Collaborating Authors

Yi, Jinfeng

Towards Heterogeneous Clients with Elastic Federated Learning Artificial Intelligence

Federated learning involves training machine learning models over devices or data silos, such as edge processors or data warehouses, while keeping the data local. Training in heterogeneous and potentially massive networks introduces bias into the system, which is originated from the non-IID data and the low participation rate in reality. In this paper, we propose Elastic Federated Learning (EFL), an unbiased algorithm to tackle the heterogeneity in the system, which makes the most informative parameters less volatile during training, and utilizes the incomplete local updates. It is an efficient and effective algorithm that compresses both upstream and downstream communications. Theoretically, the algorithm has convergence guarantee when training on the non-IID data at the low participation rate. Empirical experiments corroborate the competitive performance of EFL framework on the robustness and the efficiency.

Leveraging Tripartite Interaction Information from Live Stream E-Commerce for Improving Product Recommendation Artificial Intelligence

Recently, a new form of online shopping becomes more and more popular, which combines live streaming with E-Commerce activity. The streamers introduce products and interact with their audiences, and hence greatly improve the performance of selling products. Despite of the successful applications in industries, the live stream E-commerce has not been well studied in the data science community. To fill this gap, we investigate this brand-new scenario and collect a real-world Live Stream E-Commerce (LSEC) dataset. Different from conventional E-commerce activities, the streamers play a pivotal role in the LSEC events. Hence, the key is to make full use of rich interaction information among streamers, users, and products. We first conduct data analysis on the tripartite interaction data and quantify the streamer's influence on users' purchase behavior. Based on the analysis results, we model the tripartite information as a heterogeneous graph, which can be decomposed to multiple bipartite graphs in order to better capture the influence. We propose a novel Live Stream E-Commerce Graph Neural Network framework (LSEC-GNN) to learn the node representations of each bipartite graph, and further design a multi-task learning approach to improve product recommendation. Extensive experiments on two real-world datasets with different scales show that our method can significantly outperform various baseline approaches.

Fast Certified Robust Training via Better Initialization and Shorter Warmup Artificial Intelligence

Recently, bound propagation based certified adversarial defense have been proposed for training neural networks with certifiable robustness guarantees. Despite state-of-the-art (SOTA) methods including interval bound propagation (IBP) and CROWN-IBP have per-batch training complexity similar to standard neural network training, to reach SOTA performance they usually need a long warmup schedule with hundreds or thousands epochs and are thus still quite costly for training. In this paper, we discover that the weight initialization adopted by prior works, such as Xavier or orthogonal initialization, which was originally designed for standard network training, results in very loose certified bounds at initialization thus a longer warmup schedule must be used. We also find that IBP based training leads to a significant imbalance in ReLU activation states, which can hamper model performance. Based on our findings, we derive a new IBP initialization as well as principled regularizers during the warmup stage to stabilize certified bounds during initialization and warmup stage, which can significantly reduce the warmup schedule and improve the balance of ReLU activation states. Additionally, we find that batch normalization (BN) is a crucial architectural element to build best-performing networks for certified training, because it helps stabilize bound variance and balance ReLU activation states. With our proposed initialization, regularizers and architectural changes combined, we are able to obtain 65.03% verified error on CIFAR-10 ($\epsilon=\frac{8}{255}$) and 82.13% verified error on TinyImageNet ($\epsilon=\frac{1}{255}$) using very short training schedules (160 and 80 total epochs, respectively), outperforming literature SOTA trained with a few hundreds or thousands epochs.

On the Adversarial Robustness of Visual Transformers Artificial Intelligence

Following the success in advancing natural language processing and understanding, transformers are expected to bring revolutionary changes to computer vision. This work provides the first and comprehensive study on the robustness of vision transformers (ViTs) against adversarial perturbations. Tested on various white-box and transfer attack settings, we find that ViTs possess better adversarial robustness when compared with convolutional neural networks (CNNs). We summarize the following main observations contributing to the improved robustness of ViTs: 1) Features learned by ViTs contain less low-level information and are more generalizable, which contributes to superior robustness against adversarial perturbations. 2) Introducing convolutional or tokens-to-token blocks for learning low-level features in ViTs can improve classification accuracy but at the cost of adversarial robustness. 3) Increasing the proportion of transformers in the model structure (when the model consists of both transformer and CNN blocks) leads to better robustness. But for a pure transformer model, simply increasing the size or adding layers cannot guarantee a similar effect. 4) Pre-training on larger datasets does not significantly improve adversarial robustness though it is critical for training ViTs. 5) Adversarial training is also applicable to ViT for training robust models. Furthermore, feature visualization and frequency analysis are conducted for explanation. The results show that ViTs are less sensitive to high-frequency perturbations than CNNs and there is a high correlation between how well the model learns low-level features and its robustness against different frequency-based perturbations.

Provably Robust Metric Learning Machine Learning

Metric learning has been an important family of machine learning algorithms and has achieved successes on several problems, including computer vision [24, 17, 18], text analysis [27], meta learning [38, 35] and others [34, 45, 47]. Given a set of training samples, metric learning aims to learn a good distance measurement such that items in the same class are closer to each other in the learned metric space, which is crucial for classification and similarity search. Since this objective is directly related to the assumption of nearest neighbor classifiers, most of the metric learning algorithms can be naturally and successfully combined with K-Nearest Neighbor (K-NN) classifiers. Adversarial robustness of machine learning algorithms has been studied extensively in recent years due to the need of robustness guarantees in real world systems. It has been demonstrated that neural networks can be easily attacked by adversarial perturbations in the input space [37, 16, 2], and such perturbations can be computed efficiently in both white-box [4, 29] and black-box settings [7, 19, 9]. Therefore, many defense algorithms have been proposed to improve the robustness of neural networks [26, 29].

Spanning Attack: Reinforce Black-box Attacks with Unlabeled Data Machine Learning

It has been shown that machine learning models, especially deep neural networks, are vulnerable to small adversarial perturbations, i.e., a small carefully crafted perturbation added to the input may significantly change the prediction results (Szegedy et al., 2014; Goodfellow et al., 2015; Biggio and Roli, 2018; Fawzi et al., 2018). Therefore, the problem of finding those perturbations, also known as adversarial attacks, has become an important way to evaluate the model robustness: the more difficult to attack a given model, the more robust it is. Depending on the information an adversary can access, the adversarial attacks can be classified into white-box and black-box settings. In the white-box setting, the target model is completely exposed to the attacker, and adversarial perturbations could be easily crafted by exploiting the first-order information, i.e., gradients with respect to the input (Carlini and Wagner, 2017; Madry et al., 2018). Despite of its efficiency and effectiveness, the white-box setting is an overly strong and pessimistic threat model, and white-box attacks are usually not practical when attacking real-world machine learning systems due to the invisibility of the gradient information. Instead, we focus on the problem of black-box attacks, where the model structure and parameters (weights) are not available to the attacker.

DTWNet: a Dynamic Time Warping Network

Neural Information Processing Systems

Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) is widely used as a similarity measure in various domains. Due to its invariance against warping in the time axis, DTW provides more meaningful discrepancy measurements between two signals than other dis- tance measures. In this paper, we propose a novel component in an artificial neural network. In contrast to the previous successful usage of DTW as a loss function, the proposed framework leverages DTW to obtain a better feature extraction. For the first time, the DTW loss is theoretically analyzed, and a stochastic backpropogation scheme is proposed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the DTW learning.

Semi-Crowdsourced Clustering: Generalizing Crowd Labeling by Robust Distance Metric Learning

Neural Information Processing Systems

One of the main challenges in data clustering is to define an appropriate similarity measure between two objects. Crowdclustering addresses this challenge by defining the pairwise similarity based on the manual annotations obtained through crowdsourcing. Despite its encouraging results, a key limitation of crowdclustering is that it can only cluster objects when their manual annotations are available. To address this limitation, we propose a new approach for clustering, called \textit{semi-crowdsourced clustering} that effectively combines the low-level features of objects with the manual annotations of a subset of the objects obtained via crowdsourcing. The key idea is to learn an appropriate similarity measure, based on the low-level features of objects, from the manual annotations of only a small portion of the data to be clustered.

Stochastic Gradient Descent with Only One Projection

Neural Information Processing Systems

Although many variants of stochastic gradient descent have been proposed for large-scale convex optimization, most of them require projecting the solution at {\it each} iteration to ensure that the obtained solution stays within the feasible domain. For complex domains (e.g., positive semidefinite cone), the projection step can be computationally expensive, making stochastic gradient descent unattractive for large-scale optimization problems. We address this limitation by developing a novel stochastic gradient descent algorithm that does not need intermediate projections. Instead, only one projection at the last iteration is needed to obtain a feasible solution in the given domain. Our theoretical analysis shows that with a high probability, the proposed algorithms achieve an $O(1/\sqrt{T})$ convergence rate for general convex optimization, and an $O(\ln T/T)$ rate for strongly convex optimization under mild conditions about the domain and the objective function.

Adaptive Negative Curvature Descent with Applications in Non-convex Optimization

Neural Information Processing Systems

Negative curvature descent (NCD) method has been utilized to design deterministic or stochastic algorithms for non-convex optimization aiming at finding second-order stationary points or local minima. To address this issue, we propose an adaptive NCD to allow for an adaptive error dependent on the current gradient's magnitude in approximating the smallest eigen-value of the Hessian, and to encourage competition between a noisy NCD step and gradient descent step. We consider the applications of the proposed adaptive NCD for both deterministic and stochastic non-convex optimization, and demonstrate that it can help reduce the the overall complexity in computing the negative curvatures during the course of optimization without sacrificing the iteration complexity. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.