Collaborating Authors

Zheng, Yu

Federated Extra-Trees with Privacy Preserving Machine Learning

It is commonly observed that the data are scattered everywhere and difficult to be centralized. The data privacy and security also become a sensitive topic. The laws and regulations such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are designed to protect the public's data privacy. However, machine learning requires a large amount of data for better performance, and the current circumstances put deploying real-life AI applications in an extremely difficult situation. To tackle these challenges, in this paper we propose a novel privacy-preserving federated machine learning model, named Federated Extra-Trees, which applies local differential privacy in the federated trees model. A secure multi-institutional machine learning system was developed to provide superior performance by processing the modeling jointly on different clients without exchanging any raw data. We have validated the accuracy of our work by conducting extensive experiments on public datasets and the efficiency and robustness were also verified by simulating the real-world scenarios. Overall, we presented an extensible, scalable and practical solution to handle the data island problem.

Fine-Grained Urban Flow Inference Machine Learning

The ubiquitous deployment of monitoring devices in urban flow monitoring systems induces a significant cost for maintenance and operation. A technique is required to reduce the number of deployed devices, while preventing the degeneration of data accuracy and granularity. In this paper, we present an approach for inferring the real-time and fine-grained crowd flows throughout a city based on coarse-grained observations. This task exhibits two challenges: the spatial correlations between coarse- and fine-grained urban flows, and the complexities of external impacts. To tackle these issues, we develop a model entitled UrbanFM which consists of two major parts: 1) an inference network to generate fine-grained flow distributions from coarse-grained inputs that uses a feature extraction module and a novel distributional upsampling module; 2) a general fusion subnet to further boost the performance by considering the influence of different external factors. This structure provides outstanding effectiveness and efficiency for small scale upsampling. However, the single-pass upsampling used by UrbanFM is insufficient at higher upscaling rates. Therefore, we further present UrbanPy, a cascading model for progressive inference of fine-grained urban flows by decomposing the original tasks into multiple subtasks. Compared to UrbanFM, such an enhanced structure demonstrates favorable performance for larger-scale inference tasks.

HM-NAS: Efficient Neural Architecture Search via Hierarchical Masking Machine Learning

The use of automatic methods, often referred to as Neural Architecture Search (NAS), in designing neural network architectures has recently drawn considerable attention. In this work, we present an efficient NAS approach, named HM- NAS, that generalizes existing weight sharing based NAS approaches. Existing weight sharing based NAS approaches still adopt hand-designed heuristics to generate architecture candidates. As a consequence, the space of architecture candidates is constrained in a subset of all possible architectures, making the architecture search results sub-optimal. HM-NAS addresses this limitation via two innovations. First, HM-NAS incorporates a multi-level architecture encoding scheme to enable searching for more flexible network architectures. Second, it discards the hand-designed heuristics and incorporates a hierarchical masking scheme that automatically learns and determines the optimal architecture. Compared to state-of-the-art weight sharing based approaches, HM-NAS is able to achieve better architecture search performance and competitive model evaluation accuracy. Without the constraint imposed by the hand-designed heuristics, our searched networks contain more flexible and meaningful architectures that existing weight sharing based NAS approaches are not able to discover.

Reward Advancement: Transforming Policy under Maximum Causal Entropy Principle Artificial Intelligence

Many real-world human behaviors can be characterized as a sequential decision making processes, such as urban travelers choices of transport modes and routes (Wu et al. 2017). Differing from choices controlled by machines, which in general follows perfect rationality to adopt the policy with the highest reward, studies have revealed that human agents make sub-optimal decisions under bounded rationality (Tao, Rohde, and Corcoran 2014). Such behaviors can be modeled using maximum causal entropy (MCE) principle (Ziebart 2010). In this paper, we define and investigate a general reward trans-formation problem (namely, reward advancement): Recovering the range of additional reward functions that transform the agent's policy from original policy to a predefined target policy under MCE principle. We show that given an MDP and a target policy, there are infinite many additional reward functions that can achieve the desired policy transformation. Moreover, we propose an algorithm to further extract the additional rewards with minimum "cost" to implement the policy transformation.

Federated Forest Machine Learning

Most real-world data are scattered across different companies or government organizations, and cannot be easily integrated under data privacy and related regulations such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and China' Cyber Security Law. Such data islands situation and data privacy & security are two major challenges for applications of artificial intelligence. In this paper, we tackle these challenges and propose a privacy-preserving machine learning model, called Federated Forest, which is a lossless learning model of the traditional random forest method, i.e., achieving the same level of accuracy as the non-privacy-preserving approach. Based on it, we developed a secure cross-regional machine learning system that allows a learning process to be jointly trained over different regions' clients with the same user samples but different attribute sets, processing the data stored in each of them without exchanging their raw data. A novel prediction algorithm was also proposed which could largely reduce the communication overhead. Experiments on both real-world and UCI data sets demonstrate the performance of the Federated Forest is as accurate as the non-federated version. The efficiency and robustness of our proposed system had been verified. Overall, our model is practical, scalable and extensible for real-life tasks.

Deep Uncertainty Quantification: A Machine Learning Approach for Weather Forecasting Machine Learning

Weather forecasting is usually solved through numerical weather prediction (NWP), which can sometimes lead to unsatisfactory performance due to inappropriate setting of the initial states. In this paper, we design a data-driven method augmented by an effective information fusion mechanism to learn from historical data that incorporates prior knowledge from NWP. We cast the weather forecasting problem as an end-to-end deep learning problem and solve it by proposing a novel negative log-likelihood error (NLE) loss function. A notable advantage of our proposed method is that it simultaneously implements single-value forecasting and uncertainty quantification, which we refer to as deep uncertainty quantification (DUQ). Efficient deep ensemble strategies are also explored to further improve performance. This new approach was evaluated on a public dataset collected from weather stations in Beijing, China. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed NLE loss significantly improves generalization compared to mean squared error (MSE) loss and mean absolute error (MAE) loss. Compared with NWP, this approach significantly improves accuracy by 47.76%, which is a state-of-the-art result on this benchmark dataset. The preliminary version of the proposed method won 2nd place in an online competition for daily weather forecasting.

HyperST-Net: Hypernetworks for Spatio-Temporal Forecasting Artificial Intelligence

Spatio-temporal (ST) data, which represent multiple time series data corresponding to different spatial locations, are ubiquitous in real-world dynamic systems, such as air quality readings. Forecasting over ST data is of great importance but challenging as it is affected by many complex factors, including spatial characteristics, temporal characteristics and the intrinsic causality between them. In this paper, we propose a general framework (HyperST-Net) based on hypernetworks for deep ST models. More specifically, it consists of three major modules: a spatial module, a temporal module and a deduction module. Among them, the deduction module derives the parameter weights of the temporal module from the spatial characteristics, which are extracted by the spatial module. Then, we design a general form of HyperST layer as well as different forms for several basic layers in neural networks, including the dense layer (HyperST-Dense) and the convolutional layer (HyperST-Conv). Experiments on three types of real-world tasks demonstrate that the predictive models integrated with our framework achieve significant improvements, and outperform the state-of-the-art baselines as well.


AAAI Conferences

Estimating the travel time of any path (denoted by a sequence of connected road segments) in a city is of great importance to traffic monitoring, route planning, ridesharing, taxi/Uber dispatching, etc. However, it is a very challenging problem, affected by diverse complex factors, including spatial correlations, temporal dependencies, external conditions (e.g.

When Will You Arrive? Estimating Travel Time Based on Deep Neural Networks

AAAI Conferences

Estimating the travel time of any path (denoted by a sequence of connected road segments) in a city is of great importance to traffic monitoring, route planning, ridesharing, taxi/Uber dispatching, etc. However, it is a very challenging problem, affected by diverse complex factors, including spatial correlations, temporal dependencies, external conditions (e.g. weather, traffic lights). Prior work usually focuses on estimating the travel times of individual road segments or sub-paths and then summing up these times, which leads to an inaccurate estimation because such approaches do not consider road intersections/traffic lights, and local errors may accumulate. To address these issues, we propose an end-to-end Deep learning framework for Travel Time Estimation called DeepTTE that estimates the travel time of the whole path directly. More specifically, we present a geo-convolution operation by integrating the geographic information into the classical convolution, capable of capturing spatial correlations. By stacking recurrent unit on the geo-convoluton layer, our DeepTTE can capture the temporal dependencies simultaneously. A multi-task learning component is given on the top of DeepTTE, that estimates the travel time of both the entire path and each local path simultaneously during the training phase. The extensive experiments on two large-scale datasets shows our DeepTTE significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.

pg-Causality: Identifying Spatiotemporal Causal Pathways for Air Pollutants with Urban Big Data Artificial Intelligence

Many countries are suffering from severe air pollution. Understanding how different air pollutants accumulate and propagate is critical to making relevant public policies. In this paper, we use urban big data (air quality data and meteorological data) to identify the \emph{spatiotemporal (ST) causal pathways} for air pollutants. This problem is challenging because: (1) there are numerous noisy and low-pollution periods in the raw air quality data, which may lead to unreliable causality analysis, (2) for large-scale data in the ST space, the computational complexity of constructing a causal structure is very high, and (3) the \emph{ST causal pathways} are complex due to the interactions of multiple pollutants and the influence of environmental factors. Therefore, we present \emph{p-Causality}, a novel pattern-aided causality analysis approach that combines the strengths of \emph{pattern mining} and \emph{Bayesian learning} to efficiently and faithfully identify the \emph{ST causal pathways}. First, \emph{Pattern mining} helps suppress the noise by capturing frequent evolving patterns (FEPs) of each monitoring sensor, and greatly reduce the complexity by selecting the pattern-matched sensors as "causers". Then, \emph{Bayesian learning} carefully encodes the local and ST causal relations with a Gaussian Bayesian network (GBN)-based graphical model, which also integrates environmental influences to minimize biases in the final results. We evaluate our approach with three real-world data sets containing 982 air quality sensors, in three regions of China from 01-Jun-2013 to 19-Dec-2015. Results show that our approach outperforms the traditional causal structure learning methods in time efficiency, inference accuracy and interpretability.