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Piano Genie

Chris Donahue, Ian Simon, Sander Dieleman

We present Piano Genie, an intelligent controller which allows non-musicians to improvise on the piano. With Piano Genie, a user performs on a simple interface with eight buttons, and their performance is decoded into the space of plausible piano music in real time. To learn a suitable mapping procedure for this problem, we train recurrent neural network autoencoders with discrete bottlenecks: an encoder learns an appropriate sequence of buttons corresponding to a piano piece, and a decoder learns to map this sequence back to the original piece. During performance, we substitute a user's input for the encoder output, and play the decoder's prediction each time the user presses a button. To improve the interpretability of Piano Genie's performance mechanics, we impose musically-salient constraints over the encoder's outputs.

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BERT: Pre-training of Deep Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding

Jacob Devlin, Ming-Wei Chang, Kenton Lee, Kristina Toutanova

We introduce a new language representation model called BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Unlike recent language representation models, BERT is designed to pre-train deep bidirectional representations by jointly conditioning on both left and right context in all layers. As a result, the pre-trained BERT representations can be fine-tuned with just one additional output layer to create state-of-the-art models for a wide range of tasks, such as question answering and language inference, without substantial task-specific architecture modifications. BERT is conceptually simple and empirically powerful. It obtains new state-of-the-art results on eleven natural language processing tasks, including pushing the GLUE benchmark to 80.4% (7.6% absolute improvement), MultiNLI accuracy to 86.7 (5.6% absolute improvement) and the SQuAD v1.1 question answering Test F1 to 93.2 (1.5% absolute improvement), outperforming human performance by 2.0%.

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Reinforcement Learning for Improving Agent Design

David Ha

In many reinforcement learning tasks, the goal is to learn a policy to manipulate an agent, whose design is fixed, to maximize some notion of cumulative reward. The design of the agent's physical structure is rarely optimized for the task at hand. In this work, we explore the possibility of learning a version of the agent's design that is better suited for its task, jointly with the policy. We propose a minor alteration to the OpenAI Gym framework, where we parameterize parts of an environment, and allow an agent to jointly learn to modify these environment parameters along with its policy. We demonstrate that an agent can learn a better structure of its body that is not only better suited for the task, but also facilitates policy learning. Joint learning of policy and structure may even uncover design principles that are useful for assisted-design applications. Videos of results at

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Optimal Completion Distillation for Sequence Learning

Sara Sabour, William Chan, Mohammad Norouzi

We present Optimal Completion Distillation (OCD), a training procedure for optimizing sequence to sequence models based on edit distance. OCD is efficient, has no hyper-parameters of its own, and does not require pretraining or joint optimization with conditional log-likelihood. Given a partial sequence generated by the model, we first identify the set of optimal suffixes that minimize the total edit distance, using an efficient dynamic programming algorithm. Then, for each position of the generated sequence, we use a target distribution that puts equal probability on the first token of all the optimal suffixes. OCD achieves the state-of-the-art performance on end-to-end speech recognition, on both Wall Street Journal and Librispeech datasets, achieving $9.3\%$ WER and $4.5\%$ WER respectively.

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Taming VAEs

Danilo Jimenez Rezende, Fabio Viola

In spite of remarkable progress in deep latent variable generative modeling, training still remains a challenge due to a combination of optimization and generalization issues. In practice, a combination of heuristic algorithms (such as hand-crafted annealing of KL-terms) is often used in order to achieve the desired results, but such solutions are not robust to changes in model architecture or dataset. The best settings can often vary dramatically from one problem to another, which requires doing expensive parameter sweeps for each new case. Here we develop on the idea of training VAEs with additional constraints as a way to control their behaviour. We first present a detailed theoretical analysis of constrained VAEs, expanding our understanding of how these models work. We then introduce and analyze a practical algorithm termed Generalized ELBO with Constrained Optimization, GECO. The main advantage of GECO for the machine learning practitioner is a more intuitive, yet principled, process of tuning the loss. This involves defining of a set of constraints, which typically have an explicit relation to the desired model performance, in contrast to tweaking abstract hyper-parameters which implicitly affect the model behavior. Encouraging experimental results in several standard datasets indicate that GECO is a very robust and effective tool to balance reconstruction and compression constraints.

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A Systems Approach to Achieving the Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in UK Defence

Gavin Pearson, Phil Jolley, Geraint Evans

The ability to exploit the opportunities offered by AI within UK Defence calls for an understanding of systemic issues required to achieve an effective operational capability. This paper provides the authors' views of issues which currently block UK Defence from fully benefitting from AI technology. These are situated within a reference model for the AI Value Train, so enabling the community to address the exploitation of such data and software intensive systems in a systematic, end to end manner. The paper sets out the conditions for success including: Researching future solutions to known problems and clearly defined use cases; Addressing achievable use cases to show benefit; Enhancing the availability of Defence-relevant data; Enhancing Defence 'know how' in AI; Operating Software Intensive supply chain eco-systems at required breadth and pace; Governance and, the integration of software and platform supply chains and operating models.

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A Short Survey of Topological Data Analysis in Time Series and Systems Analysis

Shafie Gholizadeh, Wlodek Zadrozny

Topological Data Analysis (TDA) is the collection of mathematical tools that capture the structure of shapes in data. Despite computational topology and computational geometry, the utilization of TDA in time series and signal processing is relatively new. In some recent contributions, TDA has been utilized as an alternative to the conventional signal processing methods. Specifically, TDA is been considered to deal with noisy signals and time series. In these applications, TDA is used to find the shapes in data as the main properties, while the other properties are assumed much less informative. In this paper, we will review recent developments and contributions where topological data analysis especially persistent homology has been applied to time series analysis, dynamical systems and signal processing. We will cover problem statements such as stability determination, risk analysis, systems behaviour, and predicting critical transitions in financial markets.

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Benchmarking Reinforcement Learning Algorithms on Real-World Robots

A. Rupam Mahmood, Dmytro Korenkevych, Gautham Vasan, William Ma, James Bergstra

Through many recent successes in simulation, model-free reinforcement learning has emerged as a promising approach to solving continuous control robotic tasks. The research community is now able to reproduce, analyze and build quickly on these results due to open source implementations of learning algorithms and simulated benchmark tasks. To carry forward these successes to real-world applications, it is crucial to withhold utilizing the unique advantages of simulations that do not transfer to the real world and experiment directly with physical robots. However, reinforcement learning research with physical robots faces substantial resistance due to the lack of benchmark tasks and supporting source code. In this work, we introduce several reinforcement learning tasks with multiple commercially available robots that present varying levels of learning difficulty, setup, and repeatability. On these tasks, we test the learning performance of off-the-shelf implementations of four reinforcement learning algorithms and analyze sensitivity to their hyper-parameters to determine their readiness for applications in various real-world tasks. Our results show that with a careful setup of the task interface and computations, some of these implementations can be readily applicable to physical robots. We find that state-of-the-art learning algorithms are highly sensitive to their hyper-parameters and their relative ordering does not transfer across tasks, indicating the necessity of re-tuning them for each task for best performance. On the other hand, the best hyper-parameter configuration from one task may often result in effective learning on held-out tasks even with different robots, providing a reasonable default. We make the benchmark tasks publicly available to enhance reproducibility in real-world reinforcement learning.

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Close to Human Quality TTS with Transformer

Naihan Li, Shujie Liu, Yanqing Liu, Sheng Zhao, Ming Liu, Ming Zhou

Although end-to-end neural text-to-speech (TTS) methods (such as Tacotron2) are proposed and achieve state-of-the-art performance, they still suffer from two problems: 1) low efficiency during training and inference; 2) hard to model long dependency using current recurrent neural networks (RNNs). Inspired by the success of Transformer network in neural machine translation (NMT), in this paper, we introduce and adapt the multi-head attention mechanism to replace the RNN structures and also the original attention mechanism in Tacotron2. With the help of multi-head self-attention, the hidden states in the encoder and decoder are constructed in parallel, which improves training efficiency. Meanwhile, any two inputs at different times are connected directly by a self-attention mechanism, which solves the long range dependency problem effectively. Using phoneme sequences as input, our Transformer TTS network generates mel spectrograms, followed by a WaveNet vocoder to output the final audio results. Experiments are conducted to test the efficiency and performance of our new network. For the efficiency, our Transformer TTS network can speed up the training about 4.25 times faster compared with Tacotron2. For the performance, rigorous human tests show that our proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance (outperforms Tacotron2 with a gap of 0.048) and is very close to human quality (4.39 vs 4.44 in MOS).

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Addressing the Fundamental Tension of PCGML with Discriminative Learning

Isaac Karth, Adam M. Smith

Procedural content generation via machine learning (PCGML) is typically framed as the task of fitting a generative model to full-scale examples of a desired content distribution. This approach presents a fundamental tension: the more design effort expended to produce detailed training examples for shaping a generator, the lower the return on investment from applying PCGML in the first place. In response, we propose the use of discriminative models (which capture the validity of a design rather the distribution of the content) trained on positive and negative examples. Through a modest modification of WaveFunctionCollapse, a commercially-adopted PCG approach that we characterize as using elementary machine learning, we demonstrate a new mode of control for learning-based generators. We demonstrate how an artist might craft a focused set of additional positive and negative examples by critique of the generator's previous outputs. This interaction mode bridges PCGML with mixed-initiative design assistance tools by working with a machine to define a space of valid designs rather than just one new design.

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Interpretable Visual Question Answering by Reasoning on Dependency Trees

Qingxing Cao, Xiaodan Liang, Bailin Li, Liang Lin

Collaborative reasoning for understanding each image-question pair is very critical but underexplored for an interpretable visual question answering system. Although very recent works also attempted to use explicit compositional processes to assemble multiple subtasks embedded in the questions, their models heavily rely on annotations or handcrafted rules to obtain valid reasoning processes, leading to either heavy workloads or poor performance on composition reasoning. In this paper, to better align image and language domains in diverse and unrestricted cases, we propose a novel neural network model that performs global reasoning on a dependency tree parsed from the question, and we thus phrase our model as parse-tree-guided reasoning network (PTGRN). This network consists of three collaborative modules: i) an attention module to exploit the local visual evidence for each word parsed from the question, ii) a gated residual composition module to compose the previously mined evidence, and iii) a parse-tree-guided propagation module to pass the mined evidence along the parse tree. Our PTGRN is thus capable of building an interpretable VQA system that gradually derives the image cues following a question-driven parse-tree reasoning route. Experiments on relational datasets demonstrate the superiority of our PTGRN over current state-of-the-art VQA methods, and the visualization results highlight the explainable capability of our reasoning system.

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Appendix - Recommended Statistical Significance Tests for NLP Tasks

Rotem Dror, Roi Reichart

Statistical significance testing plays an important role when drawing conclusions from experimental results in NLP papers. Particularly, it is a valuable tool when one would like to establish the superiority of one algorithm over another. This appendix complements the guide for testing statistical significance in NLP presented in \cite{dror2018hitchhiker} by proposing valid statistical tests for the common tasks and evaluation measures in the field.

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When to Finish? Optimal Beam Search for Neural Text Generation (modulo beam size)

Liang Huang, Kai Zhao, Mingbo Ma

In neural text generation such as neural machine translation, summarization, and image captioning, beam search is widely used to improve the output text quality. However, in the neural generation setting, hypotheses can finish in different steps, which makes it difficult to decide when to end beam search to ensure optimality. We propose a provably optimal beam search algorithm that will always return the optimal-score complete hypothesis (modulo beam size), and finish as soon as the optimality is established (finishing no later than the baseline). To counter neural generation's tendency for shorter hypotheses, we also introduce a bounded length reward mechanism which allows a modified version of our beam search algorithm to remain optimal. Experiments on neural machine translation demonstrate that our principled beam search algorithm leads to improvement in BLEU score over previously proposed alternatives.

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Spherical Latent Spaces for Stable Variational Autoencoders

Jiacheng Xu, Greg Durrett

A hallmark of variational autoencoders (VAEs) for text processing is their combination of powerful encoder-decoder models, such as LSTMs, with simple latent distributions, typically multivariate Gaussians. These models pose a difficult optimization problem: there is an especially bad local optimum where the variational posterior always equals the prior and the model does not use the latent variable at all, a kind of "collapse" which is encouraged by the KL divergence term of the objective. In this work, we experiment with another choice of latent distribution, namely the von Mises-Fisher (vMF) distribution, which places mass on the surface of the unit hypersphere. With this choice of prior and posterior, the KL divergence term now only depends on the variance of the vMF distribution, giving us the ability to treat it as a fixed hyperparameter. We show that doing so not only averts the KL collapse, but consistently gives better likelihoods than Gaussians across a range of modeling conditions, including recurrent language modeling and bag-of-words document modeling. An analysis of the properties of our vMF representations shows that they learn richer and more nuanced structures in their latent representations than their Gaussian counterparts.

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FPGA Implementation of Convolutional Neural Networks with Fixed-Point Calculations

Roman A. Solovyev, Alexandr A. Kalinin, Alexander G. Kustov, Dmitry V. Telpukhov, Vladimir S. Ruhlov

Neural network-based methods for image processing are becoming widely used in practical applications. Modern neural networks are computationally expensive and require specialized hardware, such as graphics processing units. Since such hardware is not always available in real life applications, there is a compelling need for the design of neural networks for mobile devices. Mobile neural networks typically have reduced number of parameters and require a relatively small number of arithmetic operations. However, they usually still are executed at the software level and use floating-point calculations. The use of mobile networks without further optimization may not provide sufficient performance when high processing speed is required, for example, in real-time video processing (30 frames per second). In this study, we suggest optimizations to speed up computations in order to efficiently use already trained neural networks on a mobile device. Specifically, we propose an approach for speeding up neural networks by moving computation from software to hardware and by using fixed-point calculations instead of floating-point. We propose a number of methods for neural network architecture design to improve the performance with fixed-point calculations. We also show an example of how existing datasets can be modified and adapted for the recognition task in hand. Finally, we present the design and the implementation of a floating-point gate array-based device to solve the practical problem of real-time handwritten digit classification from mobile camera video feed.

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Approximate Exploration through State Abstraction

Adrien Ali Taïga, Aaron Courville, Marc G. Bellemare

Although exploration in reinforcement learning is well understood from a theoretical point of view, provably correct methods remain impractical. In this paper we study the interplay between exploration and approximation, what we call \emph{approximate exploration}. We first provide results when the approximation is explicit, quantifying the performance of an exploration algorithm, MBIE-EB \citep{strehl2008analysis}, when combined with state aggregation. In particular, we show that this allows the agent to trade off between learning speed and quality of the policy learned. We then turn to a successful exploration scheme in practical, pseudo-count based exploration bonuses \citep{bellemare2016unifying}. We show that choosing a density model implicitly defines an abstraction and that the pseudo-count bonus incentivizes the agent to explore using this abstraction. We find, however, that implicit exploration may result in a mismatch between the approximated value function and exploration bonus, leading to either under- or over-exploration.

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End-to-End Neural Entity Linking

Nikolaos Kolitsas, Octavian-Eugen Ganea, Thomas Hofmann

Entity Linking (EL) is an essential task for semantic text understanding and information extraction. Popular methods separately address the Mention Detection (MD) and Entity Disambiguation (ED) stages of EL, without leveraging their mutual dependency. We here propose the first neural end-to-end EL system that jointly discovers and links entities in a text document. The main idea is to consider all possible spans as potential mentions and learn contextual similarity scores over their entity candidates that are useful for both MD and ED decisions. Key components are context-aware mention embeddings, entity embeddings and a probabilistic mention - entity map, without demanding other engineered features. Empirically, we show that our end-to-end method significantly outperforms popular systems on the Gerbil platform when enough training data is available. Conversely, if testing datasets follow different annotation conventions compared to the training set (e.g. queries/ tweets vs news documents), our ED model coupled with a traditional NER system offers the best or second best EL accuracy.

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Increasing Trust in AI Services through Supplier's Declarations of Conformity

Michael Hind, Sameep Mehta, Aleksandra Mojsilovic, Ravi Nair, Karthikeyan Natesan Ramamurthy, Alexandra Olteanu, Kush R. Varshney

The accuracy and reliability of machine learning algorithms are an important concern for suppliers of artificial intelligence (AI) services, but considerations beyond accuracy, such as safety, security, and provenance, are also critical elements to engender consumers' trust in a service. In this paper, we propose a supplier's declaration of conformity (SDoC) for AI services to help increase trust in AI services. An SDoC is a transparent, standardized, but often not legally required, document used in many industries and sectors to describe the lineage of a product along with the safety and performance testing it has undergone. We envision an SDoC for AI services to contain purpose, performance, safety, security, and provenance information to be completed and voluntarily released by AI service providers for examination by consumers. Importantly, it conveys product-level rather than component-level functional testing. We suggest a set of declaration items tailored to AI and provide examples for two fictitious AI services.

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An elementary introduction to information geometry

Frank Nielsen

We describe the fundamental differential-geometric structures of information manifolds, state the fundamental theorem of information geometry, and illustrate some uses of these information manifolds in information sciences. The exposition is self-contained by concisely introducing the necessary concepts of differential geometry with proofs omitted for brevity.

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Learning Invariances using the Marginal Likelihood

Mark van der Wilk, Matthias Bauer, ST John, James Hensman

Generalising well in supervised learning tasks relies on correctly extrapolating the training data to a large region of the input space. One way to achieve this is to constrain the predictions to be invariant to transformations on the input that are known to be irrelevant (e.g. translation). Commonly, this is done through data augmentation, where the training set is enlarged by applying hand-crafted transformations to the inputs. We argue that invariances should instead be incorporated in the model structure, and learned using the marginal likelihood, which correctly rewards the reduced complexity of invariant models. We demonstrate this for Gaussian process models, due to the ease with which their marginal likelihood can be estimated. Our main contribution is a variational inference scheme for Gaussian processes containing invariances described by a sampling procedure. We learn the sampling procedure by back-propagating through it to maximise the marginal likelihood.

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