Jung, Hyun Joon (University of Texas at Austin) | Lease, Matthew (University of Texas at Austin)

While recent work has shown that a worker’s performance can be more accurately modeled by temporal correlation in task performance, a fundamental challenge remains in the need for expert gold labels to evaluate a worker’s performance. To solve this problem, we explore two methods of utilizing limited gold labels, initial training and periodic updating. Furthermore, we present a novel way of learning a prediction model in the absence of gold labels with uncertaintyaware learning and soft-label updating. Our experiment with a real crowdsourcing dataset demonstrates that periodic updating tends to show better performance than initial training when the number of gold labels are very limited (< 25).

Collier, Mark, Mustafa, Basil, Kokiopoulou, Efi, Berent, Jesse

Modelling uncertainty arising from input-dependent label noise is an increasingly important problem. A state-of-the-art approach for classification [Kendall and Gal, 2017] places a normal distribution over the softmax logits, where the mean and variance of this distribution are learned functions of the inputs. This approach achieves impressive empirical performance but lacks theoretical justification. We show that this model is a special case of a well known and theoretically understood model studied in econometrics. Under this view the softmax over the logit distribution is a smooth approximation to an argmax, where the approximation is exact in the zero temperature limit. We further illustrate that the softmax temperature controls a bias-variance trade-off and the optimal point on this trade-off is not always found at 1.0. By tuning the softmax temperature, we achieve improved performance on well known image classification benchmarks with controlled label noise. For image segmentation, where input-dependent label noise naturally arises, we show that tuning the temperature increases the mean IoU on the PASCAL VOC and Cityscapes datasets by more than 1% over the state-of-the-art model and a strong baseline that does not model this noise source.

Raghu, Maithra, Blumer, Katy, Sayres, Rory, Obermeyer, Ziad, Mullainathan, Sendhil, Kleinberg, Jon

Large labeled datasets for supervised learning are frequently constructed by assigning each instance to multiple human evaluators, and this leads to disagreement in the labels associated with a single instance. Here we consider the question of predicting the level of disagreement for a given instance, and we find an interesting phenomenon: direct prediction of uncertainty performs better than the two-step process of training a classifier and then using the classifier outputs to derive an uncertainty. We show stronger performance for predicting disagreement via this direct method both in a synthetic setting whose parameters we can fully control, and in a paradigmatic healthcare application involving multiple labels assigned by medical domain experts. We further show implications for allocating additional labeling effort toward instances with the greatest levels of predicted disagreement.

Thiagarajan, Jayaraman J., Kim, Irene, Anirudh, Rushil, Bremer, Peer-Timo

Techniques for understanding the functioning of complex machine learning models are becoming increasingly popular, not only to improve the validation process, but also to extract new insights about the data via exploratory analysis. Though a large class of such tools currently exists, most assume that predictions are point estimates and use a sensitivity analysis of these estimates to interpret the model. Using lightweight probabilistic networks we show how including prediction uncertainties in the sensitivity analysis leads to: (i) more robust and generalizable models; and (ii) a new approach for model interpretation through uncertainty decomposition. In particular, we introduce a new regularization that takes both the mean and variance of a prediction into account and demonstrate that the resulting networks provide improved generalization to unseen data. Furthermore, we propose a new technique to explain prediction uncertainties through uncertainties in the input domain, thus providing new ways to validate and interpret deep learning models.

Postels, Janis, Ferroni, Francesco, Coskun, Huseyin, Navab, Nassir, Tombari, Federico

We present a sampling-free approach for computing the epistemic uncertainty of a neural network. Epistemic uncertainty is an important quantity for the deployment of deep neural networks in safety-critical applications, since it represents how much one can trust predictions on new data. Recently promising works were proposed using noise injection combined with Monte-Carlo sampling at inference time to estimate this quantity (e.g. Monte-Carlo dropout). Our main contribution is an approximation of the epistemic uncertainty estimated by these methods that does not require sampling, thus notably reducing the computational overhead. We apply our approach to large-scale visual tasks (i.e., semantic segmentation and depth regression) to demonstrate the advantages of our method compared to sampling-based approaches in terms of quality of the uncertainty estimates as well as of computational overhead.