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Papers


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Count-Based Exploration with Neural Density Models

Georg Ostrovski, Marc G. Bellemare, Aaron van den Oord, Remi Munos

Bellemare et al. (2016) introduced the notion of a pseudo-count to generalize count-based exploration to non-tabular reinforcement learning. This pseudo-count is derived from a density model which effectively replaces the count table used in the tabular setting. Using an exploration bonus based on this pseudo-count and a mixed Monte Carlo update applied to a DQN agent was sufficient to achieve state-of-the-art on the Atari 2600 game Montezuma's Revenge. In this paper we consider two questions left open by their work: First, how important is the quality of the density model for exploration? Second, what role does the Monte Carlo update play in exploration? We answer the first question by demonstrating the use of PixelCNN, an advanced neural density model for images, to supply a pseudo-count. In particular, we examine the intrinsic difficulties in adapting Bellemare et al's approach when assumptions about the model are violated. The result is a more practical and general algorithm requiring no special apparatus. We combine PixelCNN pseudo-counts with different agent architectures to dramatically improve the state of the art on several hard Atari games. One surprising finding is that the mixed Monte Carlo update is a powerful facilitator of exploration in the sparsest of settings, including Montezuma's Revenge.

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Unsupervised Image-to-Image Translation Networks

Ming-Yu Liu, Thomas Breuel, Jan Kautz

Most of the existing image-to-image translation frameworks---mapping an image in one domain to a corresponding image in another---are based on supervised learning, i.e., pairs of corresponding images in two domains are required for learning the translation function. This largely limits their applications, because capturing corresponding images in two different domains is often a difficult task. To address the issue, we propose the UNsupervised Image-to-image Translation (UNIT) framework, which is based on variational autoencoders and generative adversarial networks. The proposed framework can learn the translation function without any corresponding images in two domains. We enable this learning capability by combining a weight-sharing constraint and an adversarial training objective. Through visualization results from various unsupervised image translation tasks, we verify the effectiveness of the proposed framework. An ablation study further reveals the critical design choices. Moreover, we apply the UNIT framework to the unsupervised domain adaptation task and achieve better results than competing algorithms do in benchmark datasets.

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The Statistical Recurrent Unit

Junier B. Oliva, Barnabas Poczos, Jeff Schneider

Sophisticated gated recurrent neural network architectures like LSTMs and GRUs have been shown to be highly effective in a myriad of applications. We develop an un-gated unit, the statistical recurrent unit (SRU), that is able to learn long term dependencies in data by only keeping moving averages of statistics. The SRU's architecture is simple, un-gated, and contains a comparable number of parameters to LSTMs; yet, SRUs perform favorably to more sophisticated LSTM and GRU alternatives, often outperforming one or both in various tasks. We show the efficacy of SRUs as compared to LSTMs and GRUs in an unbiased manner by optimizing respective architectures' hyperparameters in a Bayesian optimization scheme for both synthetic and real-world tasks.

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Deep Forest: Towards An Alternative to Deep Neural Networks

Zhi-Hua Zhou, Ji Feng

In this paper, we propose gcForest, a decision tree ensemble approach with performance highly competitive to deep neural networks. In contrast to deep neural networks which require great effort in hyper-parameter tuning, gcForest is much easier to train. Actually, even when gcForest is applied to different data from different domains, excellent performance can be achieved by almost same settings of hyper-parameters. The training process of gcForest is efficient and scalable. In our experiments its training time running on a PC is comparable to that of deep neural networks running with GPU facilities, and the efficiency advantage may be more apparent because gcForest is naturally apt to parallel implementation. Furthermore, in contrast to deep neural networks which require large-scale training data, gcForest can work well even when there are only small-scale training data. Moreover, as a tree-based approach, gcForest should be easier for theoretical analysis than deep neural networks.

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ShaResNet: reducing residual network parameter number by sharing weights

Alexandre Boulch

Deep Residual Networks have reached the state of the art in many image processing tasks such image classification. However, the cost for a gain in accuracy in terms of depth and memory is prohibitive as it requires a higher number of residual blocks, up to double the initial value. To tackle this problem, we propose in this paper a way to reduce the redundant information of the networks. We share the weights of convolutional layers between residual blocks operating at the same spatial scale. The signal flows multiple times in the same convolutional layer. The resulting architecture, called ShaResNet, contains block specific layers and shared layers. These ShaResNet are trained exactly in the same fashion as the commonly used residual networks. We show, on the one hand, that they are almost as efficient as their sequential counterparts while involving less parameters, and on the other hand that they are more efficient than a residual network with the same number of parameters. For example, a 152-layer-deep residual network can be reduced to 106 convolutional layers, i.e. a parameter gain of 39\%, while loosing less than 0.2\% accuracy on ImageNet.

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Billion-scale similarity search with GPUs

Jeff Johnson, Matthijs Douze, Hervé Jégou

Similarity search finds application in specialized database systems handling complex data such as images or videos, which are typically represented by high-dimensional features and require specific indexing structures. This paper tackles the problem of better utilizing GPUs for this task. While GPUs excel at data-parallel tasks, prior approaches are bottlenecked by algorithms that expose less parallelism, such as k-min selection, or make poor use of the memory hierarchy. We propose a design for k-selection that operates at up to 55% of theoretical peak performance, enabling a nearest neighbor implementation that is 8.5x faster than prior GPU state of the art. We apply it in different similarity search scenarios, by proposing optimized design for brute-force, approximate and compressed-domain search based on product quantization. In all these setups, we outperform the state of the art by large margins. Our implementation enables the construction of a high accuracy k-NN graph on 95 million images from the Yfcc100M dataset in 35 minutes, and of a graph connecting 1 billion vectors in less than 12 hours on 4 Maxwell Titan X GPUs. We have open-sourced our approach for the sake of comparison and reproducibility.

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Rationalization: A Neural Machine Translation Approach to Generating Natural Language Explanations

Brent Harrison, Upol Ehsan, Mark O. Riedl

We introduce AI rationalization, an approach for generating explanations of autonomous system behavior as if a human had done the behavior. We describe a rationalization technique that uses neural machine translation to translate internal state-action representations of the autonomous agent into natural language. We evaluate our technique in the Frogger game environment. The natural language is collected from human players thinking out loud as they play the game. We motivate the use of rationalization as an approach to explanation generation, show the results of experiments on the accuracy of our rationalization technique, and describe future research agenda.

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Using Deep Learning and Google Street View to Estimate the Demographic Makeup of the US

Timnit Gebru, Jonathan Krause, Yilun Wang, Duyun Chen, Jia Deng, Erez Lieberman Aiden, Li Fei-Fei

The United States spends more than $1B each year on the American Community Survey (ACS), a labor-intensive door-to-door study that measures statistics relating to race, gender, education, occupation, unemployment, and other demographic factors. Although a comprehensive source of data, the lag between demographic changes and their appearance in the ACS can exceed half a decade. As digital imagery becomes ubiquitous and machine vision techniques improve, automated data analysis may provide a cheaper and faster alternative. Here, we present a method that determines socioeconomic trends from 50 million images of street scenes, gathered in 200 American cities by Google Street View cars. Using deep learning-based computer vision techniques, we determined the make, model, and year of all motor vehicles encountered in particular neighborhoods. Data from this census of motor vehicles, which enumerated 22M automobiles in total (8% of all automobiles in the US), was used to accurately estimate income, race, education, and voting patterns, with single-precinct resolution. (The average US precinct contains approximately 1000 people.) The resulting associations are surprisingly simple and powerful. For instance, if the number of sedans encountered during a 15-minute drive through a city is higher than the number of pickup trucks, the city is likely to vote for a Democrat during the next Presidential election (88% chance); otherwise, it is likely to vote Republican (82%). Our results suggest that automated systems for monitoring demographic trends may effectively complement labor-intensive approaches, with the potential to detect trends with fine spatial resolution, in close to real time.

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PixelNet: Representation of the pixels, by the pixels, and for the pixels

Aayush Bansal, Xinlei Chen, Bryan Russell, Abhinav Gupta. Deva Ramanan

We explore design principles for general pixel-level prediction problems, from low-level edge detection to mid-level surface normal estimation to high-level semantic segmentation. Convolutional predictors, such as the fully-convolutional network (FCN), have achieved remarkable success by exploiting the spatial redundancy of neighboring pixels through convolutional processing. Though computationally efficient, we point out that such approaches are not statistically efficient during learning precisely because spatial redundancy limits the information learned from neighboring pixels. We demonstrate that stratified sampling of pixels allows one to (1) add diversity during batch updates, speeding up learning; (2) explore complex nonlinear predictors, improving accuracy; and (3) efficiently train state-of-the-art models tabula rasa (i.e., "from scratch") for diverse pixel-labeling tasks. Our single architecture produces state-of-the-art results for semantic segmentation on PASCAL-Context dataset, surface normal estimation on NYUDv2 depth dataset, and edge detection on BSDS.

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Fano's inequality for random variables

Sebastien Gerchinovitz, Pierre Ménard, Gilles Stoltz

We extend Fano's inequality, which controls the average probability of (disjoint) events in terms of the average of some Kullback-Leibler divergences, to work with arbitrary [0,1]-valued random variables. Our simple two-step methodology is general enough to cover the case of an arbitrary (possibly continuously infinite) family of distributions as well as [0,1]-valued random variables not necessarily summing up to 1. Several novel applications are provided, in which the consideration of random variables is particularly handy. The most important applications deal with the problem of Bayesian posterior concentration (minimax or distribution-dependent) rates and with a lower bound on the regret in non-stochastic sequential learning. We also improve in passing some earlier fundamental results: in particular, we provide a simple and enlightening proof of the refined Pinsker's inequality of Ordentlich and Weinberger and derive a sharper Bretagnolle-Huber inequality.

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A Stylometric Inquiry into Hyperpartisan and Fake News

Martin Potthast, Johannes Kiesel, Kevin Reinartz, Janek Bevendorff, Benno Stein

This paper reports on a writing style analysis of hyperpartisan (i.e., extremely one-sided) news in connection to fake news. It presents a large corpus of 1,627 articles that were manually fact-checked by professional journalists from BuzzFeed. The articles originated from 9 well-known political publishers, 3 each from the mainstream, the hyperpartisan left-wing, and the hyperpartisan right-wing. In sum, the corpus contains 299 fake news, 97% of which originated from hyperpartisan publishers. We propose and demonstrate a new way of assessing style similarity between text categories via Unmasking---a meta-learning approach originally devised for authorship verification---, revealing that the style of left-wing and right-wing news have a lot more in common than any of the two have with the mainstream. Furthermore, we show that hyperpartisan news can be discriminated well by its style from the mainstream (F1=0.78), as can be satire from both (F1=0.81). Unsurprisingly, style-based fake news detection does not live up to scratch (F1=0.46). Nevertheless, the former results are important to implement pre-screening for fake news detectors.

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Cognitive Mapping and Planning for Visual Navigation

Saurabh Gupta, James Davidson, Sergey Levine, Rahul Sukthankar, Jitendra Malik

We introduce a neural architecture for navigation in novel environments. Our proposed architecture learns to map from first-person viewpoints and plans a sequence of actions towards goals in the environment. The Cognitive Mapper and Planner (CMP) is based on two key ideas: a) a unified joint architecture for mapping and planning, such that the mapping is driven by the needs of the planner, and b) a spatial memory with the ability to plan given an incomplete set of observations about the world. CMP constructs a top-down belief map of the world and applies a differentiable neural net planner to produce the next action at each time step. The accumulated belief of the world enables the agent to track visited regions of the environment. Our experiments demonstrate that CMP outperforms both reactive strategies and standard memory-based architectures and performs well in novel environments. Furthermore, we show that CMP can also achieve semantically specified goals, such as 'go to a chair'.

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Software Engineering at Google

Fergus Henderson

We catalog and describe Google's key software engineering practices.

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Reluplex: An Efficient SMT Solver for Verifying Deep Neural Networks

Guy Katz, Clark Barrett, David Dill, Kyle Julian, Mykel Kochenderfer

Deep neural networks have emerged as a widely used and effective means for tackling complex, real-world problems. However, a major obstacle in applying them to safety-critical systems is the great difficulty in providing formal guarantees about their behavior. We present a novel, scalable, and efficient technique for verifying properties of deep neural networks (or providing counter-examples). The technique is based on the simplex method, extended to handle the non-convex Rectified Linear Unit (ReLU) activation function, which is a crucial ingredient in many modern neural networks. The verification procedure tackles neural networks as a whole, without making any simplifying assumptions. We evaluated our technique on a prototype deep neural network implementation of the next-generation Airborne Collision Avoidance System for unmanned aircraft (ACAS Xu). Results show that our technique can successfully prove properties of networks that are an order of magnitude larger than the largest networks verified using existing methods.

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CommAI: Evaluating the first steps towards a useful general AI

Marco Baroni, Armand Joulin, Allan Jabri, Germàn Kruszewski, Angeliki Lazaridou, Klemen Simonic, Tomas Mikolov

With machine learning successfully applied to new daunting problems almost every day, general AI starts looking like an attainable goal. However, most current research focuses instead on important but narrow applications, such as image classification or machine translation. We believe this to be largely due to the lack of objective ways to measure progress towards broad machine intelligence. In order to fill this gap, we propose here a set of concrete desiderata for general AI, together with a platform to test machines on how well they satisfy such desiderata, while keeping all further complexities to a minimum.

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PathNet: Evolution Channels Gradient Descent in Super Neural Networks

Chrisantha Fernando, Dylan Banarse, Charles Blundell, Yori Zwols, David Ha, Andrei A. Rusu, Alexander Pritzel, Daan Wierstra

For artificial general intelligence (AGI) it would be efficient if multiple users trained the same giant neural network, permitting parameter reuse, without catastrophic forgetting. PathNet is a first step in this direction. It is a neural network algorithm that uses agents embedded in the neural network whose task is to discover which parts of the network to re-use for new tasks. Agents are pathways (views) through the network which determine the subset of parameters that are used and updated by the forwards and backwards passes of the backpropogation algorithm. During learning, a tournament selection genetic algorithm is used to select pathways through the neural network for replication and mutation. Pathway fitness is the performance of that pathway measured according to a cost function. We demonstrate successful transfer learning; fixing the parameters along a path learned on task A and re-evolving a new population of paths for task B, allows task B to be learned faster than it could be learned from scratch or after fine-tuning. Paths evolved on task B re-use parts of the optimal path evolved on task A. Positive transfer was demonstrated for binary MNIST, CIFAR, and SVHN supervised learning classification tasks, and a set of Atari and Labyrinth reinforcement learning tasks, suggesting PathNets have general applicability for neural network training. Finally, PathNet also significantly improves the robustness to hyperparameter choices of a parallel asynchronous reinforcement learning algorithm (A3C).

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Memory Augmented Neural Networks with Wormhole Connections

Caglar Gulcehre, Sarath Chandar, Yoshua Bengio

Recent empirical results on long-term dependency tasks have shown that neural networks augmented with an external memory can learn the long-term dependency tasks more easily and achieve better generalization than vanilla recurrent neural networks (RNN). We suggest that memory augmented neural networks can reduce the effects of vanishing gradients by creating shortcut (or wormhole) connections. Based on this observation, we propose a novel memory augmented neural network model called TARDIS (Temporal Automatic Relation Discovery in Sequences). The controller of TARDIS can store a selective set of embeddings of its own previous hidden states into an external memory and revisit them as and when needed. For TARDIS, memory acts as a storage for wormhole connections to the past to propagate the gradients more effectively and it helps to learn the temporal dependencies. The memory structure of TARDIS has similarities to both Neural Turing Machines (NTM) and Dynamic Neural Turing Machines (D-NTM), but both read and write operations of TARDIS are simpler and more efficient. We use discrete addressing for read/write operations which helps to substantially to reduce the vanishing gradient problem with very long sequences. Read and write operations in TARDIS are tied with a heuristic once the memory becomes full, and this makes the learning problem simpler when compared to NTM or D-NTM type of architectures. We provide a detailed analysis on the gradient propagation in general for MANNs. We evaluate our models on different long-term dependency tasks and report competitive results in all of them.

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Outrageously Large Neural Networks: The Sparsely-Gated Mixture-of-Experts Layer

Noam Shazeer, Azalia Mirhoseini, Krzysztof Maziarz, Andy Davis, Quoc Le, Geoffrey Hinton, Jeff Dean

The capacity of a neural network to absorb information is limited by its number of parameters. Conditional computation, where parts of the network are active on a per-example basis, has been proposed in theory as a way of dramatically increasing model capacity without a proportional increase in computation. In practice, however, there are significant algorithmic and performance challenges. In this work, we address these challenges and finally realize the promise of conditional computation, achieving greater than 1000x improvements in model capacity with only minor losses in computational efficiency on modern GPU clusters. We introduce a Sparsely-Gated Mixture-of-Experts layer (MoE), consisting of up to thousands of feed-forward sub-networks. A trainable gating network determines a sparse combination of these experts to use for each example. We apply the MoE to the tasks of language modeling and machine translation, where model capacity is critical for absorbing the vast quantities of knowledge available in the training corpora. We present model architectures in which a MoE with up to 137 billion parameters is applied convolutionally between stacked LSTM layers. On large language modeling and machine translation benchmarks, these models achieve significantly better results than state-of-the-art at lower computational cost.

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