Collaborating Authors

Variational f-divergence Minimization Machine Learning

Probabilistic models are often trained by maximum likelihood, which corresponds to minimizing a specific f-divergence between the model and data distribution. In light of recent successes in training Generative Adversarial Networks, alternative non-likelihood training criteria have been proposed. Whilst not necessarily statistically efficient, these alternatives may better match user requirements such as sharp image generation. A general variational method for training probabilistic latent variable models using maximum likelihood is well established; however, how to train latent variable models using other f-divergences is comparatively unknown. We discuss a variational approach that, when combined with the recently introduced Spread Divergence, can be applied to train a large class of latent variable models using any f-divergence.

Attention is not Explanation Artificial Intelligence

Attention mechanisms have seen wide adoption in neural NLP models. In addition to improving predictive performance, these are often touted as affording transparency: models equipped with attention provide a distribution over attended-to input units, and this is often presented (at least implicitly) as communicating the relative importance of inputs. However, it is unclear what relationship exists between attention weights and model outputs. In this work, we perform extensive experiments across a variety of NLP tasks that aim to assess the degree to which attention weights provide meaningful `explanations' for predictions. We find that they largely do not. For example, learned attention weights are frequently uncorrelated with gradient-based measures of feature importance, and one can identify very different attention distributions that nonetheless yield equivalent predictions. Our findings show that standard attention modules do not provide meaningful explanations and should not be treated as though they do. Code for all experiments is available at

Dirichlet Variational Autoencoder for Text Modeling Artificial Intelligence

We introduce an improved variational autoencoder (VAE) for text modeling with topic information explicitly modeled as a Dirichlet latent variable. By providing the proposed model topic awareness, it is more superior at reconstructing input texts. Furthermore, due to the inherent interactions between the newly introduced Dirichlet variable and the conventional multivariate Gaussian variable, the model is less prone to KL divergence vanishing. We derive the variational lower bound for the new model and conduct experiments on four different data sets. The results show that the proposed model is superior at text reconstruction across the latent space and classifications on learned representations have higher test accuracies.

Beyond $\mathcal{H}$-Divergence: Domain Adaptation Theory With Jensen-Shannon Divergence Machine Learning

We reveal the incoherence between the widely-adopted empirical domain adversarial training and its generally-assumed theoretical counterpart based on $\mathcal{H}$-divergence. Concretely, we find that $\mathcal{H}$-divergence is not equivalent to Jensen-Shannon divergence, the optimization objective in domain adversarial training. To this end, we establish a new theoretical framework by directly proving the upper and lower target risk bounds based on joint distributional Jensen-Shannon divergence. We further derive bi-directional upper bounds for marginal and conditional shifts. Our framework exhibits inherent flexibilities for different transfer learning problems, which is usable for various scenarios where $\mathcal{H}$-divergence-based theory fails to adapt. From an algorithmic perspective, our theory enables a generic guideline unifying principles of semantic conditional matching, feature marginal matching, and label marginal shift correction. We employ algorithms for each principle and empirically validate the benefits of our framework on real datasets.

First Order Generative Adversarial Networks Machine Learning

GANs excel at learning high dimensional distributions, but they can update generator parameters in directions that do not correspond to the steepest descent direction of the objective. Prominent examples of problematic update directions include those used in both Goodfellow's original GAN and the WGAN-GP. To formally describe an optimal update direction, we introduce a theoretical framework which allows the derivation of requirements on both the divergence and corresponding method for determining an update direction. These requirements guarantee unbiased mini-batch updates in the direction of steepest descent. We propose a novel divergence which approximates the Wasserstein distance while regularizing the critic's first order information. Together with an accompanying update direction, this divergence fulfills the requirements for unbiased steepest descent updates. We verify our method, the First Order GAN, with CelebA image generation and set a new state of the art on the One Billion Word language generation task.