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Effective Approaches to Attention-based Neural Machine Translation

Minh-Thang Luong, Hieu Pham, Christopher D. Manning

An attentional mechanism has lately been used to improve neural machine translation (NMT) by selectively focusing on parts of the source sentence during translation. However, there has been little work exploring useful architectures for attention-based NMT. This paper examines two simple and effective classes of attentional mechanism: a global approach which always attends to all source words and a local one that only looks at a subset of source words at a time. We demonstrate the effectiveness of both approaches over the WMT translation tasks between English and German in both directions. With local attention, we achieve a significant gain of 5.0 BLEU points over non-attentional systems which already incorporate known techniques such as dropout. Our ensemble model using different attention architectures has established a new state-of-the-art result in the WMT'15 English to German translation task with 25.9 BLEU points, an improvement of 1.0 BLEU points over the existing best system backed by NMT and an n-gram reranker.

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The Ubuntu Dialogue Corpus: A Large Dataset for Research in Unstructured Multi-Turn Dialogue Systems

Ryan Lowe, Nissan Pow, Iulian Serban, Joelle Pineau

This paper introduces the Ubuntu Dialogue Corpus, a dataset containing almost 1 million multi-turn dialogues, with a total of over 7 million utterances and 100 million words. This provides a unique resource for research into building dialogue managers based on neural language models that can make use of large amounts of unlabeled data. The dataset has both the multi-turn property of conversations in the Dialog State Tracking Challenge datasets, and the unstructured nature of interactions from microblog services such as Twitter. We also describe two neural learning architectures suitable for analyzing this dataset, and provide benchmark performance on the task of selecting the best next response.

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Embed to Control: A Locally Linear Latent Dynamics Model for Control from Raw Images

Manuel Watter, Jost Tobias Springenberg, Joschka Boedecker, Martin Riedmiller

We introduce Embed to Control (E2C), a method for model learning and control of non-linear dynamical systems from raw pixel images. E2C consists of a deep generative model, belonging to the family of variational autoencoders, that learns to generate image trajectories from a latent space in which the dynamics is constrained to be locally linear. Our model is derived directly from an optimal control formulation in latent space, supports long-term prediction of image sequences and exhibits strong performance on a variety of complex control problems.

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Ask Me Anything: Dynamic Memory Networks for Natural Language Processing

Ankit Kumar, Ozan Irsoy, Peter Ondruska, Mohit Iyyer, James Bradbury, Ishaan Gulrajani, Victor Zhong, Romain Paulus, Richard Socher

Most tasks in natural language processing can be cast into question answering (QA) problems over language input. We introduce the dynamic memory network (DMN), a neural network architecture which processes input sequences and questions, forms episodic memories, and generates relevant answers. Questions trigger an iterative attention process which allows the model to condition its attention on the inputs and the result of previous iterations. These results are then reasoned over in a hierarchical recurrent sequence model to generate answers. The DMN can be trained end-to-end and obtains state-of-the-art results on several types of tasks and datasets: question answering (Facebook's bAbI dataset), text classification for sentiment analysis (Stanford Sentiment Treebank) and sequence modeling for part-of-speech tagging (WSJ-PTB). The training for these different tasks relies exclusively on trained word vector representations and input-question-answer triplets.

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Skip-Thought Vectors

Ryan Kiros, Yukun Zhu, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Richard S. Zemel, Antonio Torralba, Raquel Urtasun, Sanja Fidler

We describe an approach for unsupervised learning of a generic, distributed sentence encoder. Using the continuity of text from books, we train an encoder-decoder model that tries to reconstruct the surrounding sentences of an encoded passage. Sentences that share semantic and syntactic properties are thus mapped to similar vector representations. We next introduce a simple vocabulary expansion method to encode words that were not seen as part of training, allowing us to expand our vocabulary to a million words. After training our model, we extract and evaluate our vectors with linear models on 8 tasks: semantic relatedness, paraphrase detection, image-sentence ranking, question-type classification and 4 benchmark sentiment and subjectivity datasets. The end result is an off-the-shelf encoder that can produce highly generic sentence representations that are robust and perform well in practice. We will make our encoder publicly available.

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Understanding Neural Networks Through Deep Visualization

Jason Yosinski, Jeff Clune, Anh Nguyen, Thomas Fuchs, Hod Lipson

Recent years have produced great advances in training large, deep neural networks (DNNs), including notable successes in training convolutional neural networks (convnets) to recognize natural images. However, our understanding of how these models work, especially what computations they perform at intermediate layers, has lagged behind. Progress in the field will be further accelerated by the development of better tools for visualizing and interpreting neural nets. We introduce two such tools here. The first is a tool that visualizes the activations produced on each layer of a trained convnet as it processes an image or video (e.g. a live webcam stream). We have found that looking at live activations that change in response to user input helps build valuable intuitions about how convnets work. The second tool enables visualizing features at each layer of a DNN via regularized optimization in image space. Because previous versions of this idea produced less recognizable images, here we introduce several new regularization methods that combine to produce qualitatively clearer, more interpretable visualizations. Both tools are open source and work on a pre-trained convnet with minimal setup.

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A Neural Conversational Model

Oriol Vinyals, Quoc Le

Conversational modeling is an important task in natural language understanding and machine intelligence. Although previous approaches exist, they are often restricted to specific domains (e.g., booking an airline ticket) and require hand-crafted rules. In this paper, we present a simple approach for this task which uses the recently proposed sequence to sequence framework. Our model converses by predicting the next sentence given the previous sentence or sentences in a conversation. The strength of our model is that it can be trained end-to-end and thus requires much fewer hand-crafted rules. We find that this straightforward model can generate simple conversations given a large conversational training dataset. Our preliminary results suggest that, despite optimizing the wrong objective function, the model is able to converse well. It is able extract knowledge from both a domain specific dataset, and from a large, noisy, and general domain dataset of movie subtitles. On a domain-specific IT helpdesk dataset, the model can find a solution to a technical problem via conversations. On a noisy open-domain movie transcript dataset, the model can perform simple forms of common sense reasoning. As expected, we also find that the lack of consistency is a common failure mode of our model.

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Data Generation as Sequential Decision Making

Philip Bachman, Doina Precup

We connect a broad class of generative models through their shared reliance on sequential decision making. Motivated by this view, we develop extensions to an existing model, and then explore the idea further in the context of data imputation -- perhaps the simplest setting in which to investigate the relation between unconditional and conditional generative modelling. We formulate data imputation as an MDP and develop models capable of representing effective policies for it. We construct the models using neural networks and train them using a form of guided policy search. Our models generate predictions through an iterative process of feedback and refinement. We show that this approach can learn effective policies for imputation problems of varying difficulty and across multiple datasets.

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WordRank: Learning Word Embeddings via Robust Ranking

Shihao Ji, Hyokun Yun, Pinar Yanardag, Shin Matsushima, S. V. N. Vishwanathan

Embedding words in a vector space has gained a lot of attention in recent years. While state-of-the-art methods provide efficient computation of word similarities via a low-dimensional matrix embedding, their motivation is often left unclear. In this paper, we argue that word embedding can be naturally viewed as a ranking problem due to the ranking nature of the evaluation metrics. Then, based on this insight, we propose a novel framework WordRank that efficiently estimates word representations via robust ranking, in which the attention mechanism and robustness to noise are readily achieved via the DCG-like ranking losses. The performance of WordRank is measured in word similarity and word analogy benchmarks, and the results are compared to the state-of-the-art word embedding techniques. Our algorithm is very competitive to the state-of-the- arts on large corpora, while outperforms them by a significant margin when the training set is limited (i.e., sparse and noisy). With 17 million tokens, WordRank performs almost as well as existing methods using 7.2 billion tokens on a popular word similarity benchmark. Our multi-node distributed implementation of WordRank is publicly available for general usage.

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High-Dimensional Continuous Control Using Generalized Advantage Estimation

John Schulman, Philipp Moritz, Sergey Levine, Michael Jordan, Pieter Abbeel

Policy gradient methods are an appealing approach in reinforcement learning because they directly optimize the cumulative reward and can straightforwardly be used with nonlinear function approximators such as neural networks. The two main challenges are the large number of samples typically required, and the difficulty of obtaining stable and steady improvement despite the nonstationarity of the incoming data. We address the first challenge by using value functions to substantially reduce the variance of policy gradient estimates at the cost of some bias, with an exponentially-weighted estimator of the advantage function that is analogous to TD(lambda). We address the second challenge by using trust region optimization procedure for both the policy and the value function, which are represented by neural networks. Our approach yields strong empirical results on highly challenging 3D locomotion tasks, learning running gaits for bipedal and quadrupedal simulated robots, and learning a policy for getting the biped to stand up from starting out lying on the ground. In contrast to a body of prior work that uses hand-crafted policy representations, our neural network policies map directly from raw kinematics to joint torques. Our algorithm is fully model-free, and the amount of simulated experience required for the learning tasks on 3D bipeds corresponds to 1-2 weeks of real time.

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A Recurrent Latent Variable Model for Sequential Data

Junyoung Chung, Kyle Kastner, Laurent Dinh, Kratarth Goel, Aaron Courville, Yoshua Bengio

In this paper, we explore the inclusion of latent random variables into the dynamic hidden state of a recurrent neural network (RNN) by combining elements of the variational autoencoder. We argue that through the use of high-level latent random variables, the variational RNN (VRNN)1 can model the kind of variability observed in highly structured sequential data such as natural speech. We empirically evaluate the proposed model against related sequential models on four speech datasets and one handwriting dataset. Our results show the important roles that latent random variables can play in the RNN dynamic hidden state.

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Do Multi-Sense Embeddings Improve Natural Language Understanding?

Jiwei Li, Dan Jurafsky

Learning a distinct representation for each sense of an ambiguous word could lead to more powerful and fine-grained models of vector-space representations. Yet while `multi-sense' methods have been proposed and tested on artificial word-similarity tasks, we don't know if they improve real natural language understanding tasks. In this paper we introduce a multi-sense embedding model based on Chinese Restaurant Processes that achieves state of the art performance on matching human word similarity judgments, and propose a pipelined architecture for incorporating multi-sense embeddings into language understanding. We then test the performance of our model on part-of-speech tagging, named entity recognition, sentiment analysis, semantic relation identification and semantic relatedness, controlling for embedding dimensionality. We find that multi-sense embeddings do improve performance on some tasks (part-of-speech tagging, semantic relation identification, semantic relatedness) but not on others (named entity recognition, various forms of sentiment analysis). We discuss how these differences may be caused by the different role of word sense information in each of the tasks. The results highlight the importance of testing embedding models in real applications.

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Visualizing and Understanding Neural Models in NLP

Jiwei Li, Xinlei Chen, Eduard Hovy, Dan Jurafsky

While neural networks have been successfully applied to many NLP tasks the resulting vector-based models are very difficult to interpret. For example it's not clear how they achieve {\em compositionality}, building sentence meaning from the meanings of words and phrases. In this paper we describe four strategies for visualizing compositionality in neural models for NLP, inspired by similar work in computer vision. We first plot unit values to visualize compositionality of negation, intensification, and concessive clauses, allow us to see well-known markedness asymmetries in negation. We then introduce three simple and straightforward methods for visualizing a unit's {\em salience}, the amount it contributes to the final composed meaning: (1) gradient back-propagation, (2) the variance of a token from the average word node, (3) LSTM-style gates that measure information flow. We test our methods on sentiment using simple recurrent nets and LSTMs. Our general-purpose methods may have wide applications for understanding compositionality and other semantic properties of deep networks , and also shed light on why LSTMs outperform simple recurrent nets,

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U-Net: Convolutional Networks for Biomedical Image Segmentation

Olaf Ronneberger, Philipp Fischer, Thomas Brox

There is large consent that successful training of deep networks requires many thousand annotated training samples. In this paper, we present a network and training strategy that relies on the strong use of data augmentation to use the available annotated samples more efficiently. The architecture consists of a contracting path to capture context and a symmetric expanding path that enables precise localization. We show that such a network can be trained end-to-end from very few images and outperforms the prior best method (a sliding-window convolutional network) on the ISBI challenge for segmentation of neuronal structures in electron microscopic stacks. Using the same network trained on transmitted light microscopy images (phase contrast and DIC) we won the ISBI cell tracking challenge 2015 in these categories by a large margin. Moreover, the network is fast. Segmentation of a 512x512 image takes less than a second on a recent GPU. The full implementation (based on Caffe) and the trained networks are available at http://lmb.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/people/ronneber/u-net .

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Language Models for Image Captioning: The Quirks and What Works

Jacob Devlin, Hao Cheng, Hao Fang, Saurabh Gupta, Li Deng, Xiaodong He, Geoffrey Zweig, Margaret Mitchell

Two recent approaches have achieved state-of-the-art results in image captioning. The first uses a pipelined process where a set of candidate words is generated by a convolutional neural network (CNN) trained on images, and then a maximum entropy (ME) language model is used to arrange these words into a coherent sentence. The second uses the penultimate activation layer of the CNN as input to a recurrent neural network (RNN) that then generates the caption sequence. In this paper, we compare the merits of these different language modeling approaches for the first time by using the same state-of-the-art CNN as input. We examine issues in the different approaches, including linguistic irregularities, caption repetition, and data set overlap. By combining key aspects of the ME and RNN methods, we achieve a new record performance over previously published results on the benchmark COCO dataset. However, the gains we see in BLEU do not translate to human judgments.

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A Fixed-Size Encoding Method for Variable-Length Sequences with its Application to Neural Network Language Models

Shiliang Zhang, Hui Jiang, Mingbin Xu, Junfeng Hou, Lirong Dai

In this paper, we propose the new fixed-size ordinally-forgetting encoding (FOFE) method, which can almost uniquely encode any variable-length sequence of words into a fixed-size representation. FOFE can model the word order in a sequence using a simple ordinally-forgetting mechanism according to the positions of words. In this work, we have applied FOFE to feedforward neural network language models (FNN-LMs). Experimental results have shown that without using any recurrent feedbacks, FOFE based FNN-LMs can significantly outperform not only the standard fixed-input FNN-LMs but also the popular RNN-LMs.

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ReNet: A Recurrent Neural Network Based Alternative to Convolutional Networks

Francesco Visin, Kyle Kastner, Kyunghyun Cho, Matteo Matteucci, Aaron Courville, Yoshua Bengio

In this paper, we propose a deep neural network architecture for object recognition based on recurrent neural networks. The proposed network, called ReNet, replaces the ubiquitous convolution+pooling layer of the deep convolutional neural network with four recurrent neural networks that sweep horizontally and vertically in both directions across the image. We evaluate the proposed ReNet on three widely-used benchmark datasets; MNIST, CIFAR-10 and SVHN. The result suggests that ReNet is a viable alternative to the deep convolutional neural network, and that further investigation is needed.

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Can deep learning help you find the perfect match?

Harm de Vries, Jason Yosinski

Is he/she my type or not? The answer to this question depends on the personal preferences of the one asking it. The individual process of obtaining a full answer may generally be difficult and time consuming, but often an approximate answer can be obtained simply by looking at a photo of the potential match. Such approximate answers based on visual cues can be produced in a fraction of a second, a phenomenon that has led to a series of recently successful dating apps in which users rate others positively or negatively using primarily a single photo. In this paper we explore using convolutional networks to create a model of an individual's personal preferences based on rated photos. This introduced task is difficult due to the large number of variations in profile pictures and the noise in attractiveness labels. Toward this task we collect a dataset comprised of $9364$ pictures and binary labels for each. We compare performance of convolutional models trained in three ways: first directly on the collected dataset, second with features transferred from a network trained to predict gender, and third with features transferred from a network trained on ImageNet. Our findings show that ImageNet features transfer best, producing a model that attains $68.1\%$ accuracy on the test set and is moderately successful at predicting matches.

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A Simple Way to Initialize Recurrent Networks of Rectified Linear Units

Quoc V. Le, Navdeep Jaitly, Geoffrey E. Hinton

Learning long term dependencies in recurrent networks is difficult due to vanishing and exploding gradients. To overcome this difficulty, researchers have developed sophisticated optimization techniques and network architectures. In this paper, we propose a simpler solution that use recurrent neural networks composed of rectified linear units. Key to our solution is the use of the identity matrix or its scaled version to initialize the recurrent weight matrix. We find that our solution is comparable to LSTM on our four benchmarks: two toy problems involving long-range temporal structures, a large language modeling problem and a benchmark speech recognition problem.

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Learning to Understand Phrases by Embedding the Dictionary

Felix Hill, Kyunghyun Cho, Anna Korhonen, Yoshua Bengio

Distributional models that learn rich semantic word representations are a success story of recent NLP research. However, developing models that learn useful representations of phrases and sentences has proved far harder. We propose using the definitions found in everyday dictionaries as a means of bridging this gap between lexical and phrasal semantics. Neural language embedding models can be effectively trained to map dictionary definitions (phrases) to (lexical) representations of the words defined by those definitions. We present two applications of these architectures: "reverse dictionaries" that return the name of a concept given a definition or description and general-knowledge crossword question answerers. On both tasks, neural language embedding models trained on definitions from a handful of freely-available lexical resources perform as well or better than existing commercial systems that rely on significant task-specific engineering. The results highlight the effectiveness of both neural embedding architectures and definition-based training for developing models that understand phrases and sentences.

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