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Parallel WaveNet: Fast High-Fidelity Speech Synthesis

Aaron van den Oord, Yazhe Li, Igor Babuschkin, Karen Simonyan, Oriol Vinyals, Koray Kavukcuoglu, George van den Driessche, Edward Lockhart, Luis C. Cobo, Florian Stimberg, Norman Casagrande, Dominik Grewe, Seb Noury, Sander Dieleman, Erich Elsen, Nal Kalchbrenner, Heiga Zen, Alex Graves, Helen King, Tom Walters, Dan Belov, Demis Hassabis

The recently-developed WaveNet architecture is the current state of the art in realistic speech synthesis, consistently rated as more natural sounding for many different languages than any previous system. However, because WaveNet relies on sequential generation of one audio sample at a time, it is poorly suited to today's massively parallel computers, and therefore hard to deploy in a real-time production setting. This paper introduces Probability Density Distillation, a new method for training a parallel feed-forward network from a trained WaveNet with no significant difference in quality. The resulting system is capable of generating high-fidelity speech samples at more than 20 times faster than real-time, and is deployed online by Google Assistant, including serving multiple English and Japanese voices.

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Neural Text Generation: A Practical Guide

Ziang Xie

Deep learning methods have recently achieved great empirical success on machine translation, dialogue response generation, summarization, and other text generation tasks. At a high level, the technique has been to train end-to-end neural network models consisting of an encoder model to produce a hidden representation of the source text, followed by a decoder model to generate the target. While such models have significantly fewer pieces than earlier systems, significant tuning is still required to achieve good performance. For text generation models in particular, the decoder can behave in undesired ways, such as by generating truncated or repetitive outputs, outputting bland and generic responses, or in some cases producing ungrammatical gibberish. This paper is intended as a practical guide for resolving such undesired behavior in text generation models, with the aim of helping enable real-world applications.

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The Doctor Just Won't Accept That!

Zachary C. Lipton

Calls to arms to build interpretable models express a well-founded discomfort with machine learning. Should a software agent that does not even know what a loan is decide who qualifies for one? Indeed, we ought to be cautious about injecting machine learning (or anything else, for that matter) into applications where there may be a significant risk of causing social harm. However, claims that stakeholders "just won't accept that!" do not provide a sufficient foundation for a proposed field of study. For the field of interpretable machine learning to advance, we must ask the following questions: What precisely won't various stakeholders accept? What do they want? Are these desiderata reasonable? Are they feasible? In order to answer these questions, we'll have to give real-world problems and their respective stakeholders greater consideration.

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Hello Edge: Keyword Spotting on Microcontrollers

Yundong Zhang, Naveen Suda, Liangzhen Lai, Vikas Chandra

Keyword spotting (KWS) is a critical component for enabling speech based user interactions on smart devices. It requires real-time response and high accuracy for good user experience. Recently, neural networks have become an attractive choice for KWS architecture because of their superior accuracy compared to traditional speech processing algorithms. Due to its always-on nature, KWS application has highly constrained power budget and typically runs on tiny microcontrollers with limited memory and compute capability. The design of neural network architecture for KWS must consider these constraints. In this work, we perform neural network architecture evaluation and exploration for running KWS on resource-constrained microcontrollers. We train various neural network architectures for keyword spotting published in literature to compare their accuracy and memory/compute requirements. We show that it is possible to optimize these neural network architectures to fit within the memory and compute constraints of microcontrollers without sacrificing accuracy. We further explore the depthwise separable convolutional neural network (DS-CNN) and compare it against other neural network architectures. DS-CNN achieves an accuracy of 95.4%, which is ~10% higher than the DNN model with similar number of parameters.

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Recurrent Neural Networks as Weighted Language Recognizers

Yining Chen, Sorcha Gilroy, Kevin Knight, Jonathan May

We investigate computational complexity of questions of various problems for simple recurrent neural networks (RNNs) as formal models for recognizing weighted languages. We focus on the single-layer, ReLU-activation, rational-weight RNNs with softmax, which are commonly used in natural language processing applications. We show that most problems for such RNNs are undecidable, including consistency, equivalence, minimization, and finding the highest-weighted string. However, for consistent RNNs the last problem becomes decidable, although the solution can be exponentially long. If additionally the string is limited to polynomial length, the problem becomes NP-complete and APX-hard. In summary, this shows that approximations and heuristic algorithms are necessary in practical applications of those RNNs. We also consider RNNs as unweighted language recognizers and situate RNNs between Turing Machines and Random-Access Machines regarding their real-time recognition powers.

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Improving Factor-Based Quantitative Investing by Forecasting Company Fundamentals

John Alberg, Zachary C. Lipton

On a periodic basis, publicly traded companies are required to report fundamentals: financial data such as revenue, operating income, debt, among others. These data points provide some insight into the financial health of a company. Academic research has identified some factors, i.e. computed features of the reported data, that are known through retrospective analysis to outperform the market average. Two popular factors are the book value normalized by market capitalization (book-to-market) and the operating income normalized by the enterprise value (EBIT/EV). In this paper: we first show through simulation that if we could (clairvoyantly) select stocks using factors calculated on future fundamentals (via oracle), then our portfolios would far outperform a standard factor approach. Motivated by this analysis, we train deep neural networks to forecast future fundamentals based on a trailing 5-years window. Quantitative analysis demonstrates a significant improvement in MSE over a naive strategy. Moreover, in retrospective analysis using an industry-grade stock portfolio simulator (backtester), we show an improvement in compounded annual return to 17.1% (MLP) vs 14.4% for a standard factor model.

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Learning Explanatory Rules from Noisy Data

Richard Evans, Edward Grefenstette

Artificial Neural Networks are powerful function approximators capable of modelling solutions to a wide variety of problems, both supervised and unsupervised. As their size and expressivity increases, so too does the variance of the model, yielding a nearly ubiquitous overfitting problem. Although mitigated by a variety of model regularisation methods, the common cure is to seek large amounts of training data---which is not necessarily easily obtained---that sufficiently approximates the data distribution of the domain we wish to test on. In contrast, logic programming methods such as Inductive Logic Programming offer an extremely data-efficient process by which models can be trained to reason on symbolic domains. However, these methods are unable to deal with the variety of domains neural networks can be applied to: they are not robust to noise in or mislabelling of inputs, and perhaps more importantly, cannot be applied to non-symbolic domains where the data is ambiguous, such as operating on raw pixels. In this paper, we propose a Differentiable Inductive Logic framework ($\partial$ILP), which can not only solve tasks which traditional ILP systems are suited for, but shows a robustness to noise and error in the training data which ILP cannot cope with. Furthermore, as it is trained by backpropagation against a likelihood objective, it can be hybridised by connecting it with neural networks over ambiguous data in order to be applied to domains which ILP cannot address, while providing data efficiency and generalisation beyond what neural networks on their own can achieve.

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Unbounded cache model for online language modeling with open vocabulary

Edouard Grave, Moustapha Cisse, Armand Joulin

Recently, continuous cache models were proposed as extensions to recurrent neural network language models, to adapt their predictions to local changes in the data distribution. These models only capture the local context, of up to a few thousands tokens. In this paper, we propose an extension of continuous cache models, which can scale to larger contexts. In particular, we use a large scale non-parametric memory component that stores all the hidden activations seen in the past. We leverage recent advances in approximate nearest neighbor search and quantization algorithms to store millions of representations while searching them efficiently. We conduct extensive experiments showing that our approach significantly improves the perplexity of pre-trained language models on new distributions, and can scale efficiently to much larger contexts than previously proposed local cache models.

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Large-Scale Optimal Transport and Mapping Estimation

Vivien Seguy, Bharath Bhushan Damodaran, Rémi Flamary, Nicolas Courty, Antoine Rolet, Mathieu Blondel

This paper presents a novel two-step approach for the fundamental problem of learning an optimal map from one distribution to another. First, we learn an optimal transport (OT) plan, which can be thought as a one-to-many map between the two distributions. To that end, we propose a stochastic dual approach of regularized OT, and show empirically that it scales better than a recent related approach when the amount of samples is very large. Second, we estimate a \textit{Monge map} as a deep neural network learned by approximating the barycentric projection of the previously-obtained OT plan. This parameterization allows generalization of the mapping outside the support of the input measure. We prove two theoretical stability results of regularized OT which show that our estimations converge to the OT plan and Monge map between the underlying continuous measures. We showcase our proposed approach on two applications: domain adaptation and generative modeling.

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Neural Discrete Representation Learning

Aaron van den Oord, Oriol Vinyals, Koray Kavukcuoglu

Learning useful representations without supervision remains a key challenge in machine learning. In this paper, we propose a simple yet powerful generative model that learns such discrete representations. Our model, the Vector Quantised-Variational AutoEncoder (VQ-VAE), differs from VAEs in two key ways: the encoder network outputs discrete, rather than continuous, codes; and the prior is learnt rather than static. In order to learn a discrete latent representation, we incorporate ideas from vector quantisation (VQ). Using the VQ method allows the model to circumvent issues of "posterior collapse" -- where the latents are ignored when they are paired with a powerful autoregressive decoder -- typically observed in the VAE framework. Pairing these representations with an autoregressive prior, the model can generate high quality images, videos, and speech as well as doing high quality speaker conversion and unsupervised learning of phonemes, providing further evidence of the utility of the learnt representations.

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An Information-Theoretic Analysis of Deep Latent-Variable Models

Alexander A. Alemi, Ben Poole, Ian Fischer, Joshua V. Dillon, Rif A. Saurous, Kevin Murphy

We present an information-theoretic framework for understanding trade-offs in unsupervised learning of deep latent-variables models using variational inference. This framework emphasizes the need to consider latent-variable models along two dimensions: the ability to reconstruct inputs (distortion) and the communication cost (rate). We derive the optimal frontier of generative models in the two-dimensional rate-distortion plane, and show how the standard evidence lower bound objective is insufficient to select between points along this frontier. However, by performing targeted optimization to learn generative models with different rates, we are able to learn many models that can achieve similar generative performance but make vastly different trade-offs in terms of the usage of the latent variable. Through experiments on MNIST and Omniglot with a variety of architectures, we show how our framework sheds light on many recent proposed extensions to the variational autoencoder family.

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Still not systematic after all these years: On the compositional skills of sequence-to-sequence recurrent networks

Brenden M. Lake, Marco Baroni

Humans can understand and produce new utterances effortlessly, thanks to their systematic compositional skills. Once a person learns the meaning of a new verb "dax," he or she can immediately understand the meaning of "dax twice" or "sing and dax." In this paper, we introduce the SCAN domain, consisting of a set of simple compositional navigation commands paired with the corresponding action sequences. We then test the zero-shot generalization capabilities of a variety of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) trained on SCAN with sequence-to-sequence methods. We find that RNNs can generalize well when the differences between training and test commands are small, so that they can apply "mix-and-match" strategies to solve the task. However, when generalization requires systematic compositional skills (as in the "dax" example above), RNNs fail spectacularly. We conclude with a proof-of-concept experiment in neural machine translation, supporting the conjecture that lack of systematicity is an important factor explaining why neural networks need very large training sets.

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JSUT corpus: free large-scale Japanese speech corpus for end-to-end speech synthesis

Ryosuke Sonobe, Shinnosuke Takamichi, Hiroshi Saruwatari

Thanks to improvements in machine learning techniques including deep learning, a free large-scale speech corpus that can be shared between academic institutions and commercial companies has an important role. However, such a corpus for Japanese speech synthesis does not exist. In this paper, we designed a novel Japanese speech corpus, named the "JSUT corpus," that is aimed at achieving end-to-end speech synthesis. The corpus consists of 10 hours of reading-style speech data and its transcription and covers all of the main pronunciations of daily-use Japanese characters. In this paper, we describe how we designed and analyzed the corpus. The corpus is freely available online.

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Deep Residual Learning for Small-Footprint Keyword Spotting

Raphael Tang, Jimmy Lin

We explore the application of deep residual learning and dilated convolutions to the keyword spotting task, using the recently-released Google Speech Commands Dataset as our benchmark. Our best residual network (ResNet) implementation significantly outperforms Google's previous convolutional neural networks in terms of accuracy. By varying model depth and width, we can achieve compact models that also outperform previous small-footprint variants. To our knowledge, we are the first to examine these approaches for keyword spotting, and our results establish an open-source state-of-the-art reference to support the development of future speech-based interfaces.

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Few-shot Autoregressive Density Estimation: Towards Learning to Learn Distributions

Scott Reed, Yutian Chen, Thomas Paine, Aäron van den Oord, S. M. Ali Eslami, Danilo Rezende, Oriol Vinyals, Nando de Freitas

Deep autoregressive models have shown state-of-the-art performance in density estimation for natural images on large-scale datasets such as ImageNet. However, such models require many thousands of gradient-based weight updates and unique image examples for training. Ideally, the models would rapidly learn visual concepts from only a handful of examples, similar to the manner in which humans learns across many vision tasks. In this paper, we show how 1) neural attention and 2) meta learning techniques can be used in combination with autoregressive models to enable effective few-shot density estimation. Our proposed modifications to PixelCNN result in state-of-the art few-shot density estimation on the Omniglot dataset. Furthermore, we visualize the learned attention policy and find that it learns intuitive algorithms for simple tasks such as image mirroring on ImageNet and handwriting on Omniglot without supervision. Finally, we extend the model to natural images and demonstrate few-shot image generation on the Stanford Online Products dataset.

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Dynamic Routing Between Capsules

Sara Sabour, Nicholas Frosst, Geoffrey E Hinton

A capsule is a group of neurons whose activity vector represents the instantiation parameters of a specific type of entity such as an object or object part. We use the length of the activity vector to represent the probability that the entity exists and its orientation to represent the instantiation paramters. Active capsules at one level make predictions, via transformation matrices, for the instantiation parameters of higher-level capsules. When multiple predictions agree, a higher level capsule becomes active. We show that a discrimininatively trained, multi-layer capsule system achieves state-of-the-art performance on MNIST and is considerably better than a convolutional net at recognizing highly overlapping digits. To achieve these results we use an iterative routing-by-agreement mechanism: A lower-level capsule prefers to send its output to higher level capsules whose activity vectors have a big scalar product with the prediction coming from the lower-level capsule.

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Listening to the World Improves Speech Command Recognition

Brian McMahan, Delip Rao

We study transfer learning in convolutional network architectures applied to the task of recognizing audio, such as environmental sound events and speech commands. Our key finding is that not only is it possible to transfer representations from an unrelated task like environmental sound classification to a voice-focused task like speech command recognition, but also that doing so improves accuracies significantly. We also investigate the effect of increased model capacity for transfer learning audio, by first validating known results from the field of Computer Vision of achieving better accuracies with increasingly deeper networks on two audio datasets: UrbanSound8k and the newly released Google Speech Commands dataset. Then we propose a simple multiscale input representation using dilated convolutions and show that it is able to aggregate larger contexts and increase classification performance. Further, the models trained using a combination of transfer learning and multiscale input representations need only 40% of the training data to achieve similar accuracies as a freshly trained model with 100% of the training data. Finally, we demonstrate a positive interaction effect for the multiscale input and transfer learning, making a case for the joint application of the two techniques.

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Smooth and Sparse Optimal Transport

Mathieu Blondel, Vivien Seguy, Antoine Rolet

Entropic regularization is quickly emerging as a new standard in optimal transport (OT). It enables to cast the OT computation as a differentiable and unconstrained convex optimization problem, which can be efficiently solved using the Sinkhorn algorithm. However, entropy keeps the transportation plan strictly positive and therefore completely dense, unlike unregularized OT. This lack of sparsity can be problematic in applications where the transportation plan itself is of interest. In this paper, we explore regularizing the primal and dual OT formulations with a strongly convex term, which corresponds to relaxing the dual and primal constraints with smooth approximations. We show how to incorporate squared $2$-norm and group lasso regularizations within that framework, leading to sparse and group-sparse transportation plans. On the theoretical side, we bound the approximation error introduced by regularizing the primal and dual formulations. Our results suggest that, for the regularized primal, the approximation error can often be smaller with squared $2$-norm than with entropic regularization. We showcase our proposed framework on the task of color transfer.

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Generalization in Deep Learning

Kenji Kawaguchi, Leslie Pack Kaelbling, Yoshua Bengio

With a direct analysis of neural networks, this paper presents a mathematically tight generalization theory to partially address an open problem regarding the generalization of deep learning. Unlike previous bound-based theory, our main theory is quantitatively as tight as possible for every dataset individually, while producing qualitative insights competitively. Our results give insight into why and how deep learning can generalize well, despite its large capacity, complexity, possible algorithmic instability, nonrobustness, and sharp minima, answering to an open question in the literature. We also discuss limitations of our results and propose additional open problems.

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HyperENTM: Evolving Scalable Neural Turing Machines through HyperNEAT

Jakob Merrild, Mikkel Angaju Rasmussen, Sebastian Risi

Recent developments within memory-augmented neural networks have solved sequential problems requiring long-term memory, which are intractable for traditional neural networks. However, current approaches still struggle to scale to large memory sizes and sequence lengths. In this paper we show how access to memory can be encoded geometrically through a HyperNEAT-based Neural Turing Machine (HyperENTM). We demonstrate that using the indirect HyperNEAT encoding allows for training on small memory vectors in a bit-vector copy task and then applying the knowledge gained from such training to speed up training on larger size memory vectors. Additionally, we demonstrate that in some instances, networks trained to copy bit-vectors of size 9 can be scaled to sizes of 1,000 without further training. While the task in this paper is simple, these results could open up the problems amendable to networks with external memories to problems with larger memory vectors and theoretically unbounded memory sizes.

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