Machine Intelligence

Google is at the forefront of innovation in Machine Intelligence, with active research exploring virtually all aspects of machine learning, including deep learning and more classical algorithms. Exploring theory as well as application, much of our work on language, speech, translation, visual processing, ranking and prediction relies on Machine Intelligence. In all of those tasks and many others, we gather large volumes of direct or indirect evidence of relationships of interest, applying learning algorithms to understand and generalize.

Machine Intelligence at Google raises deep scientific and engineering challenges, allowing us to contribute to the broader academic research community through technical talks and publications in major conferences and journals. Contrary to much of current theory and practice, the statistics of the data we observe shifts rapidly, the features of interest change as well, and the volume of data often requires enormous computation capacity. When learning systems are placed at the core of interactive services in a fast changing and sometimes adversarial environment, combinations of techniques including deep learning and statistical models need to be combined with ideas from control and game theory.

Recent Publications

PikeLPN: Mitigating Overlooked Inefficiencies of Low-Precision Neural Networks
Marina Neseem
Conor McCullough
Randy Hsin
Chas Leichner
Shan Li
In Suk Chong
Andrew Howard
Lukasz Lew
Sherief Reda
Ville-Mikko Rautio
Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition(2024) (to appear)
Preview abstract Low-precision quantization is recognized for its efficacy in neural network optimization. Our analysis reveals that non-quantized elementwise operations which are prevalent in layers such as parameterized activation functions, batch normalization, and quantization scaling dominate the inference cost of low-precision models. These non-quantized elementwise operations are commonly overlooked in SOTA efficiency metrics such as Arithmetic Computation Effort (ACE). In this paper, we propose ACEv2 - an extended version of ACE which offers a better alignment with the inference cost of quantized models and their energy consumption on ML hardware. Moreover, we introduce PikeLPN, a model that addresses these efficiency issues by applying quantization to both elementwise operations and multiply-accumulate operations. In particular, we present a novel quantization technique for batch normalization layers named QuantNorm which allows for quantizing the batch normalization parameters without compromising the model performance. Additionally, we propose applying Double Quantization where the quantization scaling parameters are quantized. Furthermore, we recognize and resolve the issue of distribution mismatch in Separable Convolution layers by introducing Distribution-Heterogeneous Quantization which enables quantizing them to low-precision. PikeLPN achieves Pareto-optimality in efficiency-accuracy trade-off with up to 3X efficiency improvement compared to SOTA low-precision models. View details
Preview abstract Google services are powered by the largest network of computers in the world. Site Reliabity Engineers (SRE) make sure that the whole stack is cool: datacenters are safe, well provisionedl; we have fallback mechanims, and data integrity; to making sure we design our stack properly, using the right storage, replication and software trade-offs. Generative AI is a great tool to make us super-effective: having access to tools to generate our most toily configurations, to classify risks and events, to manage large swaths of machines with agents or to automate complex workflows cheaply. This talk will cover the journey that SRE started years ago to become a truly AI-First discipline and the latest advancements in tooling, practices and workflows. View details
Preview abstract Learned reweighting (LRW) approaches to supervised learning use an optimization criterion to assign weights for training instances, in order to maximize performance on a representative validation dataset. We pose and formalize the problem of optimized selection of the validation set used in LRW training, to improve classifier generalization. In particular, we show that using hard-to-classify instances in the validation set has both a theoretical connection to, and strong empirical evidence of generalization. We provide an efficient algorithm for training this meta-optimized model, as well as a simple train-twice heuristic for careful comparative study. We demonstrate that LRW with easy validation data performs consistently worse than LRW with hard validation data, establishing the validity of our meta-optimization problem. Our proposed algorithm outperforms a wide range of baselines on a range of datasets and domain shift challenges (Imagenet-1K, CIFAR-100, Clothing-1M, CAMELYON, WILDS, etc.), with ~1% gains using VIT-B on Imagenet. We also show that using naturally hard examples for validation (Imagenet-R / Imagenet-A) in LRW training for Imagenet improves performance on both clean and naturally hard test instances by 1-2%. Secondary analyses show that using hard validation data in an LRW framework improves margins on test data, hinting at the mechanism underlying our empirical gains. We believe this work opens up new research directions for the meta-optimization of meta-learning in a supervised learning context. View details
Preview abstract Table-based reasoning with large language models (LLMs) is a promising direction to tackle many table understanding tasks, such as table-based question answering and fact verification. Compared with generic reasoning, table-based reasoning requires the extraction of underlying semantics from both free-form questions and semi-structured tabular data. Chain-of-Thought and its similar approaches incorporate the reasoning chain in the form of textual context, but it is still an open question how to effectively leverage tabular data in the reasoning chain. We propose the Chain-of-Table framework, where tabular data is explicitly used in the reasoning chain as a proxy for intermediate thoughts. Specifically, we guide LLMs using in-context learning to iteratively generate operations and update the table to represent a tabular reasoning chain. LLMs can therefore dynamically plan the next operation based on the results of the previous ones. This continuous evolution of the table forms a chain, showing the reasoning process for a given tabular problem. The chain carries structured information of the intermediate results, enabling more accurate and reliable predictions. Chain-of-Table achieves new state-of-the-art performance on WikiTQ, FeTaQA, and TabFact benchmarks across multiple LLM choices. View details
Believing Anthropomorphism: Examining the Role of Anthropomorphic Cues on User Trust in Large Language Models
Michelle Cohn
Femi Olanubi
Zion Mengesha
Daniel Padgett
CM (Association of Computing Machinery) CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2024(2024)
Preview abstract People now regularly interface with Large Language Models (LLMs) via speech and text (e.g., Bard) interfaces. However, little is known about the relationship between how users anthropomorphize an LLM system (i.e., ascribe human-like characteristics to a system) and how they trust the information the system provides. Participants (n=2,165; ranging in age from 18-90 from the United States) completed an online experiment, where they interacted with a pseudo-LLM that varied in modality (text only, speech + text) and grammatical person (“I” vs. “the system”) in its responses. Results showed that the “speech + text” condition led to higher anthropomorphism of the system overall, as well as higher ratings of accuracy of the information the system provides. Additionally, the first-person pronoun (“I”) led to higher information accuracy and reduced risk ratings, but only in one context. We discuss these findings for their implications for the design of responsible, human–generative AI experiences. View details
Visual Grounding for User Interfaces
Yijun Qian
Yujie Lu
Alexander G. Hauptmann
2024 Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL 2024) - Industry Track
Preview abstract Enabling autonomous language agents to drive application user interfaces (UIs) as humans do can significantly expand the capability of today's API-based agents. Essential to this vision is the ability of agents to ground natural language commands to on-screen UI elements. Prior UI grounding approaches work by relaying on developer-provided UI metadata (UI trees, such as web DOM, and accessibility labels) to detect on-screen elements. However, such metadata is often unavailable or incomplete. Object detection techniques applied to UI screens remove this dependency, by inferring location and types of UI elements directly from the UI's visual appearance. The extracted semantics, however, are too limited to directly enable grounding. We overcome the limitations of both approaches by introducing the task of visual UI grounding, which unifies detection and grounding. A model takes as input a UI screenshot and a free-form language expression, and must identify the referenced UI element. We propose a solution to this problem, LVG, which learns UI element detection and grounding using a new technique called layout-guided contrastive learning, where the semantics of individual UI objects are learned also from their visual organization. Due to the scarcity of UI datasets, LVG integrates synthetic data in its training using multi-context learning. LVG outperforms baselines pre-trained on much larger datasets by over 4.9 points in top-1 accuracy, thus demonstrating its effectiveness. View details