results for au:Poczos_B in:cs

- We consider the problem of learning a one-hidden-layer neural network with non-overlapping convolutional layer and ReLU activation function, i.e., $f(\mathbf{Z}; \mathbf{w}, \mathbf{a}) = \sum_j a_j\sigma(\mathbf{w}^\top\mathbf{Z}_j)$, in which both the convolutional weights $\mathbf{w}$ and the output weights $\mathbf{a}$ are parameters to be learned. We prove that with Gaussian input $\mathbf{Z}$, there is a spurious local minimum that is not a global mininum. Surprisingly, in the presence of local minimum, starting from randomly initialized weights, gradient descent with weight normalization can still be proven to recover the true parameters with constant probability (which can be boosted to arbitrarily high accuracy with multiple restarts). We also show that with constant probability, the same procedure could also converge to the spurious local minimum, showing that the local minimum plays a non-trivial role in the dynamics of gradient descent. Furthermore, a quantitative analysis shows that the gradient descent dynamics has two phases: it starts off slow, but converges much faster after several iterations.
- A grand challenge of the 21st century cosmology is to accurately estimate the cosmological parameters of our Universe. A major approach to estimating the cosmological parameters is to use the large-scale matter distribution of the Universe. Galaxy surveys provide the means to map out cosmic large-scale structure in three dimensions. Information about galaxy locations is typically summarized in a "single" function of scale, such as the galaxy correlation function or power-spectrum. We show that it is possible to estimate these cosmological parameters directly from the distribution of matter. This paper presents the application of deep 3D convolutional networks to volumetric representation of dark-matter simulations as well as the results obtained using a recently proposed distribution regression framework, showing that machine learning techniques are comparable to, and can sometimes outperform, maximum-likelihood point estimates using "cosmological models". This opens the way to estimating the parameters of our Universe with higher accuracy.
- A central challenge to using first-order methods for optimizing nonconvex problems is the presence of saddle points. First-order methods often get stuck at saddle points, greatly deteriorating their performance. Typically, to escape from saddles one has to use second-order methods. However, most works on second-order methods rely extensively on expensive Hessian-based computations, making them impractical in large-scale settings. To tackle this challenge, we introduce a generic framework that minimizes Hessian based computations while at the same time provably converging to second-order critical points. Our framework carefully alternates between a first-order and a second-order subroutine, using the latter only close to saddle points, and yields convergence results competitive to the state-of-the-art. Empirical results suggest that our strategy also enjoys a good practical performance.
- Sparse dictionary learning (SDL) has become a popular method for adaptively identifying parsimonious representations of a dataset, a fundamental problem in machine learning and signal processing. While most work on SDL assumes a training dataset of independent and identically distributed samples, a variant known as convolutional sparse dictionary learning (CSDL) relaxes this assumption, allowing more general sequential data sources, such as time series or other dependent data. Although recent work has explored the statistical properties of classical SDL, the statistical properties of CSDL remain unstudied. This paper begins to study this by identifying the minimax convergence rate of CSDL in terms of reconstruction risk, by both upper bounding the risk of an established CSDL estimator and proving a matching information-theoretic lower bound. Our results indicate that consistency in reconstruction risk is possible precisely in the `ultra-sparse' setting, in which the sparsity (i.e., the number of feature occurrences) is in $o(N)$ in terms of the length N of the training sequence. Notably, our results make very weak assumptions, allowing arbitrary dictionaries and dependent measurement noise. Finally, we verify our theoretical results with numerical experiments on synthetic data.
- This paper presents the recurrent estimation of distributions (RED) for modeling real-valued data in a semiparametric fashion. RED models make two novel uses of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) for density estimation of general real-valued data. First, RNNs are used to transform input covariates into a latent space to better capture conditional dependencies in inputs. After, an RNN is used to compute the conditional distributions of the latent covariates. The resulting model is efficient to train, compute, and sample from, whilst producing normalized pdfs. The effectiveness of RED is shown via several real-world data experiments. Our results show that RED models achieve a lower held-out negative log-likelihood than other neural network approaches across multiple dataset sizes and dimensionalities. Further context of the efficacy of RED is provided by considering anomaly detection tasks, where we also observe better performance over alternative models.
- Although gradient descent (GD) almost always escapes saddle points asymptotically [Lee et al., 2016], this paper shows that even with fairly natural random initialization schemes and non-pathological functions, GD can be significantly slowed down by saddle points, taking exponential time to escape. On the other hand, gradient descent with perturbations [Ge et al., 2015, Jin et al., 2017] is not slowed down by saddle points - it can find an approximate local minimizer in polynomial time. This result implies that GD is inherently slower than perturbed GD, and justifies the importance of adding perturbations for efficient non-convex optimization. While our focus is theoretical, we also present experiments that illustrate our theoretical findings.
- We design and analyse variations of the classical Thompson sampling (TS) procedure for Bayesian optimisation (BO) in settings where function evaluations are expensive, but can be performed in parallel. Our theoretical analysis shows that a direct application of the sequential Thompson sampling algorithm in either synchronous or asynchronous parallel settings yields a surprisingly powerful result: making $n$ evaluations distributed among $M$ workers is essentially equivalent to performing $n$ evaluations in sequence. Further, by modeling the time taken to complete a function evaluation, we show that, under a time constraint, asynchronously parallel TS achieves asymptotically lower regret than both the synchronous and sequential versions. These results are complemented by an experimental analysis, showing that asynchronous TS outperforms a suite of existing parallel BO algorithms in simulations and in a hyper-parameter tuning application in convolutional neural networks. In addition to these, the proposed procedure is conceptually and computationally much simpler than existing work for parallel BO.
- Generative moment matching network (GMMN) is a deep generative model that differs from Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) by replacing the discriminator in GAN with a two-sample test based on kernel maximum mean discrepancy (MMD). Although some theoretical guarantees of MMD have been studied, the empirical performance of GMMN is still not as competitive as that of GAN on challenging and large benchmark datasets. The computational efficiency of GMMN is also less desirable in comparison with GAN, partially due to its requirement for a rather large batch size during the training. In this paper, we propose to improve both the model expressiveness of GMMN and its computational efficiency by introducing adversarial kernel learning techniques, as the replacement of a fixed Gaussian kernel in the original GMMN. The new approach combines the key ideas in both GMMN and GAN, hence we name it MMD GAN. The new distance measure in MMD GAN is a meaningful loss that enjoys the advantage of weak topology and can be optimized via gradient descent with relatively small batch sizes. In our evaluation on multiple benchmark datasets, including MNIST, CIFAR- 10, CelebA and LSUN, the performance of MMD-GAN significantly outperforms GMMN, and is competitive with other representative GAN works.
- Large-scale kernel approximation is an important problem in machine learning research. Approaches using random Fourier features have become increasingly popular [Rahimi and Recht, 2007], where kernel approximation is treated as empirical mean estimation via Monte Carlo (MC) or Quasi-Monte Carlo (QMC) integration [Yang et al., 2014]. A limitation of the current approaches is that all the features receive an equal weight summing to 1. In this paper, we propose a novel shrinkage estimator from "Stein effect", which provides a data-driven weighting strategy for random features and enjoys theoretical justifications in terms of lowering the empirical risk. We further present an efficient randomized algorithm for large-scale applications of the proposed method. Our empirical results on six benchmark data sets demonstrate the advantageous performance of this approach over representative baselines in both kernel approximation and supervised learning tasks.
- Mar 30 2017 cs.CV arXiv:1703.09912v1While deep learning methods have achieved state-of-the-art performance in many challenging inverse problems like image inpainting and super-resolution, they invariably involve problem-specific training of the networks. Under this approach, different problems require different networks. In scenarios where we need to solve a wide variety of problems, e.g., on a mobile camera, it is inefficient and costly to use these specially-trained networks. On the other hand, traditional methods using signal priors can be used in all linear inverse problems but often have worse performance on challenging tasks. In this work, we provide a middle ground between the two kinds of methods --- we propose a general framework to train a single deep neural network that solves arbitrary linear inverse problems. The proposed network acts as a proximal operator for an optimization algorithm and projects non-image signals onto the set of natural images defined by the decision boundary of a classifier. In our experiments, the proposed framework demonstrates superior performance over traditional methods using a wavelet sparsity prior and achieves comparable performance of specially-trained networks on tasks including compressive sensing and pixel-wise inpainting.
- In this paper, we study the problem of designing objective functions for machine learning problems defined on finite \emphsets. In contrast to traditional objective functions defined for machine learning problems operating on finite dimensional vectors, the new objective functions we propose are operating on finite sets and are invariant to permutations. Such problems are widespread, ranging from estimation of population statistics \citeppoczos13aistats, via anomaly detection in piezometer data of embankment dams \citepJung15Exploration, to cosmology \citepNtampaka16Dynamical,Ravanbakhsh16ICML1. Our main theorem characterizes the permutation invariant objective functions and provides a family of functions to which any permutation invariant objective function must belong. This family of functions has a special structure which enables us to design a deep network architecture that can operate on sets and which can be deployed on a variety of scenarios including both unsupervised and supervised learning tasks. We demonstrate the applicability of our method on population statistic estimation, point cloud classification, set expansion, and image tagging.
- Sophisticated gated recurrent neural network architectures like LSTMs and GRUs have been shown to be highly effective in a myriad of applications. We develop an un-gated unit, the statistical recurrent unit (SRU), that is able to learn long term dependencies in data by only keeping moving averages of statistics. The SRU's architecture is simple, un-gated, and contains a comparable number of parameters to LSTMs; yet, SRUs perform favorably to more sophisticated LSTM and GRU alternatives, often outperforming one or both in various tasks. We show the efficacy of SRUs as compared to LSTMs and GRUs in an unbiased manner by optimizing respective architectures' hyperparameters in a Bayesian optimization scheme for both synthetic and real-world tasks.
- We study the problem of using i.i.d. samples from an unknown multivariate probability distribution $p$ to estimate the mutual information of $p$. This problem has recently received attention in two settings: (1) where $p$ is assumed to be Gaussian and (2) where $p$ is assumed only to lie in a large nonparametric smoothness class. Estimators proposed for the Gaussian case converge in high dimensions when the Gaussian assumption holds, but are brittle, failing dramatically when $p$ is not Gaussian. Estimators proposed for the nonparametric case fail to converge with realistic sample sizes except in very low dimensions. As a result, there is a lack of robust mutual information estimators for many realistic data. To address this, we propose estimators for mutual information when $p$ is assumed to be a nonparanormal (a.k.a., Gaussian copula) model, a semiparametric compromise between Gaussian and nonparametric extremes. Using theoretical bounds and experiments, we show these estimators strike a practical balance between robustness and scaling with dimensionality.
- We propose to study equivariance in deep neural networks through parameter symmetries. In particular, given a group $\mathcal{G}$ that acts discretely on the input and output of a standard neural network layer $\phi_{W}: \Re^{M} \to \Re^{N}$, we show that $\phi_{W}$ is equivariant with respect to $\mathcal{G}$-action iff $\mathcal{G}$ explains the symmetries of the network parameters $W$. Inspired by this observation, we then propose two parameter-sharing schemes to induce the desirable symmetry on $W$. Our procedures for tying the parameters achieve $\mathcal{G}$-equivariance and, under some conditions on the action of $\mathcal{G}$, they guarantee sensitivity to all other permutation groups outside $\mathcal{G}$.
- We consider the Hypothesis Transfer Learning (HTL) problem where one incorporates a hypothesis trained on the source domain into the learning procedure of the target domain. Existing theoretical analysis either only studies specific algorithms or only presents upper bounds on the generalization error but not on the excess risk. In this paper, we propose a unified algorithm-dependent framework for HTL through a novel notion of transformation function, which characterizes the relation between the source and the target domains. We conduct a general risk analysis of this framework and in particular, we show for the first time, if two domains are related, HTL enjoys faster convergence rates of excess risks for Kernel Smoothing and Kernel Ridge Regression than those of the classical non-transfer learning settings. Experiments on real world data demonstrate the effectiveness of our framework.
- We introduce a simple permutation equivariant layer for deep learning with set structure.This type of layer, obtained by parameter-sharing, has a simple implementation and linear-time complexity in the size of each set. We use deep permutation-invariant networks to perform point-could classification and MNIST-digit summation, where in both cases the output is invariant to permutations of the input. In a semi-supervised setting, where the goal is make predictions for each instance within a set, we demonstrate the usefulness of this type of layer in set-outlier detection as well as semi-supervised learning with clustering side-information.
- Restricted Boltzmann Machine (RBM) is a bipartite graphical model that is used as the building block in energy-based deep generative models. Due to numerical stability and quantifiability of the likelihood, RBM is commonly used with Bernoulli units. Here, we consider an alternative member of exponential family RBM with leaky rectified linear units -- called leaky RBM. We first study the joint and marginal distributions of leaky RBM under different leakiness, which provides us important insights by connecting the leaky RBM model and truncated Gaussian distributions. The connection leads us to a simple yet efficient method for sampling from this model, where the basic idea is to anneal the leakiness rather than the energy; -- i.e., start from a fully Gaussian/Linear unit and gradually decrease the leakiness over iterations. This serves as an alternative to the annealing of the temperature parameter and enables numerical estimation of the likelihood that are more efficient and more accurate than the commonly used annealed importance sampling (AIS). We further demonstrate that the proposed sampling algorithm enjoys faster mixing property than contrastive divergence algorithm, which benefits the training without any additional computational cost.
- Nov 01 2016 cs.LG arXiv:1610.09726v1We study a variant of the classical stochastic $K$-armed bandit where observing the outcome of each arm is expensive, but cheap approximations to this outcome are available. For example, in online advertising the performance of an ad can be approximated by displaying it for shorter time periods or to narrower audiences. We formalise this task as a multi-fidelity bandit, where, at each time step, the forecaster may choose to play an arm at any one of $M$ fidelities. The highest fidelity (desired outcome) expends cost $\lambda^{(m)}$. The $m^{\text{th}}$ fidelity (an approximation) expends $\lambda^{(m)} < \lambda^{(M)}$ and returns a biased estimate of the highest fidelity. We develop MF-UCB, a novel upper confidence bound procedure for this setting and prove that it naturally adapts to the sequence of available approximations and costs thus attaining better regret than naive strategies which ignore the approximations. For instance, in the above online advertising example, MF-UCB would use the lower fidelities to quickly eliminate suboptimal ads and reserve the larger expensive experiments on a small set of promising candidates. We complement this result with a lower bound and show that MF-UCB is nearly optimal under certain conditions.
- Understanding the nature of dark energy, the mysterious force driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe, is a major challenge of modern cosmology. The next generation of cosmological surveys, specifically designed to address this issue, rely on accurate measurements of the apparent shapes of distant galaxies. However, shape measurement methods suffer from various unavoidable biases and therefore will rely on a precise calibration to meet the accuracy requirements of the science analysis. This calibration process remains an open challenge as it requires large sets of high quality galaxy images. To this end, we study the application of deep conditional generative models in generating realistic galaxy images. In particular we consider variations on conditional variational autoencoder and introduce a new adversarial objective for training of conditional generative networks. Our results suggest a reliable alternative to the acquisition of expensive high quality observations for generating the calibration data needed by the next generation of cosmological surveys.
- In this paper, we present two new communication-efficient methods for distributed minimization of an average of functions. The first algorithm is an inexact variant of the DANE algorithm that allows any local algorithm to return an approximate solution to a local subproblem. We show that such a strategy does not affect the theoretical guarantees of DANE significantly. In fact, our approach can be viewed as a robustification strategy since the method is substantially better behaved than DANE on data partition arising in practice. It is well known that DANE algorithm does not match the communication complexity lower bounds. To bridge this gap, we propose an accelerated variant of the first method, called AIDE, that not only matches the communication lower bounds but can also be implemented using a purely first-order oracle. Our empirical results show that AIDE is superior to other communication efficient algorithms in settings that naturally arise in machine learning applications.
- We study Frank-Wolfe methods for nonconvex stochastic and finite-sum optimization problems. Frank-Wolfe methods (in the convex case) have gained tremendous recent interest in machine learning and optimization communities due to their projection-free property and their ability to exploit structured constraints. However, our understanding of these algorithms in the nonconvex setting is fairly limited. In this paper, we propose nonconvex stochastic Frank-Wolfe methods and analyze their convergence properties. For objective functions that decompose into a finite-sum, we leverage ideas from variance reduction techniques for convex optimization to obtain new variance reduced nonconvex Frank-Wolfe methods that have provably faster convergence than the classical Frank-Wolfe method. Finally, we show that the faster convergence rates of our variance reduced methods also translate into improved convergence rates for the stochastic setting.
- We analyze stochastic algorithms for optimizing nonconvex, nonsmooth finite-sum problems, where the nonconvex part is smooth and the nonsmooth part is convex. Surprisingly, unlike the smooth case, our knowledge of this fundamental problem is very limited. For example, it is not known whether the proximal stochastic gradient method with constant minibatch converges to a stationary point. To tackle this issue, we develop fast stochastic algorithms that provably converge to a stationary point for constant minibatches. Furthermore, using a variant of these algorithms, we show provably faster convergence than batch proximal gradient descent. Finally, we prove global linear convergence rate for an interesting subclass of nonsmooth nonconvex functions, that subsumes several recent works. This paper builds upon our recent series of papers on fast stochastic methods for smooth nonconvex optimization [22, 23], with a novel analysis for nonconvex and nonsmooth functions.
- Sobolev quantities (norms, inner products, and distances) of probability density functions are important in the theory of nonparametric statistics, but have rarely been used in practice, partly due to a lack of practical estimators. They also include, as special cases, $L^2$ quantities which are used in many applications. We propose and analyze a family of estimators for Sobolev quantities of unknown probability density functions. We bound the bias and variance of our estimators over finite samples, finding that they are generally minimax rate-optimal. Our estimators are significantly more computationally tractable than previous estimators, and exhibit a statistical/computational trade-off allowing them to adapt to computational constraints. We also draw theoretical connections to recent work on fast two-sample testing. Finally, we empirically validate our estimators on synthetic data.
- Estimating entropy and mutual information consistently is important for many machine learning applications. The Kozachenko-Leonenko (KL) estimator (Kozachenko & Leonenko, 1987) is a widely used nonparametric estimator for the entropy of multivariate continuous random variables, as well as the basis of the mutual information estimator of Kraskov et al. (2004), perhaps the most widely used estimator of mutual information in this setting. Despite the practical importance of these estimators, major theoretical questions regarding their finite-sample behavior remain open. This paper proves finite-sample bounds on the bias and variance of the KL estimator, showing that it achieves the minimax convergence rate for certain classes of smooth functions. In proving these bounds, we analyze finite-sample behavior of k-nearest neighbors (k-NN) distance statistics (on which the KL estimator is based). We derive concentration inequalities for k-NN distances and a general expectation bound for statistics of k-NN distances, which may be useful for other analyses of k-NN methods.
- Estimating divergences in a consistent way is of great importance in many machine learning tasks. Although this is a fundamental problem in nonparametric statistics, to the best of our knowledge there has been no finite sample exponential inequality convergence bound derived for any divergence estimators. The main contribution of our work is to provide such a bound for an estimator of Rényi-$\alpha$ divergence for a smooth Hölder class of densities on the $d$-dimensional unit cube $[0, 1]^d$. We also illustrate our theoretical results with a numerical experiment.
- We analyze a fast incremental aggregated gradient method for optimizing nonconvex problems of the form $\min_x \sum_i f_i(x)$. Specifically, we analyze the SAGA algorithm within an Incremental First-order Oracle framework, and show that it converges to a stationary point provably faster than both gradient descent and stochastic gradient descent. We also discuss a Polyak's special class of nonconvex problems for which SAGA converges at a linear rate to the global optimum. Finally, we analyze the practically valuable regularized and minibatch variants of SAGA. To our knowledge, this paper presents the first analysis of fast convergence for an incremental aggregated gradient method for nonconvex problems.
- We study nonconvex finite-sum problems and analyze stochastic variance reduced gradient (SVRG) methods for them. SVRG and related methods have recently surged into prominence for convex optimization given their edge over stochastic gradient descent (SGD); but their theoretical analysis almost exclusively assumes convexity. In contrast, we prove non-asymptotic rates of convergence (to stationary points) of SVRG for nonconvex optimization, and show that it is provably faster than SGD and gradient descent. We also analyze a subclass of nonconvex problems on which SVRG attains linear convergence to the global optimum. We extend our analysis to mini-batch variants of SVRG, showing (theoretical) linear speedup due to mini-batching in parallel settings.
- In many scientific and engineering applications, we are tasked with the optimisation of an expensive to evaluate black box function $f$. Traditional settings for this problem assume just the availability of this single function. However, in many cases, cheap approximations to $f$ may be obtainable. For example, the expensive real world behaviour of a robot can be approximated by a cheap computer simulation. We can use these approximations to eliminate low function value regions cheaply and use the expensive evaluations of $f$ in a small but promising region and speedily identify the optimum. We formalise this task as a \emphmulti-fidelity bandit problem where the target function and its approximations are sampled from a Gaussian process. We develop MF-GP-UCB, a novel method based on upper confidence bound techniques. In our theoretical analysis we demonstrate that it exhibits precisely the above behaviour, and achieves better regret than strategies which ignore multi-fidelity information. Empirically, MF-GP-UCB outperforms such naive strategies and other multi-fidelity methods on several synthetic and real experiments.
- We propose a Laplace approximation that creates a stochastic unit from any smooth monotonic activation function, using only Gaussian noise. This paper investigates the application of this stochastic approximation in training a family of Restricted Boltzmann Machines (RBM) that are closely linked to Bregman divergences. This family, that we call exponential family RBM (Exp-RBM), is a subset of the exponential family Harmoniums that expresses family members through a choice of smooth monotonic non-linearity for each neuron. Using contrastive divergence along with our Gaussian approximation, we show that Exp-RBM can learn useful representations using novel stochastic units.
- The use of distributions and high-level features from deep architecture has become commonplace in modern computer vision. Both of these methodologies have separately achieved a great deal of success in many computer vision tasks. However, there has been little work attempting to leverage the power of these to methodologies jointly. To this end, this paper presents the Deep Mean Maps (DMMs) framework, a novel family of methods to non-parametrically represent distributions of features in convolutional neural network models. DMMs are able to both classify images using the distribution of top-level features, and to tune the top-level features for performing this task. We show how to implement DMMs using a special mean map layer composed of typical CNN operations, making both forward and backward propagation simple. We illustrate the efficacy of DMMs at analyzing distributional patterns in image data in a synthetic data experiment. We also show that we extending existing deep architectures with DMMs improves the performance of existing CNNs on several challenging real-world datasets.
- Boolean matrix factorization and Boolean matrix completion from noisy observations are desirable unsupervised data-analysis methods due to their interpretability, but hard to perform due to their NP-hardness. We treat these problems as maximum a posteriori inference problems in a graphical model and present a message passing approach that scales linearly with the number of observations and factors. Our empirical study demonstrates that message passing is able to recover low-rank Boolean matrices, in the boundaries of theoretically possible recovery and compares favorably with state-of-the-art in real-world applications, such collaborative filtering with large-scale Boolean data.
- Nonparametric two sample testing is a decision theoretic problem that involves identifying differences between two random variables without making parametric assumptions about their underlying distributions. We refer to the most common settings as mean difference alternatives (MDA), for testing differences only in first moments, and general difference alternatives (GDA), which is about testing for any difference in distributions. A large number of test statistics have been proposed for both these settings. This paper connects three classes of statistics - high dimensional variants of Hotelling's t-test, statistics based on Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Spaces, and energy statistics based on pairwise distances. We ask the question: how much statistical power do popular kernel and distance based tests for GDA have when the unknown distributions differ in their means, compared to specialized tests for MDA? We formally characterize the power of popular tests for GDA like the Maximum Mean Discrepancy with the Gaussian kernel (gMMD) and bandwidth-dependent variants of the Energy Distance with the Euclidean norm (eED) in the high-dimensional MDA regime. Some practically important properties include (a) eED and gMMD have asymptotically equal power; furthermore they enjoy a free lunch because, while they are additionally consistent for GDA, they also have the same power as specialized high-dimensional t-test variants for MDA. All these tests are asymptotically optimal (including matching constants) under MDA for spherical covariances, according to simple lower bounds, (b) The power of gMMD is independent of the kernel bandwidth, as long as it is larger than the choice made by the median heuristic, (c) There is a clear and smooth computation-statistics tradeoff for linear-time, subquadratic-time and quadratic-time versions of these tests, with more computation resulting in higher power.
- We study optimization algorithms based on variance reduction for stochastic gradient descent (SGD). Remarkable recent progress has been made in this direction through development of algorithms like SAG, SVRG, SAGA. These algorithms have been shown to outperform SGD, both theoretically and empirically. However, asynchronous versions of these algorithms---a crucial requirement for modern large-scale applications---have not been studied. We bridge this gap by presenting a unifying framework for many variance reduction techniques. Subsequently, we propose an asynchronous algorithm grounded in our framework, and prove its fast convergence. An important consequence of our general approach is that it yields asynchronous versions of variance reduction algorithms such as SVRG and SAGA as a byproduct. Our method achieves near linear speedup in sparse settings common to machine learning. We demonstrate the empirical performance of our method through a concrete realization of asynchronous SVRG.
- In active learning, the user sequentially chooses values for feature $X$ and an oracle returns the corresponding label $Y$. In this paper, we consider the effect of feature noise in active learning, which could arise either because $X$ itself is being measured, or it is corrupted in transmission to the oracle, or the oracle returns the label of a noisy version of the query point. In statistics, feature noise is known as "errors in variables" and has been studied extensively in non-active settings. However, the effect of feature noise in active learning has not been studied before. We consider the well-known Berkson errors-in-variables model with additive uniform noise of width $\sigma$. Our simple but revealing setting is that of one-dimensional binary classification setting where the goal is to learn a threshold (point where the probability of a $+$ label crosses half). We deal with regression functions that are antisymmetric in a region of size $\sigma$ around the threshold and also satisfy Tsybakov's margin condition around the threshold. We prove minimax lower and upper bounds which demonstrate that when $\sigma$ is smaller than the minimiax active/passive noiseless error derived in \citeCN07, then noise has no effect on the rates and one achieves the same noiseless rates. For larger $\sigma$, the \textitunflattening of the regression function on convolution with uniform noise, along with its local antisymmetry around the threshold, together yield a behaviour where noise \textitappears to be beneficial. Our key result is that active learning can buy significant improvement over a passive strategy even in the presence of feature noise.
- Bayesian Optimisation (BO) is a technique used in optimising a $D$-dimensional function which is typically expensive to evaluate. While there have been many successes for BO in low dimensions, scaling it to high dimensions has been notoriously difficult. Existing literature on the topic are under very restrictive settings. In this paper, we identify two key challenges in this endeavour. We tackle these challenges by assuming an additive structure for the function. This setting is substantially more expressive and contains a richer class of functions than previous work. We prove that, for additive functions the regret has only linear dependence on $D$ even though the function depends on all $D$ dimensions. We also demonstrate several other statistical and computational benefits in our framework. Via synthetic examples, a scientific simulation and a face detection problem we demonstrate that our method outperforms naive BO on additive functions and on several examples where the function is not additive.
- Nonparametric two sample testing deals with the question of consistently deciding if two distributions are different, given samples from both, without making any parametric assumptions about the form of the distributions. The current literature is split into two kinds of tests - those which are consistent without any assumptions about how the distributions may differ (\textitgeneral alternatives), and those which are designed to specifically test easier alternatives, like a difference in means (\textitmean-shift alternatives). The main contribution of this paper is to explicitly characterize the power of a popular nonparametric two sample test, designed for general alternatives, under a mean-shift alternative in the high-dimensional setting. Specifically, we explicitly derive the power of the linear-time Maximum Mean Discrepancy statistic using the Gaussian kernel, where the dimension and sample size can both tend to infinity at any rate, and the two distributions differ in their means. As a corollary, we find that if the signal-to-noise ratio is held constant, then the test's power goes to one if the number of samples increases faster than the dimension increases. This is the first explicit power derivation for a general nonparametric test in the high-dimensional setting, and also the first analysis of how tests designed for general alternatives perform when faced with easier ones.
- We focus on the distribution regression problem: regressing to vector-valued outputs from probability measures. Many important machine learning and statistical tasks fit into this framework, including multi-instance learning and point estimation problems without analytical solution (such as hyperparameter or entropy estimation). Despite the large number of available heuristics in the literature, the inherent two-stage sampled nature of the problem makes the theoretical analysis quite challenging, since in practice only samples from sampled distributions are observable, and the estimates have to rely on similarities computed between sets of points. To the best of our knowledge, the only existing technique with consistency guarantees for distribution regression requires kernel density estimation as an intermediate step (which often performs poorly in practice), and the domain of the distributions to be compact Euclidean. In this paper, we study a simple, analytically computable, ridge regression-based alternative to distribution regression, where we embed the distributions to a reproducing kernel Hilbert space, and learn the regressor from the embeddings to the outputs. Our main contribution is to prove that this scheme is consistent in the two-stage sampled setup under mild conditions (on separable topological domains enriched with kernels): we present an exact computational-statistical efficiency trade-off analysis showing that our estimator is able to match the one-stage sampled minimax optimal rate [Caponnetto and De Vito, 2007; Steinwart et al., 2009]. This result answers a 17-year-old open question, establishing the consistency of the classical set kernel [Haussler, 1999; Gaertner et. al, 2002] in regression. We also cover consistency for more recent kernels on distributions, including those due to [Christmann and Steinwart, 2010].
- We analyze the problem of regression when both input covariates and output responses are functions from a nonparametric function class. Function to function regression (FFR) covers a large range of interesting applications including time-series prediction problems, and also more general tasks like studying a mapping between two separate types of distributions. However, previous nonparametric estimators for FFR type problems scale badly computationally with the number of input/output pairs in a data-set. Given the complexity of a mapping between general functions it may be necessary to consider large data-sets in order to achieve a low estimation risk. To address this issue, we develop a novel scalable nonparametric estimator, the Triple-Basis Estimator (3BE), which is capable of operating over datasets with many instances. To the best of our knowledge, the 3BE is the first nonparametric FFR estimator that can scale to massive datasets. We analyze the 3BE's risk and derive an upperbound rate. Furthermore, we show an improvement of several orders of magnitude in terms of prediction speed and a reduction in error over previous estimators in various real-world data-sets.
- This paper is about two related decision theoretic problems, nonparametric two-sample testing and independence testing. There is a belief that two recently proposed solutions, based on kernels and distances between pairs of points, behave well in high-dimensional settings. We identify different sources of misconception that give rise to the above belief. Specifically, we differentiate the hardness of estimation of test statistics from the hardness of testing whether these statistics are zero or not, and explicitly discuss a notion of "fair" alternative hypotheses for these problems as dimension increases. We then demonstrate that the power of these tests actually drops polynomially with increasing dimension against fair alternatives. We end with some theoretical insights and shed light on the \textitmedian heuristic for kernel bandwidth selection. Our work advances the current understanding of the power of modern nonparametric hypothesis tests in high dimensions.
- We focus on the distribution regression problem: regressing to a real-valued response from a probability distribution. Although there exist a large number of similarity measures between distributions, very little is known about their generalization performance in specific learning tasks. Learning problems formulated on distributions have an inherent two-stage sampled difficulty: in practice only samples from sampled distributions are observable, and one has to build an estimate on similarities computed between sets of points. To the best of our knowledge, the only existing method with consistency guarantees for distribution regression requires kernel density estimation as an intermediate step (which suffers from slow convergence issues in high dimensions), and the domain of the distributions to be compact Euclidean. In this paper, we provide theoretical guarantees for a remarkably simple algorithmic alternative to solve the distribution regression problem: embed the distributions to a reproducing kernel Hilbert space, and learn a ridge regressor from the embeddings to the outputs. Our main contribution is to prove the consistency of this technique in the two-stage sampled setting under mild conditions (on separable, topological domains endowed with kernels). For a given total number of observations, we derive convergence rates as an explicit function of the problem difficulty. As a special case, we answer a 15-year-old open question: we establish the consistency of the classical set kernel [Haussler, 1999; Gartner et. al, 2002] in regression, and cover more recent kernels on distributions, including those due to [Christmann and Steinwart, 2010].
- We present the FuSSO, a functional analogue to the LASSO, that efficiently finds a sparse set of functional input covariates to regress a real-valued response against. The FuSSO does so in a semi-parametric fashion, making no parametric assumptions about the nature of input functional covariates and assuming a linear form to the mapping of functional covariates to the response. We provide a statistical backing for use of the FuSSO via proof of asymptotic sparsistency under various conditions. Furthermore, we observe good results on both synthetic and real-world data.
- We study the problem of distribution to real-value regression, where one aims to regress a mapping $f$ that takes in a distribution input covariate $P\in \mathcal{I}$ (for a non-parametric family of distributions $\mathcal{I}$) and outputs a real-valued response $Y=f(P) + \epsilon$. This setting was recently studied, and a "Kernel-Kernel" estimator was introduced and shown to have a polynomial rate of convergence. However, evaluating a new prediction with the Kernel-Kernel estimator scales as $\Omega(N)$. This causes the difficult situation where a large amount of data may be necessary for a low estimation risk, but the computation cost of estimation becomes infeasible when the data-set is too large. To this end, we propose the Double-Basis estimator, which looks to alleviate this big data problem in two ways: first, the Double-Basis estimator is shown to have a computation complexity that is independent of the number of of instances $N$ when evaluating new predictions after training; secondly, the Double-Basis estimator is shown to have a fast rate of convergence for a general class of mappings $f\in\mathcal{F}$.
- `Distribution regression' refers to the situation where a response Y depends on a covariate P where P is a probability distribution. The model is Y=f(P) + mu where f is an unknown regression function and mu is a random error. Typically, we do not observe P directly, but rather, we observe a sample from P. In this paper we develop theory and methods for distribution-free versions of distribution regression. This means that we do not make distributional assumptions about the error term mu and covariate P. We prove that when the effective dimension is small enough (as measured by the doubling dimension), then the excess prediction risk converges to zero with a polynomial rate.
- The paper presents a new copula based method for measuring dependence between random variables. Our approach extends the Maximum Mean Discrepancy to the copula of the joint distribution. We prove that this approach has several advantageous properties. Similarly to Shannon mutual information, the proposed dependence measure is invariant to any strictly increasing transformation of the marginal variables. This is important in many applications, for example in feature selection. The estimator is consistent, robust to outliers, and uses rank statistics only. We derive upper bounds on the convergence rate and propose independence tests too. We illustrate the theoretical contributions through a series of experiments in feature selection and low-dimensional embedding of distributions.
- Low-dimensional embedding, manifold learning, clustering, classification, and anomaly detection are among the most important problems in machine learning. The existing methods usually consider the case when each instance has a fixed, finite-dimensional feature representation. Here we consider a different setting. We assume that each instance corresponds to a continuous probability distribution. These distributions are unknown, but we are given some i.i.d. samples from each distribution. Our goal is to estimate the distances between these distributions and use these distances to perform low-dimensional embedding, clustering/classification, or anomaly detection for the distributions. We present estimation algorithms, describe how to apply them for machine learning tasks on distributions, and show empirical results on synthetic data, real word images, and astronomical data sets.
- Most machine learning algorithms, such as classification or regression, treat the individual data point as the object of interest. Here we consider extending machine learning algorithms to operate on groups of data points. We suggest treating a group of data points as an i.i.d. sample set from an underlying feature distribution for that group. Our approach employs kernel machines with a kernel on i.i.d. sample sets of vectors. We define certain kernel functions on pairs of distributions, and then use a nonparametric estimator to consistently estimate those functions based on sample sets. The projection of the estimated Gram matrix to the cone of symmetric positive semi-definite matrices enables us to use kernel machines for classification, regression, anomaly detection, and low-dimensional embedding in the space of distributions. We present several numerical experiments both on real and simulated datasets to demonstrate the advantages of our new approach.
- Structured sparse coding and the related structured dictionary learning problems are novel research areas in machine learning. In this paper we present a new application of structured dictionary learning for collaborative filtering based recommender systems. Our extensive numerical experiments demonstrate that the presented technique outperforms its state-of-the-art competitors and has several advantages over approaches that do not put structured constraints on the dictionary elements.
- We present simple and computationally efficient nonparametric estimators of Rényi entropy and mutual information based on an i.i.d. sample drawn from an unknown, absolutely continuous distribution over $\R^d$. The estimators are calculated as the sum of $p$-th powers of the Euclidean lengths of the edges of the `generalized nearest-neighbor' graph of the sample and the empirical copula of the sample respectively. For the first time, we prove the almost sure consistency of these estimators and upper bounds on their rates of convergence, the latter of which under the assumption that the density underlying the sample is Lipschitz continuous. Experiments demonstrate their usefulness in independent subspace analysis.
- We introduce a novel online Bayesian method for the identification of a family of noisy recurrent neural networks (RNNs). We develop Bayesian active learning technique in order to optimize the interrogating stimuli given past experiences. In particular, we consider the unknown parameters as stochastic variables and use the D-optimality principle, also known as `\emphinfomax method', to choose optimal stimuli. We apply a greedy technique to maximize the information gain concerning network parameters at each time step. We also derive the D-optimal estimation of the additive noise that perturbs the dynamical system of the RNN. Our analytical results are approximation-free. The analytic derivation gives rise to attractive quadratic update rules.
- Mar 03 2003 cs.AI arXiv:cs/0302039v1There is a growing interest in using Kalman-filter models for brain modelling. In turn, it is of considerable importance to represent Kalman-filter in connectionist forms with local Hebbian learning rules. To our best knowledge, Kalman-filter has not been given such local representation. It seems that the main obstacle is the dynamic adaptation of the Kalman-gain. Here, a connectionist representation is presented, which is derived by means of the recursive prediction error method. We show that this method gives rise to attractive local learning rules and can adapt the Kalman-gain.