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Counterpoint by Convolution

Cheng-Zhi Anna Huang, Tim Cooijmans, Adam Roberts, Aaron Courville, Douglas Eck

Machine learning models of music typically break up the task of composition into a chronological process, composing a piece of music in a single pass from beginning to end. On the contrary, human composers write music in a nonlinear fashion, scribbling motifs here and there, often revisiting choices previously made. In order to better approximate this process, we train a convolutional neural network to complete partial musical scores, and explore the use of blocked Gibbs sampling as an analogue to rewriting. Neither the model nor the generative procedure are tied to a particular causal direction of composition. Our model is an instance of orderless NADE (Uria et al., 2014), which allows more direct ancestral sampling. However, we find that Gibbs sampling greatly improves sample quality, which we demonstrate to be due to some conditional distributions being poorly modeled. Moreover, we show that even the cheap approximate blocked Gibbs procedure from Yao et al. (2014) yields better samples than ancestral sampling, based on both log-likelihood and human evaluation.

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Smart, Deep Copy-Paste

Tiziano Portenier, Qiyang Hu, Paolo Favaro, Matthias Zwicker

In this work, we propose a novel system for smart copy-paste, enabling the synthesis of high-quality results given a masked source image content and a target image context as input. Our system naturally resolves both shading and geometric inconsistencies between source and target image, resulting in a merged result image that features the content from the pasted source image, seamlessly pasted into the target context. Our framework is based on a novel training image transformation procedure that allows to train a deep convolutional neural network end-to-end to automatically learn a representation that is suitable for copy-pasting. Our training procedure works with any image dataset without additional information such as labels, and we demonstrate the effectiveness of our system on two popular datasets, high-resolution face images and the more complex Cityscapes dataset. Our technique outperforms the current state of the art on face images, and we show promising results on the Cityscapes dataset, demonstrating that our system generalizes to much higher resolution than the training data.

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Stochastic Beams and Where to Find Them: The Gumbel-Top-k Trick for Sampling Sequences Without Replacement

Wouter Kool, Herke van Hoof, Max Welling

The well-known Gumbel-Max trick for sampling from a categorical distribution can be extended to sample $k$ elements without replacement. We show how to implicitly apply this 'Gumbel-Top-$k$' trick on a factorized distribution over sequences, allowing to draw exact samples without replacement using a Stochastic Beam Search. Even for exponentially large domains, the number of model evaluations grows only linear in $k$ and the maximum sampled sequence length. The algorithm creates a theoretical connection between sampling and (deterministic) beam search and can be used as a principled intermediate alternative. In a translation task, the proposed method compares favourably against alternatives to obtain diverse yet good quality translations. We show that sequences sampled without replacement can be used to construct low-variance estimators for expected sentence-level BLEU score and model entropy.

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Diagnosing and Enhancing VAE Models

Bin Dai, David Wipf

Although variational autoencoders (VAEs) represent a widely influential deep generative model, many aspects of the underlying energy function remain poorly understood. In particular, it is commonly believed that Gaussian encoder/decoder assumptions reduce the effectiveness of VAEs in generating realistic samples. In this regard, we rigorously analyze the VAE objective, differentiating situations where this belief is and is not actually true. We then leverage the corresponding insights to develop a simple VAE enhancement that requires no additional hyperparameters or sensitive tuning. Quantitatively, this proposal produces crisp samples and stable FID scores that are actually competitive with a variety of GAN models, all while retaining desirable attributes of the original VAE architecture. A shorter version of this work will appear in the ICLR 2019 conference proceedings (Dai and Wipf, 2019). The code for our model is available at TwoStageVAE.

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Functional Variational Bayesian Neural Networks

Shengyang Sun, Guodong Zhang, Jiaxin Shi, Roger Grosse

Variational Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) perform variational inference over weights, but it is difficult to specify meaningful priors and approximate posteriors in a high-dimensional weight space. We introduce functional variational Bayesian neural networks (fBNNs), which maximize an Evidence Lower BOund (ELBO) defined directly on stochastic processes, i.e. distributions over functions. We prove that the KL divergence between stochastic processes equals the supremum of marginal KL divergences over all finite sets of inputs. Based on this, we introduce a practical training objective which approximates the functional ELBO using finite measurement sets and the spectral Stein gradient estimator. With fBNNs, we can specify priors entailing rich structures, including Gaussian processes and implicit stochastic processes. Empirically, we find fBNNs extrapolate well using various structured priors, provide reliable uncertainty estimates, and scale to large datasets.

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Trajectory Optimization for Unknown Constrained Systems using Reinforcement Learning

Kei Ota, Devesh K. Jha, Tomoaki Oiki, Mamoru Miura, Takashi Nammoto, Daniel Nikovski, Toshisada Mariyama

In this paper, we propose a reinforcement learning-based algorithm for trajectory optimization for constrained dynamical systems. This problem is motivated by the fact that for most robotic systems, the dynamics may not always be known. Generating smooth, dynamically feasible trajectories could be difficult for such systems. Using sampling-based algorithms for motion planning may result in trajectories that are prone to undesirable control jumps. However, they can usually provide a good reference trajectory which a model-free reinforcement learning algorithm can then exploit by limiting the search domain and quickly finding a dynamically smooth trajectory. We use this idea to train a reinforcement learning agent to learn a dynamically smooth trajectory in a curriculum learning setting. Furthermore, for generalization, we parameterize the policies with goal locations, so that the agent can be trained for multiple goals simultaneously. We show result in both simulated environments as well as real experiments, for a $6$-DoF manipulator arm operated in position-controlled mode to validate the proposed idea. We compare the proposed ideas against a PID controller which is used to track a designed trajectory in configuration space. Our experiments show that our RL agent trained with a reference path outperformed a model-free PID controller of the type commonly used on many robotic platforms for trajectory tracking.

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Deep Griffin-Lim Iteration

Yoshiki Masuyama, Kohei Yatabe, Yuma Koizumi, Yasuhiro Oikawa, Noboru Harada

This paper presents a novel phase reconstruction method (only from a given amplitude spectrogram) by combining a signal-processing-based approach and a deep neural network (DNN). To retrieve a time-domain signal from its amplitude spectrogram, the corresponding phase is required. One of the popular phase reconstruction methods is the Griffin-Lim algorithm (GLA), which is based on the redundancy of the short-time Fourier transform. However, GLA often involves many iterations and produces low-quality signals owing to the lack of prior knowledge of the target signal. In order to address these issues, in this study, we propose an architecture which stacks a sub-block including two GLA-inspired fixed layers and a DNN. The number of stacked sub-blocks is adjustable, and we can trade the performance and computational load based on requirements of applications. The effectiveness of the proposed method is investigated by reconstructing phases from amplitude spectrograms of speeches.

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Self-Tuning Networks: Bilevel Optimization of Hyperparameters using Structured Best-Response Functions

Matthew MacKay, Paul Vicol, Jon Lorraine, David Duvenaud, Roger Grosse

Hyperparameter optimization can be formulated as a bilevel optimization problem, where the optimal parameters on the training set depend on the hyperparameters. We aim to adapt regularization hyperparameters for neural networks by fitting compact approximations to the best-response function, which maps hyperparameters to optimal weights and biases. We show how to construct scalable best-response approximations for neural networks by modeling the best-response as a single network whose hidden units are gated conditionally on the regularizer. We justify this approximation by showing the exact best-response for a shallow linear network with L2-regularized Jacobian can be represented by a similar gating mechanism. We fit this model using a gradient-based hyperparameter optimization algorithm which alternates between approximating the best-response around the current hyperparameters and optimizing the hyperparameters using the approximate best-response function. Unlike other gradient-based approaches, we do not require differentiating the training loss with respect to the hyperparameters, allowing us to tune discrete hyperparameters, data augmentation hyperparameters, and dropout probabilities. Because the hyperparameters are adapted online, our approach discovers hyperparameter schedules that can outperform fixed hyperparameter values. Empirically, our approach outperforms competing hyperparameter optimization methods on large-scale deep learning problems. We call our networks, which update their own hyperparameters online during training, Self-Tuning Networks (STNs).

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PROPS: Probabilistic personalization of black-box sequence models

Michael Thomas Wojnowicz, Xuan Zhao

We present PROPS, a lightweight transfer learning mechanism for sequential data. PROPS learns probabilistic perturbations around the predictions of one or more arbitrarily complex, pre-trained black box models (such as recurrent neural networks). The technique pins the black-box prediction functions to "source nodes" of a hidden Markov model (HMM), and uses the remaining nodes as "perturbation nodes" for learning customized perturbations around those predictions. In this paper, we describe the PROPS model, provide an algorithm for online learning of its parameters, and demonstrate the consistency of this estimation. We also explore the utility of PROPS in the context of personalized language modeling. In particular, we construct a baseline language model by training a LSTM on the entire Wikipedia corpus of 2.5 million articles (around 6.6 billion words), and then use PROPS to provide lightweight customization into a personalized language model of President Donald J. Trump's tweeting. We achieved good customization after only 2,000 additional words, and find that the PROPS model, being fully probabilistic, provides insight into when President Trump's speech departs from generic patterns in the Wikipedia corpus. Python code (for both the PROPS training algorithm as well as experiment reproducibility) is available at

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PDP: A General Neural Framework for Learning Constraint Satisfaction Solvers

Saeed Amizadeh, Sergiy Matusevych, Markus Weimer

There have been recent efforts for incorporating Graph Neural Network models for learning full-stack solvers for constraint satisfaction problems (CSP) and particularly Boolean satisfiability (SAT). Despite the unique representational power of these neural embedding models, it is not clear how the search strategy in the learned models actually works. On the other hand, by fixing the search strategy (e.g. greedy search), we would effectively deprive the neural models of learning better strategies than those given. In this paper, we propose a generic neural framework for learning CSP solvers that can be described in terms of probabilistic inference and yet learn search strategies beyond greedy search. Our framework is based on the idea of propagation, decimation and prediction (and hence the name PDP) in graphical models, and can be trained directly toward solving CSP in a fully unsupervised manner via energy minimization, as shown in the paper. Our experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework for SAT solving compared to both neural and the state-of-the-art baselines.

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Learning low-precision neural networks without Straight-Through Estimator(STE)

Zhi-Gang Liu, Matthew Mattina

The Straight-Through Estimator (STE) is widely used for back-propagating gradients through the quantization function, but the STE technique lacks a complete theoretical understanding. We propose an alternative methodology called alpha-blending (AB), which quantizes neural networks to low-precision using stochastic gradient descent (SGD). Our method (AB) avoids STE approximation by replacing the quantized weight in the loss function by an affine combination of the quantized weight w_q and the corresponding full-precision weight w with non-trainable scalar coefficient $\alpha$ and $1-\alpha$. During training, $\alpha$ is gradually increased from 0 to 1; the gradient updates to the weights are through the full-precision term, $(1-\alpha)w$, of the affine combination; the model is converted from full-precision to low-precision progressively. To evaluate the method, a 1-bit BinaryNet on CIFAR10 dataset and 8-bits, 4-bits MobileNet v1, ResNet_50 v1/2 on ImageNet dataset are trained using the alpha-blending approach, and the evaluation indicates that AB improves top-1 accuracy by 0.9%, 0.82% and 2.93% respectively compared to the results of STE based quantization.

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Large-Scale Object Mining for Object Discovery from Unlabeled Video

Aljosa Osep, Paul Voigtlaender, Jonathon Luiten, Stefan Breuers, Bastian Leibe

This paper addresses the problem of object discovery from unlabeled driving videos captured in a realistic automotive setting. Identifying recurring object categories in such raw video streams is a very challenging problem. Not only do object candidates first have to be localized in the input images, but many interesting object categories occur relatively infrequently. Object discovery will therefore have to deal with the difficulties of operating in the long tail of the object distribution. We demonstrate the feasibility of performing fully automatic object discovery in such a setting by mining object tracks using a generic object tracker. In order to facilitate further research in object discovery, we release a collection of more than 360,000 automatically mined object tracks from 10+ hours of video data (560,000 frames). We use this dataset to evaluate the suitability of different feature representations and clustering strategies for object discovery.

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Scaling Matters in Deep Structured-Prediction Models

Aleksandr Shevchenko, Anton Osokin

Deep structured-prediction energy-based models combine the expressive power of learned representations and the ability of embedding knowledge about the task at hand into the system. A common way to learn parameters of such models consists in a multistage procedure where different combinations of components are trained at different stages. The joint end-to-end training of the whole system is then done as the last fine-tuning stage. This multistage approach is time-consuming and cumbersome as it requires multiple runs until convergence and multiple rounds of hyperparameter tuning. From this point of view, it is beneficial to start the joint training procedure from the beginning. However, such approaches often unexpectedly fail and deliver results worse than the multistage ones. In this paper, we hypothesize that one reason for joint training of deep energy-based models to fail is the incorrect relative normalization of different components in the energy function. We propose online and offline scaling algorithms that fix the joint training and demonstrate their efficacy on three different tasks.

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Nonlinear Markov Random Fields Learned via Backpropagation

Mikael Brudfors, Yaël Balbastre, John Ashburner

Although convolutional neural networks (CNNs) currently dominate competitions on image segmentation, for neuroimaging analysis tasks, more classical generative approaches based on mixture models are still used in practice to parcellate brains. To bridge the gap between the two, in this paper we propose a marriage between a probabilistic generative model, which has been shown to be robust to variability among magnetic resonance (MR) images acquired via different imaging protocols, and a CNN. The link is in the prior distribution over the unknown tissue classes, which are classically modelled using a Markov random field. In this work we model the interactions among neighbouring pixels by a type of recurrent CNN, which can encode more complex spatial interactions. We validate our proposed model on publicly available MR data, from different centres, and show that it generalises across imaging protocols. This result demonstrates a successful and principled inclusion of a CNN in a generative model, which in turn could be adapted by any probabilistic generative approach for image segmentation.

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An Embarrassingly Simple Approach for Transfer Learning from Pretrained Language Models

Alexandra Chronopoulou, Christos Baziotis, Alexandros Potamianos

A growing number of state-of-the-art transfer learning methods employ language models pretrained on large generic corpora. In this paper we present a conceptually simple and effective transfer learning approach that addresses the problem of catastrophic forgetting. Specifically, we combine the task-specific optimization function with an auxiliary language model objective, which is adjusted during the training process. This preserves language regularities captured by language models, while enabling sufficient adaptation for solving the target task. Our method does not require pretraining or finetuning separate components of the network and we train our models end-to-end in a single step. We present results on a variety of challenging affective and text classification tasks, surpassing well established transfer learning methods with greater level of complexity.

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Parsing Gigabytes of JSON per Second

Geoff Langdale, Daniel Lemire

JavaScript Object Notation or JSON is a ubiquitous data exchange format on the Web. Ingesting JSON documents can become a performance bottleneck due to the sheer volume of data. We are thus motivated to make JSON parsing as fast as possible. Despite the maturity of the problem of JSON parsing, we show that substantial speedups are possible. We present the first standard-compliant JSON parser to process gigabytes of data per second on a single core, using commodity processors. We can use a quarter or fewer instructions than a state-of-the-art reference parser like RapidJSON. Unlike other validating parsers, our software (simdjson) makes extensive use of Single Instruction, Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions. To ensure reproducibility, simdjson is freely available as open-source software under a liberal license.

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Latent Translation: Crossing Modalities by Bridging Generative Models

Yingtao Tian, Jesse Engel

End-to-end optimization has achieved state-of-the-art performance on many specific problems, but there is no straight-forward way to combine pretrained models for new problems. Here, we explore improving modularity by learning a post-hoc interface between two existing models to solve a new task. Specifically, we take inspiration from neural machine translation, and cast the challenging problem of cross-modal domain transfer as unsupervised translation between the latent spaces of pretrained deep generative models. By abstracting away the data representation, we demonstrate that it is possible to transfer across different modalities (e.g., image-to-audio) and even different types of generative models (e.g., VAE-to-GAN). We compare to state-of-the-art techniques and find that a straight-forward variational autoencoder is able to best bridge the two generative models through learning a shared latent space. We can further impose supervised alignment of attributes in both domains with a classifier in the shared latent space. Through qualitative and quantitative evaluations, we demonstrate that locality and semantic alignment are preserved through the transfer process, as indicated by high transfer accuracies and smooth interpolations within a class. Finally, we show this modular structure speeds up training of new interface models by several orders of magnitude by decoupling it from expensive retraining of base generative models.

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Augmentation for small object detection

Mate Kisantal, Zbigniew Wojna, Jakub Murawski, Jacek Naruniec, Kyunghyun Cho

In recent years, object detection has experienced impressive progress. Despite these improvements, there is still a significant gap in the performance between the detection of small and large objects. We analyze the current state-of-the-art model, Mask-RCNN, on a challenging dataset, MS COCO. We show that the overlap between small ground-truth objects and the predicted anchors is much lower than the expected IoU threshold. We conjecture this is due to two factors; (1) only a few images are containing small objects, and (2) small objects do not appear enough even within each image containing them. We thus propose to oversample those images with small objects and augment each of those images by copy-pasting small objects many times. It allows us to trade off the quality of the detector on large objects with that on small objects. We evaluate different pasting augmentation strategies, and ultimately, we achieve 9.7\% relative improvement on the instance segmentation and 7.1\% on the object detection of small objects, compared to the current state of the art method on MS COCO.

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Wide Neural Networks of Any Depth Evolve as Linear Models Under Gradient Descent

Jaehoon Lee, Lechao Xiao, Samuel S. Schoenholz, Yasaman Bahri, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein, Jeffrey Pennington

A longstanding goal in deep learning research has been to precisely characterize training and generalization. However, the often complex loss landscapes of neural networks have made a theory of learning dynamics elusive. In this work, we show that for wide neural networks the learning dynamics simplify considerably and that, in the infinite width limit, they are governed by a linear model obtained from the first-order Taylor expansion of the network around its initial parameters. Furthermore, mirroring the correspondence between wide Bayesian neural networks and Gaussian processes, gradient-based training of wide neural networks with a squared loss produces test set predictions drawn from a Gaussian process with a particular compositional kernel. While these theoretical results are only exact in the infinite width limit, we nevertheless find excellent empirical agreement between the predictions of the original network and those of the linearized version even for finite practically-sized networks. This agreement is robust across different architectures, optimization methods, and loss functions.

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A Fully Differentiable Beam Search Decoder

Ronan Collobert, Awni Hannun, Gabriel Synnaeve

We introduce a new beam search decoder that is fully differentiable, making it possible to optimize at training time through the inference procedure. Our decoder allows us to combine models which operate at different granularities (e.g. acoustic and language models). It can be used when target sequences are not aligned to input sequences by considering all possible alignments between the two. We demonstrate our approach scales by applying it to speech recognition, jointly training acoustic and word-level language models. The system is end-to-end, with gradients flowing through the whole architecture from the word-level transcriptions. Recent research efforts have shown that deep neural networks with attention-based mechanisms are powerful enough to successfully train an acoustic model from the final transcription, while implicitly learning a language model. Instead, we show that it is possible to discriminatively train an acoustic model jointly with an explicit and possibly pre-trained language model.

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