Krause, Andreas


Online Learning of Assignments

Neural Information Processing Systems

Which ads should we display in sponsored search in order to maximize our revenue? How should we dynamically rank information sources to maximize value of information? These applications exhibit strong diminishing returns: Selection of redundant ads and information sources decreases their marginal utility. We show that these and other problems can be formalized as repeatedly selecting an assignment of items to positions to maximize a sequence of monotone submodular functions that arrive one by one. We present an efficient algorithm for this general problem and analyze it in the no-regret model.


Efficient Minimization of Decomposable Submodular Functions

Neural Information Processing Systems

Many combinatorial problems arising in machine learning can be reduced to the problem of minimizing a submodular function. Submodular functions are a natural discrete analog of convex functions, and can be minimized in strongly polynomial time. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art algorithms for general submodular minimization are intractable for practical problems. In this paper, we introduce a novel subclass of submodular minimization problems that we call decomposable. Decomposable submodular functions are those that can be represented as sums of concave functions applied to linear functions.


Discriminative Clustering by Regularized Information Maximization

Neural Information Processing Systems

Is there a principled way to learn a probabilistic discriminative classifier from an unlabeled data set? We present a framework that simultaneously clusters the data and trains a discriminative classifier. We call it Regularized Information Maximization (RIM). The approach can flexibly incorporate different likelihood functions, express prior assumptions about the relative size of different classes and incorporate partial labels for semi-supervised learning. Our empirical evaluation indicates that RIM outperforms existing methods on several real data sets, and demonstrates that RIM is an effective model selection method.


Near-Optimal Bayesian Active Learning with Noisy Observations

Neural Information Processing Systems

We tackle the fundamental problem of Bayesian active learning with noise, where we need to adaptively select from a number of expensive tests in order to identify an unknown hypothesis sampled from a known prior distribution. In the case of noise-free observations, a greedy algorithm called generalized binary search (GBS) is known to perform near-optimally. We show that if the observations are noisy, perhaps surprisingly, GBS can perform very poorly. We develop EC2, a novel, greedy active learning algorithm and prove that it is competitive with the optimal policy, thus obtaining the first competitiveness guarantees for Bayesian active learning with noisy observations. Our bounds rely on a recently discovered diminishing returns property called adaptive submodularity, generalizing the classical notion of submodular set functions to adaptive policies.


Contextual Gaussian Process Bandit Optimization

Neural Information Processing Systems

How should we design experiments to maximize performance of a complex system, taking into account uncontrollable environmental conditions? How should we select relevant documents (ads) to display, given information about the user? These tasks can be formalized as contextual bandit problems, where at each round, we receive context (about the experimental conditions, the query), and have to choose an action (parameters, documents). The key challenge is to trade off exploration by gathering data for estimating the mean payoff function over the context-action space, and to exploit by choosing an action deemed optimal based on the gathered data. We model the payoff function as a sample from a Gaussian process defined over the joint context-action space, and develop CGP-UCB, an intuitive upper-confidence style algorithm.


Scalable Training of Mixture Models via Coresets

Neural Information Processing Systems

How can we train a statistical mixture model on a massive data set? In this paper, we show how to construct coresets for mixtures of Gaussians and natural generalizations. A coreset is a weighted subset of the data, which guarantees that models fitting the coreset will also provide a good fit for the original data set. We show that, perhaps surprisingly, Gaussian mixtures admit coresets of size independent of the size of the data set. More precisely, we prove that a weighted set of $O(dk 3/\eps 2)$ data points suffices for computing a $(1 \eps)$-approximation for the optimal model on the original $n$ data points.


Crowdclustering

Neural Information Processing Systems

Is it possible to crowdsource categorization? Amongst the challenges: (a) each annotator has only a partial view of the data, (b) different annotators may have different clustering criteria and may produce different numbers of categories, (c) the underlying category structure may be hierarchical. We propose a Bayesian model of how annotators may approach clustering and show how one may infer clusters/categories, as well as annotator parameters, using this model. Our experiments, carried out on large collections of images, suggest that Bayesian crowdclustering works well and may be superior to single-expert annotations. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.


Stochastic Submodular Maximization: The Case of Coverage Functions

Neural Information Processing Systems

Stochastic optimization of continuous objectives is at the heart of modern machine learning. However, many important problems are of discrete nature and often involve submodular objectives. We seek to unleash the power of stochastic continuous optimization, namely stochastic gradient descent and its variants, to such discrete problems. We first introduce the problem of stochastic submodular optimization, where one needs to optimize a submodular objective which is given as an expectation. Our model captures situations where the discrete objective arises as an empirical risk (e.g., in the case of exemplar-based clustering), or is given as an explicit stochastic model (e.g., in the case of influence maximization in social networks).


Distributed Submodular Maximization: Identifying Representative Elements in Massive Data

Neural Information Processing Systems

Many large-scale machine learning problems (such as clustering, non-parametric learning, kernel machines, etc.) require selecting, out of a massive data set, a manageable, representative subset. Such problems can often be reduced to maximizing a submodular set function subject to cardinality constraints. Classical approaches require centralized access to the full data set; but for truly large-scale problems, rendering the data centrally is often impractical. In this paper, we consider the problem of submodular function maximization in a distributed fashion. We develop a simple, two-stage protocol GreeDI, that is easily implemented using MapReduce style computations.


High-Dimensional Gaussian Process Bandits

Neural Information Processing Systems

Many applications in machine learning require optimizing unknown functions defined over a high-dimensional space from noisy samples that are expensive to obtain. We address this notoriously hard challenge, under the assumptions that the function varies only along some low-dimensional subspace and is smooth (i.e., it has a low norm in a Reproducible Kernel Hilbert Space). In particular, we present the SI-BO algorithm, which leverages recent low-rank matrix recovery techniques to learn the underlying subspace of the unknown function and applies Gaussian Process Upper Confidence sampling for optimization of the function. We carefully calibrate the exploration–exploitation tradeoff by allocating sampling budget to subspace estimation and function optimization, and obtain the first subexponential cumulative regret bounds and convergence rates for Bayesian optimization in high-dimensions under noisy observations. Numerical results demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in difficult scenarios.