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Safe and Efficient Off-Policy Reinforcement Learning

Rémi Munos, Tom Stepleton, Anna Harutyunyan, Marc G. Bellemare

In this work, we take a fresh look at some old and new algorithms for off-policy, return-based reinforcement learning. Expressing these in a common form, we derive a novel algorithm, Retrace($\lambda$), with three desired properties: (1) low variance; (2) safety, as it safely uses samples collected from any behaviour policy, whatever its degree of "off-policyness"; and (3) efficiency, as it makes the best use of samples collected from near on-policy behaviour policies. We analyse the contractive nature of the related operator under both off-policy policy evaluation and control settings and derive online sample-based algorithms. To our knowledge, this is the first return-based off-policy control algorithm converging a.s. to $Q^*$ without the GLIE assumption (Greedy in the Limit with Infinite Exploration). As a corollary, we prove the convergence of Watkins' Q($\lambda$), which was still an open problem. We illustrate the benefits of Retrace($\lambda$) on a standard suite of Atari 2600 games.

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Convolution by Evolution: Differentiable Pattern Producing Networks

Chrisantha Fernando, Dylan Banarse, Malcolm Reynolds, Frederic Besse, David Pfau, Max Jaderberg, Marc Lanctot, Daan Wierstra

In this work we introduce a differentiable version of the Compositional Pattern Producing Network, called the DPPN. Unlike a standard CPPN, the topology of a DPPN is evolved but the weights are learned. A Lamarckian algorithm, that combines evolution and learning, produces DPPNs to reconstruct an image. Our main result is that DPPNs can be evolved/trained to compress the weights of a denoising autoencoder from 157684 to roughly 200 parameters, while achieving a reconstruction accuracy comparable to a fully connected network with more than two orders of magnitude more parameters. The regularization ability of the DPPN allows it to rediscover (approximate) convolutional network architectures embedded within a fully connected architecture. Such convolutional architectures are the current state of the art for many computer vision applications, so it is satisfying that DPPNs are capable of discovering this structure rather than having to build it in by design. DPPNs exhibit better generalization when tested on the Omniglot dataset after being trained on MNIST, than directly encoded fully connected autoencoders. DPPNs are therefore a new framework for integrating learning and evolution.

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Learning Language Games through Interaction

Sida I. Wang, Percy Liang, Christopher D. Manning

We introduce a new language learning setting relevant to building adaptive natural language interfaces. It is inspired by Wittgenstein's language games: a human wishes to accomplish some task (e.g., achieving a certain configuration of blocks), but can only communicate with a computer, who performs the actual actions (e.g., removing all red blocks). The computer initially knows nothing about language and therefore must learn it from scratch through interaction, while the human adapts to the computer's capabilities. We created a game in a blocks world and collected interactions from 100 people playing it. First, we analyze the humans' strategies, showing that using compositionality and avoiding synonyms correlates positively with task performance. Second, we compare computer strategies, showing how to quickly learn a semantic parsing model from scratch, and that modeling pragmatics further accelerates learning for successful players.

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ENet: A Deep Neural Network Architecture for Real-Time Semantic Segmentation

Adam Paszke, Abhishek Chaurasia, Sangpil Kim, Eugenio Culurciello

The ability to perform pixel-wise semantic segmentation in real-time is of paramount importance in mobile applications. Recent deep neural networks aimed at this task have the disadvantage of requiring a large number of floating point operations and have long run-times that hinder their usability. In this paper, we propose a novel deep neural network architecture named ENet (efficient neural network), created specifically for tasks requiring low latency operation. ENet is up to 18$\times$ faster, requires 75$\times$ less FLOPs, has 79$\times$ less parameters, and provides similar or better accuracy to existing models. We have tested it on CamVid, Cityscapes and SUN datasets and report on comparisons with existing state-of-the-art methods, and the trade-offs between accuracy and processing time of a network. We present performance measurements of the proposed architecture on embedded systems and suggest possible software improvements that could make ENet even faster.

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Memory-enhanced Decoder for Neural Machine Translation

Mingxuan Wang, Zhengdong Lu, Hang Li, Qun Liu

We propose to enhance the RNN decoder in a neural machine translator (NMT) with external memory, as a natural but powerful extension to the state in the decoding RNN. This memory-enhanced RNN decoder is called \textsc{MemDec}. At each time during decoding, \textsc{MemDec} will read from this memory and write to this memory once, both with content-based addressing. Unlike the unbounded memory in previous work\cite{RNNsearch} to store the representation of source sentence, the memory in \textsc{MemDec} is a matrix with pre-determined size designed to better capture the information important for the decoding process at each time step. Our empirical study on Chinese-English translation shows that it can improve by $4.8$ BLEU upon Groundhog and $5.3$ BLEU upon on Moses, yielding the best performance achieved with the same training set.

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A Decomposable Attention Model for Natural Language Inference

Ankur P. Parikh, Oscar Täckström, Dipanjan Das, Jakob Uszkoreit

We propose a simple neural architecture for natural language inference. Our approach uses attention to decompose the problem into subproblems that can be solved separately, thus making it trivially parallelizable. On the Stanford Natural Language Inference (SNLI) dataset, we obtain state-of-the-art results with almost an order of magnitude fewer parameters than previous work and without relying on any word-order information. Adding intra-sentence attention that takes a minimum amount of order into account yields further improvements.

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Unifying Count-Based Exploration and Intrinsic Motivation

Marc G. Bellemare, Sriram Srinivasan, Georg Ostrovski, Tom Schaul, David Saxton, Remi Munos

We consider an agent's uncertainty about its environment and the problem of generalizing this uncertainty across observations. Specifically, we focus on the problem of exploration in non-tabular reinforcement learning. Drawing inspiration from the intrinsic motivation literature, we use sequential density models to measure uncertainty, and propose a novel algorithm for deriving a pseudo-count from an arbitrary sequential density model. This technique enables us to generalize count-based exploration algorithms to the non-tabular case. We apply our ideas to Atari 2600 games, providing sensible pseudo-counts from raw pixels. We transform these pseudo-counts into intrinsic rewards and obtain significantly improved exploration in a number of hard games, including the infamously difficult Montezuma's Revenge.

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Deep Reinforcement Learning for Dialogue Generation

Jiwei Li, Will Monroe, Alan Ritter, Michel Galley, Jianfeng Gao, Dan Jurafsky

Recent neural models of dialogue generation offer great promise for generating responses for conversational agents, but tend to be shortsighted, predicting utterances one at a time while ignoring their influence on future outcomes. Modeling the future direction of a dialogue is crucial to generating coherent, interesting dialogues, a need which led traditional NLP models of dialogue to draw on reinforcement learning. In this paper, we show how to integrate these goals, applying deep reinforcement learning to model future reward in chatbot dialogue. The model simulates dialogues between two virtual agents, using policy gradient methods to reward sequences that display three useful conversational properties: informativity (non-repetitive turns), coherence, and ease of answering (related to forward-looking function). We evaluate our model on diversity, length as well as with human judges, showing that the proposed algorithm generates more interactive responses and manages to foster a more sustained conversation in dialogue simulation. This work marks a first step towards learning a neural conversational model based on the long-term success of dialogues.

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Multimodal Residual Learning for Visual QA

Jin-Hwa Kim, Sang-Woo Lee, Dong-Hyun Kwak, Min-Oh Heo, Jeonghee Kim, Jung-Woo Ha, Byoung-Tak Zhang

Deep neural networks continue to advance the state-of-the-art of image recognition tasks with various methods. However, applications of these methods to multimodality remain limited. We present Multimodal Residual Networks (MRN) for the multimodal residual learning of visual question-answering, which extends the idea of the deep residual learning. Unlike the deep residual learning, MRN effectively learns the joint representation from vision and language information. The main idea is to use element-wise multiplication for the joint residual mappings exploiting the residual learning of the attentional models in recent studies. Various alternative models introduced by multimodality are explored based on our study. We achieve the state-of-the-art results on the Visual QA dataset for both Open-Ended and Multiple-Choice tasks. Moreover, we introduce a novel method to visualize the attention effect of the joint representations for each learning block using back-propagation algorithm, even though the visual features are collapsed without spatial information.

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Modelling Symbolic Music: Beyond the Piano Roll

Christian Walder

In this paper, we consider the problem of probabilistically modelling symbolic music data. We introduce a representation which reduces polyphonic music to a univariate categorical sequence. In this way, we are able to apply state of the art natural language processing techniques, namely the long short-term memory sequence model. The representation we employ permits arbitrary rhythmic structure, which we assume to be given. We show that our model is effective on four out of four piano roll based benchmark datasets. We further improve our model by augmenting our training data set with transpositions of the original pieces through all musical keys, thereby convincingly advancing the state of the art on these benchmark problems. We also fit models to music which is unconstrained in its rhythmic structure, discuss the properties of this model, and provide musical samples which are more sophisticated than previously possible with this class of recurrent neural network sequence models. We also provide our newly preprocessed data set of non piano-roll music data.

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Zoneout: Regularizing RNNs by Randomly Preserving Hidden Activations

David Krueger, Tegan Maharaj, János Kramár, Mohammad Pezeshki, Nicolas Ballas, Nan Rosemary Ke, Anirudh Goyal, Yoshua Bengio, Hugo Larochelle, Aaron Courville, Chris Pal

We propose zoneout, a novel method for regularizing RNNs. At each timestep, zoneout stochastically forces some hidden units to maintain their previous values. Like dropout, zoneout uses random noise to train a pseudo-ensemble, improving generalization. But by preserving instead of dropping hidden units, gradient information and state information are more readily propagated through time, as in feedforward stochastic depth networks. We perform an empirical investigation of various RNN regularizers, and find encouraging results: zoneout gives significant performance improvements across tasks, yielding state-of-the-art results in character-level language modeling on the Penn Treebank dataset and competitive results on word-level Penn Treebank and permuted sequential MNIST classification tasks.

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RAISR: Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution

Yaniv Romano, John Isidoro, Peyman Milanfar

Given an image, we wish to produce an image of larger size with significantly more pixels and higher image quality. This is generally known as the Single Image Super-Resolution (SISR) problem. The idea is that with sufficient training data (corresponding pairs of low and high resolution images) we can learn set of filters (i.e. a mapping) that when applied to given image that is not in the training set, will produce a higher resolution version of it, where the learning is preferably low complexity. In our proposed approach, the run-time is more than one to two orders of magnitude faster than the best competing methods currently available, while producing results comparable or better than state-of-the-art. A closely related topic is image sharpening and contrast enhancement, i.e., improving the visual quality of a blurry image by amplifying the underlying details (a wide range of frequencies). Our approach additionally includes an extremely efficient way to produce an image that is significantly sharper than the input blurry one, without introducing artifacts such as halos and noise amplification. We illustrate how this effective sharpening algorithm, in addition to being of independent interest, can be used as a pre-processing step to induce the learning of more effective upscaling filters with built-in sharpening and contrast enhancement effect.

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Incorporating long-range consistency in CNN-based texture generation

G. Berger, R. Memisevic

Gatys et al. (2015) showed that pair-wise products of features in a convolutional network are a very effective representation of image textures. We propose a simple modification to that representation which makes it possible to incorporate long-range structure into image generation, and to render images that satisfy various symmetry constraints. We show how this can greatly improve rendering of regular textures and of images that contain other kinds of symmetric structure. We also present applications to inpainting and season transfer.

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How Deep is the Feature Analysis underlying Rapid Visual Categorization?

Sven Eberhardt, Jonah Cader, Thomas Serre

Rapid categorization paradigms have a long history in experimental psychology: Characterized by short presentation times and speedy behavioral responses, these tasks highlight the efficiency with which our visual system processes natural object categories. Previous studies have shown that feed-forward hierarchical models of the visual cortex provide a good fit to human visual decisions. At the same time, recent work in computer vision has demonstrated significant gains in object recognition accuracy with increasingly deep hierarchical architectures. But it is unclear how well these models account for human visual decisions and what they may reveal about the underlying brain processes. We have conducted a large-scale psychophysics study to assess the correlation between computational models and human participants on a rapid animal vs. non-animal categorization task. We considered visual representations of varying complexity by analyzing the output of different stages of processing in three state-of-the-art deep networks. We found that recognition accuracy increases with higher stages of visual processing (higher level stages indeed outperforming human participants on the same task) but that human decisions agree best with predictions from intermediate stages. Overall, these results suggest that human participants may rely on visual features of intermediate complexity and that the complexity of visual representations afforded by modern deep network models may exceed those used by human participants during rapid categorization.

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f-GAN: Training Generative Neural Samplers using Variational Divergence Minimization

Sebastian Nowozin, Botond Cseke, Ryota Tomioka

Generative neural samplers are probabilistic models that implement sampling using feedforward neural networks: they take a random input vector and produce a sample from a probability distribution defined by the network weights. These models are expressive and allow efficient computation of samples and derivatives, but cannot be used for computing likelihoods or for marginalization. The generative-adversarial training method allows to train such models through the use of an auxiliary discriminative neural network. We show that the generative-adversarial approach is a special case of an existing more general variational divergence estimation approach. We show that any f-divergence can be used for training generative neural samplers. We discuss the benefits of various choices of divergence functions on training complexity and the quality of the obtained generative models.

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Automatic tagging using deep convolutional neural networks

Keunwoo Choi, George Fazekas, Mark Sandler

We present a content-based automatic music tagging algorithm using fully convolutional neural networks (FCNs). We evaluate different architectures consisting of 2D convolutional layers and subsampling layers only. In the experiments, we measure the AUC-ROC scores of the architectures with different complexities and input types using the MagnaTagATune dataset, where a 4-layer architecture shows state-of-the-art performance with mel-spectrogram input. Furthermore, we evaluated the performances of the architectures with varying the number of layers on a larger dataset (Million Song Dataset), and found that deeper models outperformed the 4-layer architecture. The experiments show that mel-spectrogram is an effective time-frequency representation for automatic tagging and that more complex models benefit from more training data.

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Dynamic Filter Networks

Bert De Brabandere, Xu Jia, Tinne Tuytelaars, Luc Van Gool

In a traditional convolutional layer, the learned filters stay fixed after training. In contrast, we introduce a new framework, the Dynamic Filter Network, where filters are generated dynamically conditioned on an input. We show that this architecture is a powerful one, with increased flexibility thanks to its adaptive nature, yet without an excessive increase in the number of model parameters. A wide variety of filtering operations can be learned this way, including local spatial transformations, but also others like selective (de)blurring or adaptive feature extraction. Moreover, multiple such layers can be combined, e.g. in a recurrent architecture. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the dynamic filter network on the tasks of video and stereo prediction, and reach state-of-the-art performance on the moving MNIST dataset with a much smaller model. By visualizing the learned filters, we illustrate that the network has picked up flow information by only looking at unlabelled training data. This suggests that the network can be used to pretrain networks for various supervised tasks in an unsupervised way, like optical flow and depth estimation.

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Synthesizing the preferred inputs for neurons in neural networks via deep generator networks

Anh Nguyen, Alexey Dosovitskiy, Jason Yosinski, Thomas Brox, Jeff Clune

Deep neural networks (DNNs) have demonstrated state-of-the-art results on many pattern recognition tasks, especially vision classification problems. Understanding the inner workings of such computational brains is both fascinating basic science that is interesting in its own right - similar to why we study the human brain - and will enable researchers to further improve DNNs. One path to understanding how a neural network functions internally is to study what each of its neurons has learned to detect. One such method is called activation maximization (AM), which synthesizes an input (e.g. an image) that highly activates a neuron. Here we dramatically improve the qualitative state of the art of activation maximization by harnessing a powerful, learned prior: a deep generator network (DGN). The algorithm (1) generates qualitatively state-of-the-art synthetic images that look almost real, (2) reveals the features learned by each neuron in an interpretable way, (3) generalizes well to new datasets and somewhat well to different network architectures without requiring the prior to be relearned, and (4) can be considered as a high-quality generative method (in this case, by generating novel, creative, interesting, recognizable images).

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Density estimation using Real NVP

Laurent Dinh, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein, Samy Bengio

Unsupervised learning of probabilistic models is a central yet challenging problem in machine learning. Specifically, designing models with tractable learning, sampling, inference and evaluation is crucial in solving this task. We extend the space of such models using real-valued non-volume preserving (real NVP) transformations, a set of powerful invertible and learnable transformations, resulting in an unsupervised learning algorithm with exact log-likelihood computation, exact sampling, exact inference of latent variables, and an interpretable latent space. We demonstrate its ability to model natural images on four datasets through sampling, log-likelihood evaluation and latent variable manipulations.

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TensorFlow: A system for large-scale machine learning

Martín Abadi, Paul Barham, Jianmin Chen, Zhifeng Chen, Andy Davis, Jeffrey Dean, Matthieu Devin, Sanjay Ghemawat, Geoffrey Irving, Michael Isard, Manjunath Kudlur, Josh Levenberg, Rajat Monga, Sherry Moore, Derek G. Murray, Benoit Steiner, Paul Tucker, Vijay Vasudevan, Pete Warden, Martin Wicke, Yuan Yu, Xiaoqiang Zheng

TensorFlow is a machine learning system that operates at large scale and in heterogeneous environments. TensorFlow uses dataflow graphs to represent computation, shared state, and the operations that mutate that state. It maps the nodes of a dataflow graph across many machines in a cluster, and within a machine across multiple computational devices, including multicore CPUs, general-purpose GPUs, and custom designed ASICs known as Tensor Processing Units (TPUs). This architecture gives flexibility to the application developer: whereas in previous "parameter server" designs the management of shared state is built into the system, TensorFlow enables developers to experiment with novel optimizations and training algorithms. TensorFlow supports a variety of applications, with particularly strong support for training and inference on deep neural networks. Several Google services use TensorFlow in production, we have released it as an open-source project, and it has become widely used for machine learning research. In this paper, we describe the TensorFlow dataflow model in contrast to existing systems, and demonstrate the compelling performance that TensorFlow achieves for several real-world applications.

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