Energy


Bayesian Alignments of Warped Multi-Output Gaussian Processes

Neural Information Processing Systems

We propose a novel Bayesian approach to modelling nonlinear alignments of time series based on latent shared information. We apply the method to the real-world problem of finding common structure in the sensor data of wind turbines introduced by the underlying latent and turbulent wind field. The proposed model allows for both arbitrary alignments of the inputs and non-parametric output warpings to transform the observations. This gives rise to multiple deep Gaussian process models connected via latent generating processes. We present an efficient variational approximation based on nested variational compression and show how the model can be used to extract shared information between dependent time series, recovering an interpretable functional decomposition of the learning problem.


On the Local Hessian in Back-propagation

Neural Information Processing Systems

Back-propagation (BP) is the foundation for successfully training deep neural networks. However, BP sometimes has difficulties in propagating a learning signal deep enough effectively, e.g., the vanishing gradient phenomenon. Meanwhile, BP often works well when combining with designing tricks'' like orthogonal initialization, batch normalization and skip connection. There is no clear understanding on what is essential to the efficiency of BP. In this paper, we take one step towards clarifying this problem.


Task-based End-to-end Model Learning in Stochastic Optimization

Neural Information Processing Systems

With the increasing popularity of machine learning techniques, it has become common to see prediction algorithms operating within some larger process. However, the criteria by which we train these algorithms often differ from the ultimate criteria on which we evaluate them. This paper proposes an end-to-end approach for learning probabilistic machine learning models in a manner that directly captures the ultimate task-based objective for which they will be used, within the context of stochastic programming. We present three experimental evaluations of the proposed approach: a classical inventory stock problem, a real-world electrical grid scheduling task, and a real-world energy storage arbitrage task. We show that the proposed approach can outperform both traditional modeling and purely black-box policy optimization approaches in these applications.


Enhancing the Locality and Breaking the Memory Bottleneck of Transformer on Time Series Forecasting

Neural Information Processing Systems

Time series forecasting is an important problem across many domains, including predictions of solar plant energy output, electricity consumption, and traffic jam situation. In this paper, we propose to tackle such forecasting problem with Transformer. Although impressed by its performance in our preliminary study, we found its two major weaknesses: (1) locality-agnostics: the point-wise dot- product self-attention in canonical Transformer architecture is insensitive to local context, which can make the model prone to anomalies in time series; (2) memory bottleneck: space complexity of canonical Transformer grows quadratically with sequence length L, making directly modeling long time series infeasible. In order to solve these two issues, we first propose convolutional self-attention by producing queries and keys with causal convolution so that local context can be better incorporated into attention mechanism. Then, we propose LogSparse Transformer with only O(L(log L) 2) memory cost, improving forecasting accuracy for time series with fine granularity and strong long-term dependencies under constrained memory budget.


Meta-Reinforcement Learning of Structured Exploration Strategies

Neural Information Processing Systems

Exploration is a fundamental challenge in reinforcement learning (RL). Many current exploration methods for deep RL use task-agnostic objectives, such as information gain or bonuses based on state visitation. However, many practical applications of RL involve learning more than a single task, and prior tasks can be used to inform how exploration should be performed in new tasks. In this work, we study how prior tasks can inform an agent about how to explore effectively in new situations. We introduce a novel gradient-based fast adaptation algorithm – model agnostic exploration with structured noise (MAESN) – to learn exploration strategies from prior experience.


Task-Driven Convolutional Recurrent Models of the Visual System

Neural Information Processing Systems

Feed-forward convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are currently state-of-the-art for object classification tasks such as ImageNet. Further, they are quantitatively accurate models of temporally-averaged responses of neurons in the primate brain's visual system. However, biological visual systems have two ubiquitous architectural features not shared with typical CNNs: local recurrence within cortical areas, and long-range feedback from downstream areas to upstream areas. We found that standard forms of recurrence (vanilla RNNs and LSTMs) do not perform well within deep CNNs on the ImageNet task. In contrast, novel cells that incorporated two structural features, bypassing and gating, were able to boost task accuracy substantially.


Multivariate Triangular Quantile Maps for Novelty Detection

Neural Information Processing Systems

Novelty detection, a fundamental task in machine learning, has drawn a lot of recent attention due to its wide-ranging applications and the rise of neural approaches. In this work, we present a general framework for neural novelty detection that centers around a multivariate extension of the univariate quantile function. Our framework unifies and extends many classical and recent novelty detection algorithms, and opens the way to exploit recent advances in flow-based neural density estimation. We adapt the multiple gradient descent algorithm to obtain the first efficient end-to-end implementation of our framework that is free of tuning hyperparameters. Extensive experiments over a number of real datasets confirm the efficacy of our proposed method against state-of-the-art alternatives.


Heterogeneous Bitwidth Binarization in Convolutional Neural Networks

Neural Information Processing Systems

Recent work has shown that fast, compact low-bitwidth neural networks can be surprisingly accurate. These networks use homogeneous binarization: all parameters in each layer or (more commonly) the whole model have the same low bitwidth (e.g., 2 bits). However, modern hardware allows efficient designs where each arithmetic instruction can have a custom bitwidth, motivating heterogeneous binarization, where every parameter in the network may have a different bitwidth. In this paper, we show that it is feasible and useful to select bitwidths at the parameter granularity during training. For instance a heterogeneously quantized version of modern networks such as AlexNet and MobileNet, with the right mix of 1-, 2- and 3-bit parameters that average to just 1.4 bits can equal the accuracy of homogeneous 2-bit versions of these networks.


Data center cooling using model-predictive control

Neural Information Processing Systems

Despite impressive recent advances in reinforcement learning (RL), its deployment in real-world physical systems is often complicated by unexpected events, limited data, and the potential for expensive failures. In this paper, we describe an application of RL "in the wild" to the task of regulating temperatures and airflow inside a large-scale data center (DC). Adopting a data-driven, model-based approach, we demonstrate that an RL agent with little prior knowledge is able to effectively and safely regulate conditions on a server floor after just a few hours of exploration, while improving operational efficiency relative to existing PID controllers. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.


Super-Resolution Off the Grid

Neural Information Processing Systems

Super-resolution is the problem of recovering a superposition of point sources using bandlimited measurements, which may be corrupted with noise. This signal processing problem arises in numerous imaging problems, ranging from astronomy to biology to spectroscopy, where it is common to take (coarse) Fourier measurements of an object. Of particular interest is in obtaining estimation procedures which are robust to noise, with the following desirable statistical and computational properties: we seek to use coarse Fourier measurements (bounded by some \emph{cutoff frequency}); we hope to take a (quantifiably) small number of measurements; we desire our algorithm to run quickly. Suppose we have $k$ point sources in $d$ dimensions, where the points are separated by at least $\Delta$ from each other (in Euclidean distance). This work provides an algorithm with the following favorable guarantees:1.