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Oral 6C

Halle A 2

Moderator: Masashi Sugiyama

Thu 9 May 6:45 a.m. PDT — 7:30 a.m. PDT


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Thu 9 May 6:45 - 7:00 PDT

Candidate Label Set Pruning: A Data-centric Perspective for Deep Partial-label Learning

Shuo He · Chaojie Wang · Guowu Yang · Lei Feng

Partial-label learning (PLL) allows each training example to be equipped with a set of candidate labels. Existing deep PLL research focuses on a \emph{learning-centric} perspective to design various training strategies for label disambiguation i.e., identifying the concealed true label from the candidate label set, for model training. However, when the size of the candidate label set becomes excessively large, these learning-centric strategies would be unable to find the true label for model training, thereby causing performance degradation. This motivates us to think from a \emph{data-centric} perspective and pioneer a new PLL-related task called candidate label set pruning (CLSP) that aims to filter out certain potential false candidate labels in a training-free manner. To this end, we propose the first CLSP method based on the inconsistency between the representation space and the candidate label space. Specifically, for each candidate label of a training instance, if it is not a candidate label of the instance's nearest neighbors in the representation space, then it has a high probability of being a false label. Based on this intuition, we employ a per-example pruning scheme that filters out a specific proportion of high-probability false candidate labels. Theoretically, we prove an upper bound of the pruning error rate and analyze how the quality of representations affects our proposed method. Empirically, extensive experiments on both benchmark-simulated and real-world PLL datasets validate the great value of CLSP to significantly improve many state-of-the-art deep PLL methods.

Thu 9 May 7:00 - 7:15 PDT

Honorable Mention
Towards a statistical theory of data selection under weak supervision

Germain Kolossov · Andrea Montanari · Pulkit Tandon

Given a sample of size N, it is often useful to select a subsample of smaller size n < N to be used for statistical estimation or learning. Such a data selection step is useful to reduce the requirements of data labeling and the computational complexity of learning. We assume to be given N unlabeled samples $x_{i}$, and to be given access to a 'surrogate model' that can predict labels $y_i$ better than random guessing. Our goal is to select a subset of the samples, to be denoted by {$x_{i}$}$_{i\in G}$, of size $|G|=n < N$. We then acquire labels for this set and we use them to train a model via regularized empirical risk minimization. By using a mixture of numerical experiments on real and synthetic data, and mathematical derivations under low- and high- dimensional asymptotics, we show that: (i) Data selection can be very effective, in particular beating training on the full sample in some cases; (ii) Certain popular choices in data selection methods (e.g. unbiased reweighted subsampling, or influence function-based subsampling) can be substantially suboptimal.

Thu 9 May 7:15 - 7:30 PDT

Outstanding Paper
Never Train from Scratch: Fair Comparison of Long-Sequence Models Requires Data-Driven Priors

Ido Amos · Jonathan Berant · Ankit Gupta

Modeling long-range dependencies across sequences is a longstanding goal in machine learning and has led to architectures, such as state space models, that dramatically outperform Transformers on long sequences. However, these impressive empirical gains have been by and large demonstrated on benchmarks (e.g. Long Range Arena), where models are randomly initialized and trained to predict a target label from an input sequence. In this work, we show that random initialization leads to gross overestimation of the differences between architectures and that pretraining with standard denoising objectives, using only the downstream task data, leads to dramatic gains across multiple architectures and to very small gaps between Transformers and state space models (SSMs). In stark contrast to prior works, we find vanilla Transformers to match the performance of S4 on Long Range Arena when properly pretrained, and we improve the best reported results of SSMs on the PathX-256 task by 20 absolute points. Subsequently, we analyze the utility of previously-proposed structured parameterizations for SSMs and show they become mostly redundant in the presence of data-driven initialization obtained through pretraining. Our work shows that, when evaluating different architectures on supervised tasks, incorporation of data-driven priors via pretraining is essential for reliable performance estimation, and can be done efficiently.