Collaborating Authors

Markov Models

DenseHMM: Learning Hidden Markov Models by Learning Dense Representations Machine Learning

We propose DenseHMM - a modification of Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) that allows to learn dense representations of both the hidden states and the observables. Compared to the standard HMM, transition probabilities are not atomic but composed of these representations via kernelization. Our approach enables constraint-free and gradient-based optimization. We propose two optimization schemes that make use of this: a modification of the Baum-Welch algorithm and a direct co-occurrence optimization. The latter one is highly scalable and comes empirically without loss of performance compared to standard HMMs. We show that the non-linearity of the kernelization is crucial for the expressiveness of the representations. The properties of the DenseHMM like learned co-occurrences and log-likelihoods are studied empirically on synthetic and biomedical datasets.

Neurosymbolic AI: The 3rd Wave Artificial Intelligence

Current advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have achieved unprecedented impact across research communities and industry. Nevertheless, concerns about trust, safety, interpretability and accountability of AI were raised by influential thinkers. Many have identified the need for well-founded knowledge representation and reasoning to be integrated with deep learning and for sound explainability. Neural-symbolic computing has been an active area of research for many years seeking to bring together robust learning in neural networks with reasoning and explainability via symbolic representations for network models. In this paper, we relate recent and early research results in neurosymbolic AI with the objective of identifying the key ingredients of the next wave of AI systems. We focus on research that integrates in a principled way neural network-based learning with symbolic knowledge representation and logical reasoning. The insights provided by 20 years of neural-symbolic computing are shown to shed new light onto the increasingly prominent role of trust, safety, interpretability and accountability of AI. We also identify promising directions and challenges for the next decade of AI research from the perspective of neural-symbolic systems.

Clustering and Semi-Supervised Classification for Clickstream Data via Mixture Models Machine Learning

Finite mixture models have been used for unsupervised learning for some time, and their use within the semi-supervised paradigm is becoming more commonplace. Clickstream data is one of the various emerging data types that demands particular attention because there is a notable paucity of statistical learning approaches currently available. A mixture of first-order continuous time Markov models is introduced for unsupervised and semi-supervised learning of clickstream data. This approach assumes continuous time, which distinguishes it from existing mixture model-based approaches; practically, this allows account to be taken of the amount of time each user spends on each webpage. The approach is evaluated, and compared to the discrete time approach, using simulated and real data.

Distant-Supervised Slot-Filling for E-Commerce Queries Artificial Intelligence

Slot-filling refers to the task of annotating individual terms in a query with the corresponding intended product characteristics (product type, brand, gender, size, color, etc.). These characteristics can then be used by a search engine to return results that better match the query's product intent. Traditional methods for slot-filling require the availability of training data with ground truth slot-annotation information. However, generating such labeled data, especially in e-commerce is expensive and time-consuming because the number of slots increases as new products are added. In this paper, we present distant-supervised probabilistic generative models, that require no manual annotation. The proposed approaches leverage the readily available historical query logs and the purchases that these queries led to, and also exploit co-occurrence information among the slots in order to identify intended product characteristics. We evaluate our approaches by considering how they affect retrieval performance, as well as how well they classify the slots. In terms of retrieval, our approaches achieve better ranking performance (up to 156%) over Okapi BM25. Moreover, our approach that leverages co-occurrence information leads to better performance than the one that does not on both the retrieval and slot classification tasks.

Nearly Minimax Optimal Reinforcement Learning for Linear Mixture Markov Decision Processes Machine Learning

We study reinforcement learning (RL) with linear function approximation where the underlying transition probability kernel of the Markov decision process (MDP) is a linear mixture model (Jia et al., 2020; Ayoub et al., 2020; Zhou et al., 2020) and the learning agent has access to either an integration or a sampling oracle of the individual basis kernels. We propose a new Bernstein-type concentration inequality for self-normalized martingales for linear bandit problems with bounded noise. Based on the new inequality, we propose a new, computationally efficient algorithm with linear function approximation named $\text{UCRL-VTR}^{+}$ for the aforementioned linear mixture MDPs in the episodic undiscounted setting. We show that $\text{UCRL-VTR}^{+}$ attains an $\tilde O(dH\sqrt{T})$ regret where $d$ is the dimension of feature mapping, $H$ is the length of the episode and $T$ is the number of interactions with the MDP. We also prove a matching lower bound $\Omega(dH\sqrt{T})$ for this setting, which shows that $\text{UCRL-VTR}^{+}$ is minimax optimal up to logarithmic factors. In addition, we propose the $\text{UCLK}^{+}$ algorithm for the same family of MDPs under discounting and show that it attains an $\tilde O(d\sqrt{T}/(1-\gamma)^{1.5})$ regret, where $\gamma\in [0,1)$ is the discount factor. Our upper bound matches the lower bound $\Omega(d\sqrt{T}/(1-\gamma)^{1.5})$ proved in Zhou et al. (2020) up to logarithmic factors, suggesting that $\text{UCLK}^{+}$ is nearly minimax optimal. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first computationally efficient, nearly minimax optimal algorithms for RL with linear function approximation.

Feature Selection for Learning to Predict Outcomes of Compute Cluster Jobs with Application to Decision Support Artificial Intelligence

We present a machine learning framework and a new test bed for data mining from the Slurm Workload Manager for high-performance computing (HPC) clusters. The focus was to find a method for selecting features to support decisions: helping users decide whether to resubmit failed jobs with boosted CPU and memory allocations or migrate them to a computing cloud. This task was cast as both supervised classification and regression learning, specifically, sequential problem solving suitable for reinforcement learning. Selecting relevant features can improve training accuracy, reduce training time, and produce a more comprehensible model, with an intelligent system that can explain predictions and inferences. We present a supervised learning model trained on a Simple Linux Utility for Resource Management (Slurm) data set of HPC jobs using three different techniques for selecting features: linear regression, lasso, and ridge regression. Our data set represented both HPC jobs that failed and those that succeeded, so our model was reliable, less likely to overfit, and generalizable. Our model achieved an R^2 of 95\% with 99\% accuracy. We identified five predictors for both CPU and memory properties.

Deliberative and Conceptual Inference in Service Robots Artificial Intelligence

Service robots need to reason to support people in daily life situations. Reasoning is an expensive resource that should be used on demand whenever the expectations of the robot do not match the situation of the world and the execution of the task is broken down; in such scenarios the robot must perform the common sense daily life inference cycle consisting on diagnosing what happened, deciding what to do about it, and inducing and executing a plan, recurring in such behavior until the service task can be resumed. Here we examine two strategies to implement this cycle: (1) a pipe-line strategy involving abduction, decision-making and planning, which we call deliberative inference and (2) the use of the knowledge and preferences stored in the robot's knowledge-base, which we call conceptual inference. The former involves an explicit definition of a problem space that is explored through heuristic search, and the latter is based on conceptual knowledge including the human user preferences, and its representation requires a non-monotonic knowledge-based system. We compare the strengths and limitations of both approaches. We also describe a service robot conceptual model and architecture capable of supporting the daily life inference cycle during the execution of a robotics service task. The model is centered in the declarative specification and interpretation of robot's communication and task structure. We also show the implementation of this framework in the fully autonomous robot Golem-III. The framework is illustrated with two demonstration scenarios.

Contrastive Divergence Learning is a Time Reversal Adversarial Game Machine Learning

Contrastive divergence (CD) learning is a classical method for fitting unnormalized statistical models to data samples. Despite its wide-spread use, the convergence properties of this algorithm are still not well understood. The main source of difficulty is an unjustified approximation which has been used to derive the gradient of the loss. In this paper, we present an alternative derivation of CD that does not require any approximation and sheds new light on the objective that is actually being optimized by the algorithm. Specifically, we show that CD is an adversarial learning procedure, where a discriminator attempts to classify whether a Markov chain generated from the model has been time-reversed. Thus, although predating generative adversarial networks (GANs) by more than a decade, CD is, in fact, closely related to these techniques. Our derivation settles well with previous observations, which have concluded that CD's update steps cannot be expressed as the gradients of any fixed objective function. In addition, as a byproduct, our derivation reveals a simple correction that can be used as an alternative to Metropolis-Hastings rejection, which is required when the underlying Markov chain is inexact (e.g. when using Langevin dynamics with a large step).

Minimax Regret Optimisation for Robust Planning in Uncertain Markov Decision Processes Artificial Intelligence

The parameters for a Markov Decision Process (MDP) often cannot be specified exactly. Uncertain MDPs (UMDPs) capture this model ambiguity by defining sets which the parameters belong to. Minimax regret has been proposed as an objective for planning in UMDPs to find robust policies which are not overly conservative. In this work, we focus on planning for Stochastic Shortest Path (SSP) UMDPs with uncertain cost and transition functions. We introduce a Bellman equation to compute the regret for a policy. We propose a dynamic programming algorithm that utilises the regret Bellman equation, and show that it optimises minimax regret exactly for UMDPs with independent uncertainties. For coupled uncertainties, we extend our approach to use options to enable a trade off between computation and solution quality. We evaluate our approach on both synthetic and real-world domains, showing that it significantly outperforms existing baselines.

Statistical modeling with "Pomegranate" --fast and intuitive


First and foremost, it is a delicious fruit. But there is a double delight for fruit-lover data scientists! It is also a Python package that implements fast and flexible probabilistic models ranging from individual probability distributions to compositional models such as Bayesian networks and Hidden Markov Models. The central idea behind this package is that all probabilistic models can be viewed as a probability distribution. That means they all yield probability estimates for samples and can be updated/fitted given samples and their associated weights.