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Benoit Dherin

Machine Learning Engineer
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    On a continuous time model of gradient descent dynamics and instability in deep learning
    Mihaela Rosca
    Yan Wu
    Chongli Qin
    Transaction of Machine Learning Research (2023)
    Preview abstract The recipe behind the success of deep learning has been the combination of neural networks and gradient-based optimization. Understanding the behavior of gradient descent however, and particularly its instability, has lagged behind its empirical success. To add to the theoretical tools available to study gradient descent we propose the principal flow (PF), a continuous time flow that approximates gradient descent dynamics. To our knowledge, the PF is the only continuous flow that captures the divergent and oscillatory behaviors of gradient descent, including escaping local minima and saddle points. Through its dependence on the eigendecomposition of the Hessian the PF sheds light on the recently observed edge of stability phenomena in deep learning. Using our new understanding of instability we propose a learning rate adaptation method which enables us to control the trade-off between training stability and test set evaluation performance. View details
    Morse Neural Networks for Uncertainty Quantification
    Clara Huiyi Hu
    ICML 2023 Workshop on Structured Probabilistic Inference & Generative Modeling (2023)
    Preview abstract We introduce a new deep generative model useful for uncertainty quantification: the Morse neural network, which generalizes the unnormalized Gaussian densities to have modes of high-dimensional submanifolds instead of just discrete points. Fitting the Morse neural network via a KL-divergence loss yields 1) a (unnormalized) generative density, 2) an OOD detector, 3) a calibration temperature, 4) a generative sampler, along with in the supervised case 6) a distance aware-classifier. The Morse network can be used on top of a pre-trained network to bring distance-aware calibration w.r.t the training data. Because of its versatility, the Morse neural networks unifies many techniques: e.g., the Entropic Out-of-Distribution Detector of (Macêdo et al., 2021) inOOD detection, the one class Deep Support Vector Description method of (Ruff et al., 2018) in anomaly detection, or the Contrastive One Class classifier in continuous learning (Sun et al., 2021).The Morse neural network has connections to sup-port vector machines, kernel methods, and Morse theory in topology. View details
    Preview abstract We extract implicit training biases in the multi-task and continual learning settings for neural networks trained with stochastic gradient descent using backward error analysis. In particular, we derive modified losses that are implicitly minimized during training. They have three terms: the original loss, accounting for convergence, an implicit gradient regularization term, accounting for performance, and a last term, the conflict term, which can theoretically be detrimental to both convergence and and performance. In multitask setting, the conflict term is a well-known quantity, measuring the gradient alignment between the tasks, while in continual learning setting the conflict term is a new quantity in deep learning, although well-known in many areas of mathematics: The Lie bracket between the task gradients. This work is purely mathematical and illustrates the power of backward error analysis to methodically compute implicit biases in gradient-based optimization in deep learning. View details
    Preview abstract In many contexts, simpler models are preferable to more complex models and the control of this model complexity is the goal for many methods in machine learning such as regularization, hyperparameter tuning and architecture design. In deep learning, it has been difficult to understand the underlying mechanisms of complexity control, since many traditional measures are not naturally suitable for deep neural networks. Here we develop the notion of geometric complexity, which is a measure of the variability of the model function, computed using a discrete Dirichlet energy. Using a combination of theoretical arguments and empirical results, we show that many common training heuristics such as parameter norm regularization, spectral norm regularization, flatness regularization, implicit gradient regularization, noise regularization and the choice of parameter initialization all act to control geometric complexity, providing a unifying framework in which to characterize the behavior of deep learning models. View details
    Preview abstract For infinitesimal learning rates, stochastic gradient descent (SGD) follows the path of gradient flow on the full batch loss function. However moderately large learning rates can achieve higher test accuracies, and this generalization benefit is not explained by convergence bounds, since the learning rate which maximizes test accuracy is often larger than the learning rate which minimizes training loss. To interpret this phenomenon we prove that for SGD with random shuffling, the mean SGD iterate also stays close to the path of gradient flow if the learning rate is small and finite, but on a modified loss. This modified loss is composed of the original loss function and an implicit regularizer, which penalizes the norms of the minibatch gradients. Under mild assumptions, when the batch size is small the scale of the implicit regularization term is proportional to the ratio of the learning rate to the batch size. We verify empirically that explicitly including the implicit regularizer in the loss can enhance the test accuracy when the learning rate is small. View details
    Discretization Drift in Two-Player Games
    Mihaela Rosca
    Yan Wu
    David Barrett
    ICML 2021 (2021)
    Preview abstract Gradient-based methods for two-player games produce rich dynamics that can solve challenging problems, yet can be difficult to stabilize and understand. Part of this complexity originates from the discrete update steps given by simultaneous or alternating gradient descent, which causes each player to drift away from the continuous gradient flow -- a phenomenon we call discretization drift. Using backward error analysis, we derive modified continuous dynamical systems that closely follow the discrete dynamics. These modified dynamics provide an insight into the notorious challenges associated with zero-sum games, including Generative Adversarial Networks. In particular, we identify distinct components of the discretization drift that can alter performance and in some cases destabilize the game. Finally, quantifying discretization drift allows us to identify regularizers that explicitly cancel harmful forms of drift or strengthen beneficial forms of drift, and thus improve performance of GAN training. View details
    Preview abstract In over-parameterized deep neural networks there can be many possible parameter configurations that fit the training data exactly. However, the properties of these interpolating solutions are poorly understood. We argue that over-parameterized neural networks trained with stochastic gradient descent are subject to a Geometric Occam's Razor; that is, these networks are implicitly regularized by the geometric model complexity. For one-dimensional regression, the geometric model complexity is simply given by the arc length of the function. For higher-dimensional settings, the geometric model complexity depends on the Dirichlet energy of the function. We explore the relationship between this Geometric Occam's Razor, the Dirichlet energy and other known forms of implicit regularization. Finally, for ResNets trained on CIFAR-10, we observe that Dirichlet energy measurements are consistent with the action of this implicit Geometric Occam's Razor. View details
    Preview abstract Gradient descent can be surprisingly good at optimizing deep neural networks without overfitting and without explicit regularization. We find that the discrete steps of gradient descent implicitly regularize models by penalizing gradient descent trajectories that have large loss gradients. We call this Implicit Gradient Regularization (IGR) and we use backward error analysis to calculate the size of this regularization. We confirm empirically that implicit gradient regularization biases gradient descent toward flat minima, where test errors are small and solutions are robust to noisy parameter perturbations. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the implicit gradient regularization term can be used as an explicit regularizer, allowing us to control this gradient regularization directly. More broadly, our work indicates that backward error analysis is a useful theoretical approach to the perennial question of how learning rate, model size, and parameter regularization interact to determine the properties of overparameterized models optimized with gradient descent. View details
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