Collaborating Authors

Learning Realistic Patterns from Unrealistic Stimuli: Generalization and Data Anonymization Machine Learning

Good training data is a prerequisite to develop useful ML applications. However, in many domains existing data sets cannot be shared due to privacy regulations (e.g., from medical studies). This work investigates a simple yet unconventional approach for anonymized data synthesis to enable third parties to benefit from such private data. We explore the feasibility of learning implicitly from unrealistic, task-relevant stimuli, which are synthesized by exciting the neurons of a trained deep neural network (DNN). As such, neuronal excitation serves as a pseudo-generative model. The stimuli data is used to train new classification models. Furthermore, we extend this framework to inhibit representations that are associated with specific individuals. We use sleep monitoring data from both an open and a large closed clinical study and evaluate whether (1) end-users can create and successfully use customized classification models for sleep apnea detection, and (2) the identity of participants in the study is protected. Extensive comparative empirical investigation shows that different algorithms trained on the stimuli are able generalize successfully on the same task as the original model. However, architectural and algorithmic similarity between new and original models play an important role in performance. For similar architectures, the performance is close to that of using the true data (e.g., Accuracy difference of 0.56\%, Kappa coefficient difference of 0.03-0.04). Further experiments show that the stimuli can to a large extent successfully anonymize participants of the clinical studies.

On (Emergent) Systematic Generalisation and Compositionality in Visual Referential Games with Straight-Through Gumbel-Softmax Estimator Artificial Intelligence

The drivers of compositionality in artificial languages that emerge when two (or more) agents play a non-visual referential game has been previously investigated using approaches based on the REINFORCE algorithm and the (Neural) Iterated Learning Model. Following the more recent introduction of the \textit{Straight-Through Gumbel-Softmax} (ST-GS) approach, this paper investigates to what extent the drivers of compositionality identified so far in the field apply in the ST-GS context and to what extent do they translate into (emergent) systematic generalisation abilities, when playing a visual referential game. Compositionality and the generalisation abilities of the emergent languages are assessed using topographic similarity and zero-shot compositional tests. Firstly, we provide evidence that the test-train split strategy significantly impacts the zero-shot compositional tests when dealing with visual stimuli, whilst it does not when dealing with symbolic ones. Secondly, empirical evidence shows that using the ST-GS approach with small batch sizes and an overcomplete communication channel improves compositionality in the emerging languages. Nevertheless, while shown robust with symbolic stimuli, the effect of the batch size is not so clear-cut when dealing with visual stimuli. Our results also show that not all overcomplete communication channels are created equal. Indeed, while increasing the maximum sentence length is found to be beneficial to further both compositionality and generalisation abilities, increasing the vocabulary size is found detrimental. Finally, a lack of correlation between the language compositionality at training-time and the agents' generalisation abilities is observed in the context of discriminative referential games with visual stimuli. This is similar to previous observations in the field using the generative variant with symbolic stimuli.

Differences between deep neural networks and human perception


When your mother calls your name, you know it's her voice -- no matter the volume, even over a poor cell phone connection. And when you see her face, you know it's hers -- if she is far away, if the lighting is poor, or if you are on a bad FaceTime call. This robustness to variation is a hallmark of human perception. On the other hand, we are susceptible to illusions: We might fail to distinguish between sounds or images that are, in fact, different. Scientists have explained many of these illusions, but we lack a full understanding of the invariances in our auditory and visual systems.

Babies favor facelike stimuli before birth


Unborn babies notice facelike images. Reid et al. show that this predisposition does not require any postnatal experience. Visual stimuli were projected through the mothers' abdomens to human fetuses in the third trimester of pregnancy. Using four-dimensional ultrasound technology, the authors saw that fetuses are more likely to turn their heads to look at a facelike configuration of three dots than an inverted dot configuration. It has often been assumed that no visual experience takes place before birth.

UNAS: Differentiable Architecture Search Meets Reinforcement Learning Machine Learning

Neural architecture search (NAS) aims to discover network architectures with desired properties such as high accuracy or low latency. Recently, differentiable NAS (DNAS) has demonstrated promising results while maintaining a search cost orders of magnitude lower than reinforcement learning (RL) based NAS. However, DNAS models can only optimize differentiable loss functions in search, and they require an accurate differentiable approximation of non-differentiable criteria. In this work, we present UNAS, a unified framework for NAS, that encapsulates recent DNAS and RL-based approaches under one framework. Our framework brings the best of both worlds, and it enables us to search for architectures with both differentiable and non-differentiable criteria in one unified framework while maintaining a low search cost. Further, we introduce a new objective function for search based on the generalization gap that prevents the selection of architectures prone to overfitting. We present extensive experiments on the CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100 and ImageNet datasets and we perform search in two fundamentally different search spaces. We show that UNAS obtains the state-of-the-art average accuracy on all three datasets when compared to the architectures searched in the DARTS space. Moreover, we show that UNAS can find an efficient and accurate architecture in the ProxylessNAS search space, that outperforms existing MobileNetV2 based architectures.