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In-Person Oral presentation / top 5% paper

Learning where and when to reason in neuro-symbolic inference

Cristina Cornelio · Jan Stuehmer · Xu Hu · Timothy Hospedales



The integration of hard constraints on neural network outputs is a very desirable capability. This allows to instill trust in AI by guaranteeing the sanity of that neural network predictions with respect to domain knowledge. Recently, this topic has received a lot of attention. However, all the existing methods usually either impose the constraints in a "weak" form at training time, with no guarantees at inference, or fail to provide a general framework that supports different tasks and constraint types. We tackle this open problem from a neuro-symbolic perspective. Our pipeline enhances a conventional neural predictor with (1) a symbolic reasoning module capable of correcting structured prediction errors and (2) a neural attention module that learns to direct the reasoning effort to focus on potential prediction errors, while keeping other outputs unchanged. This framework provides an appealing trade-off between the efficiency of constraint-free neural inference and the prohibitive cost of exhaustive reasoning at inference time. We show that our method outperforms the state of the art on visual-Sudoku, and can also benefit visual scene graph prediction. Furthermore, it can improve the performance of existing neuro-symbolic systems that lack our explicit reasoning during inference.

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