synthetic benchmark functions and simulated real-world optimization problems.

Revitalizing CNN Attention via Transformers in Self-Supervised Visual Representation Learning

Chongjian GE · Youwei Liang · YIBING SONG · Jianbo Jiao · Jue Wang · Ping Luo

Studies on self-supervised visual representation learning (SSL) improve encoder backbones to discriminate training samples without labels. While CNN encoders via SSL achieve comparable recognition performance to those via supervised learning, their network attention is under-explored for further improvement. Motivated by the transformers that explore visual attention effectively in recognition scenarios, we propose a CNN Attention REvitalization (CARE) framework to train attentive CNN encoders guided by transformers in SSL. The proposed CARE framework consists of a CNN stream (C-stream) and a transformer stream (T-stream), where each stream contains two branches. C-stream follows an existing SSL framework with two CNN encoders, two projectors, and a predictor. T-stream contains two transformers, two projectors, and a predictor. T-stream connects to CNN encoders and is in parallel to the remaining C-Stream. During training, we perform SSL in both streams simultaneously and use the T-stream output to supervise C-stream. The features from CNN encoders are modulated in T-stream for visual attention enhancement and become suitable for the SSL scenario. We use these modulated features to supervise C-stream for learning attentive CNN encoders. To this end, we revitalize CNN attention by using transformers as guidance. Experiments on several standard visual recognition benchmarks, including image classification, object detection, and semantic segmentation, show that the proposed CARE framework improves CNN encoder backbones to the state-of-the-art performance.

How Should Pre-Trained Language Models Be Fine-Tuned Towards Adversarial Robustness?

Xinshuai Dong · Anh Tuan Luu · Min Lin · Shuicheng Yan · Hanwang Zhang

The fine-tuning of pre-trained language models has a great success in many NLP fields. Yet, it is strikingly vulnerable to adversarial examples, e.g., word substitution attacks using only synonyms can easily fool a BERT-based sentiment analysis model. In this paper, we demonstrate that adversarial training, the prevalent defense technique, does not directly fit a conventional fine-tuning scenario, because it suffers severely from catastrophic forgetting: failing to retain the generic and robust linguistic features that have already been captured by the pre-trained model. In this light, we propose Robust Informative Fine-Tuning (RIFT), a novel adversarial fine-tuning method from an information-theoretical perspective. In particular, RIFT encourages an objective model to retain the features learned from the pre-trained model throughout the entire fine-tuning process, whereas a conventional one only uses the pre-trained weights for initialization. Experimental results show that RIFT consistently outperforms the state-of-the-arts on two popular NLP tasks: sentiment analysis and natural language inference, under different attacks across various pre-trained language models.

Faster Directional Convergence of Linear Neural Networks under Spherically Symmetric Data

Dachao Lin · Ruoyu Sun · Zhihua Zhang

In this paper, we study gradient methods for training deep linear neural networks with binary cross-entropy loss. In particular, we show global directional convergence guarantees from a polynomial rate to a linear rate for (deep) linear networks with spherically symmetric data distribution, which can be viewed as a specific zero-margin dataset. Our results do not require the assumptions in other works such as small initial loss, presumed convergence of weight direction, or overparameterization. We also characterize our findings in experiments.

Neural Additive Models: Interpretable Machine Learning with Neural Nets

Rishabh Agarwal · Levi Melnick · Nicholas Frosst · Xuezhou Zhang · Ben Lengerich · Rich Caruana · Geoffrey Hinton

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are powerful black-box predictors that have achieved impressive performance on a wide variety of tasks. However, their accuracy comes at the cost of intelligibility: it is usually unclear how they make their decisions. This hinders their applicability to high stakes decision-making domains such as healthcare. We propose Neural Additive Models (NAMs) which combine some of the expressivity of DNNs with the inherent intelligibility of generalized additive models. NAMs learn a linear combination of neural networks that each attend to a single input feature. These networks are trained jointly and can learn arbitrarily complex relationships between their input feature and the output. Our experiments on regression and classification datasets show that NAMs are more accurate than widely used intelligible models such as logistic regression and shallow decision trees. They perform similarly to existing state-of-the-art generalized additive models in accuracy, but are more flexible because they are based on neural nets instead of boosted trees. To demonstrate this, we show how NAMs can be used for multitask learning on synthetic data and on the COMPAS recidivism data due to their composability, and demonstrate that the differentiability of NAMs allows them to train more complex interpretable models for COVID-19.

Batch Normalization Orthogonalizes Representations in Deep Random Networks

Hadi Daneshmand · Amir Joudaki · Francis Bach

This paper underlines an elegant property of batch-normalization (BN): Successive batch normalizations with random linear updates make samples increasingly orthogonal. We establish a non-asymptotic characterization of the interplay between depth, width, and the orthogonality of deep representations. More precisely, we prove, under a mild assumption, the deviation of the representations from orthogonality rapidly decays with depth up to a term inversely proportional to the network width. This result has two main theoretical and practical implications: 1) Theoretically, as the depth grows, the distribution of the outputs contracts to a Wasserstein-2 ball around an isotropic normal distribution. Furthermore, the radius of this Wasserstein ball shrinks with the width of the network. 2) Practically, the orthogonality of the representations directly influences the performance of stochastic gradient descent (SGD). When representations are initially aligned, we observe SGD wastes many iterations to disentangle representations before the classification. Nevertheless, we experimentally show that starting optimization from orthogonal representations is sufficient to accelerate SGD, with no need for BN.

Provable Guarantees for Self-Supervised Deep Learning with Spectral Contrastive Loss

Jeff Z. HaoChen · Colin Wei · Adrien Gaidon · Tengyu Ma

Recent works in self-supervised learning have advanced the state-of-the-art by relying on the contrastive learning paradigm, which learns representations by pushing positive pairs, or similar examples from the same class, closer together while keeping negative pairs far apart. Despite the empirical successes, theoretical foundations are limited -- prior analyses assume conditional independence of the positive pairs given the same class label, but recent empirical applications use heavily correlated positive pairs (i.e., data augmentations of the same image). Our work analyzes contrastive learning without assuming conditional independence of positive pairs using a novel concept of the augmentation graph on data. Edges in this graph connect augmentations of the same data, and ground-truth classes naturally form connected sub-graphs. We propose a loss that performs spectral decomposition on the population augmentation graph and can be succinctly written as a contrastive learning objective on neural net representations. Minimizing this objective leads to features with provable accuracy guarantees under linear probe evaluation. By standard generalization bounds, these accuracy guarantees also hold when minimizing the training contrastive loss. In all, this work provides the first provable analysis for contrastive learning where the guarantees can apply to realistic empirical settings.

Convex Polytope Trees

Mohammadreza Armandpour · Ali Sadeghian · Mingyuan Zhou

A decision tree is commonly restricted to use a single hyperplane to split the covariate space at each of its internal nodes. It often requires a large number of nodes to achieve high accuracy. In this paper, we propose convex polytope trees (CPT) to expand the family of decision trees by an interpretable generalization of their decision boundary. The splitting function at each node of CPT is based on the logical disjunction of a community of differently weighted probabilistic linear decision-makers, which also geometrically corresponds to a convex polytope in the covariate space. We use a nonparametric Bayesian prior at each node to infer the community's size, encouraging simpler decision boundaries by shrinking the number of polytope facets. We develop a greedy method to efficiently construct CPT and scalable end-to-end training algorithms for the tree parameters when the tree structure is given. We empirically demonstrate the efficiency of CPT over existing state-of-the-art decision trees in several real-world classification and regression tasks from diverse domains.

Capturing implicit hierarchical structure in 3D biomedical images with self-supervised hyperbolic representations

Joy Hsu · Jeffrey Gu · Gong Wu · Wah Chiu · Serena Yeung

We consider the task of representation learning for unsupervised segmentation of 3D voxel-grid biomedical images. We show that models that capture implicit hierarchical relationships between subvolumes are better suited for this task. To that end, we consider encoder-decoder architectures with a hyperbolic latent space, to explicitly capture hierarchical relationships present in subvolumes of the data. We propose utilizing a 3D hyperbolic variational autoencoder with a novel gyroplane convolutional layer to map from the embedding space back to 3D images. To capture these relationships, we introduce an essential self-supervised loss---in addition to the standard VAE loss---which infers approximate hierarchies and encourages implicitly related subvolumes to be mapped closer in the embedding space. We present experiments on synthetic datasets along with a dataset from the medical domain to validate our hypothesis.

When Is Unsupervised Disentanglement Possible?

Daniella Horan · Eitan Richardson · Yair Weiss

A common assumption in many domains is that high dimensional data are a smooth nonlinear function of a small number of independent factors. When is it possible to recover the factors from unlabeled data? In the context of deep models this problem is called “disentanglement” and was recently shown to be impossible without additional strong assumptions [17, 19]. In this paper, we show that the assumption of local isometry together with non-Gaussianity of the factors, is sufficient to provably recover disentangled representations from data. We leverage recent advances in deep generative models to construct manifolds of highly realistic images for which the ground truth latent representation is known, and test whether modern and classical methods succeed in recovering the latent factors. For many different manifolds, we find that a spectral method that explicitly optimizes local isometry and non-Gaussianity consistently finds the correct latent factors, while baseline deep autoencoders do not. We propose how to encourage deep autoencoders to find encodings that satisfy local isometry and show that this helps them discover disentangled representations. Overall, our results suggest that in some realistic settings, unsupervised disentanglement is provably possible, without any domain-specific assumptions.

SPANN: Highly-efficient Billion-scale Approximate Nearest Neighborhood Search

Qi Chen · Bing Zhao · Haidong Wang · Mingqin Li · Chuanjie Liu · Zengzhong Li · Mao Yang · Jingdong Wang

The in-memory algorithms for approximate nearest neighbor search (ANNS) have achieved great success for fast high-recall search, but are extremely expensive when handling very large scale database. Thus, there is an increasing request for the hybrid ANNS solutions with small memory and inexpensive solid-state drive (SSD). In this paper, we present a simple but efficient memory-disk hybrid indexing and search system, named SPANN, that follows the inverted index methodology. It stores the centroid points of the posting lists in the memory and the large posting lists in the disk. We guarantee both disk-access efficiency (low latency) and high recall by effectively reducing the disk-access number and retrieving high-quality posting lists. In the index-building stage, we adopt a hierarchical balanced clustering algorithm to balance the length of posting lists and augment the posting list by adding the points in the closure of the corresponding clusters. In the search stage, we use a query-aware scheme to dynamically prune the access of unnecessary posting lists. Experiment results demonstrate that SPANN is 2X faster than the state-of-the-art ANNS solution DiskANN to reach the same recall quality 90% with same memory cost in three billion-scale datasets. It can reach 90% recall@1 and recall@10 in just around one millisecond with only about 10% of original memory cost. Code is available at:

Efficient Equivariant Network

Lingshen He · Yuxuan Chen · zhengyang shen · Yiming Dong · Yisen Wang · Zhouchen Lin

Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have dominated the field of Computer Vision and achieved great success due to their built-in translation equivariance. Group equivariant CNNs (G-CNNs) that incorporate more equivariance can significantly improve the performance of conventional CNNs. However, G-CNNs are faced with two major challenges: \emph{spatial-agnostic problem} and \emph{expensive computational cost}. In this work, we propose a general framework of previous equivariant models, which includes G-CNNs and equivariant self-attention layers as special cases. Under this framework, we explicitly decompose the feature aggregation operation into a kernel generator and an encoder, and decouple the spatial and extra geometric dimensions in the computation. Therefore, our filters are essentially dynamic rather than being spatial-agnostic. We further show that our \emph{E}quivariant model is parameter \emph{E}fficient and computation \emph{E}fficient by complexity analysis, and also data \emph{E}fficient by experiments, so we call our model $E^4$-Net. Extensive experiments verify that our model can significantly improve previous works with smaller model size.Especially, under the setting of training on $1/5$ data of CIFAR10, our model improves G-CNNs by $5\%+$ accuracy,while using only $56\%$ parameters and $68\%$ FLOPs.

Even your Teacher Needs Guidance: Ground-Truth Targets Dampen Regularization Imposed by Self-Distillation

Kenneth Borup · Lars N Andersen

Knowledge distillation is classically a procedure where a neural network is trained on the output of another network along with the original targets in order to transfer knowledge between the architectures. The special case of self-distillation, where the network architectures are identical, has been observed to improve generalization accuracy. In this paper, we consider an iterative variant of self-distillation in a kernel regression setting, in which successive steps incorporate both model outputs and the ground-truth targets. This allows us to provide the first theoretical results on the importance of using the weighted ground-truth targets in self-distillation. Our focus is on fitting nonlinear functions to training data with a weighted mean square error objective function suitable for distillation, subject to $\ell_2$ regularization of the model parameters. We show that any such function obtained with self-distillation can be calculated directly as a function of the initial fit, and that infinite distillation steps yields the same optimization problem as the original with amplified regularization. Furthermore, we provide a closed form solution for the optimal choice of weighting parameter at each step, and show how to efficiently estimate this weighting parameter for deep learning and significantly reduce the computational requirements compared to a grid search.

A Trainable Spectral-Spatial Sparse Coding Model for Hyperspectral Image Restoration

Theo Bodrito · Alexandre Zouaoui · Jocelyn Chanussot · Julien Mairal

Hyperspectral imaging offers new perspectives for diverse applications, ranging from the monitoring of the environment using airborne or satellite remote sensing, precision farming, food safety, planetary exploration, or astrophysics. Unfortunately, the spectral diversity of information comes at the expense of various sources of degradation, and the lack of accurate ground-truth "clean" hyperspectral signals acquired on the spot makes restoration tasks challenging. In particular, training deep neural networks for restoration is difficult, in contrast to traditional RGB imaging problems where deep models tend to shine. In this paper, we advocate instead for a hybrid approach based on sparse coding principles that retain the interpretability of classical techniques encoding domain knowledge with handcrafted image priors, while allowing to train model parameters end-to-end without massive amounts of data. We show on various denoising benchmarks that our method is computationally efficient and significantly outperforms the state of the art.

Improve Agents without Retraining: Parallel Tree Search with Off-Policy Correction

Gal Dalal · Assaf Hallak · Steven Dalton · iuri frosio · Shie Mannor · Gal Chechik

Tree Search (TS) is crucial to some of the most influential successes in reinforcement learning. Here, we tackle two major challenges with TS that limit its usability: \textit{distribution shift} and \textit{scalability}. We first discover and analyze a counter-intuitive phenomenon: action selection through TS and a pre-trained value function often leads to lower performance compared to the original pre-trained agent, even when having access to the exact state and reward in future steps. We show this is due to a distribution shift to areas where value estimates are highly inaccurate and analyze this effect using Extreme Value theory. To overcome this problem, we introduce a novel off-policy correction term that accounts for the mismatch between the pre-trained value and its corresponding TS policy by penalizing under-sampled trajectories. We prove that our correction eliminates the above mismatch and bound the probability of sub-optimal action selection. Our correction significantly improves pre-trained Rainbow agents without any further training, often more than doubling their scores on Atari games. Next, we address the scalability issue given by the computational complexity of exhaustive TS that scales exponentially with the tree depth. We introduce Batch-BFS: a GPU breadth-first search that advances all nodes in each depth of the tree simultaneously. Batch-BFS reduces runtime by two orders of magnitude and, beyond inference, enables also training with TS of depths that were not feasible before. We train DQN agents from scratch using TS and show improvement in several Atari games compared to both the original DQN and the more advanced Rainbow. We will share the code upon publication.

Contrastive Laplacian Eigenmaps

Hao Zhu · Ke Sun · Peter Koniusz

Graph contrastive learning attracts/disperses node representations for similar/dissimilar node pairs under some notion of similarity. It may be combined with a low-dimensional embedding of nodes to preserve intrinsic and structural properties of a graph. In this paper, we extend the celebrated Laplacian Eigenmaps with contrastive learning, and call them COntrastive Laplacian EigenmapS (COLES). Starting from a GAN-inspired contrastive formulation, we show that the Jensen-Shannon divergence underlying many contrastive graph embedding models fails under disjoint positive and negative distributions, which may naturally emerge during sampling in the contrastive setting. In contrast, we demonstrate analytically that COLES essentially minimizes a surrogate of Wasserstein distance, which is known to cope well under disjoint distributions. Moreover, we show that the loss of COLES belongs to the family of so-called block-contrastive losses, previously shown to be superior compared to pair-wise losses typically used by contrastive methods. We show on popular benchmarks/backbones that COLES offers favourable accuracy/scalability compared to DeepWalk, GCN, Graph2Gauss, DGI and GRACE baselines.

Dynamic Grained Encoder for Vision Transformers

Lin Song · Songyang Zhang · Songtao Liu · Zeming Li · Xuming He · Hongbin Sun · Jian Sun · Nanning Zheng

Transformers, the de-facto standard for language modeling, have been recently applied for vision tasks. This paper introduces sparse queries for vision transformers to exploit the intrinsic spatial redundancy of natural images and save computational costs. Specifically, we propose a Dynamic Grained Encoder for vision transformers, which can adaptively assign a suitable number of queries to each spatial region. Thus it achieves a fine-grained representation in discriminative regions while keeping high efficiency. Besides, the dynamic grained encoder is compatible with most vision transformer frameworks. Without bells and whistles, our encoder allows the state-of-the-art vision transformers to reduce computational complexity by 40%-60% while maintaining comparable performance on image classification. Extensive experiments on object detection and segmentation further demonstrate the generalizability of our approach. Code is available at

A 3D Generative Model for Structure-Based Drug Design

Shitong Luo · Jiaqi Guan · Jianzhu Ma · Jian Peng

We study a fundamental problem in structure-based drug design --- generating molecules that bind to specific protein binding sites. While we have witnessed the great success of deep generative models in drug design, the existing methods are mostly string-based or graph-based. They are limited by the lack of spatial information and thus unable to be applied to structure-based design tasks. Particularly, such models have no or little knowledge of how molecules interact with their target proteins exactly in 3D space. In this paper, we propose a 3D generative model that generates molecules given a designated 3D protein binding site. Specifically, given a binding site as the 3D context, our model estimates the probability density of atom's occurrences in 3D space --- positions that are more likely to have atoms will be assigned higher probability. To generate 3D molecules, we propose an auto-regressive sampling scheme --- atoms are sampled sequentially from the learned distribution until there is no room for new atoms. Combined with this sampling scheme, our model can generate valid and diverse molecules, which could be applicable to various structure-based molecular design tasks such as molecule sampling and linker design. Experimental results demonstrate that molecules sampled from our model exhibit high binding affinity to specific targets and good drug properties such as drug-likeness even if the model is not explicitly optimized for them.

Robust Pose Estimation in Crowded Scenes with Direct Pose-Level Inference

Dongkai Wang · Shiliang Zhang · Gang Hua

Multi-person pose estimation in crowded scenes is challenging because overlapping and occlusions make it difficult to detect person bounding boxes and infer pose cues from individual keypoints. To address those issues, this paper proposes a direct pose-level inference strategy that is free of bounding box detection and keypoint grouping. Instead of inferring individual keypoints, the Pose-level Inference Network (PINet) directly infers the complete pose cues for a person from his/her visible body parts. PINet first applies the Part-based Pose Generation (PPG) to infer multiple coarse poses for each person from his/her body parts. Those coarse poses are refined by the Pose Refinement module through incorporating pose priors, and finally are fused in the Pose Fusion module. PINet relies on discriminative body parts to differentiate overlapped persons, and applies visual body cues to infer the global pose cues. Experiments on several crowded scenes pose estimation benchmarks demonstrate the superiority of PINet. For instance, it achieves 59.8% AP on the OCHuman dataset, outperforming the recent works by a large margin.

Contrastive Graph Poisson Networks: Semi-Supervised Learning with Extremely Limited Labels

Sheng Wan · Yibing Zhan · Liu Liu · Baosheng Yu · Shirui Pan · Chen Gong

Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have achieved remarkable performance in the task of semi-supervised node classification. However, most existing GNN models require sufficient labeled data for effective network training. Their performance can be seriously degraded when labels are extremely limited. To address this issue, we propose a new framework termed Contrastive Graph Poisson Networks (CGPN) for node classification under extremely limited labeled data. Specifically, our CGPN derives from variational inference; integrates a newly designed Graph Poisson Network (GPN) to effectively propagate the limited labels to the entire graph and a normal GNN, such as Graph Attention Network, that flexibly guides the propagation of GPN; applies a contrastive objective to further exploit the supervision information from the learning process of GPN and GNN models. Essentially, our CGPN can enhance the learning performance of GNNs under extremely limited labels by contrastively propagating the limited labels to the entire graph. We conducted extensive experiments on different types of datasets to demonstrate the superiority of CGPN.

Generalized and Discriminative Few-Shot Object Detection via SVD-Dictionary Enhancement

Aming WU · Suqi Zhao · Cheng Deng · Wei Liu

Few-shot object detection (FSOD) aims to detect new objects based on few annotated samples. To alleviate the impact of few samples, enhancing the generalization and discrimination abilities of detectors on new objects plays an important role. In this paper, we explore employing Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) to boost both the generalization and discrimination abilities. In specific, we propose a novel method, namely, SVD-Dictionary enhancement, to build two separated spaces based on the sorted singular values. Concretely, the eigenvectors corresponding to larger singular values are used to build the generalization space in which localization is performed, as these eigenvectors generally suppress certain variations (e.g., the variation of styles) and contain intrinsical characteristics of objects. Meanwhile, since the eigenvectors corresponding to relatively smaller singular values may contain richer category-related information, we can utilize them to build the discrimination space in which classification is performed. Dictionary learning is further leveraged to capture high-level discriminative information from the discrimination space, which is beneficial for improving detection accuracy. In the experiments, we separately verify the effectiveness of our method on PASCAL VOC and COCO benchmarks. Particularly, for the 2-shot case in VOC split1, our method significantly outperforms the baseline by 6.2\%. Moreover, visualization analysis shows that our method is instrumental in doing FSOD.

Self-Instantiated Recurrent Units with Dynamic Soft Recursion

Aston Zhang · Yi Tay · Yikang Shen · Alvin Chan · SHUAI ZHANG

While standard recurrent neural networks explicitly impose a chain structure on different forms of data, they do not have an explicit bias towards recursive self-instantiation where the extent of recursion is dynamic. Given diverse and even growing data modalities (e.g., logic, algorithmic input and output, music, code, images, and language) that can be expressed in sequences and may benefit from more architectural flexibility, we propose the self-instantiated recurrent unit (Self-IRU) with a novel inductive bias towards dynamic soft recursion. On one hand, theSelf-IRU is characterized by recursive self-instantiation via its gating functions, i.e., gating mechanisms of the Self-IRU are controlled by instances of the Self-IRU itself, which are repeatedly invoked in a recursive fashion. On the other hand, the extent of the Self-IRU recursion is controlled by gates whose values are between 0 and 1 and may vary across the temporal dimension of sequences, enabling dynamic soft recursion depth at each time step. The architectural flexibility and effectiveness of our proposed approach are demonstrated across multiple data modalities. For example, the Self-IRU achieves state-of-the-art performance on the logical inference dataset [Bowman et al., 2014] even when comparing with competitive models that have access to ground-truth syntactic information.

Greedy and Random Quasi-Newton Methods with Faster Explicit Superlinear Convergence

Dachao Lin · Haishan Ye · Zhihua Zhang

In this paper, we follow Rodomanov and Nesterov’s work to study quasi-Newton methods. We focus on the common SR1 and BFGS quasi-Newton methods to establish better explicit (local) superlinear convergence rates. First, based on the greedy quasi-Newton update which greedily selects the direction to maximize a certain measure of progress, we improve the convergence rate to a condition-number-free superlinear convergence rate. Second, based on the random quasi-Newton update that selects the direction randomly from a spherically symmetric distribution, we show the same superlinear convergence rate established as above. Our analysis is closely related to the approximation of a given Hessian matrix, unconstrained quadratic objective, as well as the general strongly convex, smooth, and strongly self-concordant functions.

Loss function based second-order Jensen inequality and its application to particle variational inference

Futoshi Futami · Tomoharu Iwata · naonori ueda · Issei Sato · Masashi Sugiyama

Bayesian model averaging, obtained as the expectation of a likelihood function by a posterior distribution, has been widely used for prediction, evaluation of uncertainty, and model selection. Various approaches have been developed to efficiently capture the information in the posterior distribution; one such approach is the optimization of a set of models simultaneously with interaction to ensure the diversity of the individual models in the same way as ensemble learning. A representative approach is particle variational inference (PVI), which uses an ensemble of models as an empirical approximation for the posterior distribution. PVI iteratively updates each model with a repulsion force to ensure the diversity of the optimized models. However, despite its promising performance, a theoretical understanding of this repulsion and its association with the generalization ability remains unclear. In this paper, we tackle this problem in light of PAC-Bayesian analysis. First, we provide a new second-order Jensen inequality, which has the repulsion term based on the loss function. Thanks to the repulsion term, it is tighter than the standard Jensen inequality. Then, we derive a novel generalization error bound and show that it can be reduced by enhancing the diversity of models. Finally, we derive a new PVI that optimizes the generalization error bound directly. Numerical experiments demonstrate that the performance of the proposed PVI compares favorably with existing methods in the experiment.

An Empirical Study of Adder Neural Networks for Object Detection

Xinghao Chen · Chang Xu · Minjing Dong · Chunjing XU · Yunhe Wang

Adder neural networks (AdderNets) have shown impressive performance on image classification with only addition operations, which are more energy efficient than traditional convolutional neural networks built with multiplications. Compared with classification, there is a strong demand on reducing the energy consumption of modern object detectors via AdderNets for real-world applications such as autonomous driving and face detection. In this paper, we present an empirical study of AdderNets for object detection. We first reveal that the batch normalization statistics in the pre-trained adder backbone should not be frozen, since the relatively large feature variance of AdderNets. Moreover, we insert more shortcut connections in the neck part and design a new feature fusion architecture for avoiding the sparse features of adder layers. We present extensive ablation studies to explore several design choices of adder detectors. Comparisons with state-of-the-arts are conducted on COCO and PASCAL VOC benchmarks. Specifically, the proposed Adder FCOS achieves a 37.8% AP on the COCO val set, demonstrating comparable performance to that of the convolutional counterpart with an about $1.4\times$ energy reduction.

ABC: Auxiliary Balanced Classifier for Class-imbalanced Semi-supervised Learning

Hyuck Lee · Seungjae Shin · Heeyoung Kim

Existing semi-supervised learning (SSL) algorithms typically assume class-balanced datasets, although the class distributions of many real world datasets are imbalanced. In general, classifiers trained on a class-imbalanced dataset are biased toward the majority classes. This issue becomes more problematic for SSL algorithms because they utilize the biased prediction of unlabeled data for training. However, traditional class-imbalanced learning techniques, which are designed for labeled data, cannot be readily combined with SSL algorithms. We propose a scalable class-imbalanced SSL algorithm that can effectively use unlabeled data, while mitigating class imbalance by introducing an auxiliary balanced classifier (ABC) of a single layer, which is attached to a representation layer of an existing SSL algorithm. The ABC is trained with a class-balanced loss of a minibatch, while using high-quality representations learned from all data points in the minibatch using the backbone SSL algorithm to avoid overfitting and information loss. Moreover, we use consistency regularization, a recent SSL technique for utilizing unlabeled data in a modified way, to train the ABC to be balanced among the classes by selecting unlabeled data with the same probability for each class. The proposed algorithm achieves state-of-the-art performance in various class-imbalanced SSL experiments using four benchmark datasets.

Discovering Dynamic Salient Regions for Spatio-Temporal Graph Neural Networks

Iulia Duta · Andrei Nicolicioiu · Marius Leordeanu

Graph Neural Networks are perfectly suited to capture latent interactions between various entities in the spatio-temporal domain (e.g. videos). However, when an explicit structure is not available, it is not obvious what atomic elements should be represented as nodes. Current works generally use pre-trained object detectors or fixed, predefined regions to extract graph nodes. Improving upon this, our proposed model learns nodes that dynamically attach to well-delimited salient regions, which are relevant for a higher-level task, without using any object-level supervision. Constructing these localized, adaptive nodes gives our model inductive bias towards object-centric representations and we show that it discovers regions that are well correlated with objects in the video. In extensive ablation studies and experiments on two challenging datasets, we show superior performance to previous graph neural networks models for video classification.

Weak-shot Fine-grained Classification via Similarity Transfer

Junjie Chen · Li Niu · Liu Liu · Liqing Zhang

Recognizing fine-grained categories remains a challenging task, due to the subtle distinctions among different subordinate categories, which results in the need of abundant annotated samples. To alleviate the data-hungry problem, we consider the problem of learning novel categories from web data with the support of a clean set of base categories, which is referred to as weak-shot learning. In this setting, we propose a method called SimTrans to transfer pairwise semantic similarity from base categories to novel categories. Specifically, we firstly train a similarity net on clean data, and then leverage the transferred similarity to denoise web training data using two simple yet effective strategies. In addition, we apply adversarial loss on similarity net to enhance the transferability of similarity. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our weak-shot setting and our SimTrans method.

On Optimal Robustness to Adversarial Corruption in Online Decision Problems

Shinji Ito

This paper considers two fundamental sequential decision-making problems: the problem of prediction with expert advice and the multi-armed bandit problem. We focus on stochastic regimes in which an adversary may corrupt losses, and we investigate what level of robustness can be achieved against adversarial corruption. The main contribution of this paper is to show that optimal robustness can be expressed by a square-root dependency on the amount of corruption. More precisely, we show that two classes of algorithms, anytime Hedge with decreasing learning rate and algorithms with second-order regret bounds, achieve $O( \frac{\log N}{\Delta} + \sqrt{ \frac{C \log N }{\Delta} } )$-regret, where $N, \Delta$, and $C$ represent the number of experts, the gap parameter, and the corruption level, respectively. We further provide a matching lower bound, which means that this regret bound is tight up to a constant factor. For the multi-armed bandit problem, we also provide a nearly-tight lower bound up to a logarithmic factor.

Learning Debiased and Disentangled Representations for Semantic Segmentation

Sanghyeok Chu · Dongwan Kim · Bohyung Han

Deep neural networks are susceptible to learn biased models with entangled feature representations, which may lead to subpar performances on various downstream tasks. This is particularly true for under-represented classes, where a lack of diversity in the data exacerbates the tendency. This limitation has been addressed mostly in classification tasks, but there is little study on additional challenges that may appear in more complex dense prediction problems including semantic segmentation. To this end, we propose a model-agnostic and stochastic training scheme for semantic segmentation, which facilitates the learning of debiased and disentangled representations. For each class, we first extract class-specific information from the highly entangled feature map. Then, information related to a randomly sampled class is suppressed by a feature selection process in the feature space. By randomly eliminating certain class information in each training iteration, we effectively reduce feature dependencies among classes, and the model is able to learn more debiased and disentangled feature representations. Models trained with our approach demonstrate strong results on multiple semantic segmentation benchmarks, with especially notable performance gains on under-represented classes.

On Riemannian Optimization over Positive Definite Matrices with the Bures-Wasserstein Geometry

Andi Han · Bamdev Mishra · Pratik Kumar Jawanpuria · Junbin Gao

In this paper, we comparatively analyze the Bures-Wasserstein (BW) geometry with the popular Affine-Invariant (AI) geometry for Riemannian optimization on the symmetric positive definite (SPD) matrix manifold. Our study begins with an observation that the BW metric has a linear dependence on SPD matrices in contrast to the quadratic dependence of the AI metric. We build on this to show that the BW metric is a more suitable and robust choice for several Riemannian optimization problems over ill-conditioned SPD matrices. We show that the BW geometry has a non-negative curvature, which further improves convergence rates of algorithms over the non-positively curved AI geometry. Finally, we verify that several popular cost functions, which are known to be geodesic convex under the AI geometry, are also geodesic convex under the BW geometry. Extensive experiments on various applications support our findings.

Labeling Trick: A Theory of Using Graph Neural Networks for Multi-Node Representation Learning

Muhan Zhang · Pan Li · Yinglong Xia · Kai Wang · Long Jin

In this paper, we provide a theory of using graph neural networks (GNNs) for multi-node representation learning (where we are interested in learning a representation for a set of more than one node, such as link). We know that GNN is designed to learn single-node representations. When we want to learn a node set representation involving multiple nodes, a common practice in previous works is to directly aggregate the single-node representations obtained by a GNN into a joint node set representation. In this paper, we show a fundamental constraint of such an approach, namely the inability to capture the dependence between nodes in the node set, and argue that directly aggregating individual node representations does not lead to an effective joint representation for multiple nodes. Then, we notice that a few previous successful works for multi-node representation learning, including SEAL, Distance Encoding, and ID-GNN, all used node labeling. These methods first label nodes in the graph according to their relationships with the target node set before applying a GNN. Then, the node representations obtained in the labeled graph are aggregated into a node set representation. By investigating their inner mechanisms, we unify these node labeling techniques into a single and most general form---labeling trick. We prove that with labeling trick a sufficiently expressive GNN learns the most expressive node set representations, thus in principle solves any joint learning tasks over node sets. Experiments on one important two-node representation learning task, link prediction, verified our theory. Our work explains the superior performance of previous node-labeling-based methods, and establishes a theoretical foundation of using GNNs for multi-node representation learning.

Adversarial Examples in Multi-Layer Random ReLU Networks

Peter Bartlett · Sebastien Bubeck · Yeshwanth Cherapanamjeri

We consider the phenomenon of adversarial examples in ReLU networks with independent Gaussian parameters. For networks of constant depth and with a large range of widths (for instance, it suffices if the width of each layer is polynomial in that of any other layer), small perturbations of input vectors lead to large changes of outputs. This generalizes results of Daniely and Schacham (2020) for networks of rapidly decreasing width and of Bubeck et al (2021) for two-layer networks. Our proof shows that adversarial examples arise in these networks because the functions they compute are \emph{locally} very similar to random linear functions. Bottleneck layers play a key role: the minimal width up to some point in the network determines scales and sensitivities of mappings computed up to that point. The main result is for networks with constant depth, but we also show that some constraint on depth is necessary for a result of this kind, because there are suitably deep networks that, with constant probability, compute a function that is close to constant.

TacticZero: Learning to Prove Theorems from Scratch with Deep Reinforcement Learning

Minchao Wu · Michael Norrish · Christian Walder · Amir Dezfouli

We propose a novel approach to interactive theorem-proving (ITP) using deep reinforcement learning. The proposed framework is able to learn proof search strategies as well as tactic and arguments prediction in an end-to-end manner. We formulate the process of ITP as a Markov decision process (MDP) in which each state represents a set of potential derivation paths. This structure allows us to introduce a novel backtracking mechanism which enables the agent to efficiently discard (predicted) dead-end derivations and restart the derivation from promising alternatives. We implement the framework in the HOL theorem prover. Experimental results show that the framework using learned search strategies outperforms existing automated theorem provers (i.e., hammers) available in HOL when evaluated on unseen problems. We further elaborate the role of key components of the framework using ablation studies.

Data-Efficient Instance Generation from Instance Discrimination

Ceyuan Yang · Yujun Shen · Yinghao Xu · Bolei Zhou

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) have significantly advanced image synthesis, however, the synthesis quality drops significantly given a limited amount of training data. To improve the data efficiency of GAN training, prior work typically employs data augmentation to mitigate the overfitting of the discriminator yet still learn the discriminator with a bi-classification ($\textit{i.e.}$, real $\textit{vs.}$ fake) task. In this work, we propose a data-efficient Instance Generation ($\textit{InsGen}$) method based on instance discrimination. Concretely, besides differentiating the real domain from the fake domain, the discriminator is required to distinguish every individual image, no matter it comes from the training set or from the generator. In this way, the discriminator can benefit from the infinite synthesized samples for training, alleviating the overfitting problem caused by insufficient training data. A noise perturbation strategy is further introduced to improve its discriminative power. Meanwhile, the learned instance discrimination capability from the discriminator is in turn exploited to encourage the generator for diverse generation. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on a variety of datasets and training settings. Noticeably, on the setting of $2K$ training images from the FFHQ dataset, we outperform the state-of-the-art approach with 23.5\% FID improvement.

Differentiable Equilibrium Computation with Decision Diagrams for Stackelberg Models of Combinatorial Congestion Games

Shinsaku Sakaue · Kengo Nakamura

We address Stackelberg models of combinatorial congestion games (CCGs); we aim to optimize the parameters of CCGs so that the selfish behavior of non-atomic players attains desirable equilibria. This model is essential for designing such social infrastructures as traffic and communication networks. Nevertheless, computational approaches to the model have not been thoroughly studied due to two difficulties: (I) bilevel-programming structures and (II) the combinatorial nature of CCGs. We tackle them by carefully combining (I) the idea of \textit{differentiable} optimization and (II) data structures called \textit{zero-suppressed binary decision diagrams} (ZDDs), which can compactly represent sets of combinatorial strategies. Our algorithm numerically approximates the equilibria of CCGs, which we can differentiate with respect to parameters of CCGs by automatic differentiation. With the resulting derivatives, we can apply gradient-based methods to Stackelberg models of CCGs. Our method is tailored to induce Nesterov's acceleration and can fully utilize the empirical compactness of ZDDs. These technical advantages enable us to deal with CCGs with a vast number of combinatorial strategies. Experiments on real-world network design instances demonstrate the practicality of our method.

Combating Noise: Semi-supervised Learning by Region Uncertainty Quantification

Zhenyu Wang · Ya-Li Li · Ye Guo · Shengjin Wang

Semi-supervised learning aims to leverage a large amount of unlabeled data for performance boosting. Existing works primarily focus on image classification. In this paper, we delve into semi-supervised learning for object detection, where labeled data are more labor-intensive to collect. Current methods are easily distracted by noisy regions generated by pseudo labels. To combat the noisy labeling, we propose noise-resistant semi-supervised learning by quantifying the region uncertainty. We first investigate the adverse effects brought by different forms of noise associated with pseudo labels. Then we propose to quantify the uncertainty of regions by identifying the noise-resistant properties of regions over different strengths. By importing the region uncertainty quantification and promoting multi-peak probability distribution output, we introduce uncertainty into training and further achieve noise-resistant learning. Experiments on both PASCAL VOC and MS COCO demonstrate the extraordinary performance of our method.

Conic Blackwell Algorithm: Parameter-Free Convex-Concave Saddle-Point Solving

Julien Grand-Clément · Christian Kroer

We develop new parameter-free and scale-free algorithms for solving convex-concave saddle-point problems. Our results are based on a new simple regret minimizer, the Conic Blackwell Algorithm$^+$ (CBA$^+$), which attains $O(1/\sqrt{T})$ average regret. Intuitively, our approach generalizes to other decision sets of interest ideas from the Counterfactual Regret minimization (CFR$^+$) algorithm, which has very strong practical performance for solving sequential games on simplexes.We show how to implement CBA$^+$ for the simplex, $\ell_{p}$ norm balls, and ellipsoidal confidence regions in the simplex, and we present numerical experiments for solving matrix games and distributionally robust optimization problems.Our empirical results show that CBA$^+$ is a simple algorithm that outperforms state-of-the-art methods on synthetic data and real data instances, without the need for any choice of step sizes or other algorithmic parameters.

Align before Fuse: Vision and Language Representation Learning with Momentum Distillation

Junnan Li · Ramprasaath Selvaraju · Akhilesh Gotmare · Shafiq Joty · Caiming Xiong · Steven Chu Hong Hoi

Large-scale vision and language representation learning has shown promising improvements on various vision-language tasks. Most existing methods employ a transformer-based multimodal encoder to jointly model visual tokens (region-based image features) and word tokens. Because the visual tokens and word tokens are unaligned, it is challenging for the multimodal encoder to learn image-text interactions. In this paper, we introduce a contrastive loss to ALign the image and text representations BEfore Fusing (ALBEF) them through cross-modal attention, which enables more grounded vision and language representation learning. Unlike most existing methods, our method does not require bounding box annotations nor high-resolution images. In order to improve learning from noisy web data, we propose momentum distillation, a self-training method which learns from pseudo-targets produced by a momentum model. We provide a theoretical analysis of ALBEF from a mutual information maximization perspective, showing that different training tasks can be interpreted as different ways to generate views for an image-text pair. ALBEF achieves state-of-the-art performance on multiple downstream vision-language tasks. On image-text retrieval, ALBEF outperforms methods that are pre-trained on orders of magnitude larger datasets. On VQA and NLVR$^2$, ALBEF achieves absolute improvements of 2.37% and 3.84% compared to the state-of-the-art, while enjoying faster inference speed. Code and models are available at

A single gradient step finds adversarial examples on random two-layers neural networks

Sebastien Bubeck · Yeshwanth Cherapanamjeri · Gauthier Gidel · Remi Tachet des Combes

Daniely and Schacham recently showed that gradient descent finds adversarial examples on random undercomplete two-layers ReLU neural networks. The term “undercomplete” refers to the fact that their proof only holds when the number of neurons is a vanishing fraction of the ambient dimension. We extend their result to the overcomplete case, where the number of neurons is larger than the dimension (yet also subexponential in the dimension). In fact we prove that a single step of gradient descent suffices. We also show this result for any subexponential width random neural network with smooth activation function.

Reliable Estimation of KL Divergence using a Discriminator in Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Space

Sandesh Ghimire · Aria Masoomi · Jennifer Dy

Estimating Kullback–Leibler (KL) divergence from samples of two distributions is essential in many machine learning problems. Variational methods using neural network discriminator have been proposed to achieve this task in a scalable manner. However, we noticed that most of these methods using neural network discriminators suffer from high fluctuations (variance) in estimates and instability in training. In this paper, we look at this issue from statistical learning theory and function space complexity perspective to understand why this happens and how to solve it. We argue that the cause of these pathologies is lack of control over the complexity of the neural network discriminator function and could be mitigated by controlling it. To achieve this objective, we 1) present a novel construction of the discriminator in the Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Space (RKHS), 2) theoretically relate the error probability bound of the KL estimates to the complexity of the discriminator in the RKHS space, 3) present a scalable way to control the complexity (RKHS norm) of the discriminator for a reliable estimation of KL divergence, and 4) prove the consistency of the proposed estimator. In three different applications of KL divergence -- estimation of KL, estimation of mutual information and Variational Bayes -- we show that by controlling the complexity as developed in the theory, we are able to reduce the variance of KL estimates and stabilize the training.

Mitigating Forgetting in Online Continual Learning with Neuron Calibration

Haiyan Yin · peng yang · Ping Li

Inspired by human intelligence, the research on online continual learning aims to push the limits of the machine learning models to constantly learn from sequentially encountered tasks, with the data from each task being observed in an online fashion. Though recent studies have achieved remarkable progress in improving the online continual learning performance empowered by the deep neural networks-based models, many of today's approaches still suffer a lot from catastrophic forgetting, a persistent challenge for continual learning. In this paper, we present a novel method which attempts to mitigate catastrophic forgetting in online continual learning from a new perspective, i.e., neuron calibration. In particular, we model the neurons in the deep neural networks-based models as calibrated units under a general formulation. Then we formalize a learning framework to effectively train the calibrated model, where neuron calibration could give ubiquitous benefit to balance the stability and plasticity of online continual learning algorithms through influencing both their forward inference path and backward optimization path. Our proposed formulation for neuron calibration is lightweight and applicable to general feed-forward neural networks-based models. We perform extensive experiments to evaluate our method on four benchmark continual learning datasets. The results show that neuron calibration plays a vital role in improving online continual learning performance and our method could substantially improve the state-of-the-art performance on all~the~evaluated~datasets.

K-Net: Towards Unified Image Segmentation

Wenwei Zhang · Jiangmiao Pang · Kai Chen · Chen Change Loy

Semantic, instance, and panoptic segmentations have been addressed using different and specialized frameworks despite their underlying connections. This paper presents a unified, simple, and effective framework for these essentially similar tasks. The framework, named K-Net, segments both instances and semantic categories consistently by a group of learnable kernels, where each kernel is responsible for generating a mask for either a potential instance or a stuff class. To remedy the difficulties of distinguishing various instances, we propose a kernel update strategy that enables each kernel dynamic and conditional on its meaningful group in the input image. K-Net can be trained in an end-to-end manner with bipartite matching, and its training and inference are naturally NMS-free and box-free. Without bells and whistles, K-Net surpasses all previous published state-of-the-art single-model results of panoptic segmentation on MS COCO test-dev split and semantic segmentation on ADE20K val split with 55.2% PQ and 54.3% mIoU, respectively. Its instance segmentation performance is also on par with Cascade Mask R-CNN on MS COCO with 60%-90% faster inference speeds. Code and models will be released at

Learning to Simulate Self-driven Particles System with Coordinated Policy Optimization

Zhenghao Peng · Quanyi Li · Ka Ming Hui · Chunxiao Liu · Bolei Zhou

Self-Driven Particles (SDP) describe a category of multi-agent systems common in everyday life, such as flocking birds and traffic flows. In a SDP system, each agent pursues its own goal and constantly changes its cooperative or competitive behaviors with its nearby agents. Manually designing the controllers for such SDP system is time-consuming, while the resulting emergent behaviors are often not realistic nor generalizable. Thus the realistic simulation of SDP systems remains challenging. Reinforcement learning provides an appealing alternative for automating the development of the controller for SDP. However, previous multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) methods define the agents to be teammates or enemies before hand, which fail to capture the essence of SDP where the role of each agent varies to be cooperative or competitive even within one episode. To simulate SDP with MARL, a key challenge is to coordinate agents' behaviors while still maximizing individual objectives. Taking traffic simulation as the testing bed, in this work we develop a novel MARL method called Coordinated Policy Optimization (CoPO), which incorporates social psychology principle to learn neural controller for SDP. Experiments show that the proposed method can achieve superior performance compared to MARL baselines in various metrics. Noticeably the trained vehicles exhibit complex and diverse social behaviors that improve performance and safety of the population as a whole. Demo video and source code are available at:

Bridging Explicit and Implicit Deep Generative Models via Neural Stein Estimators

Qitian Wu · Rui Gao · Hongyuan Zha

There are two types of deep generative models: explicit and implicit. The former defines an explicit density form that allows likelihood inference; while the latter targets a flexible transformation from random noise to generated samples. While the two classes of generative models have shown great power in many applications, both of them, when used alone, suffer from respective limitations and drawbacks. To take full advantages of both models and enable mutual compensation, we propose a novel joint training framework that bridges an explicit (unnormalized) density estimator and an implicit sample generator via Stein discrepancy. We show that our method 1) induces novel mutual regularization via kernel Sobolev norm penalization and Moreau-Yosida regularization, and 2) stabilizes the training dynamics. Empirically, we demonstrate that proposed method can facilitate the density estimator to more accurately identify data modes and guide the generator to output higher-quality samples, comparing with training a single counterpart. The new approach also shows promising results when the training samples are contaminated or limited.

Meta-Learning Sparse Implicit Neural Representations

Jaeho Lee · Jihoon Tack · Namhoon Lee · Jinwoo Shin

Implicit neural representations are a promising new avenue of representing general signals by learning a continuous function that, parameterized as a neural network, maps the domain of a signal to its codomain; the mapping from spatial coordinates of an image to its pixel values, for example. Being capable of conveying fine details in a high dimensional signal, unboundedly of its domain, implicit neural representations ensure many advantages over conventional discrete representations. However, the current approach is difficult to scale for a large number of signals or a data set, since learning a neural representation---which is parameter heavy by itself---for each signal individually requires a lot of memory and computations. To address this issue, we propose to leverage a meta-learning approach in combination with network compression under a sparsity constraint, such that it renders a well-initialized sparse parameterization that evolves quickly to represent a set of unseen signals in the subsequent training. We empirically demonstrate that meta-learned sparse neural representations achieve a much smaller loss than dense meta-learned models with the same number of parameters, when trained to fit each signal using the same number of optimization steps.

Not All Images are Worth 16x16 Words: Dynamic Transformers for Efficient Image Recognition

Yulin Wang · Rui Huang · Shiji Song · Zeyi Huang · Gao Huang

Vision Transformers (ViT) have achieved remarkable success in large-scale image recognition. They split every 2D image into a fixed number of patches, each of which is treated as a token. Generally, representing an image with more tokens would lead to higher prediction accuracy, while it also results in drastically increased computational cost. To achieve a decent trade-off between accuracy and speed, the number of tokens is empirically set to 16x16 or 14x14. In this paper, we argue that every image has its own characteristics, and ideally the token number should be conditioned on each individual input. In fact, we have observed that there exist a considerable number of “easy” images which can be accurately predicted with a mere number of 4x4 tokens, while only a small fraction of “hard” ones need a finer representation. Inspired by this phenomenon, we propose a Dynamic Transformer to automatically configure a proper number of tokens for each input image. This is achieved by cascading multiple Transformers with increasing numbers of tokens, which are sequentially activated in an adaptive fashion at test time, i.e., the inference is terminated once a sufficiently confident prediction is produced. We further design efficient feature reuse and relationship reuse mechanisms across different components of the Dynamic Transformer to reduce redundant computations. Extensive empirical results on ImageNet, CIFAR-10, and CIFAR-100 demonstrate that our method significantly outperforms the competitive baselines in terms of both theoretical computational efficiency and practical inference speed. Code and pre-trained models (based on PyTorch and MindSpore) are available at and

Multi-View Representation Learning via Total Correlation Objective

HyeongJoo Hwang · Geon-Hyeong Kim · Seunghoon Hong · Kee-Eung Kim

Multi-View Representation Learning (MVRL) aims to discover a shared representation of observations from different views with the complex underlying correlation. In this paper, we propose a variational approach which casts MVRL as maximizing the amount of total correlation reduced by the representation, aiming to learn a shared latent representation that is informative yet succinct to capture the correlation among multiple views. To this end, we introduce a tractable surrogate objective function under the proposed framework, which allows our method to fuse and calibrate the observations in the representation space. From the information-theoretic perspective, we show that our framework subsumes existing multi-view generative models. Lastly, we show that our approach straightforwardly extends to the Partial MVRL (PMVRL) setting, where the observations are missing without any regular pattern. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in the multi-view translation and classification tasks, outperforming strong baseline methods.

Provably Efficient Black-Box Action Poisoning Attacks Against Reinforcement Learning

Guanlin Liu · Lifeng LAI

Due to the broad range of applications of reinforcement learning (RL), understanding the effects of adversarial attacks against RL model is essential for the safe applications of this model. Prior theoretical works on adversarial attacks against RL mainly focus on either reward poisoning attacks or environment poisoning attacks. In this paper, we introduce a new class of attacks named action poisoning attacks, where an adversary can change the action signal selected by the agent. Compared with existing attack models, the attacker’s ability in the proposed action poisoning attack model is more restricted, which brings some design challenges. We study the action poisoning attack in both white-box and black-box settings. We introduce an adaptive attack scheme called LCB-H, which works for most RL agents in the black-box setting. We prove that LCB-H attack can force any efficient RL agent, whose dynamic regret scales sublinearly with the total number of steps taken, to choose actions according to a policy selected by the attacker very frequently, with only sublinear cost. In addition, we apply LCB-H attack against a very popular model-free RL algorithm: UCB-H. We show that, even in black-box setting, by spending only logarithm cost, the proposed LCB-H attack scheme can force the UCB-H agent to choose actions according to the policy selected by the attacker very frequently.

OctField: Hierarchical Implicit Functions for 3D Modeling

Jia-Heng Tang · Weikai Chen · jie Yang · Bo Wang · Songrun Liu · Bo Yang · Lin Gao

Recent advances in localized implicit functions have enabled neural implicit representation to be scalable to large scenes.However, the regular subdivision of 3D space employed by these approaches fails to take into account the sparsity of the surface occupancy and the varying granularities of geometric details. As a result, its memory footprint grows cubically with the input volume, leading to a prohibitive computational cost even at a moderately dense decomposition. In this work, we present a learnable hierarchical implicit representation for 3D surfaces, coded OctField, that allows high-precision encoding of intricate surfaces with low memory and computational budget. The key to our approach is an adaptive decomposition of 3D scenes that only distributes local implicit functions around the surface of interest. We achieve this goal by introducing a hierarchical octree structure to adaptively subdivide the 3D space according to the surface occupancy and the richness of part geometry. As octree is discrete and non-differentiable, we further propose a novel hierarchical network that models the subdivision of octree cells as a probabilistic process and recursively encodes and decodes both octree structure and surface geometry in a differentiable manner. We demonstrate the value of OctField for a range of shape modeling and reconstruction tasks, showing superiority over alternative approaches.

Disentangling the Roles of Curation, Data-Augmentation and the Prior in the Cold Posterior Effect

Lorenzo Noci · Kevin Roth · Gregor Bachmann · Sebastian Nowozin · Thomas Hofmann

The “cold posterior effect” (CPE) in Bayesian deep learning describes the disturbing observation that the predictive performance of Bayesian neural networks can be significantly improved if the Bayes posterior is artificially sharpened using a temperature parameter T <1. The CPE is problematic in theory and practice and since the effect was identified many researchers have proposed hypotheses to explain the phenomenon. However, despite this intensive research effort the effect remains poorly understood. In this work we provide novel and nuanced evidence relevant to existing explanations for the cold posterior effect, disentangling three hypotheses: 1. The dataset curation hypothesis of Aitchison (2020): we show empirically that the CPE does not arise in a real curated data set but can be produced in a controlled experiment with varying curation strength. 2. The data augmentation hypothesis of Izmailov et al. (2021) and Fortuin et al. (2021): we show empirically that data augmentation is sufficient but not necessary for the CPE to be present. 3. The bad prior hypothesis of Wenzel et al. (2020): we use a simple experiment evaluating the relative importance of the prior and the likelihood, strongly linking the CPE to the prior. Our results demonstrate how the CPE can arise in isolation from synthetic curation, data augmentation, and bad priors. Cold posteriors observed “in the wild” are therefore unlikely to arise from a single simple cause; as a result, we do not expect a simple “fix” for cold posteriors.

Non-asymptotic convergence bounds for Wasserstein approximation using point clouds

Quentin Mérigot · Filippo Santambrogio · Clément SARRAZIN

Several issues in machine learning and inverse problems require to generate discrete data, as if sampled from a model probabilitydistribution. A common way to do so relies on the construction of a uniform probability distribution over a set of $N$ points whichminimizes the Wasserstein distance to the model distribution. This minimization problem, where the unknowns are the positions of the atoms, is non-convex. Yet, in most cases, a suitably adjusted version of Lloyd's algorithm in which Voronoi cells are replaced by Power cells, leads to configurations with small Wasserstein error. This is surprising because, again, of the non-convex nature of the problem, which moreover admits spurious critical points. We provide explicit upper bounds for the convergence speed of this Lloyd-type algorithm, starting from a cloud of points sufficiently far from each other. This already works after one step of the iteration procedure, and similar bounds can be deduced, for the corresponding gradient descent. These bounds naturally lead to a sort of Poliak-Łojasiewicz inequality for the Wasserstein distance cost, with an error term depending on the distances between Dirac masses in the discrete distribution.

Pareto Domain Adaptation

fangrui lv · Jian Liang · Kaixiong Gong · Shuang Li · Chi Harold Liu · Han Li · Di Liu · Guoren Wang

Domain adaptation (DA) attempts to transfer the knowledge from a labeled source domain to an unlabeled target domain that follows different distribution from the source. To achieve this, DA methods include a source classification objective to extract the source knowledge and a domain alignment objective to diminish the domain shift, ensuring knowledge transfer. Typically, former DA methods adopt some weight hyper-parameters to linearly combine the training objectives to form an overall objective. However, the gradient directions of these objectives may conflict with each other due to domain shift. Under such circumstances, the linear optimization scheme might decrease the overall objective value at the expense of damaging one of the training objectives, leading to restricted solutions. In this paper, we rethink the optimization scheme for DA from a gradient-based perspective. We propose a Pareto Domain Adaptation (ParetoDA) approach to control the overall optimization direction, aiming to cooperatively optimize all training objectives. Specifically, to reach a desirable solution on the target domain, we design a surrogate loss mimicking target classification. To improve target-prediction accuracy to support the mimicking, we propose a target-prediction refining mechanism which exploits domain labels via Bayes’ theorem. On the other hand, since prior knowledge of weighting schemes for objectives is often unavailable to guide optimization to approach the optimal solution on the target domain, we propose a dynamic preference mechanism to dynamically guide our cooperative optimization by the gradient of the surrogate loss on a held-out unlabeled target dataset. Our theoretical analyses show that the held-out data can guide but will not be over-fitted by the optimization. Extensive experiments on image classification and semantic segmentation benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of ParetoDA

Self-Supervised GANs with Label Augmentation

Liang Hou · Huawei Shen · Qi Cao · Xueqi Cheng

Recently, transformation-based self-supervised learning has been applied to generative adversarial networks (GANs) to mitigate catastrophic forgetting in the discriminator by introducing a stationary learning environment. However, the separate self-supervised tasks in existing self-supervised GANs cause a goal inconsistent with generative modeling due to the fact that their self-supervised classifiers are agnostic to the generator distribution. To address this problem, we propose a novel self-supervised GAN that unifies the GAN task with the self-supervised task by augmenting the GAN labels (real or fake) via self-supervision of data transformation. Specifically, the original discriminator and self-supervised classifier are unified into a label-augmented discriminator that predicts the augmented labels to be aware of both the generator distribution and the data distribution under every transformation, and then provide the discrepancy between them to optimize the generator. Theoretically, we prove that the optimal generator could converge to replicate the real data distribution. Empirically, we show that the proposed method significantly outperforms previous self-supervised and data augmentation GANs on both generative modeling and representation learning across benchmark datasets.

Sifting through the noise: Universal first-order methods for stochastic variational inequalities

Kimon Antonakopoulos · Thomas Pethick · Ali Kavis · Panayotis Mertikopoulos · Volkan Cevher

We examine a flexible algorithmic framework for solving monotone variational inequalities in the presence of randomness and uncertainty. The proposed template encompasses a wide range of popular first-order methods, including dual averaging, dual extrapolation and optimistic gradient algorithms – both adaptive and non-adaptive. Our first result is that the algorithm achieves the optimal rates of convergence for cocoercive problems when the profile of the randomness is known to the optimizer: $\mathcal{O}(1/\sqrt{T})$ for absolute noise profiles, and $\mathcal{O}(1/T)$ for relative ones. Subsequently, we drop all prior knowledge requirements (the absolute/relative variance of the randomness affecting the problem, the operator's cocoercivity constant, etc.), and we analyze an adaptive instance of the method that gracefully interpolates between the above rates – i.e. it achieves $\mathcal{O}(1/\sqrt{T})$ and $\mathcal{O}(1/T)$ in the absolute and relative cases, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first universality result of its kind in the literature and, somewhat surprisingly, it shows that an extra-gradient proxy step is not required to achieve optimal rates.

Towards Stable and Robust AdderNets

Minjing Dong · Yunhe Wang · Xinghao Chen · Chang Xu

Adder neural network (AdderNet) replaces the original convolutions with massive multiplications by cheap additions while achieving comparable performance thus yields a series of energy-efficient neural networks. Compared with convolutional neural networks (CNNs), the training of AdderNets is much more sophisticated including several techniques for adjusting gradient and batch normalization. In addition, variances of both weights and activations in resulting adder networks are very enormous which limits its performance and the potential for applying to other tasks. To enhance the stability and robustness of AdderNets, we first thoroughly analyze the variance estimation of weight parameters and output features of an arbitrary adder layer. Then, we develop a weight normalization scheme for adaptively optimizing the weight distribution of AdderNets during the training procedure, which can reduce the perturbation on running mean and variance in batch normalization layers. Meanwhile, the proposed weight normalization can also be utilized to enhance the adversarial robustness of resulting networks. Experiments conducted on several benchmarks demonstrate the superiority of the proposed approach for generating AdderNets with higher performance.

Alignment Attention by Matching Key and Query Distributions

Shujian Zhang · Xinjie Fan · Huangjie Zheng · Korawat Tanwisuth · Mingyuan Zhou

The neural attention mechanism has been incorporated into deep neural networks to achieve state-of-the-art performance in various domains. Most such models use multi-head self-attention which is appealing for the ability to attend to information from different perspectives. This paper introduces alignment attention that explicitly encourages self-attention to match the distributions of the key and query within each head. The resulting alignment attention networks can be optimized as an unsupervised regularization in the existing attention framework. It is simple to convert any models with self-attention, including pre-trained ones, to the proposed alignment attention. On a variety of language understanding tasks, we show the effectiveness of our method in accuracy, uncertainty estimation, generalization across domains, and robustness to adversarial attacks. We further demonstrate the general applicability of our approach on graph attention and visual question answering, showing the great potential of incorporating our alignment method into various attention-related tasks.

Neural Routing by Memory

Kaipeng Zhang · Zhenqiang Li · Zhifeng Li · Wei Liu · Yoichi Sato

Recent Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have achieved significant success by stacking multiple convolutional blocks, named procedures in this paper, to extract semantic features. However, they use the same procedure sequence for all inputs, regardless of the intermediate features.This paper proffers a simple yet effective idea of constructing parallel procedures and assigning similar intermediate features to the same specialized procedures in a divide-and-conquer fashion. It relieves each procedure's learning difficulty and thus leads to superior performance. Specifically, we propose a routing-by-memory mechanism for existing CNN architectures. In each stage of the network, we introduce parallel Procedural Units (PUs). A PU consists of a memory head and a procedure. The memory head maintains a summary of a type of features. For an intermediate feature, we search its closest memory and forward it to the corresponding procedure in both training and testing. In this way, different procedures are tailored to different features and therefore tackle them better.Networks with the proposed mechanism can be trained efficiently using a four-step training strategy. Experimental results show that our method improves VGGNet, ResNet, and EfficientNet's accuracies on Tiny ImageNet, ImageNet, and CIFAR-100 benchmarks with a negligible extra computational cost.

Safe Reinforcement Learning by Imagining the Near Future

Garrett Thomas · Yuping Luo · Tengyu Ma

Safe reinforcement learning is a promising path toward applying reinforcement learning algorithms to real-world problems, where suboptimal behaviors may lead to actual negative consequences. In this work, we focus on the setting where unsafe states can be avoided by planning ahead a short time into the future. In this setting, a model-based agent with a sufficiently accurate model can avoid unsafe states.We devise a model-based algorithm that heavily penalizes unsafe trajectories, and derive guarantees that our algorithm can avoid unsafe states under certain assumptions. Experiments demonstrate that our algorithm can achieve competitive rewards with fewer safety violations in several continuous control tasks.

DynamicViT: Efficient Vision Transformers with Dynamic Token Sparsification

Yongming Rao · Wenliang Zhao · Benlin Liu · Jiwen Lu · Jie Zhou · Cho-Jui Hsieh

Attention is sparse in vision transformers. We observe the final prediction in vision transformers is only based on a subset of most informative tokens, which is sufficient for accurate image recognition. Based on this observation, we propose a dynamic token sparsification framework to prune redundant tokens progressively and dynamically based on the input. Specifically, we devise a lightweight prediction module to estimate the importance score of each token given the current features. The module is added to different layers to prune redundant tokens hierarchically. To optimize the prediction module in an end-to-end manner, we propose an attention masking strategy to differentiably prune a token by blocking its interactions with other tokens. Benefiting from the nature of self-attention, the unstructured sparse tokens are still hardware friendly, which makes our framework easy to achieve actual speed-up. By hierarchically pruning 66% of the input tokens, our method greatly reduces 31% $\sim$ 37% FLOPs and improves the throughput by over 40% while the drop of accuracy is within 0.5% for various vision transformers. Equipped with the dynamic token sparsification framework, DynamicViT models can achieve very competitive complexity/accuracy trade-offs compared to state-of-the-art CNNs and vision transformers on ImageNet. Code is available at

Learning Transferable Adversarial Perturbations

Krishna kanth Nakka · Mathieu Salzmann

While effective, deep neural networks (DNNs) are vulnerable to adversarial attacks. In particular, recent work has shown that such attacks could be generated by another deep network, leading to significant speedups over optimization-based perturbations. However, the ability of such generative methods to generalize to different test-time situations has not been systematically studied. In this paper, we, therefore, investigate the transferability of generated perturbations when the conditions at inference time differ from the training ones in terms of the target architecture, target data, and target task. Specifically, we identify the mid-level features extracted by the intermediate layers of DNNs as common ground across different architectures, datasets, and tasks. This lets us introduce a loss function based on such mid-level features to learn an effective, transferable perturbation generator. Our experiments demonstrate that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art universal and transferable attack strategies.

Posterior Meta-Replay for Continual Learning

Christian Henning · Maria Cervera · Francesco D'Angelo · Johannes von Oswald · Regina Traber · Benjamin Ehret · Seijin Kobayashi · Benjamin F. Grewe · João Sacramento

Learning a sequence of tasks without access to i.i.d. observations is a widely studied form of continual learning (CL) that remains challenging. In principle, Bayesian learning directly applies to this setting, since recursive and one-off Bayesian updates yield the same result. In practice, however, recursive updating often leads to poor trade-off solutions across tasks because approximate inference is necessary for most models of interest. Here, we describe an alternative Bayesian approach where task-conditioned parameter distributions are continually inferred from data. We offer a practical deep learning implementation of our framework based on probabilistic task-conditioned hypernetworks, an approach we term posterior meta-replay. Experiments on standard benchmarks show that our probabilistic hypernetworks compress sequences of posterior parameter distributions with virtually no forgetting. We obtain considerable performance gains compared to existing Bayesian CL methods, and identify task inference as our major limiting factor. This limitation has several causes that are independent of the considered sequential setting, opening up new avenues for progress in CL.

On the Convergence of Step Decay Step-Size for Stochastic Optimization

Xiaoyu Wang · Sindri Magnússon · Mikael Johansson

The convergence of stochastic gradient descent is highly dependent on the step-size, especially on non-convex problems such as neural network training. Step decay step-size schedules (constant and then cut) are widely used in practice because of their excellent convergence and generalization qualities, but their theoretical properties are not yet well understood. We provide convergence results for step decay in the non-convex regime, ensuring that the gradient norm vanishes at an $\mathcal{O}(\ln T/\sqrt{T})$ rate. We also provide near-optimal (and sometimes provably tight) convergence guarantees for general, possibly non-smooth, convex and strongly convex problems. The practical efficiency of the step decay step-size is demonstrated in several large-scale deep neural network training tasks.

Rethinking and Reweighting the Univariate Losses for Multi-Label Ranking: Consistency and Generalization

Guoqiang Wu · Chongxuan LI · Kun Xu · Jun Zhu

The (partial) ranking loss is a commonly used evaluation measure for multi-label classification, which is usually optimized with convex surrogates for computational efficiency. Prior theoretical efforts on multi-label ranking mainly focus on (Fisher) consistency analyses. However, there is a gap between existing theory and practice --- some inconsistent pairwise losses can lead to promising performance, while some consistent univariate losses usually have no clear superiority in practice. To take a step towards filling up this gap, this paper presents a systematic study from two complementary perspectives of consistency and generalization error bounds of learning algorithms. We theoretically find two key factors of the distribution (or dataset) that affect the learning guarantees of algorithms: the instance-wise class imbalance and the label size $c$. Specifically, in an extremely imbalanced case, the algorithm with the consistent univariate loss has an error bound of $O(c)$, while the one with the inconsistent pairwise loss depends on $O(\sqrt{c})$ as shown in prior work. This may shed light on the superior performance of pairwise methods in practice, where real datasets are usually highly imbalanced. Moreover, we present an inconsistent reweighted univariate loss-based algorithm that enjoys an error bound of $O(\sqrt{c})$ for promising performance as well as the computational efficiency of univariate losses. Finally, experimental results confirm our theoretical findings.

Credal Self-Supervised Learning

Julian Lienen · Eyke Hüllermeier

Self-training is an effective approach to semi-supervised learning. The key idea is to let the learner itself iteratively generate "pseudo-supervision" for unlabeled instances based on its current hypothesis. In combination with consistency regularization, pseudo-labeling has shown promising performance in various domains, for example in computer vision. To account for the hypothetical nature of the pseudo-labels, these are commonly provided in the form of probability distributions. Still, one may argue that even a probability distribution represents an excessive level of informedness, as it suggests that the learner precisely knows the ground-truth conditional probabilities. In our approach, we therefore allow the learner to label instances in the form of credal sets, that is, sets of (candidate) probability distributions. Thanks to this increased expressiveness, the learner is able to represent uncertainty and a lack of knowledge in a more flexible and more faithful manner. To learn from weakly labeled data of that kind, we leverage methods that have recently been proposed in the realm of so-called superset learning. In an exhaustive empirical evaluation, we compare our methodology to state-of-the-art self-supervision approaches, showing competitive to superior performance especially in low-label scenarios incorporating a high degree of uncertainty.

A PAC-Bayes Analysis of Adversarial Robustness

Paul Viallard · Eric Guillaume VIDOT · Amaury Habrard · Emilie Morvant

We propose the first general PAC-Bayesian generalization bounds for adversarial robustness, that estimate, at test time, how much a model will be invariant to imperceptible perturbations in the input. Instead of deriving a worst-case analysis of the risk of a hypothesis over all the possible perturbations, we leverage the PAC-Bayesian framework to bound the averaged risk on the perturbations for majority votes (over the whole class of hypotheses). Our theoretically founded analysis has the advantage to provide general bounds (i) that are valid for any kind of attacks (i.e., the adversarial attacks), (ii) that are tight thanks to the PAC-Bayesian framework, (iii) that can be directly minimized during the learning phase to obtain a robust model on different attacks at test time.

Implicit MLE: Backpropagating Through Discrete Exponential Family Distributions

Mathias Niepert · Pasquale Minervini · Luca Franceschi

Combining discrete probability distributions and combinatorial optimization problems with neural network components has numerous applications but poses several challenges. We propose Implicit Maximum Likelihood Estimation (I-MLE), a framework for end-to-end learning of models combining discrete exponential family distributions and differentiable neural components. I-MLE is widely applicable as it only requires the ability to compute the most probable states and does not rely on smooth relaxations. The framework encompasses several approaches such as perturbation-based implicit differentiation and recent methods to differentiate through black-box combinatorial solvers. We introduce a novel class of noise distributions for approximating marginals via perturb-and-MAP. Moreover, we show that I-MLE simplifies to maximum likelihood estimation when used in some recently studied learning settings that involve combinatorial solvers. Experiments on several datasets suggest that I-MLE is competitive with and often outperforms existing approaches which rely on problem-specific relaxations.

Dynamic Sasvi: Strong Safe Screening for Norm-Regularized Least Squares

Hiroaki Yamada · Makoto Yamada

A recently introduced technique, called safe screening,'' for a sparse optimization problem allows us to identify irrelevant variables in the early stages of optimization. In this paper, we first propose a flexible framework for safe screening based on the Fenchel--Rockafellar duality and then derive a strong safe screening rule for norm-regularized least squares using the proposed framework. We refer to the proposed screening rule for norm-regularized least squares asdynamic Sasvi'' because it can be interpreted as a generalization of Sasvi. Unlike the original Sasvi, it does not require the exact solution of a more strongly regularized problem; hence, it works safely in practice. We show that our screening rule always eliminates more features compared with the existing state-of-the-art methods.

What Matters for Adversarial Imitation Learning?

Manu Orsini · Anton Raichuk · Leonard Hussenot · Damien Vincent · Robert Dadashi · Sertan Girgin · Matthieu Geist · Olivier Bachem · Olivier Pietquin · Marcin Andrychowicz

Adversarial imitation learning has become a popular framework for imitation in continuous control. Over the years, several variations of its components were proposed to enhance the performance of the learned policies as well as the sample complexity of the algorithm. In practice, these choices are rarely tested all together in rigorous empirical studies.It is therefore difficult to discuss and understand what choices, among the high-level algorithmic options as well as low-level implementation details, matter. To tackle this issue, we implement more than 50 of these choices in a generic adversarial imitation learning frameworkand investigate their impacts in a large-scale study (>500k trained agents) with both synthetic and human-generated demonstrations. We analyze the key results and highlight the most surprising findings.

MAP Propagation Algorithm: Faster Learning with a Team of Reinforcement Learning Agents

Stephen Chung

Nearly all state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms rely on error backpropagation, which is generally regarded as biologically implausible. An alternative way of training an artificial neural network is through treating each unit in the network as a reinforcement learning agent, and thus the network is considered as a team of agents. As such, all units can be trained by REINFORCE, a local learning rule modulated by a global signal that is more consistent with biologically observed forms of synaptic plasticity. Although this learning rule follows the gradient of return in expectation, it suffers from high variance and thus the low speed of learning, rendering it impractical to train deep networks. We therefore propose a novel algorithm called MAP propagation to reduce this variance significantly while retaining the local property of the learning rule. Experiments demonstrated that MAP propagation could solve common reinforcement learning tasks at a similar speed to backpropagation when applied to an actor-critic network. Our work thus allows for the broader application of teams of agents in deep reinforcement learning.

Graph Adversarial Self-Supervised Learning

Longqi Yang · Liangliang Zhang · Wenjing Yang

This paper studies a long-standing problem of learning the representations of a whole graph without human supervision. The recent self-supervised learning methods train models to be invariant to the transformations (views) of the inputs. However, designing these views requires the experience of human experts. Inspired by adversarial training, we propose an adversarial self-supervised learning (\texttt{GASSL}) framework for learning unsupervised representations of graph data without any handcrafted views. \texttt{GASSL} automatically generates challenging views by adding perturbations to the input and are adversarially trained with respect to the encoder. Our method optimizes the min-max problem and utilizes a gradient accumulation strategy to accelerate the training process. Experimental on ten graph classification datasets show that the proposed approach is superior to state-of-the-art self-supervised learning baselines, which are competitive with supervised models.

Locally Most Powerful Bayesian Test for Out-of-Distribution Detection using Deep Generative Models

Keunseo Kim · JunCheol Shin · Heeyoung Kim

Several out-of-distribution (OOD) detection scores have been recently proposed for deep generative models because the direct use of the likelihood threshold for OOD detection has been shown to be problematic. In this paper, we propose a new OOD score based on a Bayesian hypothesis test called the locally most powerful Bayesian test (LMPBT). The LMPBT is locally most powerful in that the alternative hypothesis (the representative parameter for the OOD sample) is specified to maximize the probability that the Bayes factor exceeds the evidence threshold in favor of the alternative hypothesis provided that the parameter specified under the alternative hypothesis is in the neighborhood of the parameter specified under the null hypothesis. That is, under this neighborhood parameter condition, the test with the proposed alternative hypothesis maximizes the probability of correct detection of OOD samples. We also propose numerical strategies for more efficient and reliable computation of the LMPBT for practical application to deep generative models. Evaluations conducted of the OOD detection performance of the LMPBT on various benchmark datasets demonstrate its superior performance over existing OOD detection methods.

Stable Neural ODE with Lyapunov-Stable Equilibrium Points for Defending Against Adversarial Attacks

Qiyu Kang · Yang Song · Qinxu Ding · Wee Peng Tay

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are well-known to be vulnerable to adversarial attacks, where malicious human-imperceptible perturbations are included in the input to the deep network to fool it into making a wrong classification. Recent studies have demonstrated that neural Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs) are intrinsically more robust against adversarial attacks compared to vanilla DNNs. In this work, we propose a neural ODE with Lyapunov-stable equilibrium points for defending against adversarial attacks (SODEF). By ensuring that the equilibrium points of the ODE solution used as part of SODEF are Lyapunov-stable, the ODE solution for an input with a small perturbation converges to the same solution as the unperturbed input. We provide theoretical results that give insights into the stability of SODEF as well as the choice of regularizers to ensure its stability. Our analysis suggests that our proposed regularizers force the extracted feature points to be within a neighborhood of the Lyapunov-stable equilibrium points of the SODEF ODE. SODEF is compatible with many defense methods and can be applied to any neural network's final regressor layer to enhance its stability against adversarial attacks.

Structured Dropout Variational Inference for Bayesian Neural Networks

Son Nguyen · Duong Nguyen · Khai Nguyen · Khoat Than · Hung Bui · Nhat Ho

Approximate inference in Bayesian deep networks exhibits a dilemma of how to yield high fidelity posterior approximations while maintaining computational efficiency and scalability. We tackle this challenge by introducing a novel variational structured approximation inspired by the Bayesian interpretation of Dropout regularization. Concretely, we focus on the inflexibility of the factorized structure in Dropout posterior and then propose an improved method called Variational Structured Dropout (VSD). VSD employs an orthogonal transformation to learn a structured representation on the variational Gaussian noise with plausible complexity, and consequently induces statistical dependencies in the approximate posterior. Theoretically, VSD successfully addresses the pathologies of previous Variational Dropout methods and thus offers a standard Bayesian justification. We further show that VSD induces an adaptive regularization term with several desirable properties which contribute to better generalization. Finally, we conduct extensive experiments on standard benchmarks to demonstrate the effectiveness of VSD over state-of-the-art variational methods on predictive accuracy, uncertainty estimation, and out-of-distribution detection.

Tuning Mixed Input Hyperparameters on the Fly for Efficient Population Based AutoRL

Jack Parker-Holder · Vu Nguyen · Shaan Desai · Stephen J Roberts

Despite a series of recent successes in reinforcement learning (RL), many RL algorithms remain sensitive to hyperparameters. As such, there has recently been interest in the field of AutoRL, which seeks to automate design decisions to create more general algorithms. Recent work suggests that population based approaches may be effective AutoRL algorithms, by learning hyperparameter schedules on the fly. In particular, the PB2 algorithm is able to achieve strong performance in RL tasks by formulating online hyperparameter optimization as time varying GP-bandit problem, while also providing theoretical guarantees. However, PB2 is only designed to work for \emph{continuous} hyperparameters, which severely limits its utility in practice. In this paper we introduce a new (provably) efficient hierarchical approach for optimizing \emph{both continuous and categorical} variables, using a new time-varying bandit algorithm specifically designed for the population based training regime. We evaluate our approach on the challenging Procgen benchmark, where we show that explicitly modelling dependence between data augmentation and other hyperparameters improves generalization.

Multimodal and Multilingual Embeddings for Large-Scale Speech Mining

Paul-Ambroise Duquenne · Hongyu Gong · Holger Schwenk

We present an approach to encode a speech signal into a fixed-size representation which minimizes the cosine loss with the existing massively multilingual LASER text embedding space. Sentences are close in this embedding space, independently of their language and modality, either text or audio. Using a similarity metric in that multimodal embedding space, we perform mining of audio in German, French, Spanish and English from Librivox against billions of sentences from Common Crawl. This yielded more than twenty thousand hours of aligned speech translations. To evaluate the automatically mined speech/text corpora, we train neural speech translation systems for several languages pairs. Adding the mined data, achieves significant improvements in the BLEU score on the CoVoST2 and the MUST-C test sets with respect to a very competitive baseline. Our approach can also be used to directly perform speech-to-speech mining, without the need to first transcribe or translate the data. We obtain more than one thousand three hundred hours of aligned speech in French, German, Spanish and English. This speech corpus has the potential to boost research in speech-to-speech translation which suffers from scarcity of natural end-to-end training data. All the mined multimodal corpora will be made freely available.

DP-SSL: Towards Robust Semi-supervised Learning with A Few Labeled Samples

Yi Xu · Jiandong Ding · Lu Zhang · Shuigeng Zhou

The scarcity of labeled data is a critical obstacle to deep learning. Semi-supervised learning (SSL) provides a promising way to leverage unlabeled data by pseudo labels. However, when the size of labeled data is very small (say a few labeled samples per class), SSL performs poorly and unstably, possibly due to the low quality of learned pseudo labels. In this paper, we propose a new SSL method called DP-SSL that adopts an innovative data programming (DP) scheme to generate probabilistic labels for unlabeled data. Different from existing DP methods that rely on human experts to provide initial labeling functions (LFs), we develop a multiple-choice learning~(MCL) based approach to automatically generate LFs from scratch in SSL style. With the noisy labels produced by the LFs, we design a label model to resolve the conflict and overlap among the noisy labels, and finally infer probabilistic labels for unlabeled samples. Extensive experiments on four standard SSL benchmarks show that DP-SSL can provide reliable labels for unlabeled data and achieve better classification performance on test sets than existing SSL methods, especially when only a small number of labeled samples are available. Concretely, for CIFAR-10 with only 40 labeled samples, DP-SSL achieves 93.82% annotation accuracy on unlabeled data and 93.46% classification accuracy on test data, which are higher than the SOTA results.

Transformer in Transformer

Kai Han · An Xiao · Enhua Wu · Jianyuan Guo · Chunjing XU · Yunhe Wang

Transformer is a new kind of neural architecture which encodes the input data as powerful features via the attention mechanism. Basically, the visual transformers first divide the input images into several local patches and then calculate both representations and their relationship. Since natural images are of high complexity with abundant detail and color information, the granularity of the patch dividing is not fine enough for excavating features of objects in different scales and locations. In this paper, we point out that the attention inside these local patches are also essential for building visual transformers with high performance and we explore a new architecture, namely, Transformer iN Transformer (TNT). Specifically, we regard the local patches (\eg, 16$\times$16) as “visual sentences” and present to further divide them into smaller patches (\eg, 4$\times$4) as “visual words”. The attention of each word will be calculated with other words in the given visual sentence with negligible computational costs. Features of both words and sentences will be aggregated to enhance the representation ability. Experiments on several benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed TNT architecture, \eg, we achieve an 81.5\% top-1 accuracy on the ImageNet, which is about 1.7\% higher than that of the state-of-the-art visual transformer with similar computational cost. The PyTorch code is available at \url{}, and the MindSpore code is available at \url{}.

DualNet: Continual Learning, Fast and Slow

Quang Pham · Chenghao Liu · Steven Hoi

According to Complementary Learning Systems (CLS) theory~\cite{mcclelland1995there} in neuroscience, humans do effective \emph{continual learning} through two complementary systems: a fast learning system centered on the hippocampus for rapid learning of the specifics and individual experiences, and a slow learning system located in the neocortex for the gradual acquisition of structured knowledge about the environment. Motivated by this theory, we propose a novel continual learning framework named ``DualNet", which comprises a fast learning system for supervised learning of pattern-separated representation from specific tasks and a slow learning system for unsupervised representation learning of task-agnostic general representation via a Self-Supervised Learning (SSL) technique. The two fast and slow learning systems are complementary and work seamlessly in a holistic continual learning framework. Our extensive experiments on two challenging continual learning benchmarks of CORE50 and miniImageNet show that DualNet outperforms state-of-the-art continual learning methods by a large margin. We further conduct ablation studies of different SSL objectives to validate DualNet's efficacy, robustness, and scalability. Code is publicly available at \url{}.

Learning Diverse Policies in MOBA Games via Macro-Goals

Yiming Gao · Bei Shi · Xueying Du · Liang Wang · Guangwei Chen · Zhenjie Lian · Fuhao Qiu · GUOAN HAN · Weixuan Wang · Deheng Ye · Qiang Fu · Wei Yang · Lanxiao Huang

Recently, many researchers have made successful progress in building the AI systems for MOBA-game-playing with deep reinforcement learning, such as on Dota 2 and Honor of Kings. Even though these AI systems have achieved or even exceeded human-level performance, they still suffer from the lack of policy diversity. In this paper, we propose a novel Macro-Goals Guided framework, called MGG, to learn diverse policies in MOBA games. MGG abstracts strategies as macro-goals from human demonstrations and trains a Meta-Controller to predict these macro-goals. To enhance policy diversity, MGG samples macro-goals from the Meta-Controller prediction and guides the training process towards these goals. Experimental results on the typical MOBA game Honor of Kings demonstrate that MGG can execute diverse policies in different matches and lineups, and also outperform the state-of-the-art methods over 102 heroes.

Determinantal point processes based on orthogonal polynomials for sampling minibatches in SGD

Rémi Bardenet · Subhroshekhar Ghosh · Meixia LIN

Stochastic gradient descent (SGD) is a cornerstone of machine learning. When the number $N$ of data items is large, SGD relies on constructing an unbiased estimator of the gradient of the empirical risk using a small subset of the original dataset, called a minibatch. Default minibatch construction involves uniformly sampling a subset of the desired size, but alternatives have been explored for variance reduction. In particular, experimental evidence suggests drawing minibatches from determinantal point processes (DPPs), tractable distributions over minibatches that favour diversity among selected items. However, like in recent work on DPPs for coresets, providing a systematic and principled understanding of how and why DPPs help has been difficult. In this work, we contribute an orthogonal polynomial-based determinantal point process paradigm for performing minibatch sampling in SGD. Our approach leverages the specific data distribution at hand, which endows it with greater sensitivity and power over existing data-agnostic methods. We substantiate our method via a detailed theoretical analysis of its convergence properties, interweaving between the discrete data set and the underlying continuous domain. In particular, we show how specific DPPs and a string of controlled approximations can lead to gradient estimators with a variance that decays faster with the batchsize than under uniform sampling. Coupled with existing finite-time guarantees for SGD on convex objectives, this entails that, for a large enough batchsize and a fixed budget of item-level gradients to evaluate, DPP minibatches lead to a smaller bound on the mean square approximation error than uniform minibatches. Moreover, our estimators are amenable to a recent algorithm that directly samples linear statistics of DPPs (i.e., the gradient estimator) without sampling the underlying DPP (i.e., the minibatch), thereby reducing computational overhead. We provide detailed synthetic as well as real data experiments to substantiate our theoretical claims.

Deep Molecular Representation Learning via Fusing Physical and Chemical Information

shuwen yang · Ziyao Li · Guojie Song · Lingsheng Cai

Molecular representation learning is the first yet vital step in combining deep learning and molecular science. To push the boundaries of molecular representation learning, we present PhysChem, a novel neural architecture that learns molecular representations via fusing physical and chemical information of molecules. PhysChem is composed of a physicist network (PhysNet) and a chemist network (ChemNet). PhysNet is a neural physical engine that learns molecular conformations through simulating molecular dynamics with parameterized forces; ChemNet implements geometry-aware deep message-passing to learn chemical / biomedical properties of molecules. Two networks specialize in their own tasks and cooperate by providing expertise to each other. By fusing physical and chemical information, PhysChem achieved state-of-the-art performances on MoleculeNet, a standard molecular machine learning benchmark. The effectiveness of PhysChem was further corroborated on cutting-edge datasets of SARS-CoV-2.

GradInit: Learning to Initialize Neural Networks for Stable and Efficient Training

Chen Zhu · Renkun Ni · Zheng Xu · Kezhi Kong · W. Ronny Huang · Tom Goldstein

Innovations in neural architectures have fostered significant breakthroughs in language modeling and computer vision. Unfortunately, novel architectures often result in challenging hyper-parameter choices and training instability if the network parameters are not properly initialized. A number of architecture-specific initialization schemes have been proposed, but these schemes are not always portable to new architectures. This paper presents GradInit, an automated and architecture agnostic method for initializing neural networks. GradInit is based on a simple heuristic; the norm of each network layer is adjusted so that a single step of SGD or Adam with prescribed hyperparameters results in the smallest possible loss value. This adjustment is done by introducing a scalar multiplier variable in front of each parameter block, and then optimizing these variables using a simple numerical scheme. GradInit accelerates the convergence and test performance of many convolutional architectures, both with or without skip connections, and even without normalization layers. It also improves the stability of the original Transformer architecture for machine translation, enabling training it without learning rate warmup using either Adam or SGD under a wide range of learning rates and momentum coefficients. Code is available at

Online Learning Of Neural Computations From Sparse Temporal Feedback

Lukas Braun · Tim Vogels

Neuronal computations depend on synaptic connectivity and intrinsic electrophysiological properties. Synaptic connectivity determines which inputs from presynaptic neurons are integrated, while cellular properties determine how inputs are filtered over time. Unlike their biological counterparts, most computational approaches to learning in simulated neural networks are limited to changes in synaptic connectivity. However, if intrinsic parameters change, neural computations are altered drastically. Here, we include the parameters that determine the intrinsic properties, e.g., time constants and reset potential, into the learning paradigm. Using sparse feedback signals that indicate target spike times, and gradient-based parameter updates, we show that the intrinsic parameters can be learned along with the synaptic weights to produce specific input-output functions. Specifically, we use a teacher-student paradigm in which a randomly initialised leaky integrate-and-fire or resonate-and-fire neuron must recover the parameters of a teacher neuron. We show that complex temporal functions can be learned online and without backpropagation through time, relying on event-based updates only. Our results are a step towards online learning of neural computations from ungraded and unsigned sparse feedback signals with a biologically inspired learning mechanism.

Instance-Conditional Knowledge Distillation for Object Detection

Zijian Kang · Peizhen Zhang · Xiangyu Zhang · Jian Sun · Nanning Zheng

Knowledge distillation has shown great success in classification, however, it is still challenging for detection. In a typical image for detection, representations from different locations may have different contributions to detection targets, making the distillation hard to balance. In this paper, we propose a conditional distillation framework to distill the desired knowledge, namely knowledge that is beneficial in terms of both classification and localization for every instance. The framework introduces a learnable conditional decoding module, which retrieves information given each target instance as query. Specifically, we encode the condition information as query and use the teacher's representations as key. The attention between query and key is used to measure the contribution of different features, guided by a localization-recognition-sensitive auxiliary task. Extensive experiments demonstrate the efficacy of our method: we observe impressive improvements under various settings. Notably, we boost RetinaNet with ResNet-50 backbone from $37.4$ to $40.7$ mAP ($+3.3$) under $1\times$ schedule, that even surpasses the teacher ($40.4$ mAP) with ResNet-101 backbone under $3\times$ schedule. Code has been released on

On Joint Learning for Solving Placement and Routing in Chip Design

Ruoyu Cheng · Junchi Yan

For its advantage in GPU acceleration and less dependency on human experts, machine learning has been an emerging tool for solving the placement and routing problems, as two critical steps in modern chip design flow. Being still in its early stage, there are several fundamental issues unresolved: scalability, reward design, and end-to-end learning paradigm etc. To achieve end-to-end placement learning, we first propose a joint learning method for the placement of macros and standard cells, by the integration of reinforcement learning with a gradient based optimization scheme. To further bridge the placement with the subsequent routing task, we also develop a joint learning approach via reinforcement learning. One key design in our (reinforcement) learning paradigm involves a multi-view embedding model to encode both global graph level and local node level information of the input macros. Moreover, the random network distillation is devised to encourage exploration. Experiments on public chip design benchmarks show that our method can effectively learn from experience and also provide high-quality intermediate placement for the post standard cell placement, within few hours for training.

Neural Dubber: Dubbing for Videos According to Scripts

Chenxu Hu · Qiao Tian · Tingle Li · Wang Yuping · Yuxuan Wang · Hang Zhao

Dubbing is a post-production process of re-recording actors’ dialogues, which is extensively used in filmmaking and video production. It is usually performed manually by professional voice actors who read lines with proper prosody, and in synchronization with the pre-recorded videos. In this work, we propose Neural Dubber, the first neural network model to solve a novel automatic video dubbing (AVD) task: synthesizing human speech synchronized with the given video from the text. Neural Dubber is a multi-modal text-to-speech (TTS) model that utilizes the lip movement in the video to control the prosody of the generated speech. Furthermore, an image-based speaker embedding (ISE) module is developed for the multi-speaker setting, which enables Neural Dubber to generate speech with a reasonable timbre according to the speaker’s face. Experiments on the chemistry lecture single-speaker dataset and LRS2 multi-speaker dataset show that Neural Dubber can generate speech audios on par with state-of-the-art TTS models in terms of speech quality. Most importantly, both qualitative and quantitative evaluations show that Neural Dubber can control the prosody of synthesized speech by the video, and generate high-fidelity speech temporally synchronized with the video.

Sparse Steerable Convolutions: An Efficient Learning of SE(3)-Equivariant Features for Estimation and Tracking of Object Poses in 3D Space

Jiehong Lin · Hongyang Li · Ke Chen · Jiangbo Lu · Kui Jia

As a basic component of SE(3)-equivariant deep feature learning, steerable convolution has recently demonstrated its advantages for 3D semantic analysis. The advantages are, however, brought by expensive computations on dense, volumetric data, which prevent its practical use for efficient processing of 3D data that are inherently sparse. In this paper, we propose a novel design of Sparse Steerable Convolution (SS-Conv) to address the shortcoming; SS-Conv greatly accelerates steerable convolution with sparse tensors, while strictly preserving the property of SE(3)-equivariance. Based on SS-Conv, we propose a general pipeline for precise estimation of object poses, wherein a key design is a Feature-Steering module that takes the full advantage of SE(3)-equivariance and is able to conduct an efficient pose refinement. To verify our designs, we conduct thorough experiments on three tasks of 3D object semantic analysis, including instance-level 6D pose estimation, category-level 6D pose and size estimation, and category-level 6D pose tracking. Our proposed pipeline based on SS-Conv outperforms existing methods on almost all the metrics evaluated by the three tasks. Ablation studies also show the superiority of our SS-Conv over alternative convolutions in terms of both accuracy and efficiency. Our code is released publicly at

Noisy Adaptation Generates Lévy Flights in Attractor Neural Networks

Xingsi Dong · Tianhao Chu · Tiejun Huang · Zilong Ji · Si Wu

Lévy flights describe a special class of random walks whose step sizes satisfy a power-law tailed distribution. As being an efficientsearching strategy in unknown environments, Lévy flights are widely observed in animal foraging behaviors. Recent studies further showed that human cognitive functions also exhibit the characteristics of Lévy flights. Despite being a general phenomenon, the neural mechanism at the circuit level for generating Lévy flights remains unresolved. Here, we investigate how Lévy flights can be achieved in attractor neural networks. To elucidate the underlying mechanism clearly, we first study continuous attractor neural networks (CANNs), and find that noisy neural adaptation, exemplified by spike frequency adaptation (SFA) in this work, can generate Lévy flights representing transitions of the network state in the attractor space. Specifically, the strength of SFA defines a travelling wave boundary, below which the network state displays local Brownian motion, and above which the network state displays long-jump motion. Noises in neural adaptation causes the network state to intermittently switch between these two motion modes, manifesting the characteristics of Lévy flights. We further extend the study to a general attractor neural network, and demonstrate that our model can explain the Lévy-flight phenomenon observed during free memory retrieval of humans. We hope that this study will give us insight into understanding the neural mechanism for optimal information processing in the brain.

Distilling Robust and Non-Robust Features in Adversarial Examples by Information Bottleneck

Junho Kim · Byung-Kwan Lee · Yong Man Ro

Adversarial examples, generated by carefully crafted perturbation, have attracted considerable attention in research fields. Recent works have argued that the existence of the robust and non-robust features is a primary cause of the adversarial examples, and investigated their internal interactions in the feature space. In this paper, we propose a way of explicitly distilling feature representation into the robust and non-robust features, using Information Bottleneck. Specifically, we inject noise variation to each feature unit and evaluate the information flow in the feature representation to dichotomize feature units either robust or non-robust, based on the noise variation magnitude. Through comprehensive experiments, we demonstrate that the distilled features are highly correlated with adversarial prediction, and they have human-perceptible semantic information by themselves. Furthermore, we present an attack mechanism intensifying the gradient of non-robust features that is directly related to the model prediction, and validate its effectiveness of breaking model robustness.

Mining the Benefits of Two-stage and One-stage HOI Detection

Aixi Zhang · Yue Liao · Si Liu · Miao Lu · Yongliang Wang · Chen Gao · XIAOBO LI

Two-stage methods have dominated Human-Object Interaction~(HOI) detection for several years. Recently, one-stage HOI detection methods have become popular. In this paper, we aim to explore the essential pros and cons of two-stage and one-stage methods. With this as the goal, we find that conventional two-stage methods mainly suffer from positioning positive interactive human-object pairs, while one-stage methods are challenging to make an appropriate trade-off on multi-task learning, \emph{i.e.}, object detection, and interaction classification. Therefore, a core problem is how to take the essence and discard the dregs from the conventional two types of methods. To this end, we propose a novel one-stage framework with disentangling human-object detection and interaction classification in a cascade manner. In detail, we first design a human-object pair generator based on a state-of-the-art one-stage HOI detector by removing the interaction classification module or head and then design a relatively isolated interaction classifier to classify each human-object pair. Two cascade decoders in our proposed framework can focus on one specific task, detection or interaction classification. In terms of the specific implementation, we adopt a transformer-based HOI detector as our base model. The newly introduced disentangling paradigm outperforms existing methods by a large margin, with a significant relative mAP gain of 9.32% on HICO-Det. The source codes are available at

Sparsely Changing Latent States for Prediction and Planning in Partially Observable Domains

Christian Gumbsch · Martin V. Butz · Georg Martius

A common approach to prediction and planning in partially observable domains is to use recurrent neural networks (RNNs), which ideally develop and maintain a latent memory about hidden, task-relevant factors. We hypothesize that many of these hidden factors in the physical world are constant over time, changing only sparsely. To study this hypothesis, we propose Gated $L_0$ Regularized Dynamics (GateL0RD), a novel recurrent architecture that incorporates the inductive bias to maintain stable, sparsely changing latent states. The bias is implemented by means of a novel internal gating function and a penalty on the $L_0$ norm of latent state changes. We demonstrate that GateL0RD can compete with or outperform state-of-the-art RNNs in a variety of partially observable prediction and control tasks. GateL0RD tends to encode the underlying generative factors of the environment, ignores spurious temporal dependencies, and generalizes better, improving sampling efficiency and overall performance in model-based planning and reinforcement learning tasks. Moreover, we show that the developing latent states can be easily interpreted, which is a step towards better explainability in RNNs.

Relative Uncertainty Learning for Facial Expression Recognition

Yuhang Zhang · Chengrui Wang · Weihong Deng

In facial expression recognition (FER), the uncertainties introduced by inherent noises like ambiguous facial expressions and inconsistent labels raise concerns about the credibility of recognition results. To quantify these uncertainties and achieve good performance under noisy data, we regard uncertainty as a relative concept and propose an innovative uncertainty learning method called Relative Uncertainty Learning (RUL). Rather than assuming Gaussian uncertainty distributions for all datasets, RUL builds an extra branch to learn uncertainty from the relative difficulty of samples by feature mixup. Specifically, we use uncertainties as weights to mix facial features and design an add-up loss to encourage uncertainty learning. It is easy to implement and adds little or no extra computation overhead. Extensive experiments show that RUL outperforms state-of-the-art FER uncertainty learning methods in both real-world and synthetic noisy FER datasets. Besides, RUL also works well on other datasets such as CIFAR and Tiny ImageNet. The code is available at

Image Generation using Continuous Filter Atoms

Ze Wang · Seunghyun Hwang · Zichen Miao · Qiang Qiu

In this paper, we model the subspace of convolutional filters with a neural ordinary differential equation (ODE) to enable gradual changes in generated images. Decomposing convolutional filters over a set of filter atoms allows efficiently modeling and sampling from a subspace of high-dimensional filters. By further modeling filters atoms with a neural ODE, we show both empirically and theoretically that such introduced continuity can be propagated to the generated images, and thus achieves gradually evolved image generation. We support the proposed framework of image generation with continuous filter atoms using various experiments, including image-to-image translation and image generation conditioned on continuous labels. Without auxiliary network components and heavy supervision, the proposed continuous filter atoms allow us to easily manipulate the gradual change of generated images by controlling integration intervals of neural ordinary differential equation. This research sheds the light on using the subspace of network parameters to navigate the diverse appearance of image generation.

BooVAE: Boosting Approach for Continual Learning of VAE

Evgenii Egorov · Anna Kuzina · Evgeny Burnaev

Variational autoencoder (VAE) is a deep generative model for unsupervised learning, allowing to encode observations into the meaningful latent space. VAE is prone to catastrophic forgetting when tasks arrive sequentially, and only the data for the current one is available. We address this problem of continual learning for VAEs. It is known that the choice of the prior distribution over the latent space is crucial for VAE in the non-continual setting. We argue that it can also be helpful to avoid catastrophic forgetting. We learn the approximation of the aggregated posterior as a prior for each task. This approximation is parametrised as an additive mixture of distributions induced by an encoder evaluated at trainable pseudo-inputs. We use a greedy boosting-like approach with entropy regularisation to learn the components. This method encourages components diversity, which is essential as we aim at memorising the current task with the fewest components possible. Based on the learnable prior, we introduce an end-to-end approach for continual learning of VAEs and provide empirical studies on commonly used benchmarks (MNIST, Fashion MNIST, NotMNIST) and CelebA datasets. For each dataset, the proposed method avoids catastrophic forgetting in a fully automatic way.

Handling Long-tailed Feature Distribution in AdderNets

Minjing Dong · Yunhe Wang · Xinghao Chen · Chang Xu

Adder neural networks (ANNs) are designed for low energy cost which replace expensive multiplications in convolutional neural networks (CNNs) with cheaper additions to yield energy-efficient neural networks and hardware accelerations. Although ANNs achieve satisfactory efficiency, there exist gaps between ANNs and CNNs where the accuracy of ANNs can hardly be compared to CNNs without the assistance of other training tricks, such as knowledge distillation. The inherent discrepancy lies in the similarity measurement between filters and features, however how to alleviate this difference remains unexplored. To locate the potential problem of ANNs, we focus on the property difference due to similarity measurement. We demonstrate that unordered heavy tails in ANNs could be the key component which prevents ANNs from achieving superior classification performance since fatter tails tend to overlap in feature space. Through pre-defining Multivariate Skew Laplace distributions and embedding feature distributions into the loss function, ANN features can be fully controlled and designed for various properties. We further present a novel method for tackling existing heavy tails in ANNs with only a modification of classifier where ANN features are clustered with their tails well-formulated through proposed angle-based constraint on the distribution parameters to encourage high diversity of tails. Experiments conducted on several benchmarks and comparison with other distributions demonstrate the effectiveness of proposed approach for boosting the performance of ANNs.

Training Neural Networks is ER-complete

Mikkel Abrahamsen · Linda Kleist · Tillmann Miltzow

Given a neural network, training data, and a threshold, finding weights for the neural network such that the total error is below the threshold is known to be NP-hard. We determine the algorithmic complexity of this fundamental problem precisely, by showing that it is $\exists\mathbb R$-complete. This means that the problem is equivalent, up to polynomial time reductions, to deciding whether a system of polynomial equations and inequalities with integer coefficients and real unknowns has a solution. If, as widely expected, $\exists\mathbb R$ is strictly larger than NP, our work implies that the problem of training neural networks is not even in NP.Neural networks are usually trained using some variation of backpropagation. The result of this paper gives an explanation why techniques commonly used to solve big instances of NP-complete problems (such as SAT solvers, IP solvers, local search, dynamic programming, etc.) seem to be of no use to this task.

Learning High-Precision Bounding Box for Rotated Object Detection via Kullback-Leibler Divergence

Xue Yang · Xiaojiang Yang · Jirui Yang · Qi Ming · Wentao Wang · Qi Tian · Junchi Yan

Existing rotated object detectors are mostly inherited from the horizontal detection paradigm, as the latter has evolved into a well-developed area. However, these detectors are difficult to perform prominently in high-precision detection due to the limitation of current regression loss design, especially for objects with large aspect ratios. Taking the perspective that horizontal detection is a special case for rotated object detection, in this paper, we are motivated to change the design of rotation regression loss from induction paradigm to deduction methodology, in terms of the relation between rotation and horizontal detection. We show that one essential challenge is how to modulate the coupled parameters in the rotation regression loss, as such the estimated parameters can influence to each other during the dynamic joint optimization, in an adaptive and synergetic way. Specifically, we first convert the rotated bounding box into a 2-D Gaussian distribution, and then calculate the Kullback-Leibler Divergence (KLD) between the Gaussian distributions as the regression loss. By analyzing the gradient of each parameter, we show that KLD (and its derivatives) can dynamically adjust the parameter gradients according to the characteristics of the object. For instance, it will adjust the importance (gradient weight) of the angle parameter according to the aspect ratio. This mechanism can be vital for high-precision detection as a slight angle error would cause a serious accuracy drop for large aspect ratios objects. More importantly, we have proved that KLD is scale invariant. We further show that the KLD loss can be degenerated into the popular Ln-norm loss for horizontal detection. Experimental results on seven datasets using different detectors show its consistent superiority, and codes are available at

Online Variational Filtering and Parameter Learning

Andrew Campbell · Yuyang Shi · Thomas Rainforth · Arnaud Doucet

We present a variational method for online state estimation and parameter learning in state-space models (SSMs), a ubiquitous class of latent variable models for sequential data. As per standard batch variational techniques, we use stochastic gradients to simultaneously optimize a lower bound on the log evidence with respect to both model parameters and a variational approximation of the states' posterior distribution. However, unlike existing approaches, our method is able to operate in an entirely online manner, such that historic observations do not require revisitation after being incorporated and the cost of updates at each time step remains constant, despite the growing dimensionality of the joint posterior distribution of the states. This is achieved by utilizing backward decompositions of this joint posterior distribution and of its variational approximation, combined with Bellman-type recursions for the evidence lower bound and its gradients. We demonstrate the performance of this methodology across several examples, including high-dimensional SSMs and sequential Variational Auto-Encoders.

Flattening Sharpness for Dynamic Gradient Projection Memory Benefits Continual Learning

Danruo DENG · Guangyong Chen · Jianye Hao · Qiong Wang · Pheng-Ann Heng

The backpropagation networks are notably susceptible to catastrophic forgetting, where networks tend to forget previously learned skills upon learning new ones. To address such the 'sensitivity-stability' dilemma, most previous efforts have been contributed to minimizing the empirical risk with different parameter regularization terms and episodic memory, but rarely exploring the usages of the weight loss landscape. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between the weight loss landscape and sensitivity-stability in the continual learning scenario, based on which, we propose a novel method, Flattening Sharpness for Dynamic Gradient Projection Memory (FS-DGPM). In particular, we introduce a soft weight to represent the importance of each basis representing past tasks in GPM, which can be adaptively learned during the learning process, so that less important bases can be dynamically released to improve the sensitivity of new skill learning. We further introduce Flattening Sharpness (FS) to reduce the generalization gap by explicitly regulating the flatness of the weight loss landscape of all seen tasks. As demonstrated empirically, our proposed method consistently outperforms baselines with the superior ability to learn new skills while alleviating forgetting effectively.

Efficient and Accurate Gradients for Neural SDEs

Patrick Kidger · James Foster · Xuechen (Chen) Li · Terry Lyons

Neural SDEs combine many of the best qualities of both RNNs and SDEs, and as such are a natural choice for modelling many types of temporal dynamics. They offer memory efficiency, high-capacity function approximation, and strong priors on model space. Neural SDEs may be trained as VAEs or as GANs; in either case it is necessary to backpropagate through the SDE solve. In particular this may be done by constructing a backwards-in-time SDE whose solution is the desired parameter gradients. However, this has previously suffered from severe speed and accuracy issues, due to high computational complexity, numerical errors in the SDE solve, and the cost of reconstructing Brownian motion. Here, we make several technical innovations to overcome these issues. First, we introduce the \textit{reversible Heun method}: a new SDE solver that is algebraically reversible -- which reduces numerical gradient errors to almost zero, improving several test metrics by substantial margins over state-of-the-art. Moreover it requires half as many function evaluations as comparable solvers, giving up to a $1.98\times$ speedup. Next, we introduce the \textit{Brownian interval}. This is a new and computationally efficient way of exactly sampling \textit{and reconstructing} Brownian motion; this is in contrast to previous reconstruction techniques that are both approximate and relatively slow. This gives up to a $10.6\times$ speed improvement over previous techniques. After that, when specifically training Neural SDEs as GANs (Kidger et al. 2021), we demonstrate how SDE-GANs may be trained through careful weight clipping and choice of activation function. This reduces computational cost (giving up to a $1.87\times$ speedup), and removes the truncation errors of the double adjoint required for gradient penalty, substantially improving several test metrics. Altogether these techniques offer substantial improvements over the state-of-the-art, with respect to both training speed and with respect to classification, prediction, and MMD test metrics. We have contributed implementations of all of our techniques to the \texttt{torchsde} library to help facilitate their adoption.

Unfolding Taylor's Approximations for Image Restoration

man zhou · Xueyang Fu · Zeyu Xiao · Gang Yang · Aiping Liu · Zhiwei Xiong

Deep learning provides a new avenue for image restoration, which demands a delicate balance between fine-grained details and high-level contextualized information during recovering the latent clear image. In practice, however, existing methods empirically construct encapsulated end-to-end mapping networks without deepening into the rationality, and neglect the intrinsic prior knowledge of restoration task. To solve the above problems, inspired by Taylor’s Approximations, we unfold Taylor’s Formula to construct a novel framework for image restoration. We find the main part and the derivative part of Taylor’s Approximations take the same effect as the two competing goals of high-level contextualized information and spatial details of image restoration respectively. Specifically, our framework consists of two steps, which are correspondingly responsible for the mapping and derivative functions. The former first learns the high-level contextualized information and the later combines it with the degraded input to progressively recover local high-order spatial details. Our proposed framework is orthogonal to existing methods and thus can be easily integrated with them for further improvement, and extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness and scalability of our proposed framework.

Metropolis-Hastings Data Augmentation for Graph Neural Networks

Hyeonjin Park · Seunghun Lee · Sihyeon Kim · Jinyoung Park · Jisu Jeong · Kyung-Min Kim · Jung-Woo Ha · Hyunwoo Kim

Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) often suffer from weak-generalization due to sparsely labeled data despite their promising results on various graph-based tasks. Data augmentation is a prevalent remedy to improve the generalization ability of models in many domains. However, due to the non-Euclidean nature of data space and the dependencies between samples, designing effective augmentation on graphs is challenging. In this paper, we propose a novel framework Metropolis-Hastings Data Augmentation (MH-Aug) that draws augmented graphs from an explicit target distribution for semi-supervised learning. MH-Aug produces a sequence of augmented graphs from the target distribution enables flexible control of the strength and diversity of augmentation. Since the direct sampling from the complex target distribution is challenging, we adopt the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm to obtain the augmented samples. We also propose a simple and effective semi-supervised learning strategy with generated samples from MH-Aug. Our extensive experiments demonstrate that MH-Aug can generate a sequence of samples according to the target distribution to significantly improve the performance of GNNs.

Adaptive First-Order Methods Revisited: Convex Minimization without Lipschitz Requirements

Kimon Antonakopoulos · Panayotis Mertikopoulos

We propose a new family of adaptive first-order methods for a class of convex minimization problems that may fail to be Lipschitz continuous or smooth in the standard sense. Specifically, motivated by a recent flurry of activity on non-Lipschitz (NoLips) optimization, we consider problems that are continuous or smooth relative to a reference Bregman function – as opposed to a global, ambient norm (Euclidean or otherwise). These conditions encompass a wide range ofproblems with singular objective, such as Fisher markets, Poisson tomography, D-design, and the like. In this setting, the application of existing order-optimal adaptive methods – like UnixGrad or AcceleGrad – is not possible, especially in the presence of randomness and uncertainty. The proposed method, adaptive mirror descent (AdaMir), aims to close this gap by concurrently achieving min-max optimal rates in problems that are relatively continuous or smooth, including stochastic ones.

Adversarial Teacher-Student Representation Learning for Domain Generalization

Fu-En Yang · Yuan-Chia Cheng · Zu-Yun Shiau · Frank Wang

Domain generalization (DG) aims to transfer the learning task from a single or multiple source domains to unseen target domains. To extract and leverage the information which exhibits sufficient generalization ability, we propose a simple yet effective approach of Adversarial Teacher-Student Representation Learning, with the goal of deriving the domain generalizable representations via generating and exploring out-of-source data distributions. Our proposed framework advances Teacher-Student learning in an adversarial learning manner, which alternates between knowledge-distillation based representation learning and novel-domain data augmentation. The former progressively updates the teacher network for deriving domain-generalizable representations, while the latter synthesizes data out-of-source yet plausible distributions. Extensive image classification experiments on benchmark datasets in multiple and single source DG settings confirm that, our model exhibits sufficient generalization ability and performs favorably against state-of-the-art DG methods.

Fast Axiomatic Attribution for Neural Networks

Robin Hesse · Simone Schaub-Meyer · Stefan Roth

Mitigating the dependence on spurious correlations present in the training dataset is a quickly emerging and important topic of deep learning. Recent approaches include priors on the feature attribution of a deep neural network (DNN) into the training process to reduce the dependence on unwanted features. However, until now one needed to trade off high-quality attributions, satisfying desirable axioms, against the time required to compute them. This in turn either led to long training times or ineffective attribution priors. In this work, we break this trade-off by considering a special class of efficiently axiomatically attributable DNNs for which an axiomatic feature attribution can be computed with only a single forward/backward pass. We formally prove that nonnegatively homogeneous DNNs, here termed $\mathcal{X}$-DNNs, are efficiently axiomatically attributable and show that they can be effortlessly constructed from a wide range of regular DNNs by simply removing the bias term of each layer. Various experiments demonstrate the advantages of $\mathcal{X}$-DNNs, beating state-of-the-art generic attribution methods on regular DNNs for training with attribution priors.

OSOA: One-Shot Online Adaptation of Deep Generative Models for Lossless Compression

Chen Zhang · Shifeng Zhang · Fabio Maria Carlucci · Zhenguo Li

Explicit deep generative models (DGMs), e.g., VAEs and Normalizing Flows, have shown to offer an effective data modelling alternative for lossless compression. However, DGMs themselves normally require large storage space and thus contaminate the advantage brought by accurate data density estimation.To eliminate the requirement of saving separate models for different target datasets, we propose a novel setting that starts from a pretrained deep generative model and compresses the data batches while adapting the model with a dynamical system for only one epoch.We formalise this setting as that of One-Shot Online Adaptation (OSOA) of DGMs for lossless compression and propose a vanilla algorithm under this setting. Experimental results show that vanilla OSOA can save significant time versus training bespoke models and space versus using one model for all targets.With the same adaptation step number or adaptation time, it is shown vanilla OSOA can exhibit better space efficiency, e.g., $47\%$ less space, than fine-tuning the pretrained model and saving the fine-tuned model.Moreover, we showcase the potential of OSOA and motivate more sophisticated OSOA algorithms by showing further space or time efficiency with multiple updates per batch and early stopping.

Only Train Once: A One-Shot Neural Network Training And Pruning Framework

Tianyi Chen · Bo Ji · Tianyu Ding · Biyi Fang · Guanyi Wang · Zhihui Zhu · Luming Liang · Yixin Shi · Sheng Yi · Xiao Tu

Structured pruning is a commonly used technique in deploying deep neural networks (DNNs) onto resource-constrained devices. However, the existing pruning methods are usually heuristic, task-specified, and require an extra fine-tuning procedure. To overcome these limitations, we propose a framework that compresses DNNs into slimmer architectures with competitive performances and significant FLOPs reductions by Only-Train-Once (OTO). OTO contains two key steps: (i) we partition the parameters of DNNs into zero-invariant groups, enabling us to prune zero groups without affecting the output; and (ii) to promote zero groups, we then formulate a structured-sparsity optimization problem, and propose a novel optimization algorithm, Half-Space Stochastic Projected Gradient (HSPG), to solve it, which outperforms the standard proximal methods on group sparsity exploration, and maintains comparable convergence. To demonstrate the effectiveness of OTO, we train and compress full models simultaneously from scratch without fine-tuning for inference speedup and parameter reduction, and achieve state-of-the-art results on VGG16 for CIFAR10, ResNet50 for CIFAR10 and Bert for SQuAD and competitive result on ResNet50 for ImageNet. The source code is available at

Predicting Molecular Conformation via Dynamic Graph Score Matching

Shitong Luo · Chence Shi · Minkai Xu · Jian Tang

Predicting stable 3D conformations from 2D molecular graphs has been a long-standing challenge in computational chemistry. Recently, machine learning approaches have demonstrated very promising results compared to traditional experimental and physics-based simulation methods. These approaches mainly focus on modeling the local interactions between neighboring atoms on the molecular graphs and overlook the long-range interactions between non-bonded atoms. However, these non-bonded atoms may be proximal to each other in 3D space, and modeling their interactions is of crucial importance to accurately determine molecular conformations, especially for large molecules and multi-molecular complexes. In this paper, we propose a new approach called Dynamic Graph Score Matching (DGSM) for molecular conformation prediction, which models both the local and long-range interactions by dynamically constructing graph structures between atoms according to their spatial proximity during both training and inference. Specifically, the DGSM directly estimates the gradient fields of the logarithm density of atomic coordinates according to the dynamically constructed graphs using score matching methods. The whole framework can be efficiently trained in an end-to-end fashion. Experiments across multiple tasks show that the DGSM outperforms state-of-the-art baselines by a large margin, and it is capable of generating conformations for a broader range of systems such as proteins and multi-molecular complexes.

Rate-Optimal Subspace Estimation on Random Graphs

Zhixin Zhou · Fan Zhou · Ping Li · Cun-Hui Zhang

We study the theory of random bipartite graph whose adjacency matrix is generated according to a connectivity matrix $M$. We consider the bipartite graph to be sparse, i.e., the entries of $M$ are upper bounded by certain sparsity parameter. We show that the performance of estimating the connectivity matrix $M$ depends on the sparsity of the graph. We focus on two measurement of performance of estimation: the error of estimating $M$ and the error of estimating the column space of $M$. In the first case, we consider the operator norm and Frobenius norm of the difference between the estimation and the true connectivity matrix. In the second case, the performance will be measured by the difference between the estimated projection matrix and the true projection matrix in operator norm and Frobenius norm. We will show that the estimators we propose achieve the minimax optimal rate.

Node Dependent Local Smoothing for Scalable Graph Learning

Wentao Zhang · Mingyu Yang · Zeang Sheng · Yang Li · Wen Ouyang · Yangyu Tao · Zhi Yang · Bin CUI

Recent works reveal that feature or label smoothing lies at the core of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs). Concretely, they show feature smoothing combined with simple linear regression achieves comparable performance with the carefully designed GNNs, and a simple MLP model with label smoothing of its prediction can outperform the vanilla GCN. Though an interesting finding, smoothing has not been well understood, especially regarding how to control the extent of smoothness. Intuitively, too small or too large smoothing iterations may cause under-smoothing or over-smoothing and can lead to sub-optimal performance. Moreover, the extent of smoothness is node-specific, depending on its degree and local structure. To this end, we propose a novel algorithm called node-dependent local smoothing (NDLS), which aims to control the smoothness of every node by setting a node-specific smoothing iteration. Specifically, NDLS computes influence scores based on the adjacency matrix and selects the iteration number by setting a threshold on the scores. Once selected, the iteration number can be applied to both feature smoothing and label smoothing. Experimental results demonstrate that NDLS enjoys high accuracy -- state-of-the-art performance on node classifications tasks, flexibility -- can be incorporated with any models, scalability and efficiency -- can support large scale graphs with fast training.

Variational Inference for Continuous-Time Switching Dynamical Systems

Lukas Köhs · Bastian Alt · Heinz Koeppl

Switching dynamical systems provide a powerful, interpretable modeling framework for inference in time-series data in, e.g., the natural sciences or engineering applications. Since many areas, such as biology or discrete-event systems, are naturally described in continuous time, we present a model based on a Markov jump process modulating a subordinated diffusion process. We provide the exact evolution equations for the prior and posterior marginal densities, the direct solutions of which are however computationally intractable. Therefore, we develop a new continuous-time variational inference algorithm, combining a Gaussian process approximation on the diffusion level with posterior inference for Markov jump processes. By minimizing the path-wise Kullback-Leibler divergence we obtain (i) Bayesian latent state estimates for arbitrary points on the real axis and (ii) point estimates of unknown system parameters, utilizing variational expectation maximization. We extensively evaluate our algorithm under the model assumption and for real-world examples.

Generative Occupancy Fields for 3D Surface-Aware Image Synthesis

Xudong XU · Xingang Pan · Dahua Lin · Bo Dai

The advent of generative radiance fields has significantly promoted the development of 3D-aware image synthesis. The cumulative rendering process in radiance fields makes training these generative models much easier since gradients are distributed over the entire volume, but leads to diffused object surfaces. In the meantime, compared to radiance fields occupancy representations could inherently ensure deterministic surfaces. However, if we directly apply occupancy representations to generative models, during training they will only receive sparse gradients located on object surfaces and eventually suffer from the convergence problem. In this paper, we propose Generative Occupancy Fields (GOF), a novel model based on generative radiance fields that can learn compact object surfaces without impeding its training convergence. The key insight of GOF is a dedicated transition from the cumulative rendering in radiance fields to rendering with only the surface points as the learned surface gets more and more accurate. In this way, GOF combines the merits of two representations in a unified framework. In practice, the training-time transition of start from radiance fields and march to occupancy representations is achieved in GOF by gradually shrinking the sampling region in its rendering process from the entire volume to a minimal neighboring region around the surface. Through comprehensive experiments on multiple datasets, we demonstrate that GOF can synthesize high-quality images with 3D consistency and simultaneously learn compact and smooth object surfaces. Our code is available at

Gaussian Kernel Mixture Network for Single Image Defocus Deblurring

Yuhui Quan · Zicong Wu · Hui Ji

Defocus blur is one kind of blur effects often seen in images, which is challenging to remove due to its spatially variant amount. This paper presents an end-to-end deep learning approach for removing defocus blur from a single image, so as to have an all-in-focus image for consequent vision tasks. First, a pixel-wise Gaussian kernel mixture (GKM) model is proposed for representing spatially variant defocus blur kernels in an efficient linear parametric form, with higher accuracy than existing models. Then, a deep neural network called GKMNet is developed by unrolling a fixed-point iteration of the GKM-based deblurring. The GKMNet is built on a lightweight scale-recurrent architecture, with a scale-recurrent attention module for estimating the mixing coefficients in GKM for defocus deblurring. Extensive experiments show that the GKMNet not only noticeably outperforms existing defocus deblurring methods, but also has its advantages in terms of model complexity and computational efficiency.

Duplex Sequence-to-Sequence Learning for Reversible Machine Translation

Zaixiang Zheng · Hao Zhou · Shujian Huang · Jiajun Chen · Jingjing Xu · Lei Li

Sequence-to-sequence learning naturally has two directions. How to effectively utilize supervision signals from both directions? Existing approaches either require two separate models, or a multitask-learned model but with inferior performance. In this paper, we propose REDER (Reversible Duplex Transformer), a parameter-efficient model and apply it to machine translation. Either end of REDER can simultaneously input and output a distinct language. Thus REDER enables {\em reversible machine translation} by simply flipping the input and output ends. Experiments verify that REDER achieves the first success of reversible machine translation, which helps outperform its multitask-trained baselines by up to 1.3 BLEU.

DeepReduce: A Sparse-tensor Communication Framework for Federated Deep Learning

Hang Xu · Kelly Kostopoulou · Aritra Dutta · Xin Li · Alexandros Ntoulas · Panos Kalnis

Sparse tensors appear frequently in federated deep learning, either as a direct artifact of the deep neural network’s gradients, or as a result of an explicit sparsification process. Existing communication primitives are agnostic to the peculiarities of deep learning; consequently, they impose unnecessary communication overhead. This paper introduces DeepReduce, a versatile framework for the compressed communication of sparse tensors, tailored to federated deep learning. DeepReduce decomposes sparse tensors into two sets, values and indices, and allows both independent and combined compression of these sets. We support a variety of common compressors, such as Deflate for values, or run-length encoding for indices. We also propose two novel compression schemes that achieve superior results: curve fitting-based for values, and bloom filter-based for indices. DeepReduce is orthogonal to existing gradient sparsifiers and can be applied in conjunction with them, transparently to the end-user, to significantly lower the communication overhead. As proof of concept, we implement our approach on TensorFlow and PyTorch. Our experiments with large real models demonstrate that DeepReduce transmits 320% less data than existing sparsifiers, without affecting accuracy. Code is available at

A self consistent theory of Gaussian Processes captures feature learning effects in finite CNNs

Gadi Naveh · Zohar Ringel

Deep neural networks (DNNs) in the infinite width/channel limit have received much attention recently, as they provide a clear analytical window to deep learning via mappings to Gaussian Processes (GPs). Despite its theoretical appeal, this viewpoint lacks a crucial ingredient of deep learning in finite DNNs, laying at the heart of their success --- \textit{feature learning}. Here we consider DNNs trained with noisy gradient descent on a large training set and derive a self-consistent Gaussian Process theory accounting for \textit{strong} finite-DNN and feature learning effects. Applying this to a toy model of a two-layer linear convolutional neural network (CNN) shows good agreement with experiments. We further identify, both analytically and numerically, a sharp transition between a feature learning regime and a lazy learning regime in this model. Strong finite-DNN effects are also derived for a non-linear two-layer fully connected network. We have numerical evidence demonstrating that the assumptions required for our theory hold true in more realistic settings (Myrtle5 CNN trained on CIFAR-10).Our self-consistent theory provides a rich and versatile analytical framework for studying strong finite-DNN effects, most notably - feature learning.

Learning Transferable Features for Point Cloud Detection via 3D Contrastive Co-training

Zeng Yihan · Chunwei Wang · Yunbo Wang · Hang Xu · Chaoqiang Ye · Zhen Yang · Chao Ma

Most existing point cloud detection models require large-scale, densely annotated datasets. They typically underperform in domain adaptation settings, due to geometry shifts caused by different physical environments or LiDAR sensor configurations. Therefore, it is challenging but valuable to learn transferable features between a labeled source domain and a novel target domain, without any access to target labels. To tackle this problem, we introduce the framework of 3D Contrastive Co-training (3D-CoCo) with two technical contributions. First, 3D-CoCo is inspired by our observation that the bird-eye-view (BEV) features are more transferable than low-level geometry features. We thus propose a new co-training architecture that includes separate 3D encoders with domain-specific parameters, as well as a BEV transformation module for learning domain-invariant features. Second, 3D-CoCo extends the approach of contrastive instance alignment to point cloud detection, whose performance was largely hindered by the mismatch between the fictitious distribution of BEV features, induced by pseudo-labels, and the true distribution. The mismatch is greatly reduced by 3D-CoCo with transformed point clouds, which are carefully designed by considering specific geometry priors. We construct new domain adaptation benchmarks using three large-scale 3D datasets. Experimental results show that our proposed 3D-CoCo effectively closes the domain gap and outperforms the state-of-the-art methods by large margins.

Generative vs. Discriminative: Rethinking The Meta-Continual Learning

Mohammadamin Banayeeanzade · Rasoul Mirzaiezadeh · Hosein Hasani · Mahdieh Soleymani

Deep neural networks have achieved human-level capabilities in various learning tasks. However, they generally lose performance in more realistic scenarios like learning in a continual manner. In contrast, humans can incorporate their prior knowledge to learn new concepts efficiently without forgetting older ones. In this work, we leverage meta-learning to encourage the model to learn how to learn continually. Inspired by human concept learning, we develop a generative classifier that efficiently uses data-driven experience to learn new concepts even from few samples while being immune to forgetting. Along with cognitive and theoretical insights, extensive experiments on standard benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. The ability to remember all previous concepts, with negligible computational and structural overheads, suggests that generative models provide a natural way for alleviating catastrophic forgetting, which is a major drawback of discriminative models.

FastCorrect: Fast Error Correction with Edit Alignment for Automatic Speech Recognition

Yichong Leng · Xu Tan · Linchen Zhu · Jin Xu · Renqian Luo · Linquan Liu · Tao Qin · Xiangyang Li · Edward Lin · Tie-Yan Liu

Error correction techniques have been used to refine the output sentences from automatic speech recognition (ASR) models and achieve a lower word error rate (WER) than original ASR outputs. Previous works usually use a sequence-to-sequence model to correct an ASR output sentence autoregressively, which causes large latency and cannot be deployed in online ASR services. A straightforward solution to reduce latency, inspired by non-autoregressive (NAR) neural machine translation, is to use an NAR sequence generation model for ASR error correction, which, however, comes at the cost of significantly increased ASR error rate. In this paper, observing distinctive error patterns and correction operations (i.e., insertion, deletion, and substitution) in ASR, we propose FastCorrect, a novel NAR error correction model based on edit alignment. In training, FastCorrect aligns each source token from an ASR output sentence to the target tokens from the corresponding ground-truth sentence based on the edit distance between the source and target sentences, and extracts the number of target tokens corresponding to each source token during edition/correction, which is then used to train a length predictor and to adjust the source tokens to match the length of the target sentence for parallel generation. In inference, the token number predicted by the length predictor is used to adjust the source tokens for target sequence generation. Experiments on the public AISHELL-1 dataset and an internal industrial-scale ASR dataset show the effectiveness of FastCorrect for ASR error correction: 1) it speeds up the inference by 6-9 times and maintains the accuracy (8-14% WER reduction) compared with the autoregressive correction model; and 2) it outperforms the popular NAR models adopted in neural machine translation and text edition by a large margin.

On Robust Optimal Transport: Computational Complexity and Barycenter Computation

Khang Le · Huy Nguyen · Quang M Nguyen · Tung Pham · Hung Bui · Nhat Ho

We consider robust variants of the standard optimal transport, named robust optimal transport, where marginal constraints are relaxed via Kullback-Leibler divergence. We show that Sinkhorn-based algorithms can approximate the optimal cost of robust optimal transport in $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{n^2}{\varepsilon})$ time, in which $n$ is the number of supports of the probability distributions and $\varepsilon$ is the desired error. Furthermore, we investigate a fixed-support robust barycenter problem between $m$ discrete probability distributions with at most $n$ number of supports and develop an approximating algorithm based on iterative Bregman projections (IBP). For the specific case $m = 2$, we show that this algorithm can approximate the optimal barycenter value in $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{mn^2}{\varepsilon})$ time, thus being better than the previous complexity $\widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{mn^2}{\varepsilon^2})$ of the IBP algorithm for approximating the Wasserstein barycenter.

Searching Parameterized AP Loss for Object Detection

Tao Chenxin · Zizhang Li · Xizhou Zhu · Gao Huang · Yong Liu · jifeng dai

Loss functions play an important role in training deep-network-based object detectors. The most widely used evaluation metric for object detection is Average Precision (AP), which captures the performance of localization and classification sub-tasks simultaneously. However, due to the non-differentiable nature of the AP metric, traditional object detectors adopt separate differentiable losses for the two sub-tasks. Such a mis-alignment issue may well lead to performance degradation. To address this, existing works seek to design surrogate losses for the AP metric manually, which requires expertise and may still be sub-optimal. In this paper, we propose Parameterized AP Loss, where parameterized functions are introduced to substitute the non-differentiable components in the AP calculation. Different AP approximations are thus represented by a family of parameterized functions in a unified formula. Automatic parameter search algorithm is then employed to search for the optimal parameters. Extensive experiments on the COCO benchmark with three different object detectors (i.e., RetinaNet, Faster R-CNN, and Deformable DETR) demonstrate that the proposed Parameterized AP Loss consistently outperforms existing handcrafted losses. Code shall be released.

Two steps to risk sensitivity

Christopher Gagne · Peter Dayan

Distributional reinforcement learning (RL) – in which agents learn about all the possible long-term consequences of their actions, and not just the expected value – is of great recent interest. One of the most important affordances of a distributional view is facilitating a modern, measured, approach to risk when outcomes are not completely certain. By contrast, psychological and neuroscientific investigations into decision making under risk have utilized a variety of more venerable theoretical models such as prospect theory that lack axiomatically desirable properties such as coherence. Here, we consider a particularly relevant risk measure for modeling human and animal planning, called conditional value-at-risk (CVaR), which quantifies worst-case outcomes (e.g., vehicle accidents or predation). We first adopt a conventional distributional approach to CVaR in a sequential setting and reanalyze the choices of human decision-makers in the well-known two-step task, revealing substantial risk aversion that had been lurking under stickiness and perseveration. We then consider a further critical property of risk sensitivity, namely time consistency, showing alternatives to this form of CVaR that enjoy this desirable characteristic. We use simulations to examine settings in which the various forms differ in ways that have implications for human and animal planning and behavior.

Lower Bounds and Optimal Algorithms for Smooth and Strongly Convex Decentralized Optimization Over Time-Varying Networks

Dmitry Kovalev · Elnur Gasanov · Alexander Gasnikov · Peter Richtarik

We consider the task of minimizing the sum of smooth and strongly convex functions stored in a decentralized manner across the nodes of a communication network whose links are allowed to change in time. We solve two fundamental problems for this task. First, we establish {\em the first lower bounds} on the number of decentralized communication rounds and the number of local computations required to find an $\epsilon$-accurate solution. Second, we design two {\em optimal algorithms} that attain these lower bounds: (i) a variant of the recently proposed algorithm ADOM (Kovalev et al, 2021) enhanced via a multi-consensus subroutine, which is optimal in the case when access to the dual gradients is assumed, and (ii) a novel algorithm, called ADOM+, which is optimal in the case when access to the primal gradients is assumed. We corroborate the theoretical efficiency of these algorithms by performing an experimental comparison with existing state-of-the-art methods.

AFEC: Active Forgetting of Negative Transfer in Continual Learning

Liyuan Wang · Mingtian Zhang · Zhongfan Jia · Qian Li · Chenglong Bao · Kaisheng Ma · Jun Zhu · Yi Zhong

Continual learning aims to learn a sequence of tasks from dynamic data distributions. Without accessing to the old training samples, knowledge transfer from the old tasks to each new task is difficult to determine, which might be either positive or negative. If the old knowledge interferes with the learning of a new task, i.e., the forward knowledge transfer is negative, then precisely remembering the old tasks will further aggravate the interference, thus decreasing the performance of continual learning. By contrast, biological neural networks can actively forget the old knowledge that conflicts with the learning of a new experience, through regulating the learning-triggered synaptic expansion and synaptic convergence. Inspired by the biological active forgetting, we propose to actively forget the old knowledge that limits the learning of new tasks to benefit continual learning. Under the framework of Bayesian continual learning, we develop a novel approach named Active Forgetting with synaptic Expansion-Convergence (AFEC). Our method dynamically expands parameters to learn each new task and then selectively combines them, which is formally consistent with the underlying mechanism of biological active forgetting. We extensively evaluate AFEC on a variety of continual learning benchmarks, including CIFAR-10 regression tasks, visual classification tasks and Atari reinforcement tasks, where AFEC effectively improves the learning of new tasks and achieves the state-of-the-art performance in a plug-and-play way.

Stable, Fast and Accurate: Kernelized Attention with Relative Positional Encoding

Shengjie Luo · Shanda Li · Tianle Cai · Di He · Dinglan Peng · Shuxin Zheng · Guolin Ke · Liwei Wang · Tie-Yan Liu

The attention module, which is a crucial component in Transformer, cannot scale efficiently to long sequences due to its quadratic complexity. Many works focus on approximating the dot-then-exponentiate softmax function in the original attention, leading to sub-quadratic or even linear-complexity Transformer architectures. However, we show that these methods cannot be applied to more powerful attention modules that go beyond the dot-then-exponentiate style, e.g., Transformers with relative positional encoding (RPE). Since in many state-of-the-art models, relative positional encoding is used as default, designing efficient Transformers that can incorporate RPE is appealing. In this paper, we propose a novel way to accelerate attention calculation for Transformers with RPE on top of the kernelized attention. Based upon the observation that relative positional encoding forms a Toeplitz matrix, we mathematically show that kernelized attention with RPE can be calculated efficiently using Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). With FFT, our method achieves $\mathcal{O}(n\log n)$ time complexity. Interestingly, we further demonstrate that properly using relative positional encoding can mitigate the training instability problem of vanilla kernelized attention. On a wide range of tasks, we empirically show that our models can be trained from scratch without any optimization issues. The learned model performs better than many efficient Transformer variants and is faster than standard Transformer in the long-sequence regime.

LADA: Look-Ahead Data Acquisition via Augmentation for Deep Active Learning

Yoon-Yeong Kim · Kyungwoo Song · JoonHo Jang · Il-chul Moon

Active learning effectively collects data instances for training deep learning models when the labeled dataset is limited and the annotation cost is high. Data augmentation is another effective technique to enlarge the limited amount of labeled instances. The scarcity of labeled dataset leads us to consider the integration of data augmentation and active learning. One possible approach is a pipelined combination, which selects informative instances via the acquisition function and generates virtual instances from the selected instances via augmentation. However, this pipelined approach would not guarantee the informativeness of the virtual instances. This paper proposes Look-Ahead Data Acquisition via augmentation, or LADA framework, that looks ahead the effect of data augmentation in the process of acquisition. LADA jointly considers both 1) unlabeled data instance to be selected and 2) virtual data instance to be generated by data augmentation, to construct the acquisition function. Moreover, to generate maximally informative virtual instances, LADA optimizes the data augmentation policy to maximize the predictive acquisition score, resulting in the proposal of InfoSTN and InfoMixup. The experimental results of LADA show a significant improvement over the recent augmentation and acquisition baselines that were independently applied.

Probabilistic Margins for Instance Reweighting in Adversarial Training

qizhou wang · Feng Liu · Bo Han · Tongliang Liu · Chen Gong · Gang Niu · Mingyuan Zhou · Masashi Sugiyama

Reweighting adversarial data during training has been recently shown to improve adversarial robustness, where data closer to the current decision boundaries are regarded as more critical and given larger weights. However, existing methods measuring the closeness are not very reliable: they are discrete and can take only a few values, and they are path-dependent, i.e., they may change given the same start and end points with different attack paths. In this paper, we propose three types of probabilistic margin (PM), which are continuous and path-independent, for measuring the aforementioned closeness and reweighing adversarial data. Specifically, a PM is defined as the difference between two estimated class-posterior probabilities, e.g., such a probability of the true label minus the probability of the most confusing label given some natural data. Though different PMs capture different geometric properties, all three PMs share a negative correlation with the vulnerability of data: data with larger/smaller PMs are safer/riskier and should have smaller/larger weights. Experiments demonstrated that PMs are reliable and PM-based reweighting methods outperformed state-of-the-art counterparts.

Unbalanced Optimal Transport through Non-negative Penalized Linear Regression

Laetitia Chapel · Rémi Flamary · Haoran Wu · Cédric Févotte · Gilles Gasso

This paper addresses the problem of Unbalanced Optimal Transport (UOT) in which the marginal conditions are relaxed (using weighted penalties in lieu of equality) and no additional regularization is enforced on the OT plan. In this context, we show that the corresponding optimization problem can be reformulated as a non-negative penalized linear regression problem. This reformulation allows us to propose novel algorithms inspired from inverse problems and nonnegative matrix factorization. In particular, we consider majorization-minimization which leads in our setting to efficient multiplicative updates for a variety of penalties. Furthermore, we derive for the first time an efficient algorithm to compute the regularization path of UOT with quadratic penalties. The proposed algorithm provides a continuity of piece-wise linear OT plans converging to the solution of balanced OT (corresponding to infinite penalty weights). We perform several numerical experiments on simulated and real data illustrating the new algorithms, and provide a detailed discussion about more sophisticated optimization tools that can further be used to solve OT problems thanks to our reformulation.

A Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning Based Optimization Framework for Large-scale Dynamic Pickup and Delivery Problems

Yi Ma · Xiaotian Hao · Jianye Hao · Jiawen Lu · Xing Liu · Tong Xialiang · Mingxuan Yuan · Zhigang Li · Jie Tang · Zhaopeng Meng

The Dynamic Pickup and Delivery Problem (DPDP) is an essential problem in the logistics domain, which is NP-hard. The objective is to dynamically schedule vehicles among multiple sites to serve the online generated orders such that the overall transportation cost could be minimized. The critical challenge of DPDP is the orders are not known a priori, i.e., the orders are dynamically generated in real-time. To address this problem, existing methods partition the overall DPDP into fixed-size sub-problems by caching online generated orders and solve each sub-problem, or on this basis to utilize the predicted future orders to optimize each sub-problem further. However, the solution quality and efficiency of these methods are unsatisfactory, especially when the problem scale is very large. In this paper, we propose a novel hierarchical optimization framework to better solve large-scale DPDPs. Specifically, we design an upper-level agent to dynamically partition the DPDP into a series of sub-problems with different scales to optimize vehicles routes towards globally better solutions. Besides, a lower-level agent is designed to efficiently solve each sub-problem by incorporating the strengths of classical operational research-based methods with reinforcement learning-based policies. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed framework, real historical data is collected from the order dispatching system of Huawei Supply Chain Business Unit and used to build a functional simulator. Extensive offline simulation and online testing conducted on the industrial order dispatching system justify the superior performance of our framework over existing baselines.

Tracking People with 3D Representations

Jathushan Rajasegaran · Georgios Pavlakos · Angjoo Kanazawa · Jitendra Malik

We present a novel approach for tracking multiple people in video. Unlike past approaches which employ 2D representations, we focus on using 3D representations of people, located in three-dimensional space. To this end, we develop a method, Human Mesh and Appearance Recovery (HMAR) which in addition to extracting the 3D geometry of the person as a SMPL mesh, also extracts appearance as a texture map on the triangles of the mesh. This serves as a 3D representation for appearance that is robust to viewpoint and pose changes. Given a video clip, we first detect bounding boxes corresponding to people, and for each one, we extract 3D appearance, pose, and location information using HMAR. These embedding vectors are then sent to a transformer, which performs spatio-temporal aggregation of the representations over the duration of the sequence. The similarity of the resulting representations is used to solve for associations that assigns each person to a tracklet. We evaluate our approach on the Posetrack, MuPoTs and AVA datasets. We find that 3D representations are more effective than 2D representations for tracking in these settings, and we obtain state-of-the-art performance. Code and results are available at:

Learning Riemannian metric for disease progression modeling

Samuel Gruffaz · Pierre-Emmanuel Poulet · Etienne Maheux · Bruno Jedynak · Stanley DURRLEMAN

Linear mixed-effect models provide a natural baseline for estimating disease progression using longitudinal data. They provide interpretable models at the cost of modeling assumptions on the progression profiles and their variability across subjects. A significant improvement is to embed the data in a Riemannian manifold and learn patient-specific trajectories distributed around a central geodesic. A few interpretable parameters characterize subject trajectories at the cost of a prior choice of the metric, which determines the shape of the trajectories. We extend this approach by learning the metric from the data allowing more flexibility while keeping the interpretability. Specifically, we learn the metric as the push-forward of the Euclidean metric by a diffeomorphism. This diffeomorphism is estimated iteratively as the composition of radial basis functions belonging to a reproducible kernel Hilbert space. The metric update allows us to improve the forecasting of imaging and clinical biomarkers in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort. Our results compare favorably to the 56 methods benchmarked in the TADPOLE challenge.

Efficient Training of Visual Transformers with Small Datasets

Yahui Liu · Enver Sangineto · Wei Bi · Nicu Sebe · Bruno Lepri · Marco Nadai

Visual Transformers (VTs) are emerging as an architectural paradigm alternative to Convolutional networks (CNNs). Differently from CNNs, VTs can capture global relations between image elements and they potentially have a larger representation capacity. However, the lack of the typical convolutional inductive bias makes these models more data hungry than common CNNs. In fact, some local properties of the visual domain which are embedded in the CNN architectural design, in VTs should be learned from samples. In this paper, we empirically analyse different VTs, comparing their robustness in a small training set regime, and we show that, despite having a comparable accuracy when trained on ImageNet, their performance on smaller datasets can be largely different. Moreover, we propose an auxiliary self-supervised task which can extract additional information from images with only a negligible computational overhead. This task encourages the VTs to learn spatial relations within an image and makes the VT training much more robust when training data is scarce. Our task is used jointly with the standard (supervised) training and it does not depend on specific architectural choices, thus it can be easily plugged in the existing VTs. Using an extensive evaluation with different VTs and datasets, we show that our method can improve (sometimes dramatically) the final accuracy of the VTs. Our code is available at:

CoFiNet: Reliable Coarse-to-fine Correspondences for Robust PointCloud Registration

Hao Yu · Fu Li · Mahdi Saleh · Benjamin Busam · Slobodan Ilic

We study the problem of extracting correspondences between a pair of point clouds for registration. For correspondence retrieval, existing works benefit from matching sparse keypoints detected from dense points but usually struggle to guarantee their repeatability. To address this issue, we present CoFiNet - Coarse-to-Fine Network which extracts hierarchical correspondences from coarse to fine without keypoint detection. On a coarse scale and guided by a weighting scheme, our model firstly learns to match down-sampled nodes whose vicinity points share more overlap, which significantly shrinks the search space of a consecutive stage. On a finer scale, node proposals are consecutively expanded to patches that consist of groups of points together with associated descriptors. Point correspondences are then refined from the overlap areas of corresponding patches, by a density-adaptive matching module capable to deal with varying point density. Extensive evaluation of CoFiNet on both indoor and outdoor standard benchmarks shows our superiority over existing methods. Especially on 3DLoMatch where point clouds share less overlap, CoFiNet significantly outperforms state-of-the-art approaches by at least 5% on Registration Recall, with at most two-third of their parameters.

Learning Nonparametric Volterra Kernels with Gaussian Processes

Magnus Ross · Michael T Smith · Mauricio Álvarez

This paper introduces a method for the nonparametric Bayesian learning of nonlinear operators, through the use of the Volterra series with kernels represented using Gaussian processes (GPs), which we term the nonparametric Volterra kernels model (NVKM). When the input function to the operator is unobserved and has a GP prior, the NVKM constitutes a powerful method for both single and multiple output regression, and can be viewed as a nonlinear and nonparametric latent force model. When the input function is observed, the NVKM can be used to perform Bayesian system identification. We use recent advances in efficient sampling of explicit functions from GPs to map process realisations through the Volterra series without resorting to numerical integration, allowing scalability through doubly stochastic variational inference, and avoiding the need for Gaussian approximations of the output processes. We demonstrate the performance of the model for both multiple output regression and system identification using standard benchmarks.

FINE Samples for Learning with Noisy Labels

Taehyeon Kim · Jongwoo Ko · sangwook Cho · JinHwan Choi · Se-Young Yun

Modern deep neural networks (DNNs) become frail when the datasets contain noisy (incorrect) class labels. Robust techniques in the presence of noisy labels can be categorized into two folds: developing noise-robust functions or using noise-cleansing methods by detecting the noisy data. Recently, noise-cleansing methods have been considered as the most competitive noisy-label learning algorithms. Despite their success, their noisy label detectors are often based on heuristics more than a theory, requiring a robust classifier to predict the noisy data with loss values. In this paper, we propose a novel detector for filtering label noise. Unlike most existing methods, we focus on each data's latent representation dynamics and measure the alignment between the latent distribution and each representation using the eigen decomposition of the data gram matrix. Our framework, coined as filtering noisy instances via their eigenvectors (FINE), provides a robust detector with derivative-free simple methods having theoretical guarantees. Under our framework, we propose three applications of the FINE: sample-selection approach, semi-supervised learning approach, and collaboration with noise-robust loss functions. Experimental results show that the proposed methods consistently outperform corresponding baselines for all three applications on various benchmark datasets.

Instance-Dependent Bounds for Zeroth-order Lipschitz Optimization with Error Certificates

Francois Bachoc · Tom Cesari · Sébastien Gerchinovitz

We study the problem of zeroth-order (black-box) optimization of a Lipschitz function $f$ defined on a compact subset $\mathcal{X}$ of $\mathbb{R}^d$, with the additional constraint that algorithms must certify the accuracy of their recommendations. We characterize the optimal number of evaluations of any Lipschitz function $f$ to find and certify an approximate maximizer of $f$ at accuracy $\varepsilon$. Under a weak assumption on $\mathcal{X}$, this optimal sample complexity is shown to be nearly proportional to the integral $\int_{\mathcal{X}} \mathrm{d}\boldsymbol{x}/( \max(f) - f(\boldsymbol{x}) + \varepsilon )^d$. This result, which was only (and partially) known in dimension $d=1$, solves an open problem dating back to 1991. In terms of techniques, our upper bound relies on a packing bound by Bouttier et al. (2020) for the Piyavskii-Shubert algorithm that we link to the above integral. We also show that a certified version of the computationally tractable DOO algorithm matches these packing and integral bounds. Our instance-dependent lower bound differs from traditional worst-case lower bounds in the Lipschitz setting and relies on a local worst-case analysis that could likely prove useful for other learning tasks.

MLP-Mixer: An all-MLP Architecture for Vision

Ilya Tolstikhin · Neil Houlsby · Alexander Kolesnikov · Lucas Beyer · Xiaohua Zhai · Thomas Unterthiner · Jessica Yung · Andreas Steiner · Daniel Keysers · Jakob Uszkoreit · Mario Lucic · Alexey Dosovitskiy

Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are the go-to model for computer vision. Recently, attention-based networks, such as the Vision Transformer, have also become popular. In this paper we show that while convolutions and attention are both sufficient for good performance, neither of them are necessary. We present MLP-Mixer, an architecture based exclusively on multi-layer perceptrons (MLPs). MLP-Mixer contains two types of layers: one with MLPs applied independently to image patches (i.e. "mixing" the per-location features), and one with MLPs applied across patches (i.e. "mixing" spatial information). When trained on large datasets, or with modern regularization schemes, MLP-Mixer attains competitive scores on image classification benchmarks, with pre-training and inference cost comparable to state-of-the-art models. We hope that these results spark further research beyond the realms of well established CNNs and Transformers.

AutoGEL: An Automated Graph Neural Network with Explicit Link Information

Zhili Wang · Shimin DI · Lei Chen

Recently, Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have gained popularity in a variety of real-world scenarios. Despite the great success, the architecture design of GNNs heavily relies on manual labor. Thus, automated graph neural network (AutoGNN) has attracted interest and attention from the research community, which makes significant performance improvements in recent years. However, existing AutoGNN works mainly adopt an implicit way to model and leverage the link information in the graphs, which is not well regularized to the link prediction task on graphs, and limits the performance of AutoGNN for other graph tasks. In this paper, we present a novel AutoGNN work that explicitly models the link information, abbreviated to AutoGEL. In such a way, AutoGEL can handle the link prediction task and improve the performance of AutoGNNs on the node classification and graph classification task. Moreover, AutoGEL proposes a novel search space containing various design dimensions at both intra-layer and inter-layer designs and adopts a more robust differentiable search algorithm to further improve efficiency and effectiveness. Experimental results on benchmark data sets demonstrate the superiority of AutoGEL on several tasks.

Recognizing Vector Graphics without Rasterization

XINYANG JIANG · LU LIU · Caihua Shan · Yifei Shen · Xuanyi Dong · Dongsheng Li

In this paper, we consider a different data format for images: vector graphics. In contrast to raster graphics which are widely used in image recognition, vector graphics can be scaled up or down into any resolution without aliasing or information loss, due to the analytic representation of the primitives in the document. Furthermore, vector graphics are able to give extra structural information on how low-level elements group together to form high level shapes or structures. These merits of graphic vectors have not been fully leveraged in existing methods. To explore this data format, we target on the fundamental recognition tasks: object localization and classification. We propose an efficient CNN-free pipeline that does not render the graphic into pixels (i.e. rasterization), and takes textual document of the vector graphics as input, called YOLaT (You Only Look at Text). YOLaT builds multi-graphs to model the structural and spatial information in vector graphics, and a dual-stream graph neural network is proposed to detect objects from the graph. Our experiments show that by directly operating on vector graphics, YOLaT outperforms raster-graphic based object detection baselines in terms of both average precision and efficiency. Code is available at

Unsupervised Representation Transfer for Small Networks: I Believe I Can Distill On-the-Fly

Hee Min Choi · Hyoa Kang · Dokwan Oh

A current remarkable improvement of unsupervised visual representation learning is based on heavy networks with large-batch training. While recent methods have greatly reduced the gap between supervised and unsupervised performance of deep models such as ResNet-50, this development has been relatively limited for small models. In this work, we propose a novel unsupervised learning framework for small networks that combines deep self-supervised representation learning and knowledge distillation within one-phase training. In particular, a teacher model is trained to produce consistent cluster assignments between different views of the same image. Simultaneously, a student model is encouraged to mimic the prediction of on-the-fly self-supervised teacher. For effective knowledge transfer, we adopt the idea of domain classifier so that student training is guided by discriminative features invariant to the representational space shift between teacher and student. We also introduce a network driven multi-view generation paradigm to capture rich feature information contained in the network itself. Extensive experiments show that our student models surpass state-of-the-art offline distilled networks even from stronger self-supervised teachers as well as top-performing self-supervised models. Notably, our ResNet-18, trained with ResNet-50 teacher, achieves 68.3% ImageNet Top-1 accuracy on frozen feature linear evaluation, which is only 1.5% below the supervised baseline.

Information-theoretic generalization bounds for black-box learning algorithms

Hrayr Harutyunyan · Maxim Raginsky · Greg Ver Steeg · Aram Galstyan

We derive information-theoretic generalization bounds for supervised learning algorithms based on the information contained in predictions rather than in the output of the training algorithm. These bounds improve over the existing information-theoretic bounds, are applicable to a wider range of algorithms, and solve two key challenges: (a) they give meaningful results for deterministic algorithms and (b) they are significantly easier to estimate. We show experimentally that the proposed bounds closely follow the generalization gap in practical scenarios for deep learning.

Collaborative Learning in the Jungle (Decentralized, Byzantine, Heterogeneous, Asynchronous and Nonconvex Learning)

El Mahdi El-Mhamdi · Sadegh Farhadkhani · Rachid Guerraoui · Arsany Guirguis · Lê-Nguyên Hoang · Sébastien Rouault

We study \emph{Byzantine collaborative learning}, where $n$ nodes seek to collectively learn from each others' local data. The data distribution may vary from one node to another. No node is trusted, and $f < n$ nodes can behave arbitrarily. We prove that collaborative learning is equivalent to a new form of agreement, which we call \emph{averaging agreement}. In this problem, nodes start each with an initial vector and seek to approximately agree on a common vector, which is close to the average of honest nodes' initial vectors. We present two asynchronous solutions to averaging agreement, each we prove optimal according to some dimension. The first, based on the minimum-diameter averaging, requires $n \geq 6f+1$, but achieves asymptotically the best-possible averaging constant up to a multiplicative constant. The second, based on reliable broadcast and coordinate-wise trimmed mean, achieves optimal Byzantine resilience, i.e., $n \geq 3f+1$. Each of these algorithms induces an optimal Byzantine collaborative learning protocol. In particular, our equivalence yields new impossibility theorems on what any collaborative learning algorithm can achieve in adversarial and heterogeneous environments.

A/B/n Testing with Control in the Presence of Subpopulations

Yoan Russac · Christina Katsimerou · Dennis Bohle · Olivier Cappé · Aurélien Garivier · Wouter Koolen

Motivated by A/B/n testing applications, we consider a finite set of distributions (called \emph{arms}), one of which is treated as a \emph{control}. We assume that the population is stratified into homogeneous subpopulations. At every time step, a subpopulation is sampled and an arm is chosen: the resulting observation is an independent draw from the arm conditioned on the subpopulation. The quality of each arm is assessed through a weighted combination of its subpopulation means. We propose a strategy for sequentially choosing one arm per time step so as to discover as fast as possible which arms, if any, have higher weighted expectation than the control. This strategy is shown to be asymptotically optimal in the following sense: if $\tau_\delta$ is the first time when the strategy ensures that it is able to output the correct answer with probability at least $1-\delta$, then $\mathbb{E}[\tau_\delta]$ grows linearly with $\log(1/\delta)$ at the exact optimal rate. This rate is identified in the paper in three different settings: (1) when the experimenter does not observe the subpopulation information, (2) when the subpopulation of each sample is observed but not chosen, and (3) when the experimenter can select the subpopulation from which each response is sampled. We illustrate the efficiency of the proposed strategy with numerical simulations on synthetic and real data collected from an A/B/n experiment.

Sparse Quadratic Optimisation over the Stiefel Manifold with Application to Permutation Synchronisation

Florian Bernard · Daniel Cremers · Johan Thunberg

We address the non-convex optimisation problem of finding a sparse matrix on the Stiefel manifold (matrices with mutually orthogonal columns of unit length) that maximises (or minimises) a quadratic objective function. Optimisation problems on the Stiefel manifold occur for example in spectral relaxations of various combinatorial problems, such as graph matching, clustering, or permutation synchronisation. Although sparsity is a desirable property in such settings, it is mostly neglected in spectral formulations since existing solvers, e.g. based on eigenvalue decomposition, are unable to account for sparsity while at the same time maintaining global optimality guarantees. We fill this gap and propose a simple yet effective sparsity-promoting modification of the Orthogonal Iteration algorithm for finding the dominant eigenspace of a matrix. By doing so, we can guarantee that our method finds a Stiefel matrix that is globally optimal with respect to the quadratic objective function, while in addition being sparse. As a motivating application we consider the task of permutation synchronisation, which can be understood as a constrained clustering problem that has particular relevance for matching multiple images or 3D shapes in computer vision, computer graphics, and beyond. We demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms previous methods in this domain.

Dual-stream Network for Visual Recognition

Mingyuan Mao · peng gao · Renrui Zhang · Honghui Zheng · Teli Ma · Yan Peng · Errui Ding · Baochang Zhang · Shumin Han

Transformers with remarkable global representation capacities achieve competitive results for visual tasks, but fail to consider high-level local pattern information in input images. In this paper, we present a generic Dual-stream Network (DS-Net) to fully explore the representation capacity of local and global pattern features for image classification. Our DS-Net can simultaneously calculate fine-grained and integrated features and efficiently fuse them. Specifically, we propose an Intra-scale Propagation module to process two different resolutions in each block and an Inter-Scale Alignment module to perform information interaction across features at dual scales. Besides, we also design a Dual-stream FPN (DS-FPN) to further enhance contextual information for downstream dense predictions. Without bells and whistles, the proposed DS-Net outperforms DeiT-Small by 2.4\% in terms of top-1 accuracy on ImageNet-1k and achieves state-of-the-art performance over other Vision Transformers and ResNets. For object detection and instance segmentation, DS-Net-Small respectively outperforms ResNet-50 by 6.4\% and 5.5 \% in terms of mAP on MSCOCO 2017, and surpasses the previous state-of-the-art scheme, which significantly demonstrates its potential to be a general backbone in vision tasks. The code will be released soon.

Mastering Atari Games with Limited Data

Weirui Ye · Shaohuai Liu · Thanard Kurutach · Pieter Abbeel · Yang Gao

Reinforcement learning has achieved great success in many applications. However, sample efficiency remains a key challenge, with prominent methods requiring millions (or even billions) of environment steps to train. Recently, there has been significant progress in sample efficient image-based RL algorithms; however, consistent human-level performance on the Atari game benchmark remains an elusive goal. We propose a sample efficient model-based visual RL algorithm built on MuZero, which we name EfficientZero. Our method achieves 194.3% mean human performance and 109.0% median performance on the Atari 100k benchmark with only two hours of real-time game experience and outperforms the state SAC in some tasks on the DMControl 100k benchmark. This is the first time an algorithm achieves super-human performance on Atari games with such little data. EfficientZero's performance is also close to DQN's performance at 200 million frames while we consume 500 times less data. EfficientZero's low sample complexity and high performance can bring RL closer to real-world applicability. We implement our algorithm in an easy-to-understand manner and it is available at We hope it will accelerate the research of MCTS-based RL algorithms in the wider community.

Set Prediction in the Latent Space

Konpat Preechakul · Chawan Piansaddhayanon · Burin Naowarat · Tirasan Khandhawit · Sira Sriswasdi · Ekapol Chuangsuwanich

Set prediction tasks require the matching between predicted set and ground truth set in order to propagate the gradient signal. Recent works have performed this matching in the original feature space thus requiring predefined distance functions. We propose a method for learning the distance function by performing the matching in the latent space learned from encoding networks. This method enables the use of teacher forcing which was not possible previously since matching in the feature space must be computed after the entire output sequence is generated. Nonetheless, a naive implementation of latent set prediction might not converge due to permutation instability. To address this problem, we provide sufficient conditions for permutation stability which begets an algorithm to improve the overall model convergence. Experiments on several set prediction tasks, including image captioning and object detection, demonstrate the effectiveness of our method.

Neural Production Systems

Anirudh Goyal · Aniket Didolkar · Nan Rosemary Ke · Charles Blundell · Philippe Beaudoin · Nicolas Heess · Michael Mozer · Yoshua Bengio

Visual environments are structured, consisting of distinct objects or entities. These entities have properties---visible or latent---that determine the manner in which they interact with one another. To partition images into entities, deep-learning researchers have proposed structural inductive biases such as slot-based architectures. To model interactions among entities, equivariant graph neural nets (GNNs) are used, but these are not particularly well suited to the task for two reasons. First, GNNs do not predispose interactions to be sparse, as relationships among independent entities are likely to be. Second, GNNs do not factorize knowledge about interactions in an entity-conditional manner. As an alternative, we take inspiration from cognitive science and resurrect a classic approach, production systems, which consist of a set of rule templates that are applied by binding placeholder variables in the rules to specific entities. Rules are scored on their match to entities, and the best fitting rules are applied to update entity properties. In a series of experiments, we demonstrate that this architecture achieves a flexible, dynamic flow of control and serves to factorize entity-specific and rule-based information. This disentangling of knowledge achieves robust future-state prediction in rich visual environments, outperforming state-of-the-art methods using GNNs, and allows for the extrapolation from simple (few object) environments to more complex environments.

Implicit Deep Adaptive Design: Policy-Based Experimental Design without Likelihoods

Desi R Ivanova · Adam Foster · Steven Kleinegesse · Michael Gutmann · Thomas Rainforth

We introduce implicit Deep Adaptive Design (iDAD), a new method for performing adaptive experiments in real-time with implicit models. iDAD amortizes the cost of Bayesian optimal experimental design (BOED) by learning a design policy network upfront, which can then be deployed quickly at the time of the experiment. The iDAD network can be trained on any model which simulates differentiable samples, unlike previous design policy work that requires a closed form likelihood and conditionally independent experiments. At deployment, iDAD allows design decisions to be made in milliseconds, in contrast to traditional BOED approaches that require heavy computation during the experiment itself. We illustrate the applicability of iDAD on a number of experiments, and show that it provides a fast and effective mechanism for performing adaptive design with implicit models.

Non-approximate Inference for Collective Graphical Models on Path Graphs via Discrete Difference of Convex Algorithm

Yasunori Akagi · Naoki Marumo · Hideaki Kim · Takeshi Kurashima · Hiroyuki Toda

The importance of aggregated count data, which is calculated from the data of multiple individuals, continues to increase. Collective Graphical Model (CGM) is a probabilistic approach to the analysis of aggregated data. One of the most important operations in CGM is maximum a posteriori (MAP) inference of unobserved variables under given observations. Because the MAP inference problem for general CGMs has been shown to be NP-hard, an approach that solves an approximate problem has been proposed. However, this approach has two major drawbacks. First, the quality of the solution deteriorates when the values in the count tables are small, because the approximation becomes inaccurate. Second, since continuous relaxation is applied, the integrality constraints of the output are violated. To resolve these problems, this paper proposes a new method for MAP inference for CGMs on path graphs. Our method is based on the Difference of Convex Algorithm (DCA), which is a general methodology to minimize a function represented as the sum of a convex function and a concave function. In our algorithm, important subroutines in DCA can be efficiently calculated by minimum convex cost flow algorithms. Experiments show that the proposed method outputs higher quality solutions than the conventional approach.

SBO-RNN: Reformulating Recurrent Neural Networks via Stochastic Bilevel Optimization

Ziming Zhang · Yun Yue · Guojun Wu · Yanhua Li · Haichong Zhang

In this paper we consider the training stability of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and propose a family of RNNs, namely SBO-RNN, that can be formulated using stochastic bilevel optimization (SBO). With the help of stochastic gradient descent (SGD), we manage to convert the SBO problem into an RNN where the feedforward and backpropagation solve the lower and upper-level optimization for learning hidden states and their hyperparameters, respectively. We prove that under mild conditions there is no vanishing or exploding gradient in training SBO-RNN. Empirically we demonstrate our approach with superior performance on several benchmark datasets, with fewer parameters, less training data, and much faster convergence. Code is available at

Navigating to the Best Policy in Markov Decision Processes

Aymen Al Marjani · Aurélien Garivier · Alexandre Proutiere

We investigate the classical active pure exploration problem in Markov Decision Processes, where the agent sequentially selects actions and, from the resulting system trajectory, aims at identifying the best policy as fast as possible. We propose a problem-dependent lower bound on the average number of steps required before a correct answer can be given with probability at least $1-\delta$. We further provide the first algorithm with an instance-specific sample complexity in this setting. This algorithm addresses the general case of communicating MDPs; we also propose a variant with a reduced exploration rate (and hence faster convergence) under an additional ergodicity assumption. This work extends previous results relative to the \emph{generative setting}~\cite{pmlr-v139-marjani21a}, where the agent could at each step query the random outcome of any (state, action) pair. In contrast, we show here how to deal with the \emph{navigation constraints}, induced by the \emph{online setting}. Our analysis relies on an ergodic theorem for non-homogeneous Markov chains which we consider of wide interest in the analysis of Markov Decision Processes.

A Mathematical Framework for Quantifying Transferability in Multi-source Transfer Learning

Xinyi Tong · Xiangxiang Xu · Shao-Lun Huang · Lizhong Zheng

Current transfer learning algorithm designs mainly focus on the similarities between source and target tasks, while the impacts of the sample sizes of these tasks are often not sufficiently addressed. This paper proposes a mathematical framework for quantifying the transferability in multi-source transfer learning problems, with both the task similarities and the sample complexity of learning models taken into account. In particular, we consider the setup where the models learned from different tasks are linearly combined for learning the target task, and use the optimal combining coefficients to measure the transferability. Then, we demonstrate the analytical expression of this transferability measure, characterized by the sample sizes, model complexity, and the similarities between source and target tasks, which provides fundamental insights of the knowledge transferring mechanism and the guidance for algorithm designs. Furthermore, we apply our analyses for practical learning tasks, and establish a quantifiable transferability measure by exploiting a parameterized model. In addition, we develop an alternating iterative algorithm to implement our theoretical results for training deep neural networks in multi-source transfer learning tasks. Finally, experiments on image classification tasks show that our approach outperforms existing transfer learning algorithms in multi-source and few-shot scenarios.

You Only Look at One Sequence: Rethinking Transformer in Vision through Object Detection

Yuxin Fang · Bencheng Liao · Xinggang Wang · Jiemin Fang · Jiyang Qi · Rui Wu · Jianwei Niu · Wenyu Liu

Can Transformer perform $2\mathrm{D}$ object- and region-level recognition from a pure sequence-to-sequence perspective with minimal knowledge about the $2\mathrm{D}$ spatial structure? To answer this question, we present You Only Look at One Sequence (YOLOS), a series of object detection models based on the vanilla Vision Transformer with the fewest possible modifications, region priors, as well as inductive biases of the target task. We find that YOLOS pre-trained on the mid-sized ImageNet-$1k$ dataset only can already achieve quite competitive performance on the challenging COCO object detection benchmark, e.g., YOLOS-Base directly adopted from BERT-Base architecture can obtain $42.0$ box AP on COCO val. We also discuss the impacts as well as limitations of current pre-train schemes and model scaling strategies for Transformer in vision through YOLOS. Code and pre-trained models are available at

Low-Rank Extragradient Method for Nonsmooth and Low-Rank Matrix Optimization Problems

Atara Kaplan · Dan Garber

Low-rank and nonsmooth matrix optimization problems capture many fundamental tasks in statistics and machine learning. While significant progress has been made in recent years in developing efficient methods for \textit{smooth} low-rank optimization problems that avoid maintaining high-rank matrices and computing expensive high-rank SVDs, advances for nonsmooth problems have been slow paced. In this paper we consider standard convex relaxations for such problems. Mainly, we prove that under a natural \textit{generalized strict complementarity} condition and under the relatively mild assumption that the nonsmooth objective can be written as a maximum of smooth functions, the \textit{extragradient method}, when initialized with a "warm-start'' point, converges to an optimal solution with rate $O(1/t)$ while requiring only two \textit{low-rank} SVDs per iteration. We give a precise trade-off between the rank of the SVDs required and the radius of the ball in which we need to initialize the method. We support our theoretical results with empirical experiments on several nonsmooth low-rank matrix recovery tasks, demonstrating that using simple initializations, the extragradient method produces exactly the same iterates when full-rank SVDs are replaced with SVDs of rank that matches the rank of the (low-rank) ground-truth matrix to be recovered.

Coordinated Proximal Policy Optimization

Zifan Wu · Chao Yu · Deheng Ye · Junge Zhang · haiyin piao · Hankz Hankui Zhuo

We present Coordinated Proximal Policy Optimization (CoPPO), an algorithm that extends the original Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) to the multi-agent setting. The key idea lies in the coordinated adaptation of step size during the policy update process among multiple agents. We prove the monotonicity of policy improvement when optimizing a theoretically-grounded joint objective, and derive a simplified optimization objective based on a set of approximations. We then interpret that such an objective in CoPPO can achieve dynamic credit assignment among agents, thereby alleviating the high variance issue during the concurrent update of agent policies. Finally, we demonstrate that CoPPO outperforms several strong baselines and is competitive with the latest multi-agent PPO method (i.e. MAPPO) under typical multi-agent settings, including cooperative matrix games and the StarCraft II micromanagement tasks.

Analogous to Evolutionary Algorithm: Designing a Unified Sequence Model

Jiangning Zhang · Chao Xu · Jian Li · Wenzhou Chen · Yabiao Wang · Ying Tai · Shuo Chen · Chengjie Wang · Feiyue Huang · Yong Liu

Inspired by biological evolution, we explain the rationality of Vision Transformer by analogy with the proven practical Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) and derive that both of them have consistent mathematical representation. Analogous to the dynamic local population in EA, we improve the existing transformer structure and propose a more efficient EAT model, and design task-related heads to deal with different tasks more flexibly. Moreover, we introduce the spatial-filling curve into the current vision transformer to sequence image data into a uniform sequential format. Thus we can design a unified EAT framework to address multi-modal tasks, separating the network architecture from the data format adaptation. Our approach achieves state-of-the-art results on the ImageNet classification task compared with recent vision transformer works while having smaller parameters and greater throughput. We further conduct multi-modal tasks to demonstrate the superiority of the unified EAT, \eg, Text-Based Image Retrieval, and our approach improves the rank-1 by +3.7 points over the baseline on the CSS dataset.

The Hardness Analysis of Thompson Sampling for Combinatorial Semi-bandits with Greedy Oracle

Fang Kong · Yueran Yang · Wei Chen · Shuai Li

Thompson sampling (TS) has attracted a lot of interest in the bandit area. It was introduced in the 1930s but has not been theoretically proven until recent years. All of its analysis in the combinatorial multi-armed bandit (CMAB) setting requires an exact oracle to provide optimal solutions with any input. However, such an oracle is usually not feasible since many combinatorial optimization problems are NP-hard and only approximation oracles are available. An example \cite{WangC18} has shown the failure of TS to learn with an approximation oracle. However, this oracle is uncommon and is designed only for a specific problem instance. It is still an open question whether the convergence analysis of TS can be extended beyond the exact oracle in CMAB. In this paper, we study this question under the greedy oracle, which is a common (approximation) oracle with theoretical guarantees to solve many (offline) combinatorial optimization problems. We provide a problem-dependent regret lower bound of order $\Omega(\log T/\Delta^2)$ to quantify the hardness of TS to solve CMAB problems with greedy oracle, where $T$ is the time horizon and $\Delta$ is some reward gap. We also provide an almost matching regret upper bound. These are the first theoretical results for TS to solve CMAB with a common approximation oracle and break the misconception that TS cannot work with approximation oracles.

Universal Semi-Supervised Learning

Zhuo Huang · Chao Xue · Bo Han · Jian Yang · Chen Gong

Universal Semi-Supervised Learning (UniSSL) aims to solve the open-set problem where both the class distribution (i.e., class set) and feature distribution (i.e., feature domain) are different between labeled dataset and unlabeled dataset. Such a problem seriously hinders the realistic landing of classical SSL. Different from the existing SSL methods targeting at the open-set problem that only study one certain scenario of class distribution mismatch and ignore the feature distribution mismatch, we consider a more general case where a mismatch exists in both class and feature distribution. In this case, we propose a ''Class-shAring data detection and Feature Adaptation'' (CAFA) framework which requires no prior knowledge of the class relationship between the labeled dataset and unlabeled dataset. Particularly, CAFA utilizes a novel scoring strategy to detect the data in the shared class set. Then, it conducts domain adaptation to fully exploit the value of the detected class-sharing data for better semi-supervised consistency training. Exhaustive experiments on several benchmark datasets show the effectiveness of our method in tackling open-set problems.

Improving Deep Learning Interpretability by Saliency Guided Training

Aya Abdelsalam Ismail · Hector Corrada Bravo · Soheil Feizi

Saliency methods have been widely used to highlight important input features in model predictions. Most existing methods use backpropagation on a modified gradient function to generate saliency maps. Thus, noisy gradients can result in unfaithful feature attributions. In this paper, we tackle this issue and introduce a {\it saliency guided training} procedure for neural networks to reduce noisy gradients used in predictions while retaining the predictive performance of the model. Our saliency guided training procedure iteratively masks features with small and potentially noisy gradients while maximizing the similarity of model outputs for both masked and unmasked inputs. We apply the saliency guided training procedure to various synthetic and real data sets from computer vision, natural language processing, and time series across diverse neural architectures, including Recurrent Neural Networks, Convolutional Networks, and Transformers. Through qualitative and quantitative evaluations, we show that saliency guided training procedure significantly improves model interpretability across various domains while preserving its predictive performance.

Rank Overspecified Robust Matrix Recovery: Subgradient Method and Exact Recovery

Lijun Ding · Liwei Jiang · Yudong Chen · Qing Qu · Zhihui Zhu

We study the robust recovery of a low-rank matrix from sparsely and grossly corrupted Gaussian measurements, with no prior knowledge on the intrinsic rank. We consider the robust matrix factorization approach. We employ a robust $\ell_1$ loss function and deal with the challenge of the unknown rank by using an overspecified factored representation of the matrix variable. We then solve the associated nonconvex nonsmooth problem using a subgradient method with diminishing stepsizes. We show that under a regularity condition on the sensing matrices and corruption, which we call restricted direction preserving property (RDPP), even with rank overspecified, the subgradient method converges to the exact low-rank solution at a sublinear rate. Moreover, our result is more general in the sense that it automatically speeds up to a linear rate once the factor rank matches the unknown rank. On the other hand, we show that the RDPP condition holds under generic settings, such as Gaussian measurements under independent or adversarial sparse corruptions, where the result could be of independent interest. Both the exact recovery and the convergence rate of the proposed subgradient method are numerically verified in the overspecified regime. Moreover, our experiment further shows that our particular design of diminishing stepsize effectively prevents overfitting for robust recovery under overparameterized models, such as robust matrix sensing and learning robust deep image prior. This regularization effect is worth further investigation.

PolarStream: Streaming Object Detection and Segmentation with Polar Pillars

Qi Chen · Sourabh Vora · Oscar Beijbom

Recent works recognized lidars as an inherently streaming data source and showed that the end-to-end latency of lidar perception models can be reduced significantly by operating on wedge-shaped point cloud sectors rather then the full point cloud. However, due to use of cartesian coordinate systems these methods represent the sectors as rectangular regions, wasting memory and compute. In this work we propose using a polar coordinate system and make two key improvements on this design. First, we increase the spatial context by using multi-scale padding from neighboring sectors: preceding sector from the current scan and/or the following sector from the past scan. Second, we improve the core polar convolutional architecture by introducing feature undistortion and range stratified convolutions. Experimental results on the nuScenes dataset show significant improvements over other streaming based methods. We also achieve comparable results to existing non-streaming methods but with lower latencies.

Distilling Meta Knowledge on Heterogeneous Graph for Illicit Drug Trafficker Detection on Social Media

Yiyue Qian · Yiming Zhang · Yanfang (Fa Ye · Chuxu Zhang

Driven by the considerable profits, the crime of drug trafficking (a.k.a. illicit drug trading) has co-evolved with modern technologies, e.g., social media such as Instagram has become a popular platform for marketing and selling illicit drugs. The activities of online drug trafficking are nimble and resilient, which call for novel techniques to effectively detect, disrupt, and dismantle illicit drug trades. In this paper, we propose a holistic framework named MetaHG to automatically detect illicit drug traffickers on social media (i.e., Instagram), by tackling the following two new challenges: (1) different from existing works which merely focus on analyzing post content, MetaHG is capable of jointly modeling multi-modal content and relational structured information on social media for illicit drug trafficker detection; (2) in addition, through the proposed meta-learning technique, MetaHG addresses the issue of requiring sufficient data for model training. More specifically, in our proposed MetaHG, we first build a heterogeneous graph (HG) to comprehensively characterize the complex ecosystem of drug trafficking on social media. Then, we employ a relation-based graph convolutional neural network to learn node (i.e., user) representations over the built HG, in which we introduce graph structure refinement to compensate the sparse connection among entities in the HG for more robust node representation learning. Afterwards, we propose a meta-learning algorithm for model optimization. A self-supervised module and a knowledge distillation module are further designed to exploit unlabeled data for improving the model. Extensive experiments based on the real-world data collected from Instagram demonstrate that the proposed MetaHG outperforms state-of-the-art methods.

Instance-Dependent Partial Label Learning

Ning Xu · Congyu Qiao · Xin Geng · Min-Ling Zhang

Partial label learning (PLL) is a typical weakly supervised learning problem, where each training example is associated with a set of candidate labels among which only one is true. Most existing PLL approaches assume that the incorrect labels in each training example are randomly picked as the candidate labels. However, this assumption is not realistic since the candidate labels are always instance-dependent. In this paper, we consider instance-dependent PLL and assume that each example is associated with a latent label distribution constituted by the real number of each label, representing the degree to each label describing the feature. The incorrect label with a high degree is more likely to be annotated as the candidate label. Therefore, the latent label distribution is the essential labeling information in partially labeled examples and worth being leveraged for predictive model training. Motivated by this consideration, we propose a novel PLL method that recovers the label distribution as a label enhancement (LE) process and trains the predictive model iteratively in every epoch. Specifically, we assume the true posterior density of the latent label distribution takes on the variational approximate Dirichlet density parameterized by an inference model. Then the evidence lower bound is deduced for optimizing the inference model and the label distributions generated from the variational posterior are utilized for training the predictive model. Experiments on benchmark and real-world datasets validate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Source code is available at

UFC-BERT: Unifying Multi-Modal Controls for Conditional Image Synthesis

Zhu Zhang · Jianxin Ma · Chang Zhou · Rui Men · Zhikang Li · Ming Ding · Jie Tang · Jingren Zhou · Hongxia Yang

Conditional image synthesis aims to create an image according to some multi-modal guidance in the forms of textual descriptions, reference images, and image blocks to preserve, as well as their combinations. In this paper, instead of investigating these control signals separately, we propose a new two-stage architecture, UFC-BERT, to unify any number of multi-modal controls. In UFC-BERT, both the diverse control signals and the synthesized image are uniformly represented as a sequence of discrete tokens to be processed by Transformer. Different from existing two-stage autoregressive approaches such as DALL-E and VQGAN, UFC-BERT adopts non-autoregressive generation (NAR) at the second stage to enhance the holistic consistency of the synthesized image, to support preserving specified image blocks, and to improve the synthesis speed. Further, we design a progressive algorithm that iteratively improves the non-autoregressively generated image, with the help of two estimators developed for evaluating the compliance with the controls and evaluating the fidelity of the synthesized image, respectively. Extensive experiments on a newly collected large-scale clothing dataset M2C-Fashion and a facial dataset Multi-Modal CelebA-HQ verify that UFC-BERT can synthesize high-fidelity images that comply with flexible multi-modal controls.

General Low-rank Matrix Optimization: Geometric Analysis and Sharper Bounds

Haixiang Zhang · Yingjie Bi · Javad Lavaei

This paper considers the global geometry of general low-rank minimization problems via the Burer-Monterio factorization approach. For the rank-$1$ case, we prove that there is no spurious second-order critical point for both symmetric and asymmetric problems if the rank-$2$ RIP constant $\delta$ is less than $1/2$. Combining with a counterexample with $\delta=1/2$, we show that the derived bound is the sharpest possible. For the arbitrary rank-$r$ case, the same property is established when the rank-$2r$ RIP constant $\delta$ is at most $1/3$. We design a counterexample to show that the non-existence of spurious second-order critical points may not hold if $\delta$ is at least $1/2$. In addition, for any problem with $\delta$ between $1/3$ and $1/2$, we prove that all second-order critical points have a positive correlation to the ground truth. Finally, the strict saddle property, which can lead to the polynomial-time global convergence of various algorithms, is established for both the symmetric and asymmetric problems when the rank-$2r$ RIP constant $\delta$ is less than $1/3$. The results of this paper significantly extend several existing bounds in the literature.

A Non-commutative Extension of Lee-Seung's Algorithm for Positive Semidefinite Factorizations

Yong Sheng Soh · Antonios Varvitsiotis

Given a data matrix $X\in \mathbb{R}_+^{m\times n}$ with non-negative entries, a Positive Semidefinite (PSD) factorization of $X$ is a collection of $r \times r$-dimensional PSD matrices $\{A_i\}$ and $\{B_j\}$ satisfying the condition $X_{ij}= \mathrm{tr}(A_i B_j)$ for all $\ i\in [m],\ j\in [n]$. PSD factorizations are fundamentally linked to understanding the expressiveness of semidefinite programs as well as the power and limitations of quantum resources in information theory. The PSD factorization task generalizes the Non-negative Matrix Factorization (NMF) problem in which we seek a collection of $r$-dimensional non-negative vectors $\{a_i\}$ and $\{b_j\}$ satisfying $X_{ij}= a_i^T b_j$, for all $i\in [m],\ j\in [n]$ -- one can recover the latter problem by choosing matrices in the PSD factorization to be diagonal. The most widely used algorithm for computing NMFs of a matrix is the Multiplicative Update algorithm developed by Lee and Seung, in which non-negativity of the updates is preserved by scaling with positive diagonal matrices. In this paper, we describe a non-commutative extension of Lee-Seung's algorithm, which we call the Matrix Multiplicative Update (MMU) algorithm, for computing PSD factorizations. The MMU algorithm ensures that updates remain PSD by congruence scaling with the matrix geometric mean of appropriate PSD matrices, and it retains the simplicity of implementation that the multiplicative update algorithm for NMF enjoys. Building on the Majorization-Minimization framework, we show that under our update scheme the squared loss objective is non-increasing and fixed points correspond to critical points. The analysis relies on a Lieb's Concavity Theorem. Beyond PSD factorizations, we show that the MMU algorithm can be also used as a primitive to calculate block-diagonal PSD factorizations and tensor PSD factorizations. We demonstrate the utility of our method with experiments on real and synthetic data.

Garment4D: Garment Reconstruction from Point Cloud Sequences

Fangzhou Hong · Liang Pan · Zhongang Cai · Ziwei Liu

Learning to reconstruct 3D garments is important for dressing 3D human bodies of different shapes in different poses. Previous works typically rely on 2D images as input, which however suffer from the scale and pose ambiguities. To circumvent the problems caused by 2D images, we propose a principled framework, Garment4D, that uses 3D point cloud sequences of dressed humans for garment reconstruction. Garment4D has three dedicated steps: sequential garments registration, canonical garment estimation, and posed garment reconstruction. The main challenges are two-fold: 1) effective 3D feature learning for fine details, and 2) capture of garment dynamics caused by the interaction between garments and the human body, especially for loose garments like skirts. To unravel these problems, we introduce a novel Proposal-Guided Hierarchical Feature Network and Iterative Graph Convolution Network, which integrate both high-level semantic features and low-level geometric features for fine details reconstruction. Furthermore, we propose a Temporal Transformer for smooth garment motions capture. Unlike non-parametric methods, the reconstructed garment meshes by our method are separable from the human body and have strong interpretability, which is desirable for downstream tasks. As the first attempt at this task, high-quality reconstruction results are qualitatively and quantitatively illustrated through extensive experiments. Codes are available at

RIM: Reliable Influence-based Active Learning on Graphs

Wentao Zhang · Yexin Wang · Zhenbang You · Meng Cao · Ping Huang · Jiulong Shan · Zhi Yang · Bin CUI

Message passing is the core of most graph models such as Graph Convolutional Network (GCN) and Label Propagation (LP), which usually require a large number of clean labeled data to smooth out the neighborhood over the graph. However, the labeling process can be tedious, costly, and error-prone in practice. In this paper, we propose to unify active learning (AL) and message passing towards minimizing labeling costs, e.g., making use of few and unreliable labels that can be obtained cheaply. We make two contributions towards that end. First, we open up a perspective by drawing a connection between AL enforcing message passing and social influence maximization, ensuring that the selected samples effectively improve the model performance. Second, we propose an extension to the influence model that incorporates an explicit quality factor to model label noise. In this way, we derive a fundamentally new AL selection criterion for GCN and LP--reliable influence maximization (RIM)--by considering quantity and quality of influence simultaneously. Empirical studies on public datasets show that RIM significantly outperforms current AL methods in terms of accuracy and efficiency.

RelaySum for Decentralized Deep Learning on Heterogeneous Data

Thijs Vogels · Lie He · Anastasiia Koloskova · Sai Praneeth Karimireddy · Tao Lin · Sebastian Stich · Martin Jaggi

In decentralized machine learning, workers compute model updates on their local data.Because the workers only communicate with few neighbors without central coordination, these updates propagate progressively over the network.This paradigm enables distributed training on networks without all-to-all connectivity, helping to protect data privacy as well as to reduce the communication cost of distributed training in data centers.A key challenge, primarily in decentralized deep learning, remains the handling of differences between the workers' local data distributions.To tackle this challenge, we introduce the RelaySum mechanism for information propagation in decentralized learning.RelaySum uses spanning trees to distribute information exactly uniformly across all workers with finite delays depending on the distance between nodes.In contrast, the typical gossip averaging mechanism only distributes data uniformly asymptotically while using the same communication volume per step as RelaySum.We prove that RelaySGD, based on this mechanism, is independent of data heterogeneity and scales to many workers, enabling highly accurate decentralized deep learning on heterogeneous data.

Outstanding Paper
Continuized Accelerations of Deterministic and Stochastic Gradient Descents, and of Gossip Algorithms

Mathieu Even · Raphaël Berthier · Francis Bach · Nicolas Flammarion · Hadrien Hendrikx · Pierre Gaillard · Laurent Massoulié · Adrien Taylor

We introduce the ``continuized'' Nesterov acceleration, a close variant of Nesterov acceleration whose variables are indexed by a continuous time parameter. The two variables continuously mix following a linear ordinary differential equation and take gradient steps at random times. This continuized variant benefits from the best of the continuous and the discrete frameworks: as a continuous process, one can use differential calculus to analyze convergence and obtain analytical expressions for the parameters; but a discretization of the continuized process can be computed exactly with convergence rates similar to those of Nesterov original acceleration. We show that the discretization has the same structure as Nesterov acceleration, but with random parameters. We provide continuized Nesterov acceleration under deterministic as well as stochastic gradients, with either additive or multiplicative noise. Finally, using our continuized framework and expressing the gossip averaging problem as the stochastic minimization of a certain energy function, we provide the first rigorous acceleration of asynchronous gossip algorithms.

Natural continual learning: success is a journey, not (just) a destination

Ta-Chu Kao · Kristopher Jensen · Gido van de Ven · Alberto Bernacchia · Guillaume Hennequin

Biological agents are known to learn many different tasks over the course of their lives, and to be able to revisit previous tasks and behaviors with little to no loss in performance. In contrast, artificial agents are prone to ‘catastrophic forgetting’ whereby performance on previous tasks deteriorates rapidly as new ones are acquired. This shortcoming has recently been addressed using methods that encourage parameters to stay close to those used for previous tasks. This can be done by (i) using specific parameter regularizers that map out suitable destinations in parameter space, or (ii) guiding the optimization journey by projecting gradients into subspaces that do not interfere with previous tasks. However, these methods often exhibit subpar performance in both feedforward and recurrent neural networks, with recurrent networks being of interest to the study of neural dynamics supporting biological continual learning. In this work, we propose Natural Continual Learning (NCL), a new method that unifies weight regularization and projected gradient descent. NCL uses Bayesian weight regularization to encourage good performance on all tasks at convergence and combines this with gradient projection using the prior precision, which prevents catastrophic forgetting during optimization. Our method outperforms both standard weight regularization techniques and projection based approaches when applied to continual learning problems in feedforward and recurrent networks. Finally, the trained networks evolve task-specific dynamics that are strongly preserved as new tasks are learned, similar to experimental findings in biological circuits.

Post-Training Quantization for Vision Transformer

Zhenhua Liu · Yunhe Wang · Kai Han · Wei Zhang · Siwei Ma · Wen Gao

Recently, transformer has achieved remarkable performance on a variety of computer vision applications. Compared with mainstream convolutional neural networks, vision transformers are often of sophisticated architectures for extracting powerful feature representations, which are more difficult to be developed on mobile devices. In this paper, we present an effective post-training quantization algorithm for reducing the memory storage and computational costs of vision transformers. Basically, the quantization task can be regarded as finding the optimal low-bit quantization intervals for weights and inputs, respectively. To preserve the functionality of the attention mechanism, we introduce a ranking loss into the conventional quantization objective that aims to keep the relative order of the self-attention results after quantization. Moreover, we thoroughly analyze the relationship between quantization loss of different layers and the feature diversity, and explore a mixed-precision quantization scheme by exploiting the nuclear norm of each attention map and output feature. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified on several benchmark models and datasets, which outperforms the state-of-the-art post-training quantization algorithms. For instance, we can obtain an 81.29% top-1 accuracy using DeiT-B model on ImageNet dataset with about 8-bit quantization. Code will be available at

Variational Bayesian Reinforcement Learning with Regret Bounds

Brendan O'Donoghue

We consider the exploration-exploitation trade-off in reinforcement learning and show that an agent endowed with an exponential epistemic-risk-seeking utility function explores efficiently, as measured by regret. The state-action values induced by the exponential utility satisfy a Bellman recursion, so we can use dynamic programming to compute them. We call the resulting algorithm K-learning (for knowledge) and the risk-seeking utility ensures that the associated state-action values (K-values) are optimistic for the expected optimal Q-values under the posterior. The exponential utility function induces a Boltzmann exploration policy for which the 'temperature' parameter is equal to the risk-seeking parameter and is carefully controlled to yield a Bayes regret bound of $\tilde O(L^{3/2} \sqrt{S A T})$, where $L$ is the time horizon, $S$ is the number of states, $A$ is the number of actions, and $T$ is the total number of elapsed timesteps. We conclude with a numerical example demonstrating that K-learning is competitive with other state-of-the-art algorithms in practice.

Implicit Sparse Regularization: The Impact of Depth and Early Stopping

Jiangyuan Li · Thanh Nguyen · Chinmay Hegde · Raymond K. W. Wong

In this paper, we study the implicit bias of gradient descent for sparse regression. We extend results on regression with quadratic parametrization, which amounts to depth-2 diagonal linear networks, to more general depth-$N$ networks, under more realistic settings of noise and correlated designs. We show that early stopping is crucial for gradient descent to converge to a sparse model, a phenomenon that we call \emph{implicit sparse regularization}. This result is in sharp contrast to known results for noiseless and uncorrelated-design cases. We characterize the impact of depth and early stopping and show that for a general depth parameter $N$, gradient descent with early stopping achieves minimax optimal sparse recovery with sufficiently small initialization $w_0$ and step size $\eta$. In particular, we show that increasing depth enlarges the scale of working initialization and the early-stopping window so that this implicit sparse regularization effect is more likely to take place.

No-regret Online Learning over Riemannian Manifolds

Xi Wang · Zhipeng Tu · Yiguang Hong · Yingyi Wu · Guodong Shi

We consider online optimization over Riemannian manifolds, where a learner attempts to minimize a sequence of time-varying loss functions defined on Riemannian manifolds. Though many Euclidean online convex optimization algorithms have been proven useful in a wide range of areas, less attention has been paid to their Riemannian counterparts. In this paper, we study Riemannian online gradient descent (R-OGD) on Hadamard manifolds for both geodesically convex and strongly geodesically convex loss functions, and Riemannian bandit algorithm (R-BAN) on Hadamard homogeneous manifolds for geodesically convex functions. We establish upper bounds on the regrets of the problem with respect to time horizon, manifold curvature, and manifold dimension. We also find a universal lower bound for the achievable regret by constructing an online convex optimization problem on Hadamard manifolds. All the obtained regret bounds match the corresponding results are provided in Euclidean spaces. Finally, some numerical experiments validate our theoretical results.

Parametrized Quantum Policies for Reinforcement Learning

Sofiene Jerbi · Casper Gyurik · Simon Marshall · Hans Briegel · Vedran Dunjko

With the advent of real-world quantum computing, the idea that parametrized quantum computations can be used as hypothesis families in a quantum-classical machine learning system is gaining increasing traction. Such hybrid systems have already shown the potential to tackle real-world tasks in supervised and generative learning, and recent works have established their provable advantages in special artificial tasks. Yet, in the case of reinforcement learning, which is arguably most challenging and where learning boosts would be extremely valuable, no proposal has been successful in solving even standard benchmarking tasks, nor in showing a theoretical learning advantage over classical algorithms. In this work, we achieve both. We propose a hybrid quantum-classical reinforcement learning model using very few qubits, which we show can be effectively trained to solve several standard benchmarking environments. Moreover, we demonstrate, and formally prove, the ability of parametrized quantum circuits to solve certain learning tasks that are intractable to classical models, including current state-of-art deep neural networks, under the widely-believed classical hardness of the discrete logarithm problem.

Adaptive Online Packing-guided Search for POMDPs

Chenyang Wu · Guoyu Yang · Zongzhang Zhang · Yang Yu · Dong Li · Wulong Liu · Jianye Hao

The partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP) provides a general framework for modeling an agent's decision process with state uncertainty, and online planning plays a pivotal role in solving it. A belief is a distribution of states representing state uncertainty. Methods for large-scale POMDP problems rely on the same idea of sampling both states and observations. That is, instead of exact belief updating, a collection of sampled states is used to approximate the belief; instead of considering all possible observations, only a set of sampled observations are considered. Inspired by this, we take one step further and propose an online planning algorithm, Adaptive Online Packing-guided Search (AdaOPS), to better approximate beliefs with adaptive particle filter technique and balance estimation bias and variance by fusing similar observation branches. Theoretically, our algorithm is guaranteed to find an $\epsilon$-optimal policy with a high probability given enough planning time under some mild assumptions. We evaluate our algorithm on several tricky POMDP domains, and it outperforms the state-of-the-art in all of them.

Continual World: A Robotic Benchmark For Continual Reinforcement Learning

Maciej Wołczyk · Michał Zając · Razvan Pascanu · Łukasz Kuciński · Piotr Miłoś

Continual learning (CL) --- the ability to continuously learn, building on previously acquired knowledge --- is a natural requirement for long-lived autonomous reinforcement learning (RL) agents. While building such agents, one needs to balance opposing desiderata, such as constraints on capacity and compute, the ability to not catastrophically forget, and to exhibit positive transfer on new tasks. Understanding the right trade-off is conceptually and computationally challenging, which we argue has led the community to overly focus on catastrophic forgetting. In response to these issues, we advocate for the need to prioritize forward transfer and propose Continual World, a benchmark consisting of realistic and meaningfully diverse robotic tasks built on top of Meta-World as a testbed. Following an in-depth empirical evaluation of existing CL methods, we pinpoint their limitations and highlight unique algorithmic challenges in the RL setting. Our benchmark aims to provide a meaningful and computationally inexpensive challenge for the community and thus help better understand the performance of existing and future solutions. Information about the benchmark, including the open-source code, is available at

GraphFormers: GNN-nested Transformers for Representation Learning on Textual Graph

Junhan Yang · Zheng Liu · Shitao Xiao · Chaozhuo Li · Defu Lian · Sanjay Agrawal · Amit Singh · Guangzhong Sun · Xing Xie

The representation learning on textual graph is to generate low-dimensional embeddings for the nodes based on the individual textual features and the neighbourhood information. Recent breakthroughs on pretrained language models and graph neural networks push forward the development of corresponding techniques. The existing works mainly rely on the cascaded model architecture: the textual features of nodes are independently encoded by language models at first; the textual embeddings are aggregated by graph neural networks afterwards. However, the above architecture is limited due to the independent modeling of textual features. In this work, we propose GraphFormers, where layerwise GNN components are nested alongside the transformer blocks of language models. With the proposed architecture, the text encoding and the graph aggregation are fused into an iterative workflow, making each node's semantic accurately comprehended from the global perspective. In addition, a progressive learning strategy is introduced, where the model is successively trained on manipulated data and original data to reinforce its capability of integrating information on graph. Extensive evaluations are conducted on three large-scale benchmark datasets, where GraphFormers outperform the SOTA baselines with comparable running efficiency. The source code is released at .

Balanced Chamfer Distance as a Comprehensive Metric for Point Cloud Completion

Tong Wu · Liang Pan · Junzhe Zhang · Tai WANG · Ziwei Liu · Dahua Lin

Chamfer Distance (CD) and Earth Mover’s Distance (EMD) are two broadly adopted metrics for measuring the similarity between two point sets. However, CD is usually insensitive to mismatched local density, and EMD is usually dominated by global distribution while overlooks the fidelity of detailed structures. Besides, their unbounded value range induces a heavy influence from the outliers. These defects prevent them from providing a consistent evaluation. To tackle these problems, we propose a new similarity measure named Density-aware Chamfer Distance (DCD). It is derived from CD and benefits from several desirable properties: 1) it can detect disparity of density distributions and is thus a more intensive measure of similarity compared to CD; 2) it is stricter with detailed structures and significantly more computationally efficient than EMD; 3) the bounded value range encourages a more stable and reasonable evaluation over the whole test set. We adopt DCD to evaluate the point cloud completion task, where experimental results show that DCD pays attention to both the overall structure and local geometric details and provides a more reliable evaluation even when CD and EMD contradict each other. We can also use DCD as the training loss, which outperforms the same model trained with CD loss on all three metrics. In addition, we propose a novel point discriminator module that estimates the priority for another guided down-sampling step, and it achieves noticeable improvements under DCD together with competitive results for both CD and EMD. We hope our work could pave the way for a more comprehensive and practical point cloud similarity evaluation. Our code will be available at

On Optimal Interpolation in Linear Regression

Eduard Oravkin · Patrick Rebeschini

Understanding when and why interpolating methods generalize well has recently been a topic of interest in statistical learning theory. However, systematically connecting interpolating methods to achievable notions of optimality has only received partial attention. In this paper, we ask the question of what is the optimal way to interpolate in linear regression using functions that are linear in the response variable (as the case for the Bayes optimal estimator in ridge regression) and depend on the data, the population covariance of the data, the signal-to-noise ratio and the covariance of the prior for the signal, but do not depend on the value of the signal itself nor the noise vector in the training data. We provide a closed-form expression for the interpolator that achieves this notion of optimality and show that it can be derived as the limit of preconditioned gradient descent with a specific initialization. We identify a regime where the minimum-norm interpolator provably generalizes arbitrarily worse than the optimal response-linear achievable interpolator that we introduce, and validate with numerical experiments that the notion of optimality we consider can be achieved by interpolating methods that only use the training data as input in the case of an isotropic prior. Finally, we extend the notion of optimal response-linear interpolation to random features regression under a linear data-generating model.

Towards Understanding Cooperative Multi-Agent Q-Learning with Value Factorization

Jianhao Wang · Zhizhou Ren · Beining Han · Jianing Ye · Chongjie Zhang

Value factorization is a popular and promising approach to scaling up multi-agent reinforcement learning in cooperative settings, which balances the learning scalability and the representational capacity of value functions. However, the theoretical understanding of such methods is limited. In this paper, we formalize a multi-agent fitted Q-iteration framework for analyzing factorized multi-agent Q-learning. Based on this framework, we investigate linear value factorization and reveal that multi-agent Q-learning with this simple decomposition implicitly realizes a powerful counterfactual credit assignment, but may not converge in some settings. Through further analysis, we find that on-policy training or richer joint value function classes can improve its local or global convergence properties, respectively. Finally, to support our theoretical implications in practical realization, we conduct an empirical analysis of state-of-the-art deep multi-agent Q-learning algorithms on didactic examples and a broad set of StarCraft II unit micromanagement tasks.

STEP: Out-of-Distribution Detection in the Presence of Limited In-Distribution Labeled Data

Zhi Zhou · Lan-Zhe Guo · Zhanzhan Cheng · Yu-Feng Li · Shiliang Pu

Existing semi-supervised learning (SSL) studies typically assume that unlabeled and test data are drawn from the same distribution as labeled data. However, in many real-world applications, it is desirable to have SSL algorithms that not only classify the samples drawn from the same distribution of labeled data but also detect out-of-distribution (OOD) samples drawn from an unknown distribution. In this paper, we study a setting called semi-supervised OOD detection. Two main challenges compared with previous OOD detection settings are i) the lack of labeled data and in-distribution data; ii) OOD samples could be unseen during training. Efforts on this direction remain limited. In this paper, we present an approach STEP significantly improving OOD detection performance by introducing a new technique: Structure-Keep Unzipping. It learns a new representation space in which OOD samples could be separated well. An efficient optimization algorithm is derived to solve the objective. Comprehensive experiments across various OOD detection benchmarks clearly show that our STEP approach outperforms other methods by a large margin and achieves remarkable detection performance on several benchmarks.

Iterative Teacher-Aware Learning

Luyao Yuan · Dongruo Zhou · Junhong Shen · Jingdong Gao · Jeffrey L Chen · Quanquan Gu · Ying Nian Wu · Song-Chun Zhu

In human pedagogy, teachers and students can interact adaptively to maximize communication efficiency. The teacher adjusts her teaching method for different students, and the student, after getting familiar with the teacher’s instruction mechanism, can infer the teacher’s intention to learn faster. Recently, the benefits of integrating this cooperative pedagogy into machine concept learning in discrete spaces have been proved by multiple works. However, how cooperative pedagogy can facilitate machine parameter learning hasn’t been thoroughly studied. In this paper, we propose a gradient optimization based teacher-aware learner who can incorporate teacher’s cooperative intention into the likelihood function and learn provably faster compared with the naive learning algorithms used in previous machine teaching works. We give theoretical proof that the iterative teacher-aware learning (ITAL) process leads to local and global improvements. We then validate our algorithms with extensive experiments on various tasks including regression, classification, and inverse reinforcement learning using synthetic and real data. We also show the advantage of modeling teacher-awareness when agents are learning from human teachers.

Offline Reinforcement Learning with Reverse Model-based Imagination

Jianhao Wang · Wenzhe Li · Haozhe Jiang · Guangxiang Zhu · Siyuan Li · Chongjie Zhang

In offline reinforcement learning (offline RL), one of the main challenges is to deal with the distributional shift between the learning policy and the given dataset. To address this problem, recent offline RL methods attempt to introduce conservatism bias to encourage learning in high-confidence areas. Model-free approaches directly encode such bias into policy or value function learning using conservative regularizations or special network structures, but their constrained policy search limits the generalization beyond the offline dataset. Model-based approaches learn forward dynamics models with conservatism quantifications and then generate imaginary trajectories to extend the offline datasets. However, due to limited samples in offline datasets, conservatism quantifications often suffer from overgeneralization in out-of-support regions. The unreliable conservative measures will mislead forward model-based imaginations to undesired areas, leading to overaggressive behaviors. To encourage more conservatism, we propose a novel model-based offline RL framework, called Reverse Offline Model-based Imagination (ROMI). We learn a reverse dynamics model in conjunction with a novel reverse policy, which can generate rollouts leading to the target goal states within the offline dataset. These reverse imaginations provide informed data augmentation for model-free policy learning and enable conservative generalization beyond the offline dataset. ROMI can effectively combine with off-the-shelf model-free algorithms to enable model-based generalization with proper conservatism. Empirical results show that our method can generate more conservative behaviors and achieve state-of-the-art performance on offline RL benchmark tasks.

Neural Architecture Dilation for Adversarial Robustness

Yanxi Li · Zhaohui Yang · Yunhe Wang · Chang Xu

With the tremendous advances in the architecture and scale of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) over the past few decades, they can easily reach or even exceed the performance of humans in certain tasks. However, a recently discovered shortcoming of CNNs is that they are vulnerable to adversarial attacks. Although the adversarial robustness of CNNs can be improved by adversarial training, there is a trade-off between standard accuracy and adversarial robustness. From the neural architecture perspective, this paper aims to improve the adversarial robustness of the backbone CNNs that have a satisfactory accuracy. Under a minimal computational overhead, the introduction of a dilation architecture is expected to be friendly with the standard performance of the backbone CNN while pursuing adversarial robustness. Theoretical analyses on the standard and adversarial error bounds naturally motivate the proposed neural architecture dilation algorithm. Experimental results on real-world datasets and benchmark neural networks demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm to balance the accuracy and adversarial robustness.

BlendGAN: Implicitly GAN Blending for Arbitrary Stylized Face Generation

Mingcong Liu · Qiang Li · Zekui Qin · Guoxin Zhang · Pengfei Wan · Wen Zheng

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) have made a dramatic leap in high-fidelity image synthesis and stylized face generation. Recently, a layer-swapping mechanism has been developed to improve the stylization performance. However, this method is incapable of fitting arbitrary styles in a single model and requires hundreds of style-consistent training images for each style. To address the above issues, we propose BlendGAN for arbitrary stylized face generation by leveraging a flexible blending strategy and a generic artistic dataset. Specifically, we first train a self-supervised style encoder on the generic artistic dataset to extract the representations of arbitrary styles. In addition, a weighted blending module (WBM) is proposed to blend face and style representations implicitly and control the arbitrary stylization effect. By doing so, BlendGAN can gracefully fit arbitrary styles in a unified model while avoiding case-by-case preparation of style-consistent training images. To this end, we also present a novel large-scale artistic face dataset AAHQ. Extensive experiments demonstrate that BlendGAN outperforms state-of-the-art methods in terms of visual quality and style diversity for both latent-guided and reference-guided stylized face synthesis.

Unleashing the Power of Contrastive Self-Supervised Visual Models via Contrast-Regularized Fine-Tuning

Yifan Zhang · Bryan Hooi · Dapeng Hu · Jian Liang · Jiashi Feng

Contrastive self-supervised learning (CSL) has attracted increasing attention for model pre-training via unlabeled data. The resulted CSL models provide instance-discriminative visual features that are uniformly scattered in the feature space. During deployment, the common practice is to directly fine-tune CSL models with cross-entropy, which however may not be the best strategy in practice. Although cross-entropy tends to separate inter-class features, the resulting models still have limited capability for reducing intra-class feature scattering that exists in CSL models. In this paper, we investigate whether applying contrastive learning to fine-tuning would bring further benefits, and analytically find that optimizing the contrastive loss benefits both discriminative representation learning and model optimization during fine-tuning. Inspired by these findings, we propose Contrast-regularized tuning (Core-tuning), a new approach for fine-tuning CSL models. Instead of simply adding the contrastive loss to the objective of fine-tuning, Core-tuning further applies a novel hard pair mining strategy for more effective contrastive fine-tuning, as well as smoothing the decision boundary to better exploit the learned discriminative feature space. Extensive experiments on image classification and semantic segmentation verify the effectiveness of Core-tuning.

Topology-Imbalance Learning for Semi-Supervised Node Classification

Deli Chen · Yankai Lin · Guangxiang Zhao · Xuancheng Ren · Peng Li · Jie Zhou · Xu Sun

The class imbalance problem, as an important issue in learning node representations, has drawn increasing attention from the community. Although the imbalance considered by existing studies roots from the unequal quantity of labeled examples in different classes (quantity imbalance), we argue that graph data expose a unique source of imbalance from the asymmetric topological properties of the labeled nodes, i.e., labeled nodes are not equal in terms of their structural role in the graph (topology imbalance). In this work, we first probe the previously unknown topology-imbalance issue, including its characteristics, causes, and threats to semisupervised node classification learning. We then provide a unified view to jointly analyzing the quantity- and topology- imbalance issues by considering the node influence shift phenomenon with the Label Propagation algorithm. In light of our analysis, we devise an influence conflict detection–based metric Totoro to measure the degree of graph topology imbalance and propose a model-agnostic method ReNode to address the topology-imbalance issue by re-weighting the influence of labeled nodes adaptively based on their relative positions to class boundaries. Systematic experiments demonstrate the effectiveness and generalizability of our method in relieving topology-imbalance issue and promoting semi-supervised node classification. The further analysis unveils varied sensitivity of different graph neural networks (GNNs) to topology imbalance, which may serve as a new perspective in evaluating GNN architectures.