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Sanjiv Kumar

Sanjiv Kumar

Hi! I work in the area of large-scale machine learning and computer vision. You can find more information about me including a complete list of papers at: www.sanjivk.com.
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    Preview abstract As with many machine learning problems, the progress of image generation methods hinges on good evaluation metrics. One of the most popular is the Frechet Inception Distance (FID). FID estimates the distance between a distribution of Inception-v3 features of real images, and those of images generated by the algorithm. We highlight important drawbacks of FID: Inception's poor representation of the rich and varied content generated by modern text-to-image models, incorrect normality assumptions, and poor sample complexity. We call for a reevaluation of FID's use as the primary quality metric for generated images. We empirically demonstrate that FID contradicts human raters, it does not reflect gradual improvement of iterative text-to-image models, it does not capture distortion levels, and that it produces inconsistent results when varying the sample size. We also propose an alternative new metric, CMMD, based on richer CLIP embeddings and the maximum mean discrepancy distance with the Gaussian RBF kernel. It is an unbiased estimator that does not make any assumptions on the probability distribution of the embeddings and is sample efficient. Through extensive experiments and analysis, we demonstrate that FID-based evaluations of text-to-image models may be unreliable, and that CMMD offers a more robust and reliable assessment of image quality. View details
    Preview abstract Modern text-to-image generation models produce high-quality images that are both photorealistic and faithful to the text prompts. However, this quality comes at significant computational cost: nearly all of these models are iterative and require running sampling multiple times with large models. This iterative process is needed to ensure that different regions of the image are not only aligned with the text prompt, but also compatible with each other. In this work, we propose a light-weight approach to achieving this compatibility between different regions of an image, using a Markov Random Field (MRF) model. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this method on top of the latent token-based Muse text-to-image model. The MRF richly encodes the compatibility among image tokens at different spatial locations to improve quality and significantly reduce the required number of Muse sampling steps. Inference with the MRF is significantly cheaper, and its parameters can be quickly learned through back-propagation by modeling MRF inference as a differentiable neural-network layer. Our full model, MarkovGen, uses this proposed MRF model to both speed up Muse by 1.5X and produce higher quality images by decreasing undesirable image artifacts. View details
    Supervision complexity and its role in knowledge distillation
    Hrayr Harutyunyan
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    International Conference on Learning Representations (2023) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Knowledge distillation is a popular method of compressing a large teacher model (or an ensemble of models) to a more compact student model. While empirically effective, there is limited understanding of why distillation helps, and how to improve it to transfer richer knowledge from the teacher to student. In this paper, we propose a new online distillation algorithm that applies distillation using a sequence of teacher models, corresponding to different checkpoints during teacher training. Intuitively, this gradually increases the complexity of the target functions that the student model is asked to mimic. Formally, we establish generalization bounds that explicate how the target label complexity can benefit the student. We empirically demonstrate that online distillation can significantly improve over regular offline distillation, particularly in scenarios where there is a large teacher-student capacity gap. View details
    SOAR: Improved Indexing for Approximate Nearest Neighbor Search
    David Simcha
    Dave Dopson
    Neural Information Processing Systems (2023)
    Preview abstract This paper introduces SOAR: Spilling with Orthogonality-Amplified Residuals, a novel data indexing technique for approximate nearest neighbor (ANN) search. SOAR extends upon previous approaches to ANN search, such as spill trees, that utilize multiple redundant representations while partitioning the data to reduce the probability of missing a nearest neighbor during search. Rather than training and computing these redundant representations independently, however, SOAR uses an orthogonality-amplified residual loss, which optimizes each representation to compensate for cases where other representations perform poorly. This drastically improves the overall index quality, resulting in state-of-the-art ANN benchmark performance while maintaining fast indexing times and low memory consumption. View details
    Teacher Guided Training: An Efficient Framework for Knowledge Transfer
    Chong You
    Himanshu Jain
    Rob Fergus
    International Conference on Learning Representations (2023) (to appear)
    Preview abstract The remarkable performance gains realized by large pretrained models, e.g., GPT-3, hinge on the massive amounts of data they are exposed to during training. Analogously, distilling such large models to compact models for efficient deployment also necessitates a large amount of (labeled or unlabeled) training data. In this paper, we devise teacher-guided training (TGT) framework for training a high-quality compact model that leverages the knowledge acquired by pre-trained \emph{generative} models while obviating the need to go through a large volume of data. TGT exploits the fact that the teacher has acquired a good representation of the underlying data domain, which typically corresponds to a much lower dimensional manifold than the ambient space. Furthermore, we can use the teacher to explore the instance space more efficiently through sampling or gradient-based methods; thus, making TGT especially attractive for limited data or long-tail settings. We formally capture this benefit of proposed data-domain exploration in our generalization bounds. Among our empirical evaluations, we find that TGT can improve accuracy on ImageNet-LT by 10% compared to natural baseline and match accuracy on sentiment analysis on Amazon reviews without the need for pretraining. View details
    Preview abstract This paper reveals a curious observation that modern large-scale machine learning models with Transformer architectures have sparse activation maps. By activation map we refer to the intermediate output of the multi-layer perceptrons (MLPs) after a ReLU activation function, and by ``sparse'' we mean that on average very few entries (e.g., 3.0% for T5-Base and 6.3% for ViT-B16) are nonzero for each input to MLP. Through extensive experiments we demonstrate that the emergence of sparsity is a prevalent phenomenon that occurs for both natural language processing and vision tasks, on both training and evaluation data, for Transformers of various configurations, at layers of all depth levels, etc. Moreover, larger Transformers with more layers and higher MLP hidden dimensions are sparser as measured by the percentage of nonzero entries. To probe why sparsity emerges, we design experiments with random labels, random images, and infinite data, and find that sparsity may be due primarily to optimization while has little to do with the properties of training dataset. We discuss how sparsity immediately implies a means for significantly reducing the FLOP count and improving efficiency for Transformers. Moreover, we demonstrate perhaps surprisingly that explicitly enforcing an even sparser activation via Top-K thresholding with a small value of k brings a collection of desired but missing properties for Transformers, namely less sensitivity to noisy training data, more robustness to input corruptions, and better calibration for their prediction confidence. View details
    Serving Graph Compression for Graph Neural Networks
    Cho-Jui Hsieh
    International Conference on Learning Representations (2023) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Serving a GNN model in online applications is challenging --- one has to propagate the information from training nodes to testing nodes to achieve the best performance, while storing the whole training set (including training graph and node features) during inference time is prohibitive for most of the real world applications. We tackle this serving space compression problem in the paper, where the goal is to compress the storage requirement for GNN serving. Given a model to be served, the proposed method constructs a small set of virtual representative nodes to replace the original training nodes, so that users just need to replace the original training set by this virtual representative set to reduce the space requirement for serving, without the need of changing the actual GNN model and the forward pass. We carefully analyze the error in the forward pass and derive simple ways to construct the node features and graph of virtual representative nodes to minimize the approximation error. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method can significantly reduce the serving space requirement for GNN inference. View details
    Preview abstract The approximate nearest neighbor (ANN) search problem is fundamental to efficiently serving many real-world machine learning applications. A number of techniques have been developed for ANN search that are efficient, accurate, and scalable. However, such techniques typically have a number of parameters that affect the speed-recall tradeoff, and exhibit poor performance when such parameters aren't properly set. Tuning these parameters has traditionally been a manual process, demanding in-depth knowledge of the underlying search algorithm. This is becoming an increasingly unrealistic demand as ANN search grows in popularity. To tackle this obstacle to ANN adoption, this work proposes a constrained optimization-based approach to tuning quantization-based ANN algorithms. Our technique takes just a desired search cost or recall as input, and then generates tunings that, empirically, are very close to the speed-recall Pareto frontier and give leading performance on standard benchmarks. View details
    Preview abstract Large deep learning models have achieved state-of-the-art performance across various natural language processing (NLP) tasks and demonstrated remarkable few-shot learning performance. However, training them is often challenging and resource-intensive. In this paper, we study an efficient approach to train language models using few-shot learners. We show that, by leveraging the fast learning nature of few-shot learners, one can train language models efficiently in a stagewise manner. Our main insight is that stacking a good few-shot learner on a good small language model provides a good initializer for a larger language model. Using this insight and building upon progressive stacking approaches, we develop novel approaches for training such networks in a stagewise manner. Furthermore, we also provide a theoretical framework and accompanying empirical studies to support our insights, thereby creating a theoretical foundation for progressive stacking. Finally, we provide empirical results to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in reducing the training time of few-shot learners. View details
    Preview abstract Transformer-based models such as BERT have proven successful in information retrieval problem, which seek to identify relevant documents for a given query. There are two broad flavours of such models: cross-attention (CA) models, which learn a joint embedding for the query and document, and dual-encoder (DE) models, which learn separate embeddings for the query and document. Empirically, CA models are often found to be more accurate, which has motivated a series of works seeking to bridge this gap. However, a more fundamental question remains less explored: does this performance gap reflect an inherent limitation in the capacity of DE models, or a limitation in the training of such models? And does such an understanding suggest a principled means of improving DE models? In this paper, we study these questions, with three contributions. First, we establish theoretically that with a sufficiently large embedding dimension, DE models have the capacity to model a broad class of score distributions. Second, we show empirically that on real-world problems, DE models may overfit to spurious correlations in the training set, and thus under-perform on test samples. To mitigate this behaviour, we propose a novel distillation strategy that leverages confidence margins, and confirm its practical efficacy on the MSMARCO-Passage benchmark. View details
    Preview abstract Language models can be augmented with context retriever to incorporate knowl-edge from large external databases. By leveraging retrieved context, the neural net-work does not have to memorize the massive amount of world knowledge within its internal parameters, leading to better parameter efficiency, interpretability and mod-ularity. In this paper we examined a simple yet effective architecture for incorporat-ing external context into language models based on decoupled Encoder-Decoder architecture. We showed that such a simple architecture achieves competitive results on auto-regressive language modeling and open domain question answer-ing tasks. We also analyzed the behavior of the proposed model which performs grounded context transfer. Finally we discussed the computational implications of such retrieval augmented models. View details
    Preview abstract Many practical settings allow a learner to defer predictions to one or more costly experts. For example, the learning to defer paradigm allows a learner to defer to a human expert, at some monetary cost. Similarly, the adaptive inference paradigm allows a base model to defer to one or more large models, at some computational cost. The goal in these settings is to learn classification and deferral mechanisms to optimise a suitable accuracy-cost tradeoff. To achieve this, a central issue studied in prior work is the design of a coherent loss function for both mechanisms. In this work, we demonstrate that existing losses have two subtle limitations: they can encourage underfitting when there is a high cost of deferring, and the deferral function can have a weak dependence on the base model predictions. To resolve these issues, we propose a post-hoc training scheme: we train a deferral function on top of a base model, with the objective of predicting to defer when the base model's error probability exceeds the cost of the expert model. This may be viewed as applying a partial surrogate to the ideal deferral loss, which can lead to a tighter approximation and thus better performance. Empirically, we verify the efficacy of post-hoc training on benchmarks for learning to defer and adaptive inference. View details
    Preview abstract Knowledge distillation is widely used as a means of improving the performance of a relatively simple student model using the predictions from a complex teacher model. Several works have shown that distillation significantly boosts the student's overall performance; however, are these gains uniform across all data subgroups? In this paper, we show that distillation can harm performance on certain subgroups, e.g., classes with few associated samples, compared to the vanilla student trained using the one-hot labels. We trace this behaviour to errors made by the teacher distribution being transferred to and amplified by the student model. To mitigate this problem, we present techniques which soften the teacher influence for subgroups where it is less reliable. Experiments on several image classification benchmarks show that these modifications of distillation maintain boost in overall accuracy, while additionally ensuring improvement in subgroup performance. View details
    Preview abstract It is generally believed that robust training of extremely large networks is critical to their success in real-world applications. However, when taken to the extreme, methods that promote robustness can hurt the model's sensitivity to rare or underrepresented patterns. In this paper, we discuss this trade-off between sensitivity and robustness to natural (non-adversarial) perturbations by introducing two notions: contextual feature utility and contextual feature sensitivity. We propose Feature Contrastive Learning (FCL) that encourages a model to be more sensitive to the features that have higher contextual utility. Empirical results demonstrate that models trained with FCL achieve a better balance of robustness and sensitivity, leading to improved generalization in the presence of noise on both vision and NLP datasets. View details
    Overparameterisation and worst-case generalisation: friend or foe?
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) 2021
    Preview abstract Overparameterised neural networks have demonstrated the remarkable ability to perfectly fit training samples, while still generalising to unseen test samples.However, several recent works have revealed that such models’ good average performance does not always translate to good worst-case performance: in particular, they may perform poorly on under-represented subgroups in the training set. In this paper, we show that in certain settings, overparameterised models’ bias against under-represented samples may be easily corrected via post-hoc processing. Specifically, we demonstrate such models’ bias can be restricted to their classification layers, and manifests in structured shifts in predictions for rare subgroups. We de-tail two post-hoc correction techniques to eliminate this bias, which operate purely on the original models’ outputs. We empirically verify that with such post-hoc correction, overparameterisation can improve worst-case performance. 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 Knowledge distillation is an approach to improve the performance of a student model by using the knowledge of a complex teacher. Despite its success in several deep learning applications, the study of distillation is mostly confined to classification settings. In particular, the use of distillation in top-k ranking settings, where the goal is to rank k most relevant items correctly, remains largely unexplored. In this paper, we study such ranking problems through the lens of distillation. We present a framework for distillation for top-k ranking and establish connections with the existing ranking methods. The core idea of this framework is to preserve the ranking at the top by matching the k largest scores of student and teacher while penalizing large scores for items ranked low by the teacher. Building on our framework, we develop a novel distillation approach, RankDistil, specifically catered towards ranking problems with a large number of items to rank. Finally, we conduct experiments which demonstrate that RankDistil yields benefits over commonly used baselines for ranking problems. View details
    Evaluations and Methods for Explanation through Robustness Analysis
    Cheng-Yu Hsieh
    Chih-Kuan Yeh
    Xuanqing Liu
    Pradeep Ravikumar
    Cho-Jui Hsieh
    (2021)
    Preview abstract Among multiple ways of interpreting a machine learning model, measuring the importance of a set of features tied to a prediction is probably one of the most intuitive ways to explain a model. In this paper, we establish the link between a set of features to a prediction with a new evaluation criterion, robustness analysis, which measures the minimum distortion distance of adversarial perturbation. By measuring the tolerance level for an adversarial attack, we can extract a set of features that provides the most robust support for a prediction, and also can extract a set of features that contrasts the current prediction to a target class by setting a targeted adversarial attack. By applying this methodology to various prediction tasks across multiple domains, we observe the derived explanations are indeed capturing the significant feature set qualitatively and quantitatively. View details
    Coping with label shift via distributionally robust optimisation
    Jingzhao Zhang
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    Suvrit Sra
    International Conference on Learning Representations (2021)
    Preview abstract The label shift problem refers to the supervised learning setting wherein the train and test label distributions do not match. Existing work on this problem largely assumes access to an unlabelled test sample, which may be used to estimate the test label distribution. While such techniques have proven effective, it is not always feasible to access the target domain; further, this requires retraining if the model is to be deployed in multiple test environments. Can one instead learn a single classifier that is robust to arbitrary shifts from a certain family? In this paper, we propose such a technique based on distributionally robust optimization (DRO) using f-divergences. We design a gradient descent-proximal mirror ascent algorithm tailored for large-scale finite-sum problems to efficiently optimize this objective, and establish its convergence. We show through experiments on CIFAR-100 and ImageNet that our technique can significantly improve performance over a number of baselines in settings where the test label distribution is varied. View details
    Preview abstract Factorized models, such as two tower neural network models, are widely used for scoring (query, document) pairs in information retrieval tasks. These models are typically trained by optimizing the model parameters to score relevant “positive" pairs higher than the irrelevant “negative" ones. While a large set of negatives typically improves the model performance, limited computation and memory budgets place constraints on the number of negatives used during training. In this paper, we develop a novel negative sampling technique for accelerating training with softmax cross-entropy loss. By using cached (possibly stale) item embeddings, our technique enables training with a large pool of negatives with reduced memory and computation. We also develop a streaming variant of our algorithm geared towards very large datasets. Furthermore, we establish a theoretical basis for our approach by showing that updating a very small fraction of the cache at each iteration can still ensure fast convergence. Finally, we experimentally validate our approach and show that it is efficient and compares favorably with more complex, state-of-the-art approaches. View details
    Preview abstract Federated learning is a distributed machine learning paradigm in which a large number of clients coordinate with a central server to learn a model without sharing their own training data. Due to the heterogeneity of the client datasets, standard federated optimization methods such as Federated Averaging (FedAvg) are often difficult to tune and exhibit unfavorable convergence behavior. In non-federated settings, adaptive optimization methods have had notable success in combating such issues. In this work, we propose federated versions of adaptive optimizers, including Adagrad, Yogi and Adam, and analyze their convergence in the presence of heterogeneous data for general nonconvex settings. Our results highlight the interplay between client heterogeneity and communication efficiency. We also perform extensive experiments on these methods and show that the use of adaptive optimizers can improve the performance of federated learning. View details
    A statistical perspective on distillation
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) 2021 (to appear)
    Preview abstract Knowledge distillation is a technique for improving a ``student'' model by replacing its one-hot training labels with a label distribution obtained from a ``teacher'' model. Despite its broad success, several basic questions --- e.g., Why does distillation help? Why do more accurate teachers not necessarily distill better? --- have received limited formal study. In this paper, we present a statistical perspective on distillation which provides an answer to these questions. Our core observation is that a ``Bayes teacher'' providing the true class-probabilities can lower the variance of the student objective, and thus improve performance. We then establish a bias-variance tradeoff that quantifies the value of teachers that approximate the Bayes class-probabilities. This provides a formal criterion as to what constitutes a ``good'' teacher, namely, the quality of its probability estimates. Finally, we illustrate how our statistical perspective facilitates novel applications of distillation to bipartite ranking and multiclass retrieval. View details
    Long-tail learning via logit adjustment
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    Himanshu Jain
    International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) 2021
    Preview abstract Real-world classification problems typically exhibit an imbalanced or long-tailed label distribution, wherein many labels are associated with only a few samples. This poses a challenge for generalisation on such labels, and also makes naive learning biased towards dominant labels. In this paper, we present two simple modifications of standard softmax cross-entropy training to cope with these challenges. Our techniques involve logit adjustment based on the label priors, either applied post-hoc to a trained model, or enforced in the loss during training. Such adjustment encourages a high relative margin between logits of rare versus dominant labels. Our techniques unify and generalise several recent proposals in the literature, while possessing stronger theoretical guarantees and empirical performance. View details
    Preview abstract Negative sampling is a widely adopted technique to enable efficient training in settings with a large number of classes. Typically, negative sampling approaches aim at approximating the value or gradient of the computationally expensive loss function that takes all the negative labels into account. In this work, we study the connection between negative sampling approaches and loss modification techniques for countering label imbalance. We show that different (bias) correction strategies that accompany negative sampling approaches can have unintended consequences on the model's performance on various data sub-populations. We then propose a unified approach to tackle both sampling bias, arising from working with a subset of all negative classes, and labeling bias, which is inherently present in the data due to label-imbalance. Finally, we verify our analysis and demonstrate the utility of our unified approach through empirical evaluation on standard image classification and retrieval benchmarks. View details
    Preview abstract We consider learning a multi-class classification model in the federated setting, where each user has access to the positive data associated with only a single class. As a result, during each federated learning round, the users need to locally update the classifier without having access to the features and the model parameters for the negative classes. Thus, naively employing conventional decentralized learning such as the distributed SGD or Federated Averaging may lead to trivial or extremely poor classifiers. In particular, for the embedding based classifiers, all the class embeddings might collapse to a single point. To address this problem, we propose a generic framework for training with only positive labels, namely Federated Averaging with Spreadout (FedAwS), where the server imposes a geometric regularizer after each round to encourage classes to be spreadout in the embedding space. We show, both theoretically and empirically, that FedAwS can almost match the performance of conventional learning where users have access to negative labels. We further extend the proposed method to the settings with large output spaces. View details
    Can gradient clipping mitigate label noise?
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) (2020)
    Preview abstract Gradient clipping is a widely-used technique in the training of deep networks, and is generally motivated from an optimisation lens: informally, it controls the dynamics of iterates, thus enhancing the rate of convergence to a local minimum. This intuition has been made precise in a line of recent works, which show that suitable clipping can yield significantly faster convergence than vanilla gradient descent. In this paper, we study gradient clipping from an robustness lens: informally, one expects clipping to provide robustness to noise, since one does not overly trust any single sample. Surprisingly, we prove that gradient clipping does not in general provide robustness to label noise. On the other hand, we show that robustness is achieved by a form of loss clipping. This yields a simple, noise-robust alternative to the standard cross-entropy loss which performs well empirically. View details
    Preview abstract Despite the widespread adoption of Transformer models for NLP tasks, the expressive power of these models is not well-understood. In this paper, we establish that Transformer models are universal approximators of continuous permutation equivariant sequence-to-sequence functions with compact support, which is quite surprising given the amount of shared parameters in these models. Furthermore, using positional encodings, we circumvent the restriction of permutation equivariance, and show that Transformer models can universally approximate arbitrary continuous sequence-to-sequence functions on a compact domain. Interestingly, our proof techniques clearly highlight the different roles of the self-attention and the feed-forward layers in Transformers. In particular, we prove that fixed width self-attention layers can compute contextual mappings of the input sequences, playing a key role in the universal approximation property of Transformers. Based on this insight from our analysis, we consider other architectures that can compute contextual mappings and empirically evaluate them. View details
    Preview abstract Attention based Transformer architecture has enabled significant advances in the field of natural language processing. In addition to new pre-training techniques, recent improvements crucially rely on working with a relatively larger embedding dimension for tokens. Unfortunately, this leads to models that are prohibitively large to be employed in the downstream tasks. In this paper we identify one of the important factors contributing to the large embedding size requirement. In particular, our analysis highlights that the scaling between the number of heads and the size of each head in the current architecture gives rise to a low-rank bottleneck in attention heads, causing this limitation, which we further validate with our experiments. As a solution we propose to set the head size of an attention unit to input sequence length, and independent of the number of heads, resulting in multi-head attention layers with provably more expressive power. We empirically show that this allows us to train models with a relatively smaller embedding dimension and with better performance scaling. View details
    Preview abstract We consider the large-scale query-document retrieval problem: given a query (e.g., a question), return the set of relevant documents (e.g., paragraphs containing the answer) from a large document corpus. This problem is often solved in two steps. The retrieval phase first reduces the solution space, returning a subset of candidate documents. The scoring phase then re-ranks the documents. Critically, the retrieval algorithm not only desires high recall but also requires to be highly efficient, returning candidates in time sublinear to the number of documents. Unlike the scoring phase witnessing significant advances recently due to the BERT-style pre-training tasks on cross-attention models, the retrieval phase remains less well studied. Most previous works rely on classic Information Retrieval (IR) methods such as BM-25 (token matching + TF-IDF weights). These models only accept sparse handcrafted features and can not be optimized for different downstream tasks of interest. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive study on the embedding-based retrieval models. We show that the key ingredient of learning a strong embedding-based Transformer model is the set of pre-training tasks. With adequately designed paragraph-level pre-training tasks, the Transformer models can remarkably improve over the widely-used BM-25 as well as embedding models without Transformers. The paragraph-level pre-training tasks we studied are Inverse Cloze Task (ICT), Body First Selection (BFS), Wiki Link Prediction (WLP), and the combination of all three. View details
    Preview abstract Label smoothing has been shown to be an effective regularization strategy in classification, that prevents overfitting and helps in label de-noising. However, extending such methods directly to seq2seq settings, such as Machine Translation, has been hindered by the large target output space, making it intractable to apply label smoothing over all possible outputs. Most existing approaches for seq2seq settings either do token level smoothing, or smooth over sequences generated by randomly substituting tokens in the target sequence. Unlike these works, in this paper, we propose a technique that smooths over \emph{well formed} relevant sequences that not only have sufficient n-gram overlap with the target sequence, but are also \emph{semantically similar}. Our method shows a consistent and significant improvement over the state-of-the-art techniques on different datasets. View details
    Why are Adaptive Methods Good for Attention Models?
    Jingzhao Zhang
    Sai Praneeth Karimireddy
    Suvrit Sra
    Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) (2020)
    Preview abstract While stochastic gradient descent (SGD) is still the de facto algorithm in deep learning, adaptive methods like Clipped SGD/Adam have been observed to outperform SGD across important tasks, such as attention models. The settings under which SGD performs poorly in comparison to adaptive methods are not well understood yet. In this paper, we provide empirical and theoretical evidence that a heavy-tailed distribution of the noise in stochastic gradients is one cause of SGD's poor performance. We provide the first tight upper and lower convergence bounds for adaptive gradient methods under heavy-tailed noise. Further, we demonstrate how gradient clipping plays a key role in addressing heavy-tailed gradient noise. Subsequently, we show how clipping can be applied in practice by developing an adaptive coordinate-wise clipping algorithm (ACClip) and demonstrate its superior performance on BERT pretraining and finetuning tasks. View details
    Does label smoothing mitigate label noise?
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    International Conference on Machine Learning (2020) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Label smoothing is commonly used in training deep learning models, wherein one-hot training labels are mixed with uniform label vectors. Empirically, smoothing has been shown to improve both predictive performance and model calibration. In this paper, we study whether label smoothing is also effective as a means of coping with label noise. While label smoothing apparently amplifies this problem --- being equivalent to injecting symmetric noise to the labels --- we show how it relates to a general family of loss-correction techniques from the label noise literature. Building on this connection, we show that label smoothing can be competitive with loss-correction techniques under label noise. Further, we show that when performing distillation under label noise, label smoothing of the teacher can be beneficial; this is in contrast to recent findings for noise-free problems, and sheds further light on settings where label smoothing is beneficial. View details
    How Does Noise Help Robustness? Explanation and Exploration under the Neural SDE Framework
    Cho-Jui Hsieh
    Tesi Xiao
    Xuanqing Liu
    Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) (2020)
    Preview abstract Neural Ordinary Differential Equation (Neural ODE) has been proposed as a continuous approximation to the traditional ResNet structure. However, the resulting ODE system is often unstable---a small input perturbation will be amplified through the ODE system and could eventually blow up. In this paper, we propose a new continuous neural network framework called Neural Stochastic Differential Equation (Neural SDE) which injects random noise by forming a stochastic differential equation. Our framework can model different noise injection regularization techniques in discrete networks, such as dropout and additive/multiplicative noise injection at each block. We provide a theoretical analysis showing the improved robustness of Neural SDE against small input perturbations. Furthermore, we show that the Neural SDE framework can achieve better generalization error than Neural ODE on real datasets and is more stable to small adversarial and non-adversarial input perturbations in practice. View details
    Preview abstract Large Transformer models have achieved impressive performance in many natural language tasks. In particular, Transformer based language models have been shown to have great capabilities in encoding factual knowledge in their vast amount of parameters. While the tasks of improving the memorization and generalization of Transformers have been widely studied, it is not well known how to make transformers forget specific old facts and memorize new ones. In this paper, we propose a new task of \emph{explicitly modifying specific factual knowledge in Transformer models while ensuring the model performance does not degrade on the unmodified facts}. This task is useful in many scenarios, such as updating stale knowledge, protecting privacy, and eliminating unintended biases stored in the models. We benchmarked several approaches that provide natural baseline performances on this task. This leads to the discovery of key components of a Transformer model that are especially effective for knowledge modifications. The work also provides insights into the role that different training phases (such as pretraining and fine-tuning) play towards memorization and knowledge modification. View details
    Preview abstract Transformer networks use pairwise attention to compute contextual embeddings of their inputs, and have achieved the state of the art performance in many NLP tasks. However, these models suffer from quadratic computational cost in the input sequence length $n$ to compute attention in each layer. This has prompted recent research into faster attention models, with a predominant approach involving sparsifying the connections in the attention layers. While empirically promising for long sequences, several fundamental questions remain unanswered: Can sparse transformers approximate any arbitrary sequence-to-sequence function, similar to their dense counterparts? How does the sparsity pattern and the sparsity level affect their performance? In this paper, we provide a \emph{unifying framework} that captures existing sparse attention models. Our analysis proposes sufficient conditions under which we show that a sparse attention model can provably \emph{universally approximate} any sequence-to-sequence functions. Surprisingly, our results show the existence of attention models with only $O(n)$ connections per attention layer that can approximate the same function class as the dense model with $n^2$ connections. Lastly, we present experiments comparing different patterns and levels of sparsity on standard NLP tasks. View details
    Accelerating Large-Scale Inference with Anisotropic Vector Quantization
    Erik Lindgren
    Quan Geng
    David Simcha
    International Conference on Machine Learning (2020)
    Preview abstract Quantization based techniques are the current state-of-the-art for scaling maximum inner product search to massive databases. Traditional approaches to quantization aim to minimize the reconstruction error of the database points. Based on the observation that for a given query, the database points that have the largest inner products are more relevant, we develop a family of anisotropic quantization loss functions. Under natural statistical assumptions, we show that quantization with these loss functions leads to a new variant of vector quantization that more greatly penalizes the parallel component of a datapoint's residual relative to its orthogonal component. The proposed approach, whose implementation is open-source, achieves state-of-the-art results on the public benchmarks available at ann-benchmarks.com. View details
    Multilabel reductions: what is my loss optimising?
    Aditya Krishna Menon
    Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) (2019)
    Preview abstract Multilabel classification is a challenging problem arising in applications ranging from information retrieval to image tagging. A popular approach to this problem is to employ a reduction to a suitable series of binary or multiclass problems (e.g., computing a softmax based cross-entropy over the relevant labels). While such methods have seen empirical success, less is understood about how well they approximate two fundamental performance measures: the precision and recall@k. In this paper, we study three commonly used reductions, and two new reductions based on a normalised loss function, wherein the contribution of each instance is normalised by the number of relevant labels. A surprising outcome of our study is that that each reduction is provably consistent with respect to either precision or recall, but not both. Further, we explicate that the probability scores obtained from reductions focussed on precision must be interpreted with caution. We empirically validate our results on real-world datasets, showing in particular that our normalised loss function yields recall gains over existing reductions. View details
    Preview abstract Neural language models have been widely used in various NLP tasks, including machine translation, next word prediction and conversational agents. However, it is challenging to deploy these models on mobile devices due to their slow prediction speed, where the bottleneck is to compute top candidates in the softmax layer. In this paper, we introduce a novel softmax layer approximation algorithm by exploiting the clustering structure of context vectors. Our algorithm uses a light-weight screening model to predict a much smaller set of candidate words based on the given context, and then conducts an exact softmax only within that subset. Training such a procedure end-to-end is challenging as traditional clustering methods are discrete and non-differentiable, and thus unable to be used with back-propagation in the training process. Using the Gumbel softmax, we are able to train the screening model end-to-end on the training set to exploit data distribution. The algorithm achieves an order of magnitude faster inference than the original softmax layer for predicting top-k words in various tasks such as beam search in machine translation or next words prediction. For example, for machine translation task on German to English dataset with around 25K vocabulary, we can achieve 20.4 times speed up with 98.9% precision@1 and 99.3% precision@5 with the original softmax layer prediction, while state-of-the-art (Zhang et al., 2018) only achieves 6.7x speedup with 98.7% precision@1 and 98.1% precision@5 for the same task. View details
    Preview abstract In extreme classification settings, embedding-based neural network models are currently not competitive with sparse linear and tree-based methods in terms of accuracy. Most prior works attribute this poor performance to the low-dimensional bottleneck in embedding-based methods. In this paper, we demonstrate that theoretically there is no limitation to using low-dimensional embedding-based methods, and provide experimental evidence that overfitting is the root cause of the poor performance of embedding-based methods. These findings motivate us to investigate novel data augmentation and regularization techniques to mitigate overfitting. To this end, we propose GLaS, a new regularizer for embedding-based neural network approaches. It is a natural generalization from the graph Laplacian and spread-out regularizers, and empirically it addresses the drawback of each regularizer alone when applied to the extreme classification setup. With the proposed techniques, we attain or improve upon the state-of-the-art on most widely tested public extreme classification datasets with hundreds of thousands of labels. View details
    Preview abstract Linear encoding of sparse vectors is widely popular, but is commonly data-independent -- missing any possible extra (but a-priori unknown) structure beyond sparsity. In this paper we present a new method to learn linear encoders that adapt to data, while still performing well with the widely used ℓ1 decoder. The convex ℓ1 decoder prevents gradient propagation as needed in standard gradient-based training. Our method is based on the insight that unrolling the convex decoder into T projected subgradient steps can address this issue. Our method can be seen as a data-driven way to learn a compressed sensing measurement matrix. We compare the empirical performance of 10 algorithms over 6 sparse datasets (3 synthetic and 3 real). Our experiments show that there is indeed additional structure beyond sparsity in the real datasets. Our method is able to discover it and exploit it to create excellent reconstructions with fewer measurements (by a factor of 1.1-3x) compared to the previous state-of-the-art methods. We illustrate an application of our method in learning label embeddings for extreme multi-label classification. Our experiments show that our method is able to match or outperform the precision scores of SLEEC, which is one of the state-of-the-art embedding-based approaches for extreme multi-label learning. View details
    Preview abstract We characterize the minimum noise amplitude and power for noise-adding mechanisms in (epsilon, delta)-differential privacy for single real-valued query function. We derive new lower bounds using the duality of linear programming, and new upper bounds by proposing a new class of (epsilon, delta)-differentially private mechanisms, the \emph{truncated Laplacian} mechanisms. We show that the multiplicative gap of the lower bounds and upper bounds goes to zero in various high privacy regimes, proving the tightness of the lower and upper bounds and thus establishing the optimality of the truncated Laplacian mechanism. In particular, our results close the previous constant multiplicative gap in the discrete setting. Numeric experiments show the improvement of the truncated Laplacian mechanism over the optimal Gaussian mechanism in all privacy regimes. View details
    Preview abstract We consider the problem of retrieving the most relevant labels for a given input when the size of the output space is very large. Retrieval methods are modeled as set-valued classifiers which output a small set of classes for each input, and a mistake is made if the label is not in the output set. Despite its practical importance, a statistically principled, yet practical solution to this problem is largely missing. To this end, we first define a family of surrogate losses and show that they are calibrated and convex under certain conditions on the loss parameters and data distribution, thereby establishing a statistical and analytical basis for using these losses. Furthermore, we identify a particularly intuitive class of loss functions in the aforementioned family and show that they are amenable to practical implementation in the large output space setting (i.e. computation is possible without evaluating scores of all labels) by developing a technique called Stochastic Negative Mining. We also provide generalization error bounds for the losses in the family. Finally, we conduct experiments which demonstrate that Stochastic Negative Mining yields benefits over commonly used negative sampling approaches. View details
    Optimal Noise-Adding Mechanism in Additive Differential Privacy
    Quan Geng
    Proceedings of the 22th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS) (2019)
    Preview abstract We derive the optimal $(0, \delta)$-differentially private query-output independent noise-adding mechanism for single real-valued query function under a general cost-minimization framework. Under a mild technical condition, we show that the optimal noise probability distribution is a uniform distribution with a probability mass at the origin. We explicitly derive the optimal noise distribution for general $\ell^p$ cost functions, including $\ell^1$ (for noise magnitude) and $\ell^2$ (for noise power) cost functions, and show that the probability concentration on the origin occurs when $\delta > \frac{p}{p+1}$. Our result demonstrates an improvement over the existing Gaussian mechanisms by a factor of two and three for $(0,\delta)$-differential privacy in the high privacy regime in the context of minimizing the noise magnitude and noise power, and the gain is more pronounced in the low privacy regime. Our result is consistent with the existing result for $(0,\delta)$-differential privacy in the discrete setting, and identifies a probability concentration phenomenon in the continuous setting. View details
    Sampled softmax with random fourier features
    Jiecao (Jack) Chen
    Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) (2019)
    Preview abstract The computational cost of training with softmax cross entropy loss grows linearly with the number of classes. For the settings where a large number of classes are involved, a common method to speed up training is to sample a subset of classes and utilize an estimate of the gradient based on these classes, known as the \emph{sampled softmax} method. However, the sampled softmax provides a biased estimate of the gradient unless the samples are drawn from the exact softmax distribution, which is again expensive to compute. Therefore, a widely employed practical approach (without theoretical justification) involves sampling from a simpler distribution in the hope of approximating the exact softmax distribution. In this paper, we develop the first theoretical understanding of the role that different sampling distributions play in determining the quality of sampled softmax. Motivated by our analysis and the work on kernel-based sampling, we propose the {\em Random Fourier Softmax} (RF-softmax) method that utilizes the powerful Random Fourier features to enable more efficient and accurate sampling from the (approximate) softmax distribution. We show that RF-softmax leads to low biased estimation in terms of both the full softmax distribution and the full softmax gradient. Furthermore, the cost of RF-softmax scales only logarithmically with the number of classes. View details
    On binary embedding using circulant matrices
    Aditya Bhaskara
    Yunchao Gong
    Shih-Fu Chang
    JMLR (2018)
    Preview abstract Binary embeddings provide efficient and powerful ways to perform operations on large scale data. However binary embedding typically requires long codes in order to preserve the discriminative power of the input space. Thus binary coding methods traditionally suffer from high computation and storage costs in such a scenario. To address this problem, we propose Circulant Binary Embedding (CBE) which generates binary codes by projecting the data with a circulant matrix. The circulant structure allows us to use Fast Fourier Transform algorithms to speed up the computation. For obtaining k-bit binary codes from d-dimensional data, our method improves the time complexity from O(dk) to O(dlogd), and the space complexity from O(dk) to O(d). We study two settings, which differ in the way we choose the parameters of the circulant matrix. In the first, the parameters are chosen randomly and in the second, the parameters are learned using the data. For randomized CBE, we give a theoretical analysis comparing it with binary embedding using an unstructured random projection matrix. The challenge here is to show that the dependencies in the entries of the circulant matrix do not lead to a loss in performance. In the second setting, we design a novel time-frequency alternating optimization to learn data-dependent circulant projections, which alternatively minimizes the objective in original and Fourier domains. In both the settings, we show by extensive experiments that the CBE approach gives much better performance than the state-of-the-art approaches if we fix a running time, and provides much faster computation with negligible performance degradation if we fix the number of bits in the embedding. View details
    Preview abstract Adaptive gradient methods that rely on scaling gradients down by the square root of exponential moving averages of past squared gradients, such RMSPROP, ADAM, ADADELTA have found wide application in optimizing the non-convex problems that arise in deep learning. However, it has been recently demonstrated that such methods can fail to converge even in simple convex optimization settings. In this work, we provide a new analysis of such methods applied to nonconvex stochastic optimization problems, characterizing the effect of increasing minibatch size. Our analysis shows that under this scenario such methods do converge to stationarity up to the statistical limit of variance in the stochastic gradients (scaled by a constant factor). In particular, our result implies that increasing minibatch sizes enables convergence, thus providing a way to circumvent the non-convergence issues. Furthermore, we provide a new adaptive optimization algorithm, YOGI, which controls the increase in effective learning rate, leading to even better performance with similar theoretical guarantees on convergence. Extensive experiments show that YOGI with very little hyperparameter tuning outperforms methods such as ADAM in several challenging machine learning tasks View details
    Preview abstract Distributed stochastic gradient descent is an important subroutine in distributed learning. A setting of particular interest is when the clients are mobile devices, where two important concerns are communication efficiency and the privacy of the clients. Several recent works have focused on reducing the communication cost or introducing privacy guarantees, but none of the proposed communication efficient methods are known to be privacy preserving and none of the known privacy mechanisms are known to be communication efficient. To this end, we study algorithms that achieve both communication efficiency and differential privacy. For d variables and n \approx d clients, the proposed method uses \cO(\log \log(nd)) bits of communication per client per coordinate and ensures constant privacy. We also improve previous analysis of the \emph{Binomial mechanism} showing that it achieves nearly the same utility as the Gaussian mechanism, while requiring fewer representation bits, which can be of independent interest. View details
    On the convergence of Adam and Beyond
    International Conference on Learning Representations (2018)
    Preview abstract Several recently proposed stochastic optimization methods that have been successfully used in training deep networks such as RMSProp, Adam, Adadelta, Nadam are based on using gradient updates scaled by square roots of exponential moving averages of squared past gradients. In many applications, e.g. learning with large output spaces, it has been empirically observed that these algorithms fail to converge to an optimal solution (or a critical point in nonconvex settings). We show that one cause for such failures is the exponential moving average used in the algorithms. We provide an explicit example of a simple convex optimization setting where Adam does not converge to the optimal solution, and describe the precise problems with the previous analysis of Adam algorithm. Our analysis suggests that the convergence issues can be fixed by endowing such algorithms with “long-term memory” of past gradients, and propose new variants of the Adam algorithm which not only fix the convergence issues but often also lead to improved empirical performance. View details
    Dual Decomposition for Fast Learning in Large Output Spaces
    Ian Yen
    Dan Holtmann-Rice
    Pradeep Ravikumar
    International Conference on Machine Learning (2018)
    Preview abstract For problems with large output spaces, evaluation of the loss function and its gradient are expensive, typically taking linear time in the size of the output space. Recently, methods have been developed to speed up learning via efficient data structures for Nearest-Neighbor Search (NNS) or Maximum Inner-Product Search (MIPS). However, the performance of such data structures typically degrades in high dimensions. In this work, we propose a novel technique to reduce the intractable high dimensional search problem to several much more tractable lower dimensional ones via dual decomposition of the loss function. At the same time, we demonstrate guaranteed convergence to the original loss via a greedy message passing procedure. In our experiments on multiclass and multilabel classification with hundreds of thousands of classes, as well as training skip-gram word embeddings with a vocabulary size of half a million, our technique consistently improves the accuracy of search-based gradient approximation methods and outperforms sampling-based gradient approximation methods by a large margin. View details
    Preview abstract Existing music recognition applications require both user activation and a connection to a server that performs the actual recognition. In this paper we present a low power music recognizer that runs entirely on a mobile phone and automatically recognizes music without requiring any user activation. A small music detector runs continuously on the mobile phone’s DSP (digital signal processor) chip and only wakes main the processor when it is confident that music is present. Once woken the detector on the main processor is provided with an 8s buffer of audio which is then fingerprinted and compared to the stored fingerprints in the on-device fingerprint database of over 70000 songs. View details
    Preview abstract We propose a multiscale quantization approach for fast similarity search on large, high-dimensional datasets. The key insight of the approach is that quantization methods, in particular product quantization, perform poorly when there is large variance in the norms of the data points. This is a common scenario for real-world datasets, especially when doing product quantization of residuals obtained from coarse vector quantization. To address this issue, we propose a multiscale formulation where we learn a separate scalar quantizer of the residual norm scales. All parameters are learned jointly in a stochastic gradient descent framework to minimize the overall quantization error. We provide theoretical motivation for the proposed technique and conduct comprehensive experiments on two large-scale public datasets, demonstrating substantial improvements in recall over existing state-of-the-art methods. View details
    Preview abstract We propose a simple, yet powerful regularization technique that can be used to significantly improve both the pairwise and triplet losses in learning local feature descriptors. The idea is that in order to fully utilize the expressive power of the descriptor space, good local feature descriptors should be sufficiently “spread-out” over the space. In this work, we propose a regularization term to maximize the spread in feature descriptor inspired by the property of uniform distribution. We show that the proposed regularization with triplet loss outperforms existing Euclidean distance based descriptor learning techniques by a large margin. As an extension, the proposed regularization technique can also be used to improve image-level deep feature embedding. View details
    Preview abstract This paper presents a computationally efficient machine-learned method for natural language response suggestion. Feed-forward neural networks using n-gram embedding features encode messages into vectors which are optimized to give message-response pairs a high dot-product value. An optimized search finds response suggestions. The method is evaluated in a large-scale commercial e-mail application, Inbox by Gmail. Compared to a sequence-to-sequence approach, the new system achieves the same quality at a small fraction of the computational requirements and latency. View details
    Preview abstract Learning-based binary hashing has become a powerful paradigm for fast search and retrieval in massive databases. However, due to the requirement of discrete outputs for the hash functions, learning such functions is known to be very challenging. In addition, the objective functions adopted by existing hashing techniques are mostly chosen heuristically. In this paper, we propose a novel generative approach to learn hash functions through Minimum Description Length principle such that the learned hash codes maximally compress the dataset and can also be used to regenerate the inputs. We also develop an efficient learning algorithm based on the stochastic distributional gradient, which avoids the notorious difficulty caused by binary output constraints, to jointly optimize the parameters of the hash function and the associated generative model. Extensive experiments on a variety of large-scale datasets show that the proposed method achieves better retrieval results than the existing state-of-the-art methods. View details
    Preview abstract Motivated by the need for distributed optimization algorithms with low communication cost, we study communication efficient algorithms to perform distributed mean estimation. We study the scenarios in which each client sends one bit per dimension. We first show that for d dimensional data with n clients, a naive stochastic rounding approach yields a mean squared error Theta(d/n). We then show by applying a structured random rotation of the data (an O(dlogd) algorithm), the error can be reduced to O(logd/n). The methods we show in this paper do not depend on the distribution of the data. View details
    Binary embeddings with structured hashed projections
    Anna Choromanska
    Mariusz Bojarski
    Tony Jebara
    Yann LeCun
    Proceedings of the 33nd International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2016, New York City, NY, USA, June 19-24, 2016, JMLR.org, pp. 344-353
    Preview abstract We consider the hashing mechanism for constructing binary embeddings, that involves pseudo-random projections followed by nonlinear (sign function) mappings. The pseudo-random projection is described by a matrix, where not all entries are independent random variables but instead a fixed "budget of randomness" is distributed across the matrix. Such matrices can be efficiently stored in sub-quadratic or even linear space, provide reduction in randomness usage (i.e. number of required random values), and very often lead to computational speed ups. We prove several theoretical results showing that projections via various structured matrices followed by nonlinear mappings accurately preserve the angular distance between input high-dimensional vectors. To the best of our knowledge, these results are the first that give theoretical ground for the use of general structured matrices in the nonlinear setting. In particular, they generalize previous extensions of the Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma and prove the plausibility of the approach that was so far only heuristically confirmed for some special structured matrices. Consequently, we show that many structured matrices can be used as an efficient information compression mechanism. Our findings build a better understanding of certain deep architectures, which contain randomly weighted and untrained layers, and yet achieve high performance on different learning tasks. We empirically verify our theoretical findings and show the dependence of learning via structured hashed projections on the performance of neural network as well as nearest neighbor classifier. View details
    Quantization based Fast Inner Product Search
    David Simcha
    Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, AISTATS 2016, Cadiz, Spain, May 9-11, 2016, JMLR.org, pp. 482-490
    Preview abstract We propose a quantization based approach for fast approximate Maximum Inner Product Search (MIPS). Each database vector is quantized in multiple subspaces via a set of codebooks, learned directly by minimizing the inner product quantization error. Then, the inner product of a query to a database vector is approximated as the sum of inner products with the subspace quantizers. Different from recently proposed LSH approaches to MIPS, the database vectors and queries do not need to be augmented in a higher dimensional feature space. We also provide a theoretical analysis of the proposed approach, consisting of the concentration results under mild assumptions. Furthermore, if a small sample of example queries is given at the training time, we propose a modified codebook learning procedure which further improves the accuracy. Experimental results on a variety of datasets including those arising from deep neural networks show that the proposed approach significantly outperforms the existing state-of-the-art. View details
    Preview abstract We present an intriguing discovery related to Random Fourier Features: in Gaussian kernel approximation, replacing the random Gaussian matrix by a properly scaled random orthogonal matrix significantly decreases kernel approximation error. We call this technique Orthogonal Random Features (ORF), and provide theoretical and empirical justification for this behavior. Motivated by this discovery, we further propose Structured Orthogonal Random Features (SORF), which uses a class of structured discrete orthogonal matrices to speed up the computation. The method reduces the time cost from O(d^2) to O(dlogd), where d is the data dimensionality, with almost no compromise in kernel approximation quality compared to ORF. Experiments on several datasets verify the effectiveness of ORF and SORF over the existing methods. We also provide discussions on using the same type of discrete orthogonal structure for a broader range of applications. View details
    An Exploration of Parameter Redundancy in Deep Networks with Circulant Projections
    Yu Cheng
    Rogerio Feris
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) (2015)
    Preview abstract We explore the redundancy of parameters in deep neural networks by replacing the conventional linear projection in fully-connected layers with the circulant projection. The circulant structure substantially reduces memory footprint and enables the use of the Fast Fourier Transform to speed up the computation. Considering a fully-connected neural network layer with d input nodes, and d output nodes, this method improves the time complexity from O(d^2) to O(dlogd) and space complexity from O(d^2) to O(d). The space savings are particularly important for modern deep convolutional neural network architectures, where fully-connected layers typically contain more than 90% of the network parameters. We further show that the gradient computation and optimization of the circulant projections can be performed very efficiently. Our experiments on three standard datasets show that the proposed approach achieves this significant gain in storage and efficiency with minimal increase in error rate compared to neural networks with unstructured projections. View details
    Fast Orthogonal Projection Based on Kronecker Product
    Xu Zhang
    Shengjin Wang
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) (2015)
    Preview abstract We propose a family of structured matrices to speed up orthogonal projections for high-dimensional data commonly seen in computer vision applications. In this, a structured matrix is formed by the Kronecker product of a series of smaller orthogonal matrices. This achieves O(dlogd) computational complexity and O(logd) space complexity for d-dimensional data, a drastic improvement over the standard unstructured projections whose computational and space complexities are both O(d^2). We also introduce an efficient learning procedure for optimizing such matrices in a data dependent fashion. We demonstrate the significant advantages of the proposed approach in solving the approximate nearest neighbor (ANN) image search problem with both binary embedding and quantization. Comprehensive experiments show that the proposed approach can achieve similar or better accuracy as the existing state-of-the-art but with significantly less time and memory. View details
    Preview abstract We consider the task of building compact deep learning pipelines suitable for deployment on storage and power constrained mobile devices. We propose a uni- fied framework to learn a broad family of structured parameter matrices that are characterized by the notion of low displacement rank. Our structured transforms admit fast function and gradient evaluation, and span a rich range of parameter sharing configurations whose statistical modeling capacity can be explicitly tuned along a continuum from structured to unstructured. Experimental results show that these transforms can significantly accelerate inference and forward/backward passes during training, and offer superior accuracy-compactness-speed tradeoffs in comparison to a number of existing techniques. In keyword spotting applications in mobile speech recognition, our methods are much more effective than standard linear low-rank bottleneck layers and nearly retain the performance of state of the art models, while providing more than 3.5-fold compression. View details
    Spherical Random Features for Polynomial Kernels
    Jeffrey Pennington
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) (2015)
    Preview abstract Compact explicit feature maps provide a practical framework to scale kernel methods to large-scale learning, but deriving such maps for many types of kernels remains a challenging open problem. Among the commonly used kernels for nonlinear classification are polynomial kernels, for which low approximation error has thus far necessitated explicit feature maps of large dimensionality, especially for higher-order polynomials. Meanwhile, because polynomial kernels are unbounded, they are frequently applied to data that has been normalized to unit l2 norm. The question we address in this work is: if we know a priori that data is normalized, can we devise a more compact map? We show that a putative affirmative answer to this question based on Random Fourier Features is impossible in this setting, and introduce a new approximation paradigm, Spherical Random Fourier (SRF) features, which circumvents these issues and delivers a compact approximation to polynomial kernels for data on the unit sphere. Compared to prior work, SRF features are less rank-deficient, more compact, and achieve better kernel approximation, especially for higher-order polynomials. The resulting predictions have lower variance and typically yield better classification accuracy. View details
    Circulant Binary Embedding
    Yunchao Gong
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2014)
    Preview abstract Binary embedding of high-dimensional data requires long codes to preserve the discriminative power of the input space. Traditional binary coding methods often suffer from very high computation and storage costs in such a scenario. To address this problem, we propose Circulant Binary Embedding (CBE) which generates binary codes by projecting the data with a circulant matrix. The circulant structure enables the use of Fast Fourier Transformation to speed up the computation. Compared to methods that use unstructured matrices, the proposed method improves the time complexity from O(d^2) to O(dlogd), and the space complexity from O(d^2) to O(d) where d is the input dimensionality. We also propose a novel time-frequency alternating optimization to learn data-dependent circulant projections, which alternatively minimizes the objective in original and Fourier domains. We show by extensive experiments that the proposed approach gives much better performance than the state-of-the-art approaches for fixed time, and provides much faster computation with no performance degradation for fixed number of bits. View details
    Discrete Graph Hashing
    Wei Liu
    Cun Mu
    Shih-Fu Chang
    Neural Information Processing Systems (2014)
    Preview abstract Hashing has emerged as a popular technique for fast nearest neighbor search in gigantic databases. In particular, learning based hashing has received considerable attention due to its appealing storage and search efficiency. However, the performance of most unsupervised learning based hashing methods deteriorates rapidly as the hash code length increases. We argue that the degraded performance is due to inferior optimization procedures used to achieve discrete binary codes. This paper presents a graph-based unsupervised hashing model to preserve the neighborhood structure of massive data in a discrete code space. We cast the graph hashing problem into a discrete optimization framework which directly learns the binary codes. A tractable alternating maximization algorithm is then proposed to explicitly deal with the discrete constraints, yielding high-quality codes to well capture the local neighborhoods. Extensive experiments performed on four large datasets with up to one million samples show that our discrete optimization based graph hashing method obtains superior search accuracy over state-of-the-art unsupervised hashing methods, especially for longer codes. View details
    Large-scale SVD and manifold learning
    Ameet Talwalkar
    Journal of Machine Learning Research, vol. 14 (2013), pp. 3129-3152
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    Learning Binary Codes for High Dimensional Data Using Bilinear Projections
    Yunchao Gong
    Svetlana Lazebnik
    IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (2013)
    Preview abstract Recent advances in visual recognition indicate that to achieve good retrieval and classification accuracy on large scale datasets like ImageNet, extremely high-dimensional visual descriptors, e.g., Fisher Vectors, are needed. We present a novel method for converting such descriptors to compact similarity-preserving binary codes that exploits their natural matrix structure to reduce their dimensionality using compact bilinear projections instead of a single large projection matrix. This method achieves comparable retrieval and classification accuracy to the original descriptors and to the state-of-the-art Product Quantization approach while having orders of magnitude faster code generation time and smaller memory footprint. View details
    Preview abstract This paper presents the algorithms which power Google Correlate, a tool which finds web search terms whose popularity over time best matches a user-provided time series. Correlate was developed to generalize the query-based modeling techniques pioneered by Google Flu Trends and make them available to end users. Correlate searches across millions of candidate query time series to find the best matches, returning results in less than 200 milliseconds. Its feature set and requirements present unique challenges for Approximate Nearest Neighbor (ANN) search techniques. In this paper, we present Asymmetric Hashing (AH), the technique used by Correlate, and show how it can be adapted to the specific needs of the product. We then develop experiments to test the throughput and recall of Asymmetric Hashing as compared to a brute-force search. For "full" search vectors, we achieve a 10x speedup over brute force search while maintaining 97% recall. For search vectors which contain holdout periods, we achieve a 4x speedup over brute force search, also with 97% recall. View details
    pSVM for Learning with Label Proportions
    Dong Liu
    Tony Jebara
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2013)
    Preview
    Compact Hyperplane Hashing with Bilinear Functions
    Wei Liu
    Jun Wang
    Yadong Mu
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2012)
    Preview abstract Hyperplane hashing aims at rapidly searching nearest points to a hyperplane, and has shown practical impact in scaling up active learning with SVMs. Unfortunately, the existing randomized methods need long hash codes to achieve reasonable search accuracy and thus suffer from reduced search speed and large memory overhead. To this end, this paper proposes a novel hyperplane hashing technique which yields compact hash codes. The key idea is the bilinear form of the proposed hash functions, which leads to higher collision probability than the existing hyperplane hash functions when using random projections. To further increase the performance, we propose a learning based framework in which the bilinear functions are directly learned from the data. This results in short yet discriminative codes, and also boosts the search performance over the random projection based solutions. Large-scale active learning experiments carried out on two datasets with up to one million samples demonstrate the overall superiority of the proposed approach. View details
    Angular Quantization-based Binary Codes for Fast Similarity Search
    Yunchao Gong
    Vishal Verma
    Svetlana Lazebnik
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) (2012)
    Preview
    Sampling Methods for the Nystrom Method
    Ameet Talwalkar
    Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR) (2012)
    Preview
    Semi-Supervised Hashing for Large Scale Search
    Jun Wang
    Shih-Fu Chang
    IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) (2012)
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    On the Difficulty of Nearest Neighbor Search
    Junfeng He
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2012)
    Preview abstract Fast approximate nearest neighbor (NN) search in large databases is becoming popular and several powerful learning-based formulations have been proposed recently. However, not much attention has been paid to a more fundamental question: how difficult is (approximate) nearest neighbor search in a given data set? And which data properties affect the difficulty of nearest neighbor search and how? This paper introduces the first concrete measure called Relative Contrast that can be used to evaluate the influence of several crucial data characteristics such as dimensionality, sparsity, and database size simultaneously in arbitrary normed metric spaces. Moreover, we present a theoretical analysis to show how relative contrast affects the complexity of Local Sensitive Hashing, a popular approximate NN search method. Relative contrast also provides an explanation for a family of heuristic hashing algorithms with good practical performance based on PCA. Finally, we show that most of the previous works measuring meaningfulness or difficulty of NN search can be derived as special asymptotic cases for dense vectors of the proposed measure. View details
    Ensemble Nystrom
    Ameet Talwalkar
    A book chapter in Ensemble Machine Learning: Theory and Applications, Springer (2011)
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    Google Correlate Whitepaper
    Matt Mohebbi
    Dan Vanderkam
    Julia Kodysh
    Rob Schonberger
    Hyunyoung Choi
    Google (2011)
    Preview abstract Trends in online web search query data have been shown useful in providing models of real world phenomena. However, many of these results rely on the careful choice of queries that prior knowledge suggests should correspond with the phenomenon. Here, we present an online, automated method for query selection that does not require such prior knowledge. Instead, given a temporal or spatial pattern of interest, we determine which queries best mimic the data. These search queries can then serve to build an estimate of the true value of the phenomenon. We present the application of this method to produce accurate models of influenza activity and home refinance rate in the United States. We additionally show that spatial patterns in real world activity and temporal patterns in web search query activity can both surface interesting and useful correlations. View details
    Hashing with Graphs
    Wei Liu
    Jun Wang
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2011)
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    Baselines for Image Annotation
    Vladimir Pavlovic
    International Journal on Computer Vision (IJCV) (2010)
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    Sequential Projection Learning for Hashing with Compact Codes
    Jun Wang
    Shih-Fu Chang
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2010)
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    YouTubeCat: Learning to Categorize Wild Web Videos
    Zheshen Wang
    Baoxin Li
    IEEE Conf on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) (2010)
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    Semi-Supervised Hashing for Scalable Image Retrieval
    Jun Wang
    Shih-Fu Chang
    IEEE Conf on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) (2010)
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    Sampling Techniques for the Nystrom Method
    Ameet Talwalkar
    Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS) (2009)
    Preview
    On Sampling-Based Approximate Spectral Decomposition
    Ameet Talkwalkar
    International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2009)
    Preview
    Ensemble Nystrom Method
    Ameet Talwalkar
    Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) (2009)
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    Large-Scale Manifold Learning
    Ameet Talwalkar
    Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) (2008)
    Preview abstract This paper examines the problem of extracting low-dimensional manifold structure given millions of high-dimensional face images. Specifically, we address the computational challenges of nonlinear dimensionality reduction via Isomap and Laplacian Eigenmaps, using a graph containing about 18 million nodes and 65 million edges. Since most manifold learning techniques rely on spectral decomposition, we first analyze two approximate spectral decomposition techniques for large dense matrices (Nystrom and Column-sampling), providing the first direct theoretical and empirical comparison between these techniques. We next show extensive experiments on learning low-dimensional embeddings for two large face datasets: CMU-PIE (35 thousand faces) and a web dataset (18 million faces). Our comparisons show that the Nystrom approximation is superior to the Column-sampling method. Furthermore, approximate Isomap tends to perform better than Laplacian Eigenmaps on both clustering and classification with the labeled CMU-PIE dataset. View details
    Face Tracking and Recognition with Visual Constraints in Real-World Videos
    Minyoung Kim
    Vladimir Pavlovic
    IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) (2008)
    Preview abstract We address the problem of tracking and recognizing faces in real-world, noisy videos. We track faces using a tracker that adaptively builds a target model reflecting changes in appearance, typical of a video setting. However, adaptive appearance trackers often suffer from drift, a gradual adaptation of the tracker to non-targets. To alleviate this problem, our tracker introduces visual constraints using a combination of generative and discriminative models in a particle filtering framework. The generative term conforms the particles to the space of generic face poses while the discriminative one ensures rejection of poorly aligned targets. This leads to a tracker that significantly improves robustness against abrupt appearance changes and occlusions, critical for the subsequent recognition phase. Identity of the tracked subject is established by fusing pose-discriminant and person-discriminant features over the duration of a video sequence. This leads to a robust video-based face recognizer with state-of-the-art recognition performance. We test the quality of tracking and face recognition on realworld noisy videos from YouTube as well as the standard Honda/UCSD database. Our approach produces successful face tracking results on over 80% of all videos without video or person-specific parameter tuning. The good tracking performance induces similarly high recognition rates: 100% on Honda/UCSD and over 70% on the YouTube set containing 35 celebrities in 1500 sequences. View details
    A New Baseline For Image Annotation
    Vladimir Pavlovic
    European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV) (2008)
    Preview
    Binary embeddings with structured hashed projections
    Anna Choromanska
    Mariusz Bojarski
    Tony Jebara
    Yann LeCun
    CoRR, vol. abs/1511.05212 (2015)
    Fast Online Clustering with Randomized Skeleton Sets
    Xiaofeng Liu
    CoRR, vol. abs/1506.03425 (2015)
    Quantization based Fast Inner Product Search
    David Simcha
    CoRR, vol. abs/1509.01469 (2015)
    Sampling Methods for the Nyström Method
    Ameet Talwalkar
    Journal of Machine Learning Research, vol. 13 (2012), pp. 981-1006