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Oral 1A

Halle A 8 - 9

Moderator: Erin Grant

Tue 7 May 1 a.m. PDT — 1:45 a.m. PDT


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Tue 7 May 1:00 - 1:15 PDT

Predictive auxiliary objectives in deep RL mimic learning in the brain

Ching Fang · Kimberly Stachenfeld

The ability to predict upcoming events has been hypothesized to comprise a key aspect of natural and machine cognition. This is supported by trends in deep reinforcement learning (RL), where self-supervised auxiliary objectives such as prediction are widely used to support representation learning and improve task performance. Here, we study the effects predictive auxiliary objectives have on representation learning across different modules of an RL system and how these mimic representational changes observed in the brain. We find that predictive objectives improve and stabilize learning particularly in resource-limited architectures, and we identify settings where longer predictive horizons better support representational transfer. Furthermore, we find that representational changes in this RL system bear a striking resemblance to changes in neural activity observed in the brain across various experiments. Specifically, we draw a connection between the auxiliary predictive model of the RL system and hippocampus, an area thought to learn a predictive model to support memory-guided behavior. We also connect the encoder network and the value learning network of the RL system to visual cortex and striatum in the brain, respectively. This work demonstrates how representation learning in deep RL systems can provide an interpretable framework for modeling multi-region interactions in the brain. The deep RL perspective taken here also suggests an additional role of the hippocampus in the brain-- that of an auxiliary learning system that benefits representation learning in other regions.

Tue 7 May 1:15 - 1:30 PDT

ClimODE: Climate and Weather Forecasting with Physics-informed Neural ODEs

Yogesh Verma · Markus Heinonen · Vikas Garg

Climate and weather prediction traditionally relies on complex numerical simulations of atmospheric physics. Deep learning approaches, such as transformers, have recently challenged the simulation paradigm with complex network forecasts. However, they often act as data-driven black-box models that neglect the underlying physics and lack uncertainty quantification. We address these limitations with ClimODE, a spatiotemporal continuous-time process that implements a key principle of advection from statistical mechanics, namely, weather changes due to a spatial movement of quantities over time. ClimODE models precise weather evolution with value-conserving dynamics, learning global weather transport as a neural flow, which also enables estimating the uncertainty in predictions. Our approach outperforms existing data-driven methods in global and regional forecasting with an order of magnitude smaller parameterization, establishing a new state of the art.

Tue 7 May 1:30 - 1:45 PDT

Outstanding Paper
Protein Discovery with Discrete Walk-Jump Sampling

Nathan Frey · Dan Berenberg · Karina Zadorozhny · Joseph Kleinhenz · Julien Lafrance-Vanasse · Isidro Hotzel · Yan Wu · Stephen Ra · Richard Bonneau · Kyunghyun Cho · Andreas Loukas · Vladimir Gligorijevic · Saeed Saremi

We resolve difficulties in training and sampling from a discrete generative model by learning a smoothed energy function, sampling from the smoothed data manifold with Langevin Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC), and projecting back to the true data manifold with one-step denoising. Our $\textit{Discrete Walk-Jump Sampling}$ formalism combines the contrastive divergence training of an energy-based model and improved sample quality of a score-based model, while simplifying training and sampling by requiring only a single noise level. We evaluate the robustness of our approach on generative modeling of antibody proteins and introduce the $\textit{distributional conformity score}$ to benchmark protein generative models. By optimizing and sampling from our models for the proposed distributional conformity score, 97-100\% of generated samples are successfully expressed and purified and 70\% of functional designs show equal or improved binding affinity compared to known functional antibodies on the first attempt in a single round of laboratory experiments. We also report the first demonstration of long-run fast-mixing MCMC chains where diverse antibody protein classes are visited in a single MCMC chain.