Collaborating Authors

Bengio, Samy

Pointer Value Retrieval: A new benchmark for understanding the limits of neural network generalization Artificial Intelligence

The successes of deep learning critically rely on the ability of neural networks to output meaningful predictions on unseen data -- generalization. Yet despite its criticality, there remain fundamental open questions on how neural networks generalize. How much do neural networks rely on memorization -- seeing highly similar training examples -- and how much are they capable of human-intelligence styled reasoning -- identifying abstract rules underlying the data? In this paper we introduce a novel benchmark, Pointer Value Retrieval (PVR) tasks, that explore the limits of neural network generalization. While PVR tasks can consist of visual as well as symbolic inputs, each with varying levels of difficulty, they all have a simple underlying rule. One part of the PVR task input acts as a pointer, giving the location of a different part of the input, which forms the value (and output). We demonstrate that this task structure provides a rich testbed for understanding generalization, with our empirical study showing large variations in neural network performance based on dataset size, task complexity and model architecture. The interaction of position, values and the pointer rule also allow the development of nuanced tests of generalization, by introducing distribution shift and increasing functional complexity. These reveal both subtle failures and surprising successes, suggesting many promising directions of exploration on this benchmark.

Learnable Fourier Features for Multi-DimensionalSpatial Positional Encoding Artificial Intelligence

Attentional mechanisms are order-invariant. Positional encoding is a crucial component to allow attention-based deep model architectures such as Transformer to address sequences or images where the position of information matters. In this paper, we propose a novel positional encoding method based on learnable Fourier features. Instead of hard-coding each position as a token or a vector, we represent each position, which can be multi-dimensional, as a trainable encoding based on learnable Fourier feature mapping, modulated with a multi-layer perceptron. The representation is particularly advantageous for a spatial multi-dimensional position, e.g., pixel positions on an image, where $L_2$ distances or more complex positional relationships need to be captured. Our experiments based on several public benchmark tasks show that our learnable Fourier feature representation for multi-dimensional positional encoding outperforms existing methods by both improving the accuracy and allowing faster convergence.

NeurIPS 2020 Competition: Predicting Generalization in Deep Learning Machine Learning

Understanding generalization in deep learning is arguably one of the most important questions in deep learning. Deep learning has been successfully adopted to a large number of problems ranging from pattern recognition to complex decision making, but many recent researchers have raised many concerns about deep learning, among which the most important is generalization. Despite numerous attempts, conventional statistical learning approaches have yet been able to provide a satisfactory explanation on why deep learning works. A recent line of works aims to address the problem by trying to predict the generalization performance through complexity measures. In this competition, we invite the community to propose complexity measures that can accurately predict generalization of models. A robust and general complexity measure would potentially lead to a better understanding of deep learning's underlying mechanism and behavior of deep models on unseen data, or shed light on better generalization bounds. All these outcomes will be important for making deep learning more robust and reliable.

Characterising Bias in Compressed Models Artificial Intelligence

Pruning and quantization are widely applied techniques for compressing deep neural networks, often driven by the resource constraints of deploying models to mobile phones or embedded devices (Esteva et al., 2017; Lane & Warden, 2018). To-date, discussion around the relative merits of different compression methods has centered on the tradeoff between level of compression and top-line metrics such as top-1 and top-5 accuracy (Blalock et al., 2020). Along this dimension, compression techniques are remarkably successful. It is possible to prune the majority of weights (Gale et al., 2019; Evci et al., 2019) or heavily quantize the bit representation (Jacob et al., 2017) with negligible decreases to test-set accuracy. However, recent work by Hooker et al. (2019a) has found that the minimal changes to top-line metrics obscure critical differences in generalization between pruned and non-pruned networks. The authors establish that pruning disproportionately impacts predictive performance on a small subset of the dataset. We build upon this work and focus on the implications of these findings for a dataset with sensitive protected attributes such as gender and age. Our work addresses the question: Does compression amplify existing algorithmic bias?

Transfusion: Understanding Transfer Learning for Medical Imaging

Neural Information Processing Systems

Transfer learning from natural image datasets, particularly ImageNet, using standard large models and corresponding pretrained weights has become a de-facto method for deep learning applications to medical imaging. However, there are fundamental differences in data sizes, features and task specifications between natural image classification and the target medical tasks, and there is little understanding of the effects of transfer. In this paper, we explore properties of transfer learning for medical imaging. A performance evaluation on two large scale medical imaging tasks shows that surprisingly, transfer offers little benefit to performance, and simple, lightweight models can perform comparably to ImageNet architectures. Investigating the learned representations and features, we find that some of the differences from transfer learning are due to the over-parametrization of standard models rather than sophisticated feature reuse.

An Online Algorithm for Large Scale Image Similarity Learning

Neural Information Processing Systems

Learning a measure of similarity between pairs of objects is a fundamental problem in machine learning. It stands in the core of classification methods like kernel machines, and is particularly useful for applications like searching for images that are similar to a given image or finding videos that are relevant to a given video. In these tasks, users look for objects that are not only visually similar but also semantically related to a given object. Unfortunately, current approaches for learning similarity may not scale to large datasets with high dimensionality, especially when imposing metric constraints on the learned similarity. We describe OASIS, a method for learning pairwise similarity that is fast and scales linearly with the number of objects and the number of non-zero features.

Group Sparse Coding

Neural Information Processing Systems

Bag-of-words document representations are often used in text, image and video processing. While it is relatively easy to determine a suitable word dictionary for text documents, there is no simple mapping from raw images or videos to dictionary terms. The classical approach builds a dictionary using vector quantization over a large set of useful visual descriptors extracted from a training set, and uses a nearest-neighbor algorithm to count the number of occurrences of each dictionary word in documents to be encoded. More robust approaches have been proposed recently that represent each visual descriptor as a sparse weighted combination of dictionary words. While favoring a sparse representation at the level of visual descriptors, those methods however do not ensure that images have sparse representation.

Label Embedding Trees for Large Multi-Class Tasks

Neural Information Processing Systems

Multi-class classification becomes challenging at test time when the number of classes is very large and testing against every possible class can become computationally infeasible. This problem can be alleviated by imposing (or learning) a structure over the set of classes. We propose an algorithm for learning a tree-structure of classifiers which, by optimizing the overall tree loss, provides superior accuracy to existing tree labeling methods. We also propose a method that learns to embed labels in a low dimensional space that is faster than non-embedding approaches and has superior accuracy to existing embedding approaches. Finally we combine the two ideas resulting in the label embedding tree that outperforms alternative methods including One-vs-Rest while being orders of magnitude faster.

DeViSE: A Deep Visual-Semantic Embedding Model

Neural Information Processing Systems

Modern visual recognition systems are often limited in their ability to scale to large numbers of object categories. This limitation is in part due to the increasing difficulty of acquiring sufficient training data in the form of labeled images as the number of object categories grows. One remedy is to leverage data from other sources -- such as text data -- both to train visual models and to constrain their predictions. In this paper we present a new deep visual-semantic embedding model trained to identify visual objects using both labeled image data as well as semantic information gleaned from unannotated text. We demonstrate that this model matches state-of-the-art performance on the 1000-class ImageNet object recognition challenge while making more semantically reasonable errors, and also show that the semantic information can be exploited to make predictions about tens of thousands of image labels not observed during training.

Insights on representational similarity in neural networks with canonical correlation

Neural Information Processing Systems

Comparing different neural network representations and determining how representations evolve over time remain challenging open questions in our understanding of the function of neural networks. Comparing representations in neural networks is fundamentally difficult as the structure of representations varies greatly, even across groups of networks trained on identical tasks, and over the course of training. Here, we develop projection weighted CCA (Canonical Correlation Analysis) as a tool for understanding neural networks, building off of SVCCA, a recently proposed method (Raghu et al, 2017). We first improve the core method, showing how to differentiate between signal and noise, and then apply this technique to compare across a group of CNNs, demonstrating that networks which generalize converge to more similar representations than networks which memorize, that wider networks converge to more similar solutions than narrow networks, and that trained networks with identical topology but different learning rates converge to distinct clusters with diverse representations. We also investigate the representational dynamics of RNNs, across both training and sequential timesteps, finding that RNNs converge in a bottom-up pattern over the course of training and that the hidden state is highly variable over the course of a sequence, even when accounting for linear transforms.