Oral 2 Track 2: General Machine Learning



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Mon 1 May 6:00 - 6:10 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
The Symmetric Generalized Eigenvalue Problem as a Nash Equilibrium

Ian Gemp · Charlie Chen · Brian McWilliams

The symmetric generalized eigenvalue problem (SGEP) is a fundamental concept in numerical linear algebra. It captures the solution of many classical machine learning problems such as canonical correlation analysis, independent components analysis, partial least squares, linear discriminant analysis, principal components and others. Despite this, most general solvers are prohibitively expensive when dealing with *streaming data sets* (i.e., minibatches) and research has instead concentrated on finding efficient solutions to specific problem instances. In this work, we develop a game-theoretic formulation of the top-$k$ SGEP whose Nash equilibrium is the set of generalized eigenvectors. We also present a parallelizable algorithm with guaranteed asymptotic convergence to the Nash. Current state-of-the-art methods require $\mathcal{O}(d^2k)$ runtime complexity per iteration which is prohibitively expensive when the number of dimensions ($d$) is large. We show how to modify this parallel approach to achieve $\mathcal{O}(dk)$ runtime complexity. Empirically we demonstrate that this resulting algorithm is able to solve a variety of SGEP problem instances including a large-scale analysis of neural network activations.

Mon 1 May 6:10 - 6:20 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Metadata Archaeology: Unearthing Data Subsets by Leveraging Training Dynamics

Muhammad Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui · Nitarshan Rajkumar · Tegan Maharaj · David Krueger · Sara Hooker

Modern machine learning research relies on relatively few carefully curated datasets. Even in these datasets, and typically in `untidy' or raw data, practitioners are faced with significant issues of data quality and diversity which can be prohibitively labor intensive to address. Existing methods for dealing with these challenges tend to make strong assumptions about the particular issues at play, and often require a priori knowledge or metadata such as domain labels. Our work is orthogonal to these methods: we instead focus on providing a unified and efficient framework for Metadata Archaeology -- uncovering and inferring metadata of examples in a dataset. We curate different subsets of data that might exist in a dataset (e.g. mislabeled, atypical, or out-of-distribution examples) using simple transformations, and leverage differences in learning dynamics between these probe suites to infer metadata of interest. Our method is on par with far more sophisticated mitigation methods across different tasks: identifying and correcting mislabeled examples, classifying minority-group samples, prioritizing points relevant for training and enabling scalable human auditing of relevant examples.

Mon 1 May 6:20 - 6:30 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 5% paper
Targeted Hyperparameter Optimization with Lexicographic Preferences Over Multiple Objectives

Shaokun Zhang · Feiran Jia · Chi Wang · Qingyun Wu

Motivated by various practical applications, we propose a novel and general formulation of targeted multi-objective hyperparameter optimization. Our formulation allows a clear specification of an automatable optimization goal using lexicographic preference over multiple objectives. We then propose a randomized directed search method named LexiFlow to solve this problem. We demonstrate the strong empirical performance of the proposed algorithm in multiple hyperparameter optimization tasks.

Mon 1 May 6:40 - 6:50 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
LAVA: Data Valuation without Pre-Specified Learning Algorithms

Hoang Anh Just · Feiyang Kang · Tianhao Wang · Yi Zeng · Myeongseob Ko · Ming Jin · Ruoxi Jia

Traditionally, data valuation is posed as a problem of equitably splitting the validation performance of a learning algorithm among the training data. As a result, the calculated data values depend on many design choices of the underlying learning algorithm. However, this dependence is undesirable for many use cases of data valuation, such as setting priorities over different data sources in a data acquisition process and informing pricing mechanisms in a data marketplace. In these scenarios, data needs to be valued before the actual analysis and the choice of the learning algorithm is still undetermined then. Another side-effect of the dependence is that to assess the value of individual points, one needs to re-run the learning algorithm with and without a point, which incurs a large computation burden. This work leapfrogs over the current limits of data valuation methods by introducing a new framework that can value training data in a way that is oblivious to the downstream learning algorithm. Our main results are as follows. $\textbf{(1)}$ We develop a proxy for the validation performance associated with a training set based on a non-conventional $\textit{class-wise}$ $\textit{Wasserstein distance}$ between the training and the validation set. We show that the distance characterizes the upper bound of the validation performance for any given model under certain Lipschitz conditions. $\textbf{(2)}$ We develop a novel method to value individual data based on the sensitivity analysis of the $\textit{class-wise}$ Wasserstein distance. Importantly, these values can be directly obtained $\textit{for free}$ from the output of off-the-shelf optimization solvers once the Wasserstein distance is computed. $\textbf{(3) }$We evaluate our new data valuation framework over various use cases related to detecting low-quality dataand show that, surprisingly, the learning-agnostic feature of our framework enables a $\textit{significant improvement}$ over the state-of-the-art performance while being $\textit{orders of magnitude faster.}$

Mon 1 May 7:00 - 7:10 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Learning a Data-Driven Policy Network for Pre-Training Automated Feature Engineering

Liyao Li · Haobo Wang · Liangyu Zha · Qingyi Huang · Sai Wu · Gang Chen · Junbo Zhao

Feature engineering is widely acknowledged to be pivotal in tabular data analysis and prediction. Automated feature engineering (AutoFE) emerged to automate this process managed by experienced data scientists and engineers conventionally. In this area, most — if not all — prior work adopted an identical framework from the neural architecture search (NAS) method. While feasible, we posit that the NAS framework very much contradicts the way how human experts cope with the data since the inherent Markov decision process (MDP) setup differs. We point out that its data-unobserved setup consequentially results in an incapability to generalize across different datasets as well as also high computational cost. This paper proposes a novel AutoFE framework Feature Set Data-Driven Search (FETCH), a pipeline mainly for feature generation and selection. Notably, FETCH is built on a brand-new data-driven MDP setup using the tabular dataset as the state fed into the policy network. Further, we posit that the crucial merit of FETCH is its transferability where the yielded policy network trained on a variety of datasets is indeed capable to enact feature engineering on unseen data, without requiring additional exploration. To the best of our knowledge, this is a pioneer attempt to build a tabular data pre-training paradigm via AutoFE. Extensive experiments show that FETCH systematically surpasses the current state-of-the-art AutoFE methods and validates the transferability of AutoFE pre-training.

Mon 1 May 7:10 - 7:20 PDT

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.