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Giulia DeSalvo

Giulia DeSalvo

Giulia DeSalvo has worked at Google Research since 2017. Her research interests are in both theory and applications of machine learning and recently, her primary focus has been on active learning and on-line learning. She received her PhD in mathematics from NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences with funding from NSF and received her B.A. in applied mathematics and Italian studies from UC Berkeley with highest honors.
Authored Publications
Google Publications
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    Firebolt: Weak Supervision Under Weaker Assumptions
    Zhaobin Kuang
    Chidubem Arachie
    Bangyong Liang
    Michael Quinn
    Bert Huang
    Geoffrey Downs
    Yang Yang
    International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics 2022
    Preview abstract Modern machine learning demands a large amount of training data. Weak supervision is a promising approach to meet this demand. It aggregates multiple labeling functions (LFs)—noisy, user-provided labeling heuristics---to rapidly and cheaply curate probabilistic labels for large-scale unlabeled data. However, standard assumptions in weak supervision---such as user-specified class balance, similar accuracy of an LF in classifying different classes, and full knowledge of LF dependency at inference time---might be undesirable in practice. In response, we present Firebolt, a new weak supervision framework that seeks to operate under weaker assumptions. In particular, Firebolt learns the class balance and class-specific accuracy of LFs jointly from unlabeled data. It carries out inference in an efficient and interpretable manner. We analyze the parameter estimation error of Firebolt and characterize its impact on downstream model performance. Furthermore, we show that on five publicly available datasets, Firebolt outperforms a state-of-the-art weak supervision method by up to 5.8 points in AUC. We also provide a case study in the production setting of a tech company, where a Firebolt-supervised model outperforms the existing weakly-supervised production model by 1.3 points in AUC and speedup label model training and inference from one hour to three minutes. View details
    Preview abstract Consider a setting where we wish to automate an expensive task with a machine learning algorithm using a limited labeling resource. In such settings, examples routed for labeling are often out of scope for the machine learning algorithm. For example, in a spam detection setting, human reviewers not only provide labeled data but are such high-quality detectors of spam that examples routed to them no longer require machine evaluation. A consequence is that distribution of examples routed to the machine is intimately tied to the process generating labels. We introduce a formalization of this setting, and give an algorithm that simultaneously learns a model and decides when to request a label by leveraging ideas from both the abstention and active learning literatures. We prove an upper bound on the algorithm’s label complexity and a matching lower bound for any algorithm in this setting. We conduct a thorough set of experiments including an ablation study to test different components of our algorithm. We demonstrate the effectiveness of an efficient version of our algorithm over margin sampling on a variety of datasets. View details
    Preview abstract We derive a novel active learning algorithm in the streaming setting for binary classification tasks. The algorithm leverages weak labels to minimize the number of label requests, and trains a model to optimize a surrogate loss on a resulting set of labeled and weak-labeled points. Our algorithm jointly admits two crucial properties: theoretical guarantees in the general agnostic setting and a strong empirical performance. Our theoretical analysis shows that the algorithm attains favorable generalization and label complexity bounds, while our empirical study on 18 real-world datasets demonstrate that the algorithm outperforms standard baselines, including the Margin Algorithm, or Uncertainty Sampling, a high-performing active learning algorithm favored by practitioners. View details
    Preview abstract The ability to train complex and highly effective models often requires an abundance of training data, which can easily become a bottleneck in cost, time, and computational resources. Batch active learning, which adaptively issues batched queries to a labeling oracle, is a common approach for addressing this problem. The practical benefits of batch sampling come with the downside of less adaptivity and the risk of sampling redundant examples within a batch -- a risk that grows with the batch size. In this work, we analyze an efficient active learning algorithm, which focuses on the large batch setting. In particular, we show that our sampling method, which combines notions of uncertainty and diversity, easily scales to batch sizes (100K-1M) several orders of magnitude larger than used in previous studies and provides significant improvements in model training efficiency compared to recent baselines. View details
    Preview abstract We present a new active learning algorithm that adaptively partitions the input space into a finite number of regions, and subsequently seeks a distinct predictor for each region, both phases actively requesting labels. We prove theoretical guarantees for both the generalization error and the label complexity of our algorithm, and analyze the number of regions defined by the algorithm under some mild assumptions. We also report the results of an extensive suite of experiments on several real-world datasets demonstrating substantial empirical benefits over existing single-region and nonadaptive region-based active learning baselines. View details
    Understanding the Effects of Batching in Online Active Learning
    Proceedings of the Twenty Third International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (2020)
    Preview abstract Online active learning (AL) algorithms often assume immediate access to a label once a query has been made. However, due to practical constraints, the labels of these queried examples are generally only available in ``batches''. In this work, we present a novel analysis for a generic class of batch online AL algorithms and reveal that the effects of batching are in fact mild and only result in an additional term in the label complexity that is linear in the batch size. To our knowledge, this provides the first theoretical justification for such algorithms and we show how they can be applied to batch variants of three canonical online AL algorithms: IWAL, ORIWAL, and DHM. We also conduct an empirical study that corroborates the novel theoretical insights. View details
    Preview abstract A general framework for online learning with partial information is one where feedback graphs specify which losses can be observed by the learner. We study a challenging scenario where feedback graphs vary with time stochastically and,more importantly, where graphs and losses are stochastically dependent. This scenario appears in several applications that we describe. We give a new algorithm for this scenario that exploits the stochastic properties of the graphs and that benefits from favorable regret guarantees in this challenging setting. We present a detailed theoretical analysis of this algorithm, and also report the results of a series of experiments on real-world datasets, which show that our algorithm outperforms standard baselines for online learning with feedback graphs. View details
    Preview abstract We present two novel extensions of an on-line importance weighted active learning algorithm IWAL, using the properties of disagreement values among hypotheses. The first extension, DIWAL, prunes the hypothesis set with a more aggressive strategy based on concentration bounds with disagreement values. We show that DIWAL improves the generalization performance and the label complexity of the original IWAL, and further quantify the improvement in terms of the disagreement graph coefficient. The second extension, ZOOM, adaptively zooms into the function space near the best-in-class hypothesis, which effectively reduces the best-in-class error and thus simultaneously improves the generalization performance and the label complexity. We report experimental results on multiple datasets and demonstrate that the proposed algorithms achieve better test performances than IWAL given the same amount of labeling budget. View details
    Preview abstract We study a scenario of active learning where the input space is partitioned into different regions and where a distinct hypothesis is learned for each region. We first introduce a new active learning algorithm (EIWAL), which is an enhanced version of the IWAL algorithm, based on a finer analysis that results in more favorable learning guarantees. Then, we present a new learning algorithm for region-based active learning, ORIWAL, in which either IWAL or EIWAL serve as a subroutine. ORIWAL optimally allocates points to the subroutine algorithm for each region. We give a detailed theoretical analysis of ORIWAL, including generalization error guarantees and bounds on the number of points labeled, in terms of both the hypothesis set used in each region and the probability mass of that region. We also report the results of several experiments for our algorithm which demonstrate substantial benefits over existing non-region-based active learning algorithms, such as IWAL, and over passive learning. View details
    Preview abstract We consider the scenario of online learning with the sleeping experts where not all experts are available at each round and analyze the general framework of learning with stochastic feedback graphs, where loss observations associated to each expert are characterized by a graph, thereby including both the bandit and full information settings as special cases. A critical assumption in this framework is that the loss observations and the set of sleeping experts at each round is independent. We first extend the classical algorithm of Kleinberg et al 2008 to use the loss information encoded by any sequence of feedback graphs and prove matching upper and lower bounds for the sleeping regret of this algorithm. Our main contribution is then to relax this independence assumption, present a finer notion of sleeping regret, and derive a general algorithm with strong theoretical guarantees. We instantiate our framework to the important scenario of online learning with abstention, where a learner can elect to abstain from making a prediction at the price of a certain cost. We empirically validate the improvement of our algorithm against multiple abstention algorithms on several real-world datasets View details
    Hyperband: A Novel Bandit-Based Approach to Hyperparameter Optimization
    Liam Li
    Kevin Jamieson
    Ameet Talwalkar
    Journal of Machine Learning Research, vol. 18-185 (2018), pp. 1-52
    Preview abstract Performance of machine learning algorithms depends critically on identifying a good set of hyperparameters. While recent approaches use Bayesian optimization to adaptively select configurations, we focus on speeding up random search through adaptive resource allocation and early-stopping. We formulate hyperparameter optimization as a pure-exploration non-stochastic infinite-armed bandit problem where a predefined resource like iterations, data samples, or features is allocated to randomly sampled configurations. We introduce a novel algorithm, øuralg , for this framework and analyze its theoretical properties, providing several desirable guarantees. Furthermore, we compare øuralg with popular Bayesian optimization methods on a suite of hyperparameter optimization problems. We observe that øuralg can provide over an order-of-magnitude speedup over our competitor set on a variety of deep-learning and kernel-based learning problems. View details
    Online learning with abstention
    Scott Yang
    Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2018), Stockholm, Sweden (2018)
    Preview abstract We present an extensive study of a key problem in online learning where the learner can opt to abstain from making a prediction, at a certain cost. In the adversarial setting, we show how existing online algorithms and guarantees can be adapted to this problem. In the stochastic setting, we first point out a bias problem that limits the straightforward extension of algorithms such as UCB-N to this context. Next, we give a new algorithm, UCB-GT, that exploits historical data and time-varying feedback graphs. We show that this algorithm benefits from more favorable regret guarantees than a natural extension of UCB-N. We further report the results of a series of experiments demonstrating that UCB-GT largely outperforms that extension of UCB-N, as well as other standard baselines. View details
    Learning with rejection
    Proceedings of The 27th International Conference on Algorithmic Learning Theory (ALT 2016). pages 67-82, Bari, Italy, 2016. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany. (2016)
    Preview abstract We introduce a novel framework for classification with a rejection option that consists of simultaneously learning two functions: a classifier along with a rejection function. We present a full theoretical analysis of this framework including new data-dependent learning bounds in terms of the Rademacher complexities of the classifier and rejection families as well as consistency and calibration results. These theoretical guarantees guide us in designing new algorithms that can exploit different kernel-based hypothesis sets for the classifier and rejection functions. We compare and contrast our general framework with the special case of confidence-based rejection for which we devise alternative loss functions and algorithms as well. We report the results of several experiments showing that our kernel-based algorithms can yield a notable improvement over the best existing confidence-based rejection algorithm. View details
    Random Composite Forests
    Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (2016) (to appear)
    Preview abstract We introduce a broad family of decision trees, Composite Trees, whose leaf classifiers are selected out of a hypothesis set composed of p sub-families with different complexities. We prove new data dependent learning guarantees for this family in the multi-class setting.These learning bounds provide a quantitative guidance for the choice of the hypotheses at each leaf. Remarkably, they depend on the Rademacher complexities of the sub-families of the predictors and the fraction of sample points correctly classified at each leaf. We further introduce random composite trees and derive learning guarantees for random composite trees which also apply to Random Forests. Using our theoretical analysis, we devise a new algorithm, RCF, that is based on forming an ensemble of random composite trees. We report the results of experiments demonstrating that RCF yields significant performance improvements over both Random Forests and a variant of RCF in several tasks View details
    Boosting with abstention
    Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2016). Barcelona, Spain, 2016. MIT Press. (2016)
    Preview abstract We present a new boosting algorithm for the key scenario of binary classification with abstention where the algorithm can abstain from predicting the label of a point, at the price of a fixed cost. At each round, our algorithm selects a pair of functions, a base predictor and a base abstention function. We define convex upper bounds for the natural loss function associated to this problem, which we prove to be calibrated with respect to the Bayes solution. Our algorithm benefits from general margin-based learning guarantees which we derive for ensembles of pairs of base predictor and abstention functions, in terms of the Rademacher complexities of the corresponding function classes. We give convergence guarantees for our algorithm along with a linear-time weak-learning algorithm for abstention stumps. We also report the results of several experiments suggesting that our algorithm provides a significant improvement in practice over two confidence-based algorithms. View details
    Learning with Deep Cascades
    Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth International Conference on Algorithmic Learning Theory (ALT 2015)
    Preview abstract We introduce a broad learning model formed by cascades of predictors, Deep Cascades, that is structured as general decision trees in which leaf predictors or node questions may be members of rich function families. We present new detailed data-dependent theoretical guarantees for learning with Deep Cascades with complex leaf predictors or node question in terms of the Rademacher complexities of the sub-families composing these sets of predictors and the fraction of sample points correctly classified at each leaf. These general guarantees can guide the design of a variety of different algorithms for deep cascade models and we give a detailed description of two such algorithms. Our second algorithm uses as node and leaf classifiers SVM predictors and we report the results of experiments comparing its performance with that of SVM combined with polynomial kernels. View details
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