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Learning in the Machine: Random Backpropagation and the Learning Channel

Pierre Baldi, Peter Sadowski, Zhiqin Lu

Random backpropagation (RBP) is a variant of the backpropagation algorithm for training neural networks, where the transpose of the forward matrices are replaced by fixed random matrices in the calculation of the weight updates. It is remarkable both because of its effectiveness, in spite of using random matrices to communicate error information, and because it completely removes the taxing requirement of maintaining symmetric weights in a physical neural system. To better understand random backpropagation, we first connect it to the notions of local learning and the learning channel. Through this connection, we derive several alternatives to RBP, including skipped RBP (SRPB), adaptive RBP (ARBP), sparse RBP, and their combinations (e.g. ASRBP) and analyze their computational complexity. We then study their behavior through simulations using the MNIST and CIFAR-10 bechnmark datasets. These simulations show that most of these variants work robustly, almost as well as backpropagation, and that multiplication by the derivatives of the activation functions is important. As a follow-up, we study also the low-end of the number of bits required to communicate error information over the learning channel. We then provide partial intuitive explanations for some of the remarkable properties of RBP and its variations. Finally, we prove several mathematical results, including the convergence to fixed points of linear chains of arbitrary length, the convergence to fixed points of linear autoencoders with decorrelated data, the long-term existence of solutions for linear systems with a single hidden layer, and the convergence to fixed points of non-linear chains, when the derivative of the activation functions is included.

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Knowing When to Look: Adaptive Attention via A Visual Sentinel for Image Captioning

Jiasen Lu, Caiming Xiong, Devi Parikh, Richard Socher

Attention-based neural encoder-decoder frameworks have been widely adopted for image captioning. Most methods force visual attention to be active for every generated word. However, the decoder likely requires little to no visual information from the image to predict non-visual words such as "the" and "of". Other words that may seem visual can often be predicted reliably just from the language model e.g., "sign" after "behind a red stop" or "phone" following "talking on a cell". In this paper, we propose a novel adaptive attention model with a visual sentinel. At each time step, our model decides whether to attend to the image (and if so, to which regions) or to the visual sentinel. The model decides whether to attend to the image and where, in order to extract meaningful information for sequential word generation. We test our method on the COCO image captioning 2015 challenge dataset and Flickr30K. Our approach sets the new state-of-the-art by a significant margin.

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Condensed Memory Networks for Clinical Diagnostic Inferencing

Aaditya Prakash, Siyuan Zhao, Sadid A. Hasan, Vivek Datla, Kathy Lee, Ashequl Qadir, Joey Liu, Oladimeji Farri

Diagnosis of a clinical condition is a challenging task, which often requires significant medical investigation. Previous work related to diagnostic inferencing problems mostly consider multivariate observational data (e.g. physiological signals, lab tests etc.). In contrast, we explore the problem using free-text medical notes recorded in an electronic health record (EHR). Complex tasks like these can benefit from structured knowledge bases, but those are not scalable. We instead exploit raw text from Wikipedia as a knowledge source. Memory networks have been demonstrated to be effective in tasks which require comprehension of free-form text. They use the final iteration of the learned representation to predict probable classes. We introduce condensed memory neural networks (C-MemNNs), a novel model with iterative condensation of memory representations that preserves the hierarchy of features in the memory. Experiments on the MIMIC-III dataset show that the proposed model outperforms other variants of memory networks to predict the most probable diagnoses given a complex clinical scenario.

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MarioQA: Answering Questions by Watching Gameplay Videos

Jonghwan Mun, Paul Hongsuck Seo, Ilchae Jung, Bohyung Han

We present a new benchmark dataset for video question answering (VideoQA) designed to evaluate algorithms' capability of spatio-temporal event understanding. Existing datasets either require very high-level reasoning from multi-modal information to find answers, or is mostly composed of the questions that can be answered by watching a single frame. Therefore, they are not suitable to evaluate models' real capacity and flexibility for VideoQA. To overcome such critical limitations, we focus on event-centric questions that require understanding temporal relation between multiple events in videos. An interesting idea in dataset construction process is that question-answer pairs are automatically generated from Super Mario video gameplays given a set of question templates. We also tackle VideoQA problem in the new dataset, referred to as MarioQA, by proposing spatio-temporal attention models based on deep neural networks. Our experiments show that the proposed deep neural network models with attention have meaningful performance improvement over several baselines.

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DeepBach: a Steerable Model for Bach chorales generation

Gaëtan Hadjeres, François Pachet

The composition of polyphonic chorale music in the style of J.S Bach has represented a major challenge in automatic music composition over the last decades. The art of Bach chorales composition involves combining four-part harmony with characteristic rhythmic patterns and typical melodic movements to produce musical phrases which begin, evolve and end (cadences) in a harmonious way. To our knowledge, no model so far was able to solve all these problems simultaneously using an agnostic machine-learning approach. This paper introduces DeepBach, a statistical model aimed at modeling polyphonic music and specifically four parts, hymn-like pieces. We claim that, after being trained on the chorale harmonizations by Johann Sebastian Bach, our model is capable of generating highly convincing chorales in the style of Bach. We evaluate how indistinguishable our generated chorales are from existing Bach chorales with a listening test. The results corroborate our claim. A key strength of DeepBach is that it is agnostic and flexible. Users can constrain the generation by imposing some notes, rhythms or cadences in the generated score. This allows users to reharmonize user-defined melodies. DeepBach's generation is fast, making it usable for interactive music composition applications. Several generation examples are provided and discussed from a musical point of view.

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Making the V in VQA Matter: Elevating the Role of Image Understanding in Visual Question Answering

Yash Goyal, Tejas Khot, Douglas Summers-Stay, Dhruv Batra, Devi Parikh

Problems at the intersection of vision and language are of significant importance both as challenging research questions and for the rich set of applications they enable. However, inherent structure in our world and bias in our language tend to be a simpler signal for learning than visual modalities, resulting in models that ignore visual information, leading to an inflated sense of their capability. We propose to counter these language priors for the task of Visual Question Answering (VQA) and make vision (the V in VQA) matter! Specifically, we balance the popular VQA dataset (Antol et al., ICCV 2015) by collecting complementary images such that every question in our balanced dataset is associated with not just a single image, but rather a pair of similar images that result in two different answers to the question. Our dataset is by construction more balanced than the original VQA dataset and has approximately twice the number of image-question pairs. Our complete balanced dataset will be publicly released as part of the 2nd iteration of the Visual Question Answering Challenge (VQA v2.0). We further benchmark a number of state-of-art VQA models on our balanced dataset. All models perform significantly worse on our balanced dataset, suggesting that these models have indeed learned to exploit language priors. This finding provides the first concrete empirical evidence for what seems to be a qualitative sense among practitioners. Finally, our data collection protocol for identifying complementary images enables us to develop a novel interpretable model, which in addition to providing an answer to the given (image, question) pair also provides a counter-example based explanation - specifically, it identifies an image that is similar to the original image, but it believes has a different answer to the same question. This can help in building trust for machines among their users.

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Overcoming catastrophic forgetting in neural networks

James Kirkpatrick, Razvan Pascanu, Neil Rabinowitz, Joel Veness, Guillaume Desjardins, Andrei A. Rusu, Kieran Milan, John Quan, Tiago Ramalho, Agnieszka Grabska-Barwinska, Demis Hassabis, Claudia Clopath, Dharshan Kumaran, Raia Hadsell

The ability to learn tasks in a sequential fashion is crucial to the development of artificial intelligence. Neural networks are not, in general, capable of this and it has been widely thought that catastrophic forgetting is an inevitable feature of connectionist models. We show that it is possible to overcome this limitation and train networks that can maintain expertise on tasks which they have not experienced for a long time. Our approach remembers old tasks by selectively slowing down learning on the weights important for those tasks. We demonstrate our approach is scalable and effective by solving a set of classification tasks based on the MNIST hand written digit dataset and by learning several Atari 2600 games sequentially.

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Learning to Generate Images of Outdoor Scenes from Attributes and Semantic Layouts

Levent Karacan, Zeynep Akata, Aykut Erdem, Erkut Erdem

Automatic image synthesis research has been rapidly growing with deep networks getting more and more expressive. In the last couple of years, we have observed images of digits, indoor scenes, birds, chairs, etc. being automatically generated. The expressive power of image generators have also been enhanced by introducing several forms of conditioning variables such as object names, sentences, bounding box and key-point locations. In this work, we propose a novel deep conditional generative adversarial network architecture that takes its strength from the semantic layout and scene attributes integrated as conditioning variables. We show that our architecture is able to generate realistic outdoor scene images under different conditions, e.g. day-night, sunny-foggy, with clear object boundaries.

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Texture Enhancement via High-Resolution Style Transfer for Single-Image Super-Resolution

Il Jun Ahn, Woo Hyun Nam

Recently, various deep-neural-network (DNN)-based approaches have been proposed for single-image super-resolution (SISR). Despite their promising results on major structure regions such as edges and lines, they still suffer from limited performance on texture regions that consist of very complex and fine patterns. This is because, during the acquisition of a low-resolution (LR) image via down-sampling, these regions lose most of the high frequency information necessary to represent the texture details. In this paper, we present a novel texture enhancement framework for SISR to effectively improve the spatial resolution in the texture regions as well as edges and lines. We call our method, high-resolution (HR) style transfer algorithm. Our framework consists of three steps: (i) generate an initial HR image from an interpolated LR image via an SISR algorithm, (ii) generate an HR style image from the initial HR image via down-scaling and tiling, and (iii) combine the HR style image with the initial HR image via a customized style transfer algorithm. Here, the HR style image is obtained by down-scaling the initial HR image and then repetitively tiling it into an image of the same size as the HR image. This down-scaling and tiling process comes from the idea that texture regions are often composed of small regions that similar in appearance albeit sometimes different in scale. This process creates an HR style image that is rich in details, which can be used to restore high-frequency texture details back into the initial HR image via the style transfer algorithm. Experimental results on a number of texture datasets show that our proposed HR style transfer algorithm provides more visually pleasing results compared with competitive methods.

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Plug & Play Generative Networks: Conditional Iterative Generation of Images in Latent Space

Anh Nguyen, Jason Yosinski, Yoshua Bengio, Alexey Dosovitskiy, Jeff Clune

Generating high-resolution, photo-realistic images has been a long-standing goal in machine learning. Recently, Nguyen et al. (2016) showed one interesting way to synthesize novel images by performing gradient ascent in the latent space of a generator network to maximize the activations of one or multiple neurons in a separate classifier network. In this paper we extend this method by introducing an additional prior on the latent code, improving both sample quality and sample diversity, leading to a state-of-the-art generative model that produces high quality images at higher resolutions (227x227) than previous generative models, and does so for all 1000 ImageNet categories. In addition, we provide a unified probabilistic interpretation of related activation maximization methods and call the general class of models "Plug and Play Generative Networks". PPGNs are composed of 1) a generator network G that is capable of drawing a wide range of image types and 2) a replaceable "condition" network C that tells the generator what to draw. We demonstrate the generation of images conditioned on a class (when C is an ImageNet or MIT Places classification network) and also conditioned on a caption (when C is an image captioning network). Our method also improves the state of the art of Multifaceted Feature Visualization, which generates the set of synthetic inputs that activate a neuron in order to better understand how deep neural networks operate. Finally, we show that our model performs reasonably well at the task of image inpainting. While image models are used in this paper, the approach is modality-agnostic and can be applied to many types of data.

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High-Resolution Image Inpainting using Multi-Scale Neural Patch Synthesis

Chao Yang, Xin Lu, Zhe Lin, Eli Shechtman, Oliver Wang, Hao Li

Recent advances in deep learning have shown exciting promise in filling large holes in natural images with semantically plausible and context aware details, impacting fundamental image manipulation tasks such as object removal. While these learning-based methods are significantly more effective in capturing high-level features than prior techniques, they can only handle very low-resolution inputs due to memory limitations and difficulty in training. Even for slightly larger images, the inpainted regions would appear blurry and unpleasant boundaries become visible. We propose a multi-scale neural patch synthesis approach based on joint optimization of image content and texture constraints, which not only preserves contextual structures but also produces high-frequency details by matching and adapting patches with the most similar mid-layer feature correlations of a deep classification network. We evaluate our method on the ImageNet and Paris Streetview datasets and achieved state-of-the-art inpainting accuracy. We show our approach produces sharper and more coherent results than prior methods, especially for high-resolution images.

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Semantic Facial Expression Editing using Autoencoded Flow

Raymond Yeh, Ziwei Liu, Dan B Goldman, Aseem Agarwala

High-level manipulation of facial expressions in images --- such as changing a smile to a neutral expression --- is challenging because facial expression changes are highly non-linear, and vary depending on the appearance of the face. We present a fully automatic approach to editing faces that combines the advantages of flow-based face manipulation with the more recent generative capabilities of Variational Autoencoders (VAEs). During training, our model learns to encode the flow from one expression to another over a low-dimensional latent space. At test time, expression editing can be done simply using latent vector arithmetic. We evaluate our methods on two applications: 1) single-image facial expression editing, and 2) facial expression interpolation between two images. We demonstrate that our method generates images of higher perceptual quality than previous VAE and flow-based methods.

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Neural Combinatorial Optimization with Reinforcement Learning

Irwan Bello, Hieu Pham, Quoc V. Le, Mohammad Norouzi, Samy Bengio

This paper presents a framework to tackle combinatorial optimization problems using neural networks and reinforcement learning. We focus on the traveling salesman problem (TSP) and train a recurrent network that, given a set of city coordinates, predicts a distribution over different city permutations. Using negative tour length as the reward signal, we optimize the parameters of the recurrent network using a policy gradient method. We compare learning the network parameters on a set of training graphs against learning them on individual test graphs. The best results are obtained when the network is first optimized on a training set and then refined on individual test graphs. Without any supervision and with minimal engineering, Neural Combinatorial Optimization achieves close to optimal results on 2D Euclidean graphs with up to 100 nodes.

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Fast Face-swap Using Convolutional Neural Networks

Iryna Korshunova, Wenzhe Shi, Joni Dambre, Lucas Theis

We consider the problem of face swapping in images, where an input identity is transformed into a target identity while preserving pose, facial expression, and lighting. To perform this mapping, we use convolutional neural networks trained to capture the appearance of the target identity from an unstructured collection of his/her photographs.This approach is enabled by framing the face swapping problem in terms of style transfer, where the goal is to render an image in the style of another one. Building on recent advances in this area, we devise a new loss function that enables the network to produce highly photorealistic results. By combining neural networks with simple pre- and post-processing steps, we aim at making face swap work in real-time with no input from the user.

Captured tweets and retweets: 72

Awesome Typography: Statistics-Based Text Effects Transfer

Shuai Yang, Jiaying Liu, Zhouhui Lian, Zongming Guo

In this work, we explore the problem of generating fantastic special-effects for the typography. It is quite challenging due to the model diversities to illustrate varied text effects for different characters. To address this issue, our key idea is to exploit the analytics on the high regularity of the spatial distribution for text effects to guide the synthesis process. Specifically, we characterize the stylized patches by their normalized positions and the optimal scales to depict their style elements. Our method first estimates these two features and derives their correlation statistically. They are then converted into soft constraints for texture transfer to accomplish adaptive multi-scale texture synthesis and to make style element distribution uniform. It allows our algorithm to produce artistic typography that fits for both local texture patterns and the global spatial distribution in the example. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of our method for various text effects over conventional style transfer methods. In addition, we validate the effectiveness of our algorithm with extensive artistic typography library generation.

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Semi Supervised Preposition-Sense Disambiguation using Multilingual Data

Hila Gonen, Yoav Goldberg

Prepositions are very common and very ambiguous, and understanding their sense is critical for understanding the meaning of the sentence. Supervised corpora for the preposition-sense disambiguation task are small, suggesting a semi-supervised approach to the task. We show that signals from unannotated multilingual data can be used to improve supervised preposition-sense disambiguation. Our approach pre-trains an LSTM encoder for predicting the translation of a preposition, and then incorporates the pre-trained encoder as a component in a supervised classification system, and fine-tunes it for the task. The multilingual signals consistently improve results on two preposition-sense datasets.

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Visual Dialog

Abhishek Das, Satwik Kottur, Khushi Gupta, Avi Singh, Deshraj Yadav, José M. F. Moura, Devi Parikh, Dhruv Batra

We introduce the task of Visual Dialog, which requires an AI agent to hold a meaningful dialog with humans in natural, conversational language about visual content. Specifically, given an image, a dialog history, and a question about the image, the agent has to ground the question in image, infer context from history, and answer the question accurately. Visual Dialog is disentangled enough from a specific downstream task so as to serve as a general test of machine intelligence, while being grounded in vision enough to allow objective evaluation of individual responses and benchmark progress. We develop a novel two-person chat data-collection protocol to curate a large-scale Visual Dialog dataset (VisDial). Data collection is underway and on completion, VisDial will contain 1 dialog with 10 question-answer pairs on all ~200k images from COCO, with a total of 2M dialog question-answer pairs. We introduce a family of neural encoder-decoder models for Visual Dialog with 3 encoders -- Late Fusion, Hierarchical Recurrent Encoder and Memory Network -- and 2 decoders (generative and discriminative), which outperform a number of sophisticated baselines. We propose a retrieval-based evaluation protocol for Visual Dialog where the AI agent is asked to sort a set of candidate answers and evaluated on metrics such as mean-reciprocal-rank of human response. We quantify gap between machine and human performance on the Visual Dialog task via human studies. Our dataset, code, and trained models will be released publicly. Putting it all together, we demonstrate the first 'visual chatbot'!

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EEGNet: A Compact Convolutional Network for EEG-based Brain-Computer Interfaces

Vernon J. Lawhern, Amelia J. Solon, Nicholas R. Waytowich, Stephen M. Gordon, Chou P. Hung, Brent J. Lance

Objective: Brain-Computer Interface technologies (BCI) enable the direct communication between humans and computers by analyzing brain measurements, such as electroencephalography (EEG). These technologies have been applied to a variety of domains, including neuroprosthetic control and the monitoring of epileptic seizures. Existing BCI systems primarily use a priori knowledge of EEG features of interest to build machine learning models. Recently, convolutional networks have been used for automatic feature extraction of large image databases, where they have obtained state-of-the-art results. In this work we introduce EEGNet, a compact fully convolutional network for EEG-based BCIs developed using Deep Learning approaches. Methods: EEGNet is a 4-layer convolutional network that uses filter factorization for learning a compact representation of EEG time series. EEGNet is one of the smallest convolutional networks to date, having less than 2200 parameters for a binary classification. Results: We show state-of-the-art classification performance across four different BCI paradigms: P300 event-related potential, error-related negativity, movement-related cortical potential, and sensory motor rhythm, with as few as 500 EEG trials. We also show that adding more trials reduces the error variance of prediction rather than improving classification performance. Conclusion: We provide preliminary evidence suggesting that our model can be used with small EEG databases while improving upon the state-of-the-art performance across several tasks and across subjects. Significance: The EEGNet neural network architecture provides state-of-the-art performance across several tasks and across subjects, challenging the notion that large datasets are required to obtain optimal performance.

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GuessWhat?! Visual object discovery through multi-modal dialogue

Harm de Vries, Florian Strub, Sarath Chandar, Olivier Pietquin, Hugo Larochelle, Aaron Courville

We introduce GuessWhat?!, a two-player guessing game as a testbed for research on the interplay of computer vision and dialogue systems. The goal of the game is to locate an unknown object in a rich image scene by asking a sequence of questions. Higher-level image understanding, like spatial reasoning and language grounding, is required to solve the proposed task. Our key contribution is the collection of a large-scale dataset consisting of 150K human-played games with a total of 800K visual question-answer pairs on 66K images. We explain our design decisions in collecting the dataset and introduce the oracle and questioner tasks that are associated with the two players of the game. We prototyped deep learning models to establish initial baselines of the introduced tasks.

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Controlling Perceptual Factors in Neural Style Transfer

Leon A. Gatys, Alexander S. Ecker, Matthias Bethge, Aaron Hertzmann, Eli Shechtman

Neural Style Transfer has shown very exciting results enabling new forms of image manipulation. Here we extend the existing method beyond the paradigm of transferring global style information between pairs of images. In particular, we introduce control over spatial location, colour information and across spatial scale. We demonstrate how this enhances the method by allowing high-resolution controlled stylisation and helps to alleviate common failure cases such as applying ground textures to sky regions. Furthermore, by decomposing style into these perceptual factors we enable the combination of style information from multiple sources to generate new, perceptually appealing styles from existing ones. Finally we show how the introduced control measures can be applied in recent methods for Fast Neural Style Transfer.

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