Belanger, David, Yang, Bishan, McCallum, Andrew

Structured Prediction Energy Networks (SPENs) are a simple, yet expressive family of structured prediction models (Belanger and McCallum, 2016). An energy function over candidate structured outputs is given by a deep network, and predictions are formed by gradient-based optimization. This paper presents end-to-end learning for SPENs, where the energy function is discriminatively trained by back-propagating through gradient-based prediction. In our experience, the approach is substantially more accurate than the structured SVM method of Belanger and McCallum (2016), as it allows us to use more sophisticated non-convex energies. We provide a collection of techniques for improving the speed, accuracy, and memory requirements of end-to-end SPENs, and demonstrate the power of our method on 7-Scenes image denoising and CoNLL-2005 semantic role labeling tasks. In both, inexact minimization of non-convex SPEN energies is superior to baseline methods that use simplistic energy functions that can be minimized exactly.

Graber, Colin, Meshi, Ofer, Schwing, Alexander

Deep structured models are widely used for tasks like semantic segmentation, where explicit correlations between variables provide important prior information which generally helps to reduce the data needs of deep nets. However, current deep structured models are restricted by oftentimes very local neighborhood structure, which cannot be increased for computational complexity reasons, and by the fact that the output configuration, or a representation thereof, cannot be transformed further. Very recent approaches which address those issues include graphical model inference inside deep nets so as to permit subsequent non-linear output space transformations. However, optimization of those formulations is challenging and not well understood. Here, we develop a novel model which generalizes existing approaches, such as structured prediction energy networks, and discuss a formulation which maintains applicability of existing inference techniques.

Structured prediction energy networks (SPENs; Belanger & McCallum 2016) use neural network architectures to define energy functions that can capture arbitrary dependencies among parts of structured outputs. Prior work used gradient descent for inference, relaxing the structured output to a set of continuous variables and then optimizing the energy with respect to them. We replace this use of gradient descent with a neural network trained to approximate structured argmax inference. This "inference network" outputs continuous values that we treat as the output structure. We develop large-margin training criteria for joint training of the structured energy function and inference network. On multi-label classification we report speed-ups of 10-60x compared to (Belanger et al, 2017) while also improving accuracy. For sequence labeling with simple structured energies, our approach performs comparably to exact inference while being much faster at test time. We then demonstrate improved accuracy by augmenting the energy with a "label language model" that scores entire output label sequences, showing it can improve handling of long-distance dependencies in part-of-speech tagging. Finally, we show how inference networks can replace dynamic programming for test-time inference in conditional random fields, suggestive for their general use for fast inference in structured settings.

Graber, Colin, Meshi, Ofer, Schwing, Alexander

Rooshenas, Amirmohammad, Zhang, Dongxu, Sharma, Gopal, McCallum, Andrew

In structured output prediction tasks, labeling ground-truth training output is often expensive. However, for many tasks, even when the true output is unknown, we can evaluate predictions using a scalar reward function, which may be easily assembled from human knowledge or non-differentiable pipelines. But searching through the entire output space to find the best output with respect to this reward function is typically intractable. In this paper, we instead use efficient truncated randomized search in this reward function to train structured prediction energy networks (SPENs), which provide efficient test-time inference using gradient-based search on a smooth, learned representation of the score landscape, and have previously yielded state-of-the-art results in structured prediction. In particular, this truncated randomized search in the reward function yields previously unknown local improvements, providing effective supervision to SPENs, avoiding their traditional need for labeled training data.