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Ibrahim Alabdulmohsin

Ibrahim Alabdulmohsin

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    Preview abstract The scaling of Transformers has driven breakthrough capabilities for language models. At present, the largest large language models (LLMs) contain upwards of 100B parameters. Vision Transformers (ViT) have introduced the same architecture to image and video modeling, but these have not yet been successfully scaled to nearly the same degree; the largest dense ViT contains 4B parameters. We present a recipe for highly efficient training of a 22B-parameter ViT and perform a wide variety of experiments on the resulting model. When evaluated on downstream tasks (often with a lightweight linear model on frozen features) ViT22B demonstrates increasing performance with scale. We further observe other interesting benefits of scale, including an improved tradeoff between bias and performance, an improved alignment to human visual perception in terms of shape/texture bias, and improved robustness. ViT22B demonstrates the potential for "LLM-like'' scaling in vision, and provides key steps towards getting there. View details
    Preview abstract We propose a novel reduction-to-binary (R2B) approach that enforces demographic parity for multiclass classification with non-binary sensitive attributes via a reduction to a sequence of binary debiasing tasks. We prove that R2B satisfies optimality and bias guarantees and demonstrate empirically that it can lead to an improvement over two baselines: (1) treating multiclass problems as multi-label by debiasing labels independently and (2) transforming the features instead of the labels. Surprisingly, we also demonstrate that independent label debiasing yields competitive results in most (but not all) settings. We validate these conclusions on synthetic and real-world datasets from social science, computer vision, and healthcare. View details
    Preview abstract Diagnosing and mitigating changes in model fairness under distribution shift is an important component of the safe deployment of machine learning in healthcare settings. Importantly, the success of any mitigation strategy strongly depends on the structure of the shift. Despite this, there has been little discussion of how to empirically assess the structure of a distribution shift that one is encountering in practice. In this work, we adopt a causal framing to motivate conditional independence tests as a key tool for characterizing distribution shifts. Using our approach in two medical applications, we show that this knowledge can help diagnose failures of fairness transfer, including cases where real-world shifts are more complex than is often assumed in the literature. Based on these results, we discuss potential remedies at each step of the machine learning pipeline. View details
    Preview abstract The remarkable progress in deep learning in recent years is largely driven by improvements in scale, where bigger models are trained on larger datasets for longer schedules. To predict the benefit of scale empirically, we argue for a more rigorous methodology based on the extrapolation loss, instead of reporting the best-fitting (interpolating) parameters. We then present a recipe for estimating scaling law parameters reliably from learning curves. We demonstrate that it extrapolates more accurately than previous methods in a wide range of architecture families across several domains, including image classification, neural machine translation (NMT) and language modeling, in addition to tasks from the BIG-Bench evaluation benchmark. Finally, we release a benchmark dataset comprising of 90 evaluation tasks to facilitate research in this domain. View details
    Fair Wrapping for Black-box Predictions
    Alexander Soen
    Sanmi Koyejo
    Nyalleng Moorosi
    Ke Sun
    Lexing Xie
    NeurIPS (2022)
    Preview abstract We introduce a new family of techniques to post-process an accurate black box posterior and reduce its bias, born out of the recent analysis of improper loss functions whose optimisation can correct any \textit{twist} in prediction, unfairness being treated as one. Post-processing involves learning a function we define as an $\alpha$-tree for the correction, for which we provide two generic boosting compliant training algorithms. We show that our correction has appealing properties in terms of composition of corrections, generalization, interpretability and divergence to the black box. We exemplify the use of our technique for fairness compliance in three models: conditional value at risk, equality of opportunity and statistical parity and provide experiments on several readily available domains. View details
    Preview abstract We present an efficient and scalable algorithm for debiasing trained models, including deep neural networks (DNNs), which we prove to be near-optimal by bounding its excess Bayes risk. Unlike previous black-box reduction methods to cost-sensitive classification rules, the proposed algorithm operates on models that have been trained without having to retrain the model. Furthermore, as the algorithm is based on projected stochastic gradient descent (SGD), it is particularly attractive for deep learning applications. We empirically validate the proposed algorithm on standard benchmark datasets across both classical algorithms and modern DNN architectures and demonstrate that it outperforms previous post-processing approaches for unbiased classification. View details
    Preview abstract We study deep neural networks (DNNs) trained on natural image data with entirely random labels. Despite its popularity in the literature, where it is often used to study memorization, generalization, and other phenomena, little is known about what DNNs learn in this setting. In this paper, we show analytically for convolutional and fully connected networks that an alignment between the principal components of network parameters and data takes place when training with random labels. We study this alignment effect by investigating neural networks pre-trained on randomly labelled image data and subsequently fine-tuned on disjoint datasets with random or real labels. We show how this alignment produces a positive transfer: networks pre-trained with random labels train faster downstream compared to training from scratch even after accounting for simple effects, such as weight scaling. We analyze how competing effects, such as specialization at later layers, may hide the positive transfer. These effects are studied in several network architectures, including VGG16 and ResNet18, on CIFAR10 and ImageNet. View details
    Preview abstract In this paper, we introduce the notion of "learning capacity" for algorithms that learn from data, which is analogous to the Shannon channel capacity for communication systems. We show how "learning capacity" bridges the gap between statistical learning theory and information theory, and we will use it to derive generalization bounds for finite hypothesis spaces, differential privacy, and countable domains, among others. Moreover, we prove that under the Axiom of Choice, the existence of an empirical risk minimization (ERM) rule that has a vanishing learning capacity is equivalent to the assertion that the hypothesis space has a finite Vapnik-Chervonenkis (VC) dimension, thus establishing an equivalence relation between two of the most fundamental concepts in statistical learning theory and information theory. In addition, we show how the learning capacity of an algorithm provides important qualitative results, such as on the relation between generalization and algorithmic stability, information leakage, and data processing. Finally, we conclude by listing some open problems and suggesting future directions of research. View details
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