Collaborating Authors

A Comparison between Deep Neural Nets and Kernel Acoustic Models for Speech Recognition Machine Learning

We study large-scale kernel methods for acoustic modeling and compare to DNNs on performance metrics related to both acoustic modeling and recognition. Measuring perplexity and frame-level classification accuracy, kernel-based acoustic models are as effective as their DNN counterparts. However, on token-error-rates DNN models can be significantly better. We have discovered that this might be attributed to DNN's unique strength in reducing both the perplexity and the entropy of the predicted posterior probabilities. Motivated by our findings, we propose a new technique, entropy regularized perplexity, for model selection. This technique can noticeably improve the recognition performance of both types of models, and reduces the gap between them. While effective on Broadcast News, this technique could be also applicable to other tasks.

How to Scale Up Kernel Methods to Be As Good As Deep Neural Nets Machine Learning

The computational complexity of kernel methods has often been a major barrier for applying them to large-scale learning problems. We argue that this barrier can be effectively overcome. In particular, we develop methods to scale up kernel models to successfully tackle large-scale learning problems that are so far only approachable by deep learning architectures. Based on the seminal work by Rahimi and Recht on approximating kernel functions with features derived from random projections, we advance the state-of-the-art by proposing methods that can efficiently train models with hundreds of millions of parameters, and learn optimal representations from multiple kernels. We conduct extensive empirical studies on problems from image recognition and automatic speech recognition, and show that the performance of our kernel models matches that of well-engineered deep neural nets (DNNs). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a direct comparison between these two methods on large-scale problems is reported. Our kernel methods have several appealing properties: training with convex optimization, cost for training a single model comparable to DNNs, and significantly reduced total cost due to fewer hyperparameters to tune for model selection. Our contrastive study between these two very different but equally competitive models sheds light on fundamental questions such as how to learn good representations.

Gaussian Quadrature for Kernel Features

Neural Information Processing Systems

Kernel methods have recently attracted resurgent interest, showing performance competitive with deep neural networks in tasks such as speech recognition. The random Fourier features map is a technique commonly used to scale up kernel machines, but employing the randomized feature map means that $O(\epsilon^{-2})$ samples are required to achieve an approximation error of at most $\epsilon$. We investigate some alternative schemes for constructing feature maps that are deterministic, rather than random, by approximating the kernel in the frequency domain using Gaussian quadrature. We show that deterministic feature maps can be constructed, for any $\gamma > 0$, to achieve error $\epsilon$ with $O(e^{e^\gamma} + \epsilon^{-1/\gamma})$ samples as $\epsilon$ goes to 0. Our method works particularly well with sparse ANOVA kernels, which are inspired by the convolutional layer of CNNs. We validate our methods on datasets in different domains, such as MNIST and TIMIT, showing that deterministic features are faster to generate and achieve accuracy comparable to the state-of-the-art kernel methods based on random Fourier features.

Low-Precision Random Fourier Features for Memory-Constrained Kernel Approximation Artificial Intelligence

We investigate how to train kernel approximation methods that generalize well under a memory budget. Building on recent theoretical work, we define a measure of kernel approximation error which we find to be much more predictive of the empirical generalization performance of kernel approximation methods than conventional metrics. An important consequence of this definition is that a kernel approximation matrix must be high-rank to attain close approximation. Because storing a high-rank approximation is memory-intensive, we propose using a low-precision quantization of random Fourier features (LP-RFFs) to build a high-rank approximation under a memory budget. Theoretically, we show quantization has a negligible effect on generalization performance in important settings. Empirically, we demonstrate across four benchmark datasets that LP-RFFs can match the performance of full-precision RFFs and the Nystr\"{o}m method, with 3x-10x and 50x-460x less memory, respectively.

Compact Nonlinear Maps and Circulant Extensions Machine Learning

Kernel approximation via nonlinear random feature maps is widely used in speeding up kernel machines. There are two main challenges for the conventional kernel approximation methods. First, before performing kernel approximation, a good kernel has to be chosen. Picking a good kernel is a very challenging problem in itself. Second, high-dimensional maps are often required in order to achieve good performance. This leads to high computational cost in both generating the nonlinear maps, and in the subsequent learning and prediction process. In this work, we propose to optimize the nonlinear maps directly with respect to the classification objective in a data-dependent fashion. The proposed approach achieves kernel approximation and kernel learning in a joint framework. This leads to much more compact maps without hurting the performance. As a by-product, the same framework can also be used to achieve more compact kernel maps to approximate a known kernel. We also introduce Circulant Nonlinear Maps, which uses a circulant-structured projection matrix to speed up the nonlinear maps for high-dimensional data.