Collaborating Authors


Learning and Generalization in Overparameterized Normalizing Flows Artificial Intelligence

In supervised learning, it is known that overparameterized neural networks with one hidden layer provably and efficiently learn and generalize, when trained using stochastic gradient descent with sufficiently small learning rate and suitable initialization. In contrast, the benefit of overparameterization in unsupervised learning is not well understood. Normalizing flows (NFs) constitute an important class of models in unsupervised learning for sampling and density estimation. In this paper, we theoretically and empirically analyze these models when the underlying neural network is one-hidden-layer overparameterized network. Our main contributions are two-fold: (1) On the one hand, we provide theoretical and empirical evidence that for a class of NFs containing most of the existing NF models, overparametrization hurts training. (2) On the other hand, we prove that unconstrained NFs, a recently introduced model, can efficiently learn any reasonable data distribution under minimal assumptions when the underlying network is overparametrized.

Towards Understanding Deep Learning from Noisy Labels with Small-Loss Criterion Machine Learning

Deep neural networks need large amounts of labeled data to achieve good performance. In real-world applications, labels are usually collected from non-experts such as crowdsourcing to save cost and thus are noisy. In the past few years, deep learning methods for dealing with noisy labels have been developed, many of which are based on the small-loss criterion. However, there are few theoretical analyses to explain why these methods could learn well from noisy labels. In this paper, we theoretically explain why the widely-used small-loss criterion works. Based on the explanation, we re-formalize the vanilla small-loss criterion to better tackle noisy labels. The experimental results verify our theoretical explanation and also demonstrate the effectiveness of the reformalization.

Non-PSD Matrix Sketching with Applications to Regression and Optimization Machine Learning

A variety of dimensionality reduction techniques have been applied for computations involving large matrices. The underlying matrix is randomly compressed into a smaller one, while approximately retaining many of its original properties. As a result, much of the expensive computation can be performed on the small matrix. The sketching of positive semidefinite (PSD) matrices is well understood, but there are many applications where the related matrices are not PSD, including Hessian matrices in non-convex optimization and covariance matrices in regression applications involving complex numbers. In this paper, we present novel dimensionality reduction methods for non-PSD matrices, as well as their ``square-roots", which involve matrices with complex entries. We show how these techniques can be used for multiple downstream tasks. In particular, we show how to use the proposed matrix sketching techniques for both convex and non-convex optimization, $\ell_p$-regression for every $1 \leq p \leq \infty$, and vector-matrix-vector queries.

On the Sample Complexity and Metastability of Heavy-tailed Policy Search in Continuous Control Machine Learning

Reinforcement learning is a framework for interactive decision-making with incentives sequentially revealed across time without a system dynamics model. Due to its scaling to continuous spaces, we focus on policy search where one iteratively improves a parameterized policy with stochastic policy gradient (PG) updates. In tabular Markov Decision Problems (MDPs), under persistent exploration and suitable parameterization, global optimality may be obtained. By contrast, in continuous space, the non-convexity poses a pathological challenge as evidenced by existing convergence results being mostly limited to stationarity or arbitrary local extrema. To close this gap, we step towards persistent exploration in continuous space through policy parameterizations defined by distributions of heavier tails defined by tail-index parameter alpha, which increases the likelihood of jumping in state space. Doing so invalidates smoothness conditions of the score function common to PG. Thus, we establish how the convergence rate to stationarity depends on the policy's tail index alpha, a Holder continuity parameter, integrability conditions, and an exploration tolerance parameter introduced here for the first time. Further, we characterize the dependence of the set of local maxima on the tail index through an exit and transition time analysis of a suitably defined Markov chain, identifying that policies associated with Levy Processes of a heavier tail converge to wider peaks. This phenomenon yields improved stability to perturbations in supervised learning, which we corroborate also manifests in improved performance of policy search, especially when myopic and farsighted incentives are misaligned.

Safe Reinforcement Learning with Linear Function Approximation Machine Learning

Safety in reinforcement learning has become increasingly important in recent years. Yet, existing solutions either fail to strictly avoid choosing unsafe actions, which may lead to catastrophic results in safety-critical systems, or fail to provide regret guarantees for settings where safety constraints need to be learned. In this paper, we address both problems by first modeling safety as an unknown linear cost function of states and actions, which must always fall below a certain threshold. We then present algorithms, termed SLUCB-QVI and RSLUCB-QVI, for episodic Markov decision processes (MDPs) with linear function approximation. We show that SLUCB-QVI and RSLUCB-QVI, while with \emph{no safety violation}, achieve a $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}\left(\kappa\sqrt{d^3H^3T}\right)$ regret, nearly matching that of state-of-the-art unsafe algorithms, where $H$ is the duration of each episode, $d$ is the dimension of the feature mapping, $\kappa$ is a constant characterizing the safety constraints, and $T$ is the total number of action plays. We further present numerical simulations that corroborate our theoretical findings.

Asymptotics of representation learning in finite Bayesian neural networks Machine Learning

Recent works have suggested that finite Bayesian neural networks may outperform their infinite cousins because finite networks can flexibly adapt their internal representations. However, our theoretical understanding of how the learned hidden layer representations of finite networks differ from the fixed representations of infinite networks remains incomplete. Perturbative finite-width corrections to the network prior and posterior have been studied, but the asymptotics of learned features have not been fully characterized. Here, we argue that the leading finite-width corrections to the average feature kernels for any Bayesian network with linear readout and quadratic cost have a largely universal form. We illustrate this explicitly for two classes of fully connected networks: deep linear networks and networks with a single nonlinear hidden layer. Our results begin to elucidate which features of data wide Bayesian neural networks learn to represent.

DG-LMC: A Turn-key and Scalable Synchronous Distributed MCMC Algorithm Artificial Intelligence

Performing reliable Bayesian inference on a big data scale is becoming a keystone in the modern era of machine learning. A workhorse class of methods to achieve this task are Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms and their design to handle distributed datasets has been the subject of many works. However, existing methods are not completely either reliable or computationally efficient. In this paper, we propose to fill this gap in the case where the dataset is partitioned and stored on computing nodes within a cluster under a master/slaves architecture. We derive a user-friendly centralised distributed MCMC algorithm with provable scaling in high-dimensional settings. We illustrate the relevance of the proposed methodology on both synthetic and real data experiments.

Dictionary and prior learning with unrolled algorithms for unsupervised inverse problems Machine Learning

Inverse problems consist in recovering a signal given noisy observations. One classical resolution approach is to leverage sparsity and integrate prior knowledge of the signal to the reconstruction algorithm to get a plausible solution. Still, this prior might not be sufficiently adapted to the data. In this work, we study Dictionary and Prior learning from degraded measurements as a bi-level problem, and we take advantage of unrolled algorithms to solve approximate formulations of Synthesis and Analysis. We provide an empirical and theoretical analysis of automatic differentiation for Dictionary Learning to understand better the pros and cons of unrolling in this context. We find that unrolled algorithms speed up the recovery process for a small number of iterations by improving the gradient estimation. Then we compare Analysis and Synthesis by evaluating the performance of unrolled algorithms for inverse problems, without access to any ground truth data for several classes of dictionaries and priors. While Analysis can achieve good results,Synthesis is more robust and performs better. Finally, we illustrate our method on pattern and structure learning tasks from degraded measurements.

GBHT: Gradient Boosting Histogram Transform for Density Estimation Machine Learning

In this paper, we propose a density estimation algorithm called \textit{Gradient Boosting Histogram Transform} (GBHT), where we adopt the \textit{Negative Log Likelihood} as the loss function to make the boosting procedure available for the unsupervised tasks. From a learning theory viewpoint, we first prove fast convergence rates for GBHT with the smoothness assumption that the underlying density function lies in the space $C^{0,\alpha}$. Then when the target density function lies in spaces $C^{1,\alpha}$, we present an upper bound for GBHT which is smaller than the lower bound of its corresponding base learner, in the sense of convergence rates. To the best of our knowledge, we make the first attempt to theoretically explain why boosting can enhance the performance of its base learners for density estimation problems. In experiments, we not only conduct performance comparisons with the widely used KDE, but also apply GBHT to anomaly detection to showcase a further application of GBHT.

Compositional Modeling of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems with ODE-based Random Features Machine Learning

Effectively modeling phenomena present in highly nonlinear dynamical systems whilst also accurately quantifying uncertainty is a challenging task, which often requires problem-specific techniques. We present a novel, domain-agnostic approach to tackling this problem, using compositions of physics-informed random features, derived from ordinary differential equations. The architecture of our model leverages recent advances in approximate inference for deep Gaussian processes, such as layer-wise weight-space approximations which allow us to incorporate random Fourier features, and stochastic variational inference for approximate Bayesian inference. We provide evidence that our model is capable of capturing highly nonlinear behaviour in real-world multivariate time series data. In addition, we find that our approach achieves comparable performance to a number of other probabilistic models on benchmark regression tasks.