Oral 2 Track 1: Applications

Mon 1 May 6 a.m. PDT — 7:30 a.m. PDT


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Mon 1 May 6:00 - 6:10 PDT

GPViT: A High Resolution Non-Hierarchical Vision Transformer with Group Propagation

Chenhongyi Yang · Jiarui Xu · Shalini De Mello · Elliot J Crowley · Xiaolong Wang

We present the Group Propagation Vision Transformer (GPViT): a novel non- hierarchical (i.e. non-pyramidal) transformer model designed for general visual recognition with high-resolution features. High-resolution features (or tokens) are a natural fit for tasks that involve perceiving fine-grained details such as detection and segmentation, but exchanging global information between these features is expensive in memory and computation because of the way self-attention scales. We provide a highly efficient alternative Group Propagation Block (GP Block) to exchange global information. In each GP Block, features are first grouped to- gether by a fixed number of learnable group tokens; we then perform Group Propagation where global information is exchanged between the grouped fea- tures; finally, global information in the updated grouped features is returned back to the image features through a transformer decoder. We evaluate GPViT on a variety of visual recognition tasks including image classification, semantic seg- mentation, object detection, and instance segmentation. Our method achieves significant performance gains over previous works across all tasks, especially on tasks that require high-resolution outputs, for example, our GPViT-L3 out- performs Swin Transformer-B by 2.0 mIoU on ADE20K semantic segmentation with only half as many parameters. Code and pre-trained models are available at

Mon 1 May 6:20 - 6:30 PDT

Is Reinforcement Learning (Not) for Natural Language Processing: Benchmarks, Baselines, and Building Blocks for Natural Language Policy Optimization

Rajkumar Ramamurthy · Prithviraj Ammanabrolu · Kianté Brantley · Jack Hessel · Rafet Sifa · Christian Bauckhage · Hannaneh Hajishirzi · Yejin Choi

We tackle the problem of aligning pre-trained large language models (LMs) with human preferences. If we view text generation as a sequential decision-making problem, reinforcement learning (RL) appears to be a natural conceptual framework. However, using RL for LM-based generation faces empirical challenges, including training instability due to the combinatorial action space, as well as a lack of open-source libraries and benchmarks customized for LM alignment. Thus, a question rises in the research community: is RL a practical paradigm for NLP?To help answer this, we first introduce an open-source modular library, $RL4LMs$ (Reinforcement Learning for Language Models), for optimizing language generators with RL. The library consists of on-policy RL algorithms that can be used to train any encoder or encoder-decoder LM in the HuggingFace library (Wolf et al. 2020) with an arbitrary reward function. Next, we present the $GRUE$ (General Reinforced-language Understanding Evaluation) benchmark, a set of 6 language generation tasks which are supervised not by target strings, but by reward functions which capture automated measures of human preference.GRUE is the first leaderboard-style evaluation of RL algorithms for NLP tasks. Finally, we introduce an easy-to-use, performant RL algorithm, $NLPO$ (Natural Language Policy Optimization)} that learns to effectively reduce the combinatorial action space in language generation. We show 1) that RL techniques are generally better than supervised methods at aligning LMs to human preferences; and 2) that NLPO exhibits greater stability and performance than previous policy gradient methods (e.g., PPO (Schulman et al. 2017)), based on both automatic and human evaluations.

Mon 1 May 6:30 - 6:40 PDT

Human Motion Diffusion Model

Guy Tevet · Sigal Raab · Brian Gordon · Yonatan Shafir · Daniel Cohen-Or · Amit Bermano

Natural and expressive human motion generation is the holy grail of computer animation.It is a challenging task, due to the diversity of possible motion, human perceptual sensitivity to it, and the difficulty of accurately describing it. Therefore, current generative solutions are either low-quality or limited in expressiveness. Diffusion models are promising candidates for the human motion domain since theyhave already shown remarkable generative capabilities in other domains, and their many-to-many nature. In this paper, we introduce Motion Diffusion Model (MDM), a carefully adapted classifier-free diffusion-based generative model for human motion data. MDM is transformer-based, combining insights from motion generation literature. A notable design-choice is that it predicts the sample itself rather than the noise in each step to facilitate the use of established geometric losses on the locations and velocities of the motion, such as the foot contact loss. As we demonstrate, MDM is a generic approach, enabling different modes of conditioning, and different generation tasks. We show that our model is trained with lightweight resources and yet achieves state-of-the-art results on leading benchmarks for text-to-motion, action-to-motion, and unconditioned motion generation.

Mon 1 May 6:40 - 6:50 PDT

NTFields: Neural Time Fields for Physics-Informed Robot Motion Planning

Ruiqi Ni · Ahmed Qureshi

Neural Motion Planners (NMPs) have emerged as a promising tool for solving robot navigation tasks in complex environments. However, these methods often require expert data for learning, which limits their application to scenarios where data generation is time-consuming. Recent developments have also led to physics-informed deep neural models capable of representing complex dynamical Partial Differential Equations (PDEs). Inspired by these developments, we propose Neural Time Fields (NTFields) for robot motion planning in cluttered scenarios. Our framework represents a wave propagation model generating continuous arrival time to find path solutions informed by a nonlinear first-order PDE called Eikonal Equation. We evaluate our method in various cluttered 3D environments, including the Gibson dataset, and demonstrate its ability to solve motion planning problems for 4-DOF and 6-DOF robot manipulators where the traditional grid-based Eikonal planners often face the curse of dimensionality. Furthermore, the results show that our method exhibits high success rates and significantly lower computational times than the state-of-the-art methods, including NMPs that require training data from classical planners.

Mon 1 May 6:50 - 7:00 PDT

UNIFIED-IO: A Unified Model for Vision, Language, and Multi-modal Tasks

Jiasen Lu · Christopher Clark · Rowan Zellers · Roozbeh Mottaghi · Aniruddha Kembhavi

We propose Unified-IO, a model that performs a large variety of AI tasks spanning classical computer vision tasks, including pose estimation, object detection, depth estimation and image generation, vision-and-language tasks such as region captioning and referring expression, to natural language processing tasks such as question answering and paraphrasing. Developing a single unified model for such a large variety of tasks poses unique challenges due to the heterogeneous inputs and outputs pertaining to each task, including RGB images, per-pixel maps, binary masks, bounding boxes, and language. We achieve this unification by homogenizing every supported input and output into a sequence of discrete vocabulary tokens. This common representation across all tasks allows us to train a single transformer-based architecture, jointly on over 90 diverse datasets in the vision and language fields. Unified-IO is the first model capable of performing all 7 tasks on the GRIT benchmark and produces strong results across 16 diverse benchmarks like NYUv2-Depth, ImageNet, VQA2.0, OK-VQA, Swig, VizWizGround, BoolQ, and SciTail, with no task-specific fine-tuning. Code and pre-trained models will be made publicly available.

Mon 1 May 7:00 - 7:10 PDT

Mass-Editing Memory in a Transformer

Kevin Meng · Arnab Sen Sharma · Alex J Andonian · Yonatan Belinkov · David Bau

Recent work has shown exciting promise in updating large language models with new memories, so as to replace obsolete information or add specialized knowledge. However, this line of work is predominantly limited to updating single associations. We develop MEMIT, a method for directly updating a language model with many memories, demonstrating experimentally that it can scale up to thousands of associations for GPT-J (6B) and GPT-NeoX (20B), exceeding prior work by an order of magnitude. Our code and data will be open-sourced upon publication.

Mon 1 May 7:10 - 7:20 PDT

On the Usefulness of Embeddings, Clusters and Strings for Text Generation Evaluation

Tiago Pimentel · Clara Meister · Ryan Cotterell

A good automatic evaluation metric for language generation ideally correlates highly with human judgements of text quality. Yet, there is a dearth of such metrics, which inhibits the rapid and efficient progress of language generators. One exception is the recently proposed Mauve. In theory, Mauve measures an information-theoretic divergence between two probability distributions over strings: one representing the language generator under evaluation; the other representing the true natural language distribution. Mauve's authors argue that its success comes from the qualitative properties of their proposed divergence. Yet in practice, as this divergence is uncomputable, Mauve approximates it by measuring the divergence between multinomial distributions over clusters instead, where cluster assignments are attained by grouping strings based on a pretrained language model's embeddings. As we show, however, this is not a tight approximation---in either theory or practice. This begs the question: why does Mauve work so well? In this work, we show that \mauve was right for the wrong reasons, and that its newly proposed divergence is not necessary for its high performance. In fact, classical divergences paired with its proposed cluster-based approximation may actually serve as better evaluation metrics. We finish the paper with a probing analysis; this analysis leads us to conclude that---by encoding syntactic- and coherence-level features of text, while ignoring surface-level features---such cluster-based approximations to string distributions may simply be better for evaluating state-of-the-art language generators.