Ahuja, Kartik, Shanmugam, Karthikeyan, Varshney, Kush, Dhurandhar, Amit

The standard risk minimization paradigm of machine learning is brittle when operating in environments whose test distributions are different from the training distribution due to spurious correlations. Training on data from many environments and finding invariant predictors reduces the effect of spurious features by concentrating models on features that have a causal relationship with the outcome. In this work, we pose such invariant risk minimization as finding the Nash equilibrium of an ensemble game among several environments. By doing so, we develop a simple training algorithm that uses best response dynamics and, in our experiments, yields similar or better empirical accuracy with much lower variance than the challenging bi-level optimization problem of Arjovsky et.al. (2019). One key theoretical contribution is showing that the set of Nash equilibria for the proposed game are equivalent to the set of invariant predictors for any finite number of environments, even with nonlinear classifiers and transformations. As a result, our method also retains the generalization guarantees to a large set of environments shown in Arjovsky et.al. (2019). The proposed algorithm adds to the collection of successful game-theoretic machine learning algorithms such as generative adversarial networks.

This paper continues study, both theoretical and empirical, of the method of Venn prediction, concentrating on binary prediction problems. Venn predictors produce probability-type predictions for the labels of test objects which are guaranteed to be well calibrated under the standard assumption that the observations are generated independently from the same distribution. We give a simple formalization and proof of this property. We also introduce Venn-Abers predictors, a new class of Venn predictors based on the idea of isotonic regression, and report promising empirical results both for Venn-Abers predictors and for their more computationally efficient simplified version.

Kirillov, Alexander, Shlezinger, Dmytro, Vetrov, Dmitry P., Rother, Carsten, Savchynskyy, Bogdan

We consider the problem of finding M best diverse solutions of energy minimization problems for graphical models. Contrary to the sequential method of Batra et al., which greedily finds one solution after another, we infer all $M$ solutions jointly. It was shown recently that such jointly inferred labelings not only have smaller total energy but also qualitatively outperform the sequentially obtained ones. The only obstacle for using this new technique is the complexity of the corresponding inference problem, since it is considerably slower algorithm than the method of Batra et al. In this work we show that the joint inference of $M$ best diverse solutions can be formulated as a submodular energy minimization if the original MAP-inference problem is submodular, hence fast inference techniques can be used. In addition to the theoretical results we provide practical algorithms that outperform the current state-of-the art and can be used in both submodular and non-submodular case.

Lou, Qiang (Temple University) | Obradovic, Zoran (Temple University)

Prediction models for multivariate spatio-temporal functions in geosciences are typically developed using supervised learning from attributes collected by remote sensing instruments collocated with the outcome variable provided at sparsely located sites. In such collocated data there are often large temporal gaps due to missing attribute values at sites where outcome labels are available. Our objective is to develop more accurate spatio-temporal predictors by using enlarged collocated data obtained by imputing missing attributes at time and locations where outcome labels are available. The proposed method for large gaps estimation in space and time (called LarGEST) exploits temporal correlation of attributes, correlations among multiple attributes collected at the same time and space, and spatial correlations among attributes from multiple sites. LarGEST outperformed alternative methods in imputing up to 80% of randomly missing observations at a synthetic spatio-temporal signal and at a model of fluoride content in a water distribution system.

Balkanski, Eric, Singer, Yaron

In this paper we consider the problem of minimizing a submodular function from training data. Submodular functions can be efficiently minimized and are conse- quently heavily applied in machine learning. There are many cases, however, in which we do not know the function we aim to optimize, but rather have access to training data that is used to learn the function. In this paper we consider the question of whether submodular functions can be minimized in such cases. We show that even learnable submodular functions cannot be minimized within any non-trivial approximation when given access to polynomially-many samples. Specifically, we show that there is a class of submodular functions with range in [0, 1] such that, despite being PAC-learnable and minimizable in polynomial-time, no algorithm can obtain an approximation strictly better than 1/2 − o(1) using polynomially-many samples drawn from any distribution. Furthermore, we show that this bound is tight using a trivial algorithm that obtains an approximation of 1/2.