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Oral Session 5

Moderators: Caglar Gulcehre · Simon S Du · Jens Kober


Chat is not available.

Tue 4 May 11:00 - 11:15 PDT

Iterated learning for emergent systematicity in VQA

Ankit Vani · Max Schwarzer · Yuchen Lu · Eeshan Dhekane · Aaron Courville

Although neural module networks have an architectural bias towards compositionality, they require gold standard layouts to generalize systematically in practice. When instead learning layouts and modules jointly, compositionality does not arise automatically and an explicit pressure is necessary for the emergence of layouts exhibiting the right structure. We propose to address this problem using iterated learning, a cognitive science theory of the emergence of compositional languages in nature that has primarily been applied to simple referential games in machine learning. Considering the layouts of module networks as samples from an emergent language, we use iterated learning to encourage the development of structure within this language. We show that the resulting layouts support systematic generalization in neural agents solving the more complex task of visual question-answering. Our regularized iterated learning method can outperform baselines without iterated learning on SHAPES-SyGeT (SHAPES Systematic Generalization Test), a new split of the SHAPES dataset we introduce to evaluate systematic generalization, and on CLOSURE, an extension of CLEVR also designed to test systematic generalization. We demonstrate superior performance in recovering ground-truth compositional program structure with limited supervision on both SHAPES-SyGeT and CLEVR.

Tue 4 May 11:15 - 11:30 PDT

Learning Generalizable Visual Representations via Interactive Gameplay

Luca Weihs · Aniruddha Kembhavi · Kiana Ehsani · Sarah M Pratt · Winson Han · Alvaro Herrasti · Eric Kolve · Dustin Schwenk · Roozbeh Mottaghi · Ali Farhadi

A growing body of research suggests that embodied gameplay, prevalent not just in human cultures but across a variety of animal species including turtles and ravens, is critical in developing the neural flexibility for creative problem solving, decision making, and socialization. Comparatively little is known regarding the impact of embodied gameplay upon artificial agents. While recent work has produced agents proficient in abstract games, these environments are far removed the real world and thus these agents can provide little insight into the advantages of embodied play. Hiding games, such as hide-and-seek, played universally, provide a rich ground for studying the impact of embodied gameplay on representation learning in the context of perspective taking, secret keeping, and false belief understanding. Here we are the first to show that embodied adversarial reinforcement learning agents playing Cache, a variant of hide-and-seek, in a high fidelity, interactive, environment, learn generalizable representations of their observations encoding information such as object permanence, free space, and containment. Moving closer to biologically motivated learning strategies, our agents' representations, enhanced by intentionality and memory, are developed through interaction and play. These results serve as a model for studying how facets of vision develop through interaction, provide an experimental framework for assessing what is learned by artificial agents, and demonstrates the value of moving from large, static, datasets towards experiential, interactive, representation learning.

Tue 4 May 11:30 - 11:40 PDT

How Does Mixup Help With Robustness and Generalization?

Linjun Zhang · Zhun Deng · Kenji Kawaguchi · Amirata Ghorbani · James Zou

Mixup is a popular data augmentation technique based on on convex combinations of pairs of examples and their labels. This simple technique has shown to substantially improve both the model's robustness as well as the generalization of the trained model. However, it is not well-understood why such improvement occurs. In this paper, we provide theoretical analysis to demonstrate how using Mixup in training helps model robustness and generalization. For robustness, we show that minimizing the Mixup loss corresponds to approximately minimizing an upper bound of the adversarial loss. This explains why models obtained by Mixup training exhibits robustness to several kinds of adversarial attacks such as Fast Gradient Sign Method (FGSM). For generalization, we prove that Mixup augmentation corresponds to a specific type of data-adaptive regularization which reduces overfitting. Our analysis provides new insights and a framework to understand Mixup.

Tue 4 May 11:40 - 11:50 PDT

Recurrent Independent Mechanisms

Anirudh Goyal · Alex Lamb · Jordan Hoffmann · Shagun Sodhani · Sergey Levine · Yoshua Bengio · Bernhard Schoelkopf

We explore the hypothesis that learning modular structures which reflect the dynamics of the environment can lead to better generalization and robustness to changes that only affect a few of the underlying causes. We propose Recurrent Independent Mechanisms (RIMs), a new recurrent architecture in which multiple groups of recurrent cells operate with nearly independent transition dynamics, communicate only sparingly through the bottleneck of attention, and compete with each other so they are updated only at time steps where they are most relevant. We show that this leads to specialization amongst the RIMs, which in turn allows for remarkably improved generalization on tasks where some factors of variation differ systematically between training and evaluation.

Tue 4 May 11:50 - 12:00 PDT


Tue 4 May 12:00 - 12:15 PDT

Randomized Automatic Differentiation

Deniz Oktay · Nick McGreivy · Joshua Aduol · Alex Beatson · Ryan P Adams

The successes of deep learning, variational inference, and many other fields have been aided by specialized implementations of reverse-mode automatic differentiation (AD) to compute gradients of mega-dimensional objectives. The AD techniques underlying these tools were designed to compute exact gradients to numerical precision, but modern machine learning models are almost always trained with stochastic gradient descent. Why spend computation and memory on exact (minibatch) gradients only to use them for stochastic optimization? We develop a general framework and approach for randomized automatic differentiation (RAD), which can allow unbiased gradient estimates to be computed with reduced memory in return for variance. We examine limitations of the general approach, and argue that we must leverage problem specific structure to realize benefits. We develop RAD techniques for a variety of simple neural network architectures, and show that for a fixed memory budget, RAD converges in fewer iterations than using a small batch size for feedforward networks, and in a similar number for recurrent networks. We also show that RAD can be applied to scientific computing, and use it to develop a low-memory stochastic gradient method for optimizing the control parameters of a linear reaction-diffusion PDE representing a fission reactor.

Tue 4 May 12:15 - 12:30 PDT

Image GANs meet Differentiable Rendering for Inverse Graphics and Interpretable 3D Neural Rendering

Yuxuan Zhang · Wenzheng Chen · Huan Ling · Jun Gao · Yinan Zhang · Antonio Torralba · Sanja Fidler

Differentiable rendering has paved the way to training neural networks to perform “inverse graphics” tasks such as predicting 3D geometry from monocular photographs. To train high performing models, most of the current approaches rely on multi-view imagery which are not readily available in practice. Recent Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) that synthesize images, in contrast, seem to acquire 3D knowledge implicitly during training: object viewpoints can be manipulated by simply manipulating the latent codes. However, these latent codes often lack further physical interpretation and thus GANs cannot easily be inverted to perform explicit 3D reasoning. In this paper, we aim to extract and disentangle 3D knowledge learned by generative models by utilizing differentiable renderers. Key to our approach is to exploit GANs as a multi-view data generator to train an inverse graphics network using an off-the-shelf differentiable renderer, and the trained inverse graphics network as a teacher to disentangle the GAN's latent code into interpretable 3D properties. The entire architecture is trained iteratively using cycle consistency losses. We show that our approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art inverse graphics networks trained on existing datasets, both quantitatively and via user studies. We further showcase the disentangled GAN as a controllable 3D “neural renderer", complementing traditional graphics renderers.

Tue 4 May 12:30 - 12:40 PDT

Mind the Pad -- CNNs Can Develop Blind Spots

Bilal Alsallakh · Narine Kokhlikyan · Vivek Miglani · Jun Yuan · Orion Reblitz-Richardson

We show how feature maps in convolutional networks are susceptible to spatial bias. Due to a combination of architectural choices, the activation at certain locations is systematically elevated or weakened. The major source of this bias is the padding mechanism. Depending on several aspects of convolution arithmetic, this mechanism can apply the padding unevenly, leading to asymmetries in the learned weights. We demonstrate how such bias can be detrimental to certain tasks such as small object detection: the activation is suppressed if the stimulus lies in the impacted area, leading to blind spots and misdetection. We explore alternative padding methods and propose solutions for analyzing and mitigating spatial bias.

Tue 4 May 12:40 - 12:50 PDT

Implicit Convex Regularizers of CNN Architectures: Convex Optimization of Two- and Three-Layer Networks in Polynomial Time

Tolga Ergen · Mert Pilanci

We study training of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) with ReLU activations and introduce exact convex optimization formulations with a polynomial complexity with respect to the number of data samples, the number of neurons, and data dimension. More specifically, we develop a convex analytic framework utilizing semi-infinite duality to obtain equivalent convex optimization problems for several two- and three-layer CNN architectures. We first prove that two-layer CNNs can be globally optimized via an $\ell_2$ norm regularized convex program. We then show that multi-layer circular CNN training problems with a single ReLU layer are equivalent to an $\ell_1$ regularized convex program that encourages sparsity in the spectral domain. We also extend these results to three-layer CNNs with two ReLU layers. Furthermore, we present extensions of our approach to different pooling methods, which elucidates the implicit architectural bias as convex regularizers.

Tue 4 May 12:50 - 13:00 PDT

Learning from Protein Structure with Geometric Vector Perceptrons

Bowen Jing · Stephan Eismann · Patricia Suriana · Raphael J Townshend · Ron Dror

Learning on 3D structures of large biomolecules is emerging as a distinct area in machine learning, but there has yet to emerge a unifying network architecture that simultaneously leverages the geometric and relational aspects of the problem domain. To address this gap, we introduce geometric vector perceptrons, which extend standard dense layers to operate on collections of Euclidean vectors. Graph neural networks equipped with such layers are able to perform both geometric and relational reasoning on efficient representations of macromolecules. We demonstrate our approach on two important problems in learning from protein structure: model quality assessment and computational protein design. Our approach improves over existing classes of architectures on both problems, including state-of-the-art convolutional neural networks and graph neural networks. We release our code at

Tue 4 May 13:00 - 13:13 PDT


Tue 4 May 13:13 - 13:28 PDT

On the mapping between Hopfield networks and Restricted Boltzmann Machines

Matthew Smart · Anton Zilman

Hopfield networks (HNs) and Restricted Boltzmann Machines (RBMs) are two important models at the interface of statistical physics, machine learning, and neuroscience. Recently, there has been interest in the relationship between HNs and RBMs, due to their similarity under the statistical mechanics formalism. An exact mapping between HNs and RBMs has been previously noted for the special case of orthogonal (“uncorrelated”) encoded patterns. We present here an exact mapping in the case of correlated pattern HNs, which are more broadly applicable to existing datasets. Specifically, we show that any HN with $N$ binary variables and $p

Tue 4 May 13:28 - 13:38 PDT

Learning-based Support Estimation in Sublinear Time

Talya Eden · Piotr Indyk · Shyam Narayanan · Ronitt Rubinfeld · Sandeep Silwal · Tal Wagner

We consider the problem of estimating the number of distinct elements in a large data set (or, equivalently, the support size of the distribution induced by the data set) from a random sample of its elements. The problem occurs in many applications, including biology, genomics, computer systems and linguistics. A line of research spanning the last decade resulted in algorithms that estimate the support up to $ \pm \varepsilon n$ from a sample of size $O(\log^2(1/\varepsilon) \cdot n/\log n)$, where $n$ is the data set size. Unfortunately, this bound is known to be tight, limiting further improvements to the complexity of this problem. In this paper we consider estimation algorithms augmented with a machine-learning-based predictor that, given any element, returns an estimation of its frequency. We show that if the predictor is correct up to a constant approximation factor, then the sample complexity can be reduced significantly, to $$ \ \log (1/\varepsilon) \cdot n^{1-\Theta(1/\log(1/\varepsilon))}. $$ We evaluate the proposed algorithms on a collection of data sets, using the neural-network based estimators from {Hsu et al, ICLR'19} as predictors. Our experiments demonstrate substantial (up to 3x) improvements in the estimation accuracy compared to the state of the art algorithm.

Tue 4 May 13:38 - 13:48 PDT

Long-tail learning via logit adjustment

Aditya Krishna Menon · Sadeep Jayasumana · Ankit Singh Rawat · Himanshu Jain · Andreas Veit · Sanjiv Kumar

Real-world classification problems typically exhibit an imbalanced or long-tailed label distribution, wherein many labels have only a few associated samples. This poses a challenge for generalisation on such labels, and also makes naive learning biased towards dominant labels. In this paper, we present a statistical framework that unifies and generalises several recent proposals to cope with these challenges. Our framework revisits the classic idea of logit adjustment based on the label frequencies, which encourages a large relative margin between logits of rare positive versus dominant negative labels. This yields two techniques for long-tail learning, where such adjustment is either applied post-hoc to a trained model, or enforced in the loss during training. These techniques are statistically grounded, and practically effective on four real-world datasets with long-tailed label distributions.

Tue 4 May 13:48 - 13:56 PDT