Collaborating Authors


Zero-Shot Knowledge Distillation from a Decision-Based Black-Box Model Artificial Intelligence

Knowledge distillation (KD) is a successful approach for deep neural network acceleration, with which a compact network (student) is trained by mimicking the softmax output of a pre-trained high-capacity network (teacher). In tradition, KD usually relies on access to the training samples and the parameters of the white-box teacher to acquire the transferred knowledge. However, these prerequisites are not always realistic due to storage costs or privacy issues in real-world applications. Here we propose the concept of decision-based black-box (DB3) knowledge distillation, with which the student is trained by distilling the knowledge from a black-box teacher (parameters are not accessible) that only returns classes rather than softmax outputs. We start with the scenario when the training set is accessible. We represent a sample's robustness against other classes by computing its distances to the teacher's decision boundaries and use it to construct the soft label for each training sample. After that, the student can be trained via standard KD. We then extend this approach to a more challenging scenario in which even accessing the training data is not feasible. We propose to generate pseudo samples distinguished by the teacher's decision boundaries to the largest extent and construct soft labels for them, which are used as the transfer set. We evaluate our approaches on various benchmark networks and datasets and experiment results demonstrate their effectiveness. Codes are available at:

Few-NERD: A Few-Shot Named Entity Recognition Dataset Artificial Intelligence

Recently, considerable literature has grown up around the theme of few-shot named entity recognition (NER), but little published benchmark data specifically focused on the practical and challenging task. Current approaches collect existing supervised NER datasets and re-organize them to the few-shot setting for empirical study. These strategies conventionally aim to recognize coarse-grained entity types with few examples, while in practice, most unseen entity types are fine-grained. In this paper, we present Few-NERD, a large-scale human-annotated few-shot NER dataset with a hierarchy of 8 coarse-grained and 66 fine-grained entity types. Few-NERD consists of 188,238 sentences from Wikipedia, 4,601,160 words are included and each is annotated as context or a part of a two-level entity type. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first few-shot NER dataset and the largest human-crafted NER dataset. We construct benchmark tasks with different emphases to comprehensively assess the generalization capability of models. Extensive empirical results and analysis show that Few-NERD is challenging and the problem requires further research. We make Few-NERD public at

The State of AI Ethics Report (January 2021) Artificial Intelligence

The 3rd edition of the Montreal AI Ethics Institute's The State of AI Ethics captures the most relevant developments in AI Ethics since October 2020. It aims to help anyone, from machine learning experts to human rights activists and policymakers, quickly digest and understand the field's ever-changing developments. Through research and article summaries, as well as expert commentary, this report distills the research and reporting surrounding various domains related to the ethics of AI, including: algorithmic injustice, discrimination, ethical AI, labor impacts, misinformation, privacy, risk and security, social media, and more. In addition, The State of AI Ethics includes exclusive content written by world-class AI Ethics experts from universities, research institutes, consulting firms, and governments. Unique to this report is "The Abuse and Misogynoir Playbook," written by Dr. Katlyn Tuner (Research Scientist, Space Enabled Research Group, MIT), Dr. Danielle Wood (Assistant Professor, Program in Media Arts and Sciences; Assistant Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics; Lead, Space Enabled Research Group, MIT) and Dr. Catherine D'Ignazio (Assistant Professor, Urban Science and Planning; Director, Data + Feminism Lab, MIT). The piece (and accompanying infographic), is a deep-dive into the historical and systematic silencing, erasure, and revision of Black women's contributions to knowledge and scholarship in the United Stations, and globally. Exposing and countering this Playbook has become increasingly important following the firing of AI Ethics expert Dr. Timnit Gebru (and several of her supporters) at Google. This report should be used not only as a point of reference and insight on the latest thinking in the field of AI Ethics, but should also be used as a tool for introspection as we aim to foster a more nuanced conversation regarding the impacts of AI on the world.

Predicting Flight Delay with Spatio-Temporal Trajectory Convolutional Network and Airport Situational Awareness Map Artificial Intelligence

To model and forecast flight delays accurately, it is crucial to harness various vehicle trajectory and contextual sensor data on airport tarmac areas. These heterogeneous sensor data, if modelled correctly, can be used to generate a situational awareness map. Existing techniques apply traditional supervised learning methods onto historical data, contextual features and route information among different airports to predict flight delay are inaccurate and only predict arrival delay but not departure delay, which is essential to airlines. In this paper, we propose a vision-based solution to achieve a high forecasting accuracy, applicable to the airport. Our solution leverages a snapshot of the airport situational awareness map, which contains various trajectories of aircraft and contextual features such as weather and airline schedules. We propose an end-to-end deep learning architecture, TrajCNN, which captures both the spatial and temporal information from the situational awareness map. Additionally, we reveal that the situational awareness map of the airport has a vital impact on estimating flight departure delay. Our proposed framework obtained a good result (around 18 minutes error) for predicting flight departure delay at Los Angeles International Airport.

From Human-Computer Interaction to Human-AI Interaction: New Challenges and Opportunities for Enabling Human-Centered AI Artificial Intelligence

While AI has benefited humans, it may also harm humans if not appropriately developed. We conducted a literature review of current related work in developing AI systems from an HCI perspective. Different from other approaches, our focus is on the unique characteristics of AI technology and the differences between non-AI computing systems and AI systems. We further elaborate on the human-centered AI (HCAI) approach that we proposed in 2019. Our review and analysis highlight unique issues in developing AI systems which HCI professionals have not encountered in non-AI computing systems. To further enable the implementation of HCAI, we promote the research and application of human-AI interaction (HAII) as an interdisciplinary collaboration. There are many opportunities for HCI professionals to play a key role to make unique contributions to the main HAII areas as we identified. To support future HCI practice in the HAII area, we also offer enhanced HCI methods and strategic recommendations. In conclusion, we believe that promoting the HAII research and application will further enable the implementation of HCAI, enabling HCI professionals to address the unique issues of AI systems and develop human-centered AI systems.

Safety Enhancement for Deep Reinforcement Learning in Autonomous Separation Assurance Artificial Intelligence

The separation assurance task will be extremely challenging for air traffic controllers in a complex and high density airspace environment. Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) was used to develop an autonomous separation assurance framework in our previous work where the learned model advised speed maneuvers. In order to improve the safety of this model in unseen environments with uncertainties, in this work we propose a safety module for DRL in autonomous separation assurance applications. The proposed module directly addresses both model uncertainty and state uncertainty to improve safety. Our safety module consists of two sub-modules: (1) the state safety sub-module is based on the execution-time data augmentation method to introduce state disturbances in the model input state; (2) the model safety sub-module is a Monte-Carlo dropout extension that learns the posterior distribution of the DRL model policy. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the two sub-modules in an open-source air traffic simulator with challenging environment settings. Through extensive numerical experiments, our results show that the proposed sub-safety modules help the DRL agent significantly improve its safety performance in an autonomous separation assurance task.

UAV-Assisted Communication in Remote Disaster Areas using Imitation Learning Artificial Intelligence

The damage to cellular towers during natural and man-made disasters can disturb the communication services for cellular users. One solution to the problem is using unmanned aerial vehicles to augment the desired communication network. The paper demonstrates the design of a UAV-Assisted Imitation Learning (UnVAIL) communication system that relays the cellular users' information to a neighbor base station. Since the user equipment (UEs) are equipped with buffers with limited capacity to hold packets, UnVAIL alternates between different UEs to reduce the chance of buffer overflow, positions itself optimally close to the selected UE to reduce service time, and uncovers a network pathway by acting as a relay node. UnVAIL utilizes Imitation Learning (IL) as a data-driven behavioral cloning approach to accomplish an optimal scheduling solution. Results demonstrate that UnVAIL performs similar to a human expert knowledge-based planning in communication timeliness, position accuracy, and energy consumption with an accuracy of 97.52% when evaluated on a developed simulator to train the UAV.

White Paper Machine Learning in Certified Systems Artificial Intelligence

Machine Learning (ML) seems to be one of the most promising solution to automate partially or completely some of the complex tasks currently realized by humans, such as driving vehicles, recognizing voice, etc. It is also an opportunity to implement and embed new capabilities out of the reach of classical implementation techniques. However, ML techniques introduce new potential risks. Therefore, they have only been applied in systems where their benefits are considered worth the increase of risk. In practice, ML techniques raise multiple challenges that could prevent their use in systems submitted to certification constraints. But what are the actual challenges? Can they be overcome by selecting appropriate ML techniques, or by adopting new engineering or certification practices? These are some of the questions addressed by the ML Certification 3 Workgroup (WG) set-up by the Institut de Recherche Technologique Saint Exup\'ery de Toulouse (IRT), as part of the DEEL Project.

A new interpretable unsupervised anomaly detection method based on residual explanation Artificial Intelligence

Despite the superior performance in modeling complex patterns to address challenging problems, the black-box nature of Deep Learning (DL) methods impose limitations to their application in real-world critical domains. The lack of a smooth manner for enabling human reasoning about the black-box decisions hinder any preventive action to unexpected events, in which may lead to catastrophic consequences. To tackle the unclearness from black-box models, interpretability became a fundamental requirement in DL-based systems, leveraging trust and knowledge by providing ways to understand the model's behavior. Although a current hot topic, further advances are still needed to overcome the existing limitations of the current interpretability methods in unsupervised DL-based models for Anomaly Detection (AD). Autoencoders (AE) are the core of unsupervised DL-based for AD applications, achieving best-in-class performance. However, due to their hybrid aspect to obtain the results (by requiring additional calculations out of network), only agnostic interpretable methods can be applied to AE-based AD. These agnostic methods are computationally expensive to process a large number of parameters. In this paper we present the RXP (Residual eXPlainer), a new interpretability method to deal with the limitations for AE-based AD in large-scale systems. It stands out for its implementation simplicity, low computational cost and deterministic behavior, in which explanations are obtained through the deviation analysis of reconstructed input features. In an experiment using data from a real heavy-haul railway line, the proposed method achieved superior performance compared to SHAP, demonstrating its potential to support decision making in large scale critical systems.

Unbox the Black-box for the Medical Explainable AI via Multi-modal and Multi-centre Data Fusion: A Mini-Review, Two Showcases and Beyond Artificial Intelligence

Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) is an emerging research topic of machine learning aimed at unboxing how AI systems' black-box choices are made. This research field inspects the measures and models involved in decision-making and seeks solutions to explain them explicitly. Many of the machine learning algorithms can not manifest how and why a decision has been cast. This is particularly true of the most popular deep neural network approaches currently in use. Consequently, our confidence in AI systems can be hindered by the lack of explainability in these black-box models. The XAI becomes more and more crucial for deep learning powered applications, especially for medical and healthcare studies, although in general these deep neural networks can return an arresting dividend in performance. The insufficient explainability and transparency in most existing AI systems can be one of the major reasons that successful implementation and integration of AI tools into routine clinical practice are uncommon. In this study, we first surveyed the current progress of XAI and in particular its advances in healthcare applications. We then introduced our solutions for XAI leveraging multi-modal and multi-centre data fusion, and subsequently validated in two showcases following real clinical scenarios. Comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analyses can prove the efficacy of our proposed XAI solutions, from which we can envisage successful applications in a broader range of clinical questions.