Collaborating Authors

Mehrjou, Arash

Federated Learning as a Mean-Field Game Machine Learning

We establish a connection between federated learning, a concept from machine learning, and mean-field games, a concept from game theory and control theory. In this analogy, the local federated learners are considered as the players and the aggregation of the gradients in a central server is the mean-field effect. We present federated learning as a differential game and discuss the properties of the equilibrium of this game. We hope this novel view to federated learning brings together researchers from these two distinct areas to work on fundamental problems of large-scale distributed and privacy-preserving learning algorithms.

Pyfectious: An individual-level simulator to discover optimal containment polices for epidemic diseases Artificial Intelligence

Simulating the spread of infectious diseases in human communities is critical for predicting the trajectory of an epidemic and verifying various policies to control the devastating impacts of the outbreak. Many existing simulators are based on compartment models that divide people into a few subsets and simulate the dynamics among those subsets using hypothesized differential equations. However, these models lack the requisite granularity to study the effect of intelligent policies that influence every individual in a particular way. In this work, we introduce a simulator software capable of modeling a population structure and controlling the disease's propagation at an individualistic level. In order to estimate the confidence of the conclusions drawn from the simulator, we employ a comprehensive probabilistic approach where the entire population is constructed as a hierarchical random variable. This approach makes the inferred conclusions more robust against sampling artifacts and gives confidence bounds for decisions based on the simulation results. To showcase potential applications, the simulator parameters are set based on the formal statistics of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the outcome of a wide range of control measures is investigated. Furthermore, the simulator is used as the environment of a reinforcement learning problem to find the optimal policies to control the pandemic. The obtained experimental results indicate the simulator's adaptability and capacity in making sound predictions and a successful policy derivation example based on real-world data. As an exemplary application, our results show that the proposed policy discovery method can lead to control measures that produce significantly fewer infected individuals in the population and protect the health system against saturation.

Causal Curiosity: RL Agents Discovering Self-supervised Experiments for Causal Representation Learning Artificial Intelligence

Humans show an innate ability to learn the regularities of the world through interaction. By performing experiments in our environment, we are able to discern the causal factors of variation and infer how they affect the dynamics of our world. Analogously, here we attempt to equip reinforcement learning agents with the ability to perform experiments that facilitate a categorization of the rolled-out trajectories, and to subsequently infer the causal factors of the environment in a hierarchical manner. We introduce a novel intrinsic reward, called causal curiosity, and show that it allows our agents to learn optimal sequences of actions, and to discover causal factors in the dynamics. The learned behavior allows the agent to infer a binary quantized representation for the ground-truth causal factors in every environment. Additionally, we find that these experimental behaviors are semantically meaningful (e.g., to differentiate between heavy and light blocks, our agents learn to lift them), and are learnt in a self-supervised manner with approximately 2.5 times less data than conventional supervised planners. We show that these behaviors can be re-purposed and fine-tuned (e.g., from lifting to pushing or other downstream tasks). Finally, we show that the knowledge of causal factor representations aids zero-shot learning for more complex tasks.

Learning Dynamical Systems using Local Stability Priors Machine Learning

A coupled computational approach to simultaneously learn a vector field and the region of attraction of an equilibrium point from generated trajectories of the system is proposed. The nonlinear identification leverages the local stability information as a prior on the system, effectively endowing the estimate with this important structural property. In addition, the knowledge of the region of attraction plays an experiment design role by informing the selection of initial conditions from which trajectories are generated and by enabling the use of a Lyapunov function of the system as a regularization term. Numerical results show that the proposed method allows efficient sampling and provides an accurate estimate of the dynamics in an inner approximation of its region of attraction.

Automatic Policy Synthesis to Improve the Safety of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems Machine Learning

Learning controllers merely based on a performance metric has been proven effective in many physical and nonphysical tasks in both control theory and reinforcement learning. However, in practice, the controller must guarantee some notion of safety to ensure that it does not harm either the agent or the environment. Stability is a crucial notion of safety, whose violation can certainly cause unsafe behaviors. Lyapunov functions are effective tools to assess stability in nonlinear dynamical systems. In this paper, we combine an improving Lyapunov function with automatic controller synthesis in an iterative fashion to obtain control policies with large safe regions. We propose a two-player collaborative algorithm that alternates between estimating a Lyapunov function and deriving a controller that gradually enlarges the stability region of the closed-loop system. We provide theoretical results on the class of systems that can be treated with the proposed algorithm and empirically evaluate the effectiveness of our method using an exemplary dynamical system.

Dual IV: A Single Stage Instrumental Variable Regression Machine Learning

We present a novel single-stage procedure for instrumental variable (IV) regression called DualIV which simplifies traditional two-stage regression via a dual formulation. We show that the common two-stage procedure can alternatively be solved via generalized least squares. Our formulation circumvents the first-stage regression which can be a bottleneck in modern two-stage procedures for IV regression. We also show that our framework is closely related to the generalized method of moments (GMM) with specific assumptions. This highlights the fundamental connection between GMM and two-stage procedures in IV literature. Using the proposed framework, we develop a simple kernel-based algorithm with consistency guarantees. Lastly, we give empirical results illustrating the advantages of our method over the existing two-stage algorithms.

The Incomplete Rosetta Stone Problem: Identifiability Results for Multi-View Nonlinear ICA Machine Learning

We consider the problem of recovering a common latent source with independent components from multiple views. This applies to settings in which a variable is measured with multiple experimental modalities, and where the goal is to synthesize the disparate measurements into a single unified representation. We consider the case that the observed views are a nonlinear mixing of component-wise corruptions of the sources. When the views are considered separately, this reduces to nonlinear Independent Component Analysis (ICA) for which it is provably impossible to undo the mixing. We present novel identifiability proofs that this is possible when the multiple views are considered jointly, showing that the mixing can theoretically be undone using function approximators such as deep neural networks. In contrast to known identifiability results for nonlinear ICA, we prove that independent latent sources with arbitrary mixing can be recovered as long as multiple, sufficiently different noisy views are available.

Witnessing Adversarial Training in Reproducing Kernel Hilbert Spaces Machine Learning

Modern implicit generative models such as generative adversarial networks (GANs) are generally known to suffer from instability and lack of interpretability as it is difficult to diagnose what aspects of the target distribution are missed by the generative model. In this work, we propose a theoretically grounded solution to these issues by augmenting the GAN's loss function with a kernel-based regularization term that magnifies local discrepancy between the distributions of generated and real samples. The proposed method relies on so-called witness points in the data space which are jointly trained with the generator and provide an interpretable indication of where the two distributions locally differ during the training procedure. In addition, the proposed algorithm is scaled to higher dimensions by learning the witness locations in a latent space of an autoencoder. We theoretically investigate the dynamics of the training procedure, prove that a desirable equilibrium point exists, and the dynamical system is locally stable around this equilibrium. Finally, we demonstrate different aspects of the proposed algorithm by numerical simulations of analytical solutions and empirical results for low and high-dimensional datasets.

Deep Nonlinear Non-Gaussian Filtering for Dynamical Systems Machine Learning

Filtering is a general name for inferring the states of a dynamical system given observations. The most common filtering approach is Gaussian Filtering (GF) where the distribution of the inferred states is a Gaussian whose mean is an affine function of the observations. There are two restrictions in this model: Gaussianity and Affinity. We propose a model to relax both these assumptions based on recent advances in implicit generative models. Empirical results show that the proposed method gives a significant advantage over GF and nonlinear methods based on fixed nonlinear kernels.

A Local Information Criterion for Dynamical Systems Machine Learning

Encoding a sequence of observations is an essential task with many applications. The encoding can become highly efficient when the observations are generated by a dynamical system. A dynamical system imposes regularities on the observations that can be leveraged to achieve a more efficient code. We propose a method to encode a given or learned dynamical system. Apart from its application for encoding a sequence of observations, we propose to use the compression achieved by this encoding as a criterion for model selection. Given a dataset, different learning algorithms result in different models. But not all learned models are equally good. We show that the proposed encoding approach can be used to choose the learned model which is closer to the true underlying dynamics. We provide experiments for both encoding and model selection, and theoretical results that shed light on why the approach works.