Pruthi, Garima, Liu, Frederick, Sundararajan, Mukund, Kale, Satyen

We introduce a method called TrackIn that computes the influence of a training example on a prediction made by the model, by tracking how the loss on the test point changes during the training process whenever the training example of interest was utilized. We provide a scalable implementation of TrackIn via a combination of a few key ideas: (a) a first-order approximation to the exact computation, (b) using random projections to speed up the computation of the first-order approximation for large models, (c) using saved checkpoints of standard training procedures, and (d) cherry-picking layers of a deep neural network. An experimental evaluation shows that TrackIn is more effective in identifying mislabelled training examples than other related methods such as influence functions and representer points. We also discuss insights from applying the method on vision, regression and natural language tasks.

In recent years, deep neural networks have found success in replicating human-level cognitive skills, yet they suffer from several major obstacles. One significant limitation is the inability to learn new tasks without forgetting previously learned tasks, a shortcoming known as catastrophic forgetting. In this research, we propose a simple method to overcome catastrophic forgetting and enable continual learning in neural networks. We draw inspiration from principles in neurology and physics to develop the concept of weight friction. Weight friction operates by a modification to the update rule in the gradient descent optimization method. It converges at a rate comparable to that of the stochastic gradient descent algorithm and can operate over multiple task domains. It performs comparably to current methods while offering improvements in computation and memory efficiency.

Manneschi, Luca, Lin, Andrew C., Vasilaki, Eleni

The mushroom body is the key network for the representation of learned olfactory stimuli in Drosophila and insects. The sparse activity of Kenyon cells, the principal neurons in the mushroom body, plays a key role in the learned classification of different odours. In the specific case of the fruit fly, the sparseness of the network is enforced by an inhibitory feedback neuron called APL, and by an intrinsic high firing threshold of the Kenyon cells. In this work we took inspiration from the fruit fly brain to formulate a novel machine learning algorithm that is able to optimize the sparsity level of a reservoir by changing the firing thresholds of the nodes. The sparsity is only applied on the readout layer so as not to change the timescales of the reservoir and to allow the derivation of a one-layer update rule for the firing thresholds. The proposed algorithm is a combination of learning a neuron-specific sparsity threshold via gradient descent and a global sparsity threshold via a Markov chain Monte Carlo method. The proposed model outperforms the standard gradient descent, which is limited to the readout weights of the reservoir, on two example tasks. It demonstrates how the learnt sparse representation can lead to better classification performance, memorization ability and convergence time.

Melchior, Jan, Wiskott, Laurenz

In this work we propose Hebbian-descent as a biologically plausible learning rule for hetero-associative as well as auto-associative learning in single layer artificial neural networks. It can be used as a replacement for gradient descent as well as Hebbian learning, in particular in online learning, as it inherits their advantages while not suffering from their disadvantages. We discuss the drawbacks of Hebbian learning as having problems with correlated input data and not profiting from seeing training patterns several times. For gradient descent we identify the derivative of the activation function as problematic especially in online learning. Hebbian-descent addresses these problems by getting rid of the activation function's derivative and by centering, i.e. keeping the neural activities mean free, leading to a biologically plausible update rule that is provably convergent, does not suffer from the vanishing error term problem, can deal with correlated data, profits from seeing patterns several times, and enables successful online learning when centering is used. We discuss its relationship to Hebbian learning, contrastive learning, and gradient decent and show that in case of a strictly positive derivative of the activation function Hebbian-descent leads to the same update rule as gradient descent but for a different loss function. In this case Hebbian-descent inherits the convergence properties of gradient descent, but we also show empirically that it converges when the derivative of the activation function is only non-negative, such as for the step function for example. Furthermore, in case of the mean squared error loss Hebbian-descent can be understood as the difference between two Hebb-learning steps, which in case of an invertible and integrable activation function actually optimizes a generalized linear model. ...

As data becomes the fuel driving technological and economic growth, a fundamental challenge is how to quantify the value of data in algorithmic predictions and decisions. For example, in healthcare and consumer markets, it has been suggested that individuals should be compensated for the data that they generate, but it is not clear what is an equitable valuation for individual data. In this work, we develop a principled framework to address data valuation in the context of supervised machine learning. Given a learning algorithm trained on $n$ data points to produce a predictor, we propose data Shapley as a metric to quantify the value of each training datum to the predictor performance. Data Shapley uniquely satisfies several natural properties of equitable data valuation. We develop Monte Carlo and gradient-based methods to efficiently estimate data Shapley values in practical settings where complex learning algorithms, including neural networks, are trained on large datasets. In addition to being equitable, extensive experiments across biomedical, image and synthetic data demonstrate that data Shapley has several other benefits: 1) it is more powerful than the popular leave-one-out or leverage score in providing insight on what data is more valuable for a given learning task; 2) low Shapley value data effectively capture outliers and corruptions; 3) high Shapley value data inform what type of new data to acquire to improve the predictor.

Hu, Ruihan, Huang, Qijun, Chang, Sheng, Wang, Hao, He, Jin

Machine learning algorithms have been effectively applied into various real world tasks. However, it is difficult to provide high-quality machine learning solutions to accommodate an unknown distribution of input datasets; this difficulty is called the uncertainty prediction problems. In this paper, a margin-based Pareto deep ensemble pruning (MBPEP) model is proposed. It achieves the high-quality uncertainty estimation with a small value of the prediction interval width (MPIW) and a high confidence of prediction interval coverage probability (PICP) by using deep ensemble networks. In addition to these networks, unique loss functions are proposed, and these functions make the sub-learners available for standard gradient descent learning. Furthermore, the margin criterion fine-tuning-based Pareto pruning method is introduced to optimize the ensembles. Several experiments including predicting uncertainties of classification and regression are conducted to analyze the performance of MBPEP. The experimental results show that MBPEP achieves a small interval width and a low learning error with an optimal number of ensembles. For the real-world problems, MBPEP performs well on input datasets with unknown distributions datasets incomings and improves learning performance on a multi task problem when compared to that of each single model.

We propose Lomax delegate racing (LDR) to explicitly model the mechanism of survival under competing risks and to interpret how the covariates accelerate or decelerate the time to event. LDR explains non-monotonic covariate effects by racing a potentially infinite number of sub-risks, and consequently relaxes the ubiquitous proportional-hazards assumption which may be too restrictive. Moreover, LDR is naturally able to model not only censoring, but also missing event times or event types. For inference, we develop a Gibbs sampler under data augmentation for moderately sized data, along with a stochastic gradient descent maximum a posteriori inference algorithm for big data applications. Illustrative experiments are provided on both synthetic and real datasets, and comparison with various benchmark algorithms for survival analysis with competing risks demonstrates distinguished performance of LDR.

Rademaker, Thomas J., Bengio, Emmanuel, François, Paul

Machine learning algorithms are sensitive to so-called adversarial perturbations. This is reminiscent of cellular decision-making where antagonist ligands may prevent correct signaling, like during the early immune response. We draw a formal analogy between neural networks used in machine learning and the general class of adaptive proofreading networks. We then apply simple adversarial strategies from machine learning to models of ligand discrimination. We show how kinetic proofreading leads to "boundary tilting" and identify three types of perturbation (adversarial, non adversarial and ambiguous). We then use a gradient-descent approach to compare different adaptive proofreading models, and we reveal the existence of two qualitatively different regimes characterized by the presence or absence of a critical point. These regimes are reminiscent of the "feature-to-prototype" transition identified in machine learning, corresponding to two strategies in ligand antagonism (broad vs. specialized). Overall, our work connects evolved cellular decision-making to classification in machine learning, showing that behaviours close to the decision boundary can be understood through the same mechanisms.