Neural Information Processing Systems


Effects of Synaptic Weight Diffusion on Learning in Decision Making Networks

Neural Information Processing Systems

When animals repeatedly choose actions from multiple alternatives, they can allocate their choices stochastically depending on past actions and outcomes. It is commonly assumed that this ability is achieved by modifications in synaptic weights related to decision making. Choice behavior has been empirically found to follow Herrnstein's matching law. Loewenstein & amp; Seung (2006) demonstrated that matching behavior is a steady state of learning in neural networks if the synaptic weights change proportionally to the covariance between reward and neural activities. However, their proof did not take into account the change in entire synaptic distributions.


Using body-anchored priors for identifying actions in single images

Neural Information Processing Systems

This paper presents an approach to the visual recognition of human actions using only single images as input. The task is easy for humans but difficult for current approaches to object recognition, because action instances may be similar in terms of body pose, and often require detailed examination of relations between participating objects and body parts in order to be recognized. The proposed approach applies a two-stage interpretation procedure to each training and test image. The first stage produces accurate detection of the relevant body parts of the actor, forming a prior for the local evidence needed to be considered for identifying the action. The second stage extracts features that are'anchored' to the detected body parts, and uses these features and their feature-to-part relations in order to recognize the action.


Static Analysis of Binary Executables Using Structural SVMs

Neural Information Processing Systems

We cast the problem of identifying basic blocks of code in a binary executable as learning a mapping from a byte sequence to a segmentation of the sequence. In general, inference in segmentation models, such as semi-CRFs, can be cubic in the length of the sequence. By taking advantage of the structure of our problem, we derive a linear-time inference algorithm which makes our approach practical, given that even small programs are tens or hundreds of thousands bytes long. Furthermore, we introduce two loss functions which are appropriate for our problem and show how to use structural SVMs to optimize the learned mapping for these losses. Finally, we present experimental results that demonstrate the advantages of our method against a strong baseline.


Efficient Optimization for Discriminative Latent Class Models

Neural Information Processing Systems

Dimensionality reduction is commonly used in the setting of multi-label supervised classification to control the learning capacity and to provide a meaningful representation of the data. We introduce a simple forward probabilistic model which is a multinomial extension of reduced rank regression; we show that this model provides a probabilistic interpretation of discriminative clustering methods with added benefits in terms of number of hyperparameters and optimization. While expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm is commonly used to learn these models, its optimization usually leads to local minimum because it relies on a non-convex cost function with many such local minima. To avoid this problem, we introduce a local approximation of this cost function, which leads to a quadratic non-convex optimization problem over a product of simplices. In order to minimize such functions, we propose an efficient algorithm based on convex relaxation and low-rank representation of our data, which allows to deal with large instances.


Probabilistic Belief Revision with Structural Constraints

Neural Information Processing Systems

Experts (human or computer) are often required to assess the probability of uncertain events. When a collection of experts independently assess events that are structurally interrelated, the resulting assessment may violate fundamental laws of probability. Such an assessment is termed incoherent. In this work we investigate how the problem of incoherence may be affected by allowing experts to specify likelihood models and then update their assessments based on the realization of a globally-observable random sequence. Papers published at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference.


Structural epitome: a way to summarize one's visual experience

Neural Information Processing Systems

In order to study the properties of total visual input in humans, a single subject wore a camera for two weeks capturing, on average, an image every 20 seconds (www.research.microsoft.com/ The resulting new dataset contains a mix of indoor and outdoor scenes as well as numerous foreground objects. Our first analysis goal is to create a visual summary of the subject's two weeks of life using unsupervised algorithms that would automatically discover recurrent scenes, familiar faces or common actions. Photosynth) or appearance-based clustering models (e.g. the epitome), is impractical due to either the large dataset size or the dramatic variation in the lighting conditions. As a remedy to these problems, we introduce a novel image representation, the "stel epitome," and an associated efficient learning algorithm.


Synergies in learning words and their referents

Neural Information Processing Systems

This paper presents Bayesian non-parametric models that simultaneously learn to segment words from phoneme strings and learn the referents of some of those words, and shows that there is a synergistic interaction in the acquisition of these two kinds of linguistic information. The models themselves are novel kinds of Adaptor Grammars that are an extension of an embedding of topic models into PCFGs. These models simultaneously segment phoneme sequences into words and learn the relationship between non-linguistic objects to the words that refer to them. We show (i) that modelling inter-word dependencies not only improves the accuracy of the word segmentation but also of word-object relationships, and (ii) that a model that simultaneously learns word-object relationships and word segmentation segments more accurately than one that just learns word segmentation on its own. We argue that these results support an interactive view of language acquisition that can take advantage of synergies such as these.


Linear Complementarity for Regularized Policy Evaluation and Improvement

Neural Information Processing Systems

Recent work in reinforcement learning has emphasized the power of L1 regularization to perform feature selection and prevent overfitting. We propose formulating the L1 regularized linear fixed point problem as a linear complementarity problem (LCP). This formulation offers several advantages over the LARS-inspired formulation, LARS-TD. The LCP formulation allows the use of efficient off-the-shelf solvers, leads to a new uniqueness result, and can be initialized with starting points from similar problems (warm starts). We demonstrate that warm starts, as well as the efficiency of LCP solvers, can speed up policy iteration.


On a Connection between Importance Sampling and the Likelihood Ratio Policy Gradient

Neural Information Processing Systems

Likelihood ratio policy gradient methods have been some of the most successful reinforcement learning algorithms, especially for learning on physical systems. We describe how the likelihood ratio policy gradient can be derived from an importance sampling perspective. This derivation highlights how likelihood ratio methods under-use past experience by (a) using the past experience to estimate {\em only} the gradient of the expected return $U(\theta)$ at the current policy parameterization $\theta$, rather than to obtain a more complete estimate of $U(\theta)$, and (b) using past experience under the current policy {\em only} rather than using all past experience to improve the estimates. We present a new policy search method, which leverages both of these observations as well as generalized baselines---a new technique which generalizes commonly used baseline techniques for policy gradient methods. Our algorithm outperforms standard likelihood ratio policy gradient algorithms on several testbeds.


Factorized Latent Spaces with Structured Sparsity

Neural Information Processing Systems

Recent approaches to multi-view learning have shown that factorizing the information into parts that are shared across all views and parts that are private to each view could effectively account for the dependencies and independencies between the different input modalities. Unfortunately, these approaches involve minimizing non-convex objective functions. In this paper, we propose an approach to learning such factorized representations inspired by sparse coding techniques. In particular, we show that structured sparsity allows us to address the multi-view learning problem by alternately solving two convex optimization problems. Furthermore, the resulting factorized latent spaces generalize over existing approaches in that they allow:having latent dimensions shared between any subset of the views instead of between all the views only.