Collaborating Authors

Snoek, Jasper

Automatic prior selection for meta Bayesian optimization with a case study on tuning deep neural network optimizers Machine Learning

The performance of deep neural networks can be highly sensitive to the choice of a variety of meta-parameters, such as optimizer parameters and model hyperparameters. Tuning these well, however, often requires extensive and costly experimentation. Bayesian optimization (BO) is a principled approach to solve such expensive hyperparameter tuning problems efficiently. Key to the performance of BO is specifying and refining a distribution over functions, which is used to reason about the optima of the underlying function being optimized. In this work, we consider the scenario where we have data from similar functions that allows us to specify a tighter distribution a priori. Specifically, we focus on the common but potentially costly task of tuning optimizer parameters for training neural networks. Building on the meta BO method from Wang et al. (2018), we develop practical improvements that (a) boost its performance by leveraging tuning results on multiple tasks without requiring observations for the same meta-parameter points across all tasks, and (b) retain its regret bound for a special case of our method. As a result, we provide a coherent BO solution for iterative optimization of continuous optimizer parameters. To verify our approach in realistic model training setups, we collected a large multi-task hyperparameter tuning dataset by training tens of thousands of configurations of near-state-of-the-art models on popular image and text datasets, as well as a protein sequence dataset. Our results show that on average, our method is able to locate good hyperparameters at least 3 times more efficiently than the best competing methods.

Hyperparameter Ensembles for Robustness and Uncertainty Quantification Machine Learning

Ensembles over neural network weights trained from different random initialization, known as deep ensembles, achieve state-of-the-art accuracy and calibration. The recently introduced batch ensembles provide a drop-in replacement that is more parameter efficient. In this paper, we design ensembles not only over weights, but over hyperparameters to improve the state of the art in both settings. For best performance independent of budget, we propose hyper-deep ensembles, a simple procedure that involves a random search over different hyperparameters, themselves stratified across multiple random initializations. Its strong performance highlights the benefit of combining models with both weight and hyperparameter diversity. We further propose a parameter efficient version, hyper-batch ensembles, which builds on the layer structure of batch ensembles and self-tuning networks. The computational and memory costs of our method are notably lower than typical ensembles. On image classification tasks, with MLP, LeNet, ResNet 20 and Wide ResNet 28-10 architectures, we improve upon both deep and batch ensembles.

A Spectral Energy Distance for Parallel Speech Synthesis Machine Learning

Speech synthesis is an important practical generative modeling problem that has seen great progress over the last few years, with likelihood-based autoregressive neural models now outperforming traditional concatenative systems. A downside of such autoregressive models is that they require executing tens of thousands of sequential operations per second of generated audio, making them ill-suited for deployment on specialized deep learning hardware. Here, we propose a new learning method that allows us to train highly parallel models of speech, without requiring access to an analytical likelihood function. Our approach is based on a generalized energy distance between the distributions of the generated and real audio. This spectral energy distance is a proper scoring rule with respect to the distribution over magnitude-spectrograms of the generated waveform audio and offers statistical consistency guarantees. The distance can be calculated from minibatches without bias, and does not involve adversarial learning, yielding a stable and consistent method for training implicit generative models. Empirically, we achieve state-of-the-art generation quality among implicit generative models, as judged by the recently-proposed cFDSD metric. When combining our method with adversarial techniques, we also improve upon the recently-proposed GAN-TTS model in terms of Mean Opinion Score as judged by trained human evaluators.

Combining Ensembles and Data Augmentation can Harm your Calibration Machine Learning

Ensemble methods which average over multiple neural network predictions are a simple approach to improve a model's calibration and robustness. Similarly, data augmentation techniques, which encode prior information in the form of invariant feature transformations, are effective for improving calibration and robustness. In this paper, we show a surprising pathology: combining ensembles and data augmentation can harm model calibration. This leads to a trade-off in practice, whereby improved accuracy by combining the two techniques comes at the expense of calibration. On the other hand, selecting only one of the techniques ensures good uncertainty estimates at the expense of accuracy. We investigate this pathology and identify a compounding under-confidence among methods which marginalize over sets of weights and data augmentation techniques which soften labels. Finally, we propose a simple correction, achieving the best of both worlds with significant accuracy and calibration gains over using only ensembles or data augmentation individually. Applying the correction produces new state-of-the art in uncertainty calibration across CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, and ImageNet.

Exploring the Uncertainty Properties of Neural Networks' Implicit Priors in the Infinite-Width Limit Machine Learning

Modern deep learning models have achieved great success in predictive accuracy for many data modalities. However, their application to many real-world tasks is restricted by poor uncertainty estimates, such as overconfidence on out-of-distribution (OOD) data and ungraceful failing under distributional shift. Previous benchmarks have found that ensembles of neural networks (NNs) are typically the best calibrated models on OOD data. Inspired by this, we leverage recent theoretical advances that characterize the function-space prior of an ensemble of infinitely-wide NNs as a Gaussian process, termed the neural network Gaussian process (NNGP). We use the NNGP with a softmax link function to build a probabilistic model for multi-class classification and marginalize over the latent Gaussian outputs to sample from the posterior. This gives us a better understanding of the implicit prior NNs place on function space and allows a direct comparison of the calibration of the NNGP and its finite-width analogue. We also examine the calibration of previous approaches to classification with the NNGP, which treat classification problems as regression to the one-hot labels. In this case the Bayesian posterior is exact, and we compare several heuristics to generate a categorical distribution over classes. We find these methods are well calibrated under distributional shift. Finally, we consider an infinite-width final layer in conjunction with a pre-trained embedding. This replicates the important practical use case of transfer learning and allows scaling to significantly larger datasets. As well as achieving competitive predictive accuracy, this approach is better calibrated than its finite width analogue.

Training independent subnetworks for robust prediction Machine Learning

Recent approaches to efficiently ensemble neural networks have shown that strong robustness and uncertainty performance can be achieved with a negligible gain in parameters over the original network. However, these methods still require multiple forward passes for prediction, leading to a significant computational cost. In this work, we show a surprising result: the benefits of using multiple predictions can be achieved `for free' under a single model's forward pass. In particular, we show that, using a multi-input multi-output (MIMO) configuration, one can utilize a single model's capacity to train multiple subnetworks that independently learn the task at hand. By ensembling the predictions made by the subnetworks, we improve model robustness without increasing compute. We observe a significant improvement in negative log-likelihood, accuracy, and calibration error on CIFAR10, CIFAR100, ImageNet, and their out-of-distribution variants compared to previous methods.

Efficient and Scalable Bayesian Neural Nets with Rank-1 Factors Machine Learning

Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) demonstrate promising success in improving the robustness and uncertainty quantification of modern deep learning. However, they generally struggle with underfitting at scale and parameter efficiency. On the other hand, deep ensembles have emerged as alternatives for uncertainty quantification that, while outperforming BNNs on certain problems, also suffer from efficiency issues. It remains unclear how to combine the strengths of these two approaches and remediate their common issues. To tackle this challenge, we propose a rank-1 parameterization of BNNs, where each weight matrix involves only a distribution on a rank-1 subspace. We also revisit the use of mixture approximate posteriors to capture multiple modes, where unlike typical mixtures, this approach admits a significantly smaller memory increase (e.g., only a 0.4% increase for a ResNet-50 mixture of size 10). We perform a systematic empirical study on the choices of prior, variational posterior, and methods to improve training. For ResNet-50 on ImageNet, Wide ResNet 28-10 on CIFAR-10/100, and an RNN on MIMIC-III, rank-1 BNNs achieve state-of-the-art performance across log-likelihood, accuracy, and calibration on the test sets and out-of-distribution variants.

Cold Posteriors and Aleatoric Uncertainty Machine Learning

Recent work has observed that one can outperform exact inference in Bayesian neural networks by tuning the "temperature" of the posterior on a validation set (the "cold posterior" effect). To help interpret this phenomenon, we argue that commonly used priors in Bayesian neural networks can significantly overestimate the aleatoric uncertainty in the labels on many classification datasets. This problem is particularly pronounced in academic benchmarks like MNIST or CIFAR, for which the quality of the labels is high. For the special case of Gaussian process regression, any positive temperature corresponds to a valid posterior under a modified prior, and tuning this temperature is directly analogous to empirical Bayes. On classification tasks, there is no direct equivalence between modifying the prior and tuning the temperature, however reducing the temperature can lead to models which better reflect our belief that one gains little information by relabeling existing examples in the training set. Therefore although cold posteriors do not always correspond to an exact inference procedure, we believe they may often better reflect our true prior beliefs.

Evaluating Prediction-Time Batch Normalization for Robustness under Covariate Shift Machine Learning

Covariate shift has been shown to sharply degrade both predictive accuracy and the calibration of uncertainty estimates for deep learning models. This is worrying, because covariate shift is prevalent in a wide range of real world deployment settings. However, in this paper, we note that frequently there exists the potential to access small unlabeled batches of the shifted data just before prediction time. This interesting observation enables a simple but surprisingly effective method which we call prediction-time batch normalization, which significantly improves model accuracy and calibration under covariate shift. Using this one line code change, we achieve state-of-the-art on recent covariate shift benchmarks and an mCE of 60.28\% on the challenging ImageNet-C dataset; to our knowledge, this is the best result for any model that does not incorporate additional data augmentation or modification of the training pipeline. We show that prediction-time batch normalization provides complementary benefits to existing state-of-the-art approaches for improving robustness (e.g. deep ensembles) and combining the two further improves performance. Our findings are supported by detailed measurements of the effect of this strategy on model behavior across rigorous ablations on various dataset modalities. However, the method has mixed results when used alongside pre-training, and does not seem to perform as well under more natural types of dataset shift, and is therefore worthy of additional study. We include links to the data in our figures to improve reproducibility, including a Python notebooks that can be run to easily modify our analysis at

Revisiting One-vs-All Classifiers for Predictive Uncertainty and Out-of-Distribution Detection in Neural Networks Machine Learning

Accurate estimation of predictive uncertainty in modern neural networks is critical to achieve well calibrated predictions and detect out-of-distribution (OOD) inputs. The most promising approaches have been predominantly focused on improving model uncertainty (e.g. deep ensembles and Bayesian neural networks) and post-processing techniques for OOD detection (e.g. ODIN and Mahalanobis distance). However, there has been relatively little investigation into how the parametrization of the probabilities in discriminative classifiers affects the uncertainty estimates, and the dominant method, softmax cross-entropy, results in misleadingly high confidences on OOD data and under covariate shift. We investigate alternative ways of formulating probabilities using (1) a one-vs-all formulation to capture the notion of "none of the above", and (2) a distance-based logit representation to encode uncertainty as a function of distance to the training manifold. We show that one-vs-all formulations can improve calibration on image classification tasks, while matching the predictive performance of softmax without incurring any additional training or test-time complexity.