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Weighted model counting (WMC) has emerged as a prevalent approach for probabilistic inference. In its most general form, WMC is #P-hard. Weighted DNF counting (weighted #DNF) is a special case, where approximations with probabilistic guarantees are obtained in O(nm), where n denotes the number of variables, and m the number of clauses of the input DNF, but this is not scalable in practice. In this paper, we propose a neural model counting approach for weighted #DNF that combines approximate model counting with deep learning, and accurately approximates model counts in linear time when width is bounded. We conduct experiments to validate our method, and show that our model learns and generalizes very well to large-scale #DNF instances.

In distributed training of deep models, the transmission volume of stochastic gradients (SG) imposes a bottleneck in scaling up the number of processing nodes. On the other hand, the existing methods for compression of SGs have two major drawbacks. First, due to the increase in the overall variance of the compressed SG, the hyperparameters of the learning algorithm must be readjusted to ensure the convergence of the training. Further, the convergence rate of the resulting algorithm still would be adversely affected. Second, for those approaches for which the compressed SG values are biased, there is no guarantee for the learning convergence and thus an error feedback is often required. We propose Quantized Compressive Sampling (QCS) of SG that addresses the above two issues while achieving an arbitrarily large compression gain. We introduce two variants of the algorithm: Unbiased-QCS and MMSE-QCS and show their superior performance w.r.t. other approaches. Specifically, we show that for the same number of communication bits, the convergence rate is improved by a factor of 2 relative to state of the art. Next, we propose to improve the convergence rate of the distributed training algorithm via a weighted error feedback. Specifically, we develop and analyze a method to both control the overall variance of the compressed SG and prevent the staleness of the updates. Finally, through simulations, we validate our theoretical results and establish the superior performance of the proposed SG compression in the distributed training of deep models. Our simulations also demonstrate that our proposed compression method expands substantially the region of step-size values for which the learning algorithm converges.

Transmitting the gradients or model parameters is a critical bottleneck in distributed training of large models. To mitigate this issue, we propose an indirect quantization and compression of stochastic gradients (SG) via factorization. The gist of the idea is that, in contrast to the direct compression methods, we focus on the factors in SGs, i.e., the forward and backward signals in the backpropagation algorithm. We observe that these factors are correlated and generally sparse in most deep models. This gives rise to rethinking of the approaches for quantization and compression of gradients with the ultimate goal of minimizing the error in the final computed gradients subject to the desired communication constraints. We have proposed and theoretically analyzed different indirect SG quantization (ISGQ) methods. The proposed ISGQ reduces the reconstruction error in SGs compared to the direct quantization methods with the same number of quantization bits. Moreover, it can achieve compression gains of more than 100, while the existing traditional quantization schemes can achieve compression ratio of at most 32 (quantizing to 1 bit). Further, for a fixed total batch-size, the required transmission bit-rate per worker decreases in ISGQ as the number of workers increases.

In the recent years, there has been a significant improvement in the quality of samples produced by (deep) generative models such as variational auto-encoders and generative adversarial networks. However, the representation capabilities of these methods still do not capture the full distribution for complex classes of images, such as human faces. This deficiency has been clearly observed in previous works that use pre-trained generative models to solve imaging inverse problems. In this paper, we suggest to mitigate the limited representation capabilities of generators by making them image-adaptive and enforcing compliance of the restoration with the observations via back-projections. We empirically demonstrate the advantages of our proposed approach for image super-resolution and compressed sensing.

In this era of digital information explosion, an abundance of data from numerous modalities is being generated as well as archived everyday. However, most problems associated with training Deep Neural Networks still revolve around lack of data that is rich enough for a given task. Data is required not only for training an initial model, but also for future learning tasks such as Model Compression and Incremental Learning. A diverse dataset may be used for training an initial model, but it may not be feasible to store it throughout the product life cycle due to data privacy issues or memory constraints. We propose to bridge the gap between the abundance of available data and lack of relevant data, for the future learning tasks of a given trained network. We use the available data, that may be an imbalanced subset of the original training dataset, or a related domain dataset, to retrieve representative samples from a trained classifier, using a novel Data-enriching GAN (DeGAN) framework. We demonstrate that data from a related domain can be leveraged to achieve state-of-the-art performance for the tasks of Data-free Knowledge Distillation and Incremental Learning on benchmark datasets. We further demonstrate that our proposed framework can enrich any data, even from unrelated domains, to make it more useful for the future learning tasks of a given network.

Using a discrete dynamical system model for a networked social system, we consider the problem of learning a class of local interaction functions in such networks. Our focus is on learning local functions which are based on pairwise disjoint coalitions formed from the neighborhood of each node. Our work considers both active query and PAC learning models. We establish bounds on the number of queries needed to learn the local functions under both models. We also establish a complexity result regarding efficient consistent learners for such functions. Our experimental results on synthetic and real social networks demonstrate how the number of queries depends on the structure of the underlying network and number of coalitions.

Several recent publications have studied the use of Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) for finding an optimal decision tree, that is, the best decision tree under formal requirements on accuracy, fairness or interpretability of the predictive model. These publications used MIP to deal with the hard computational challenge of finding such trees. In this paper, we introduce a new efficient algorithm, DL8.5, for finding optimal decision trees, based on the use of itemset mining techniques. We show that this new approach outperforms earlier approaches with several orders of magnitude, for both numerical and discrete data, and is generic as well. The key idea underlying this new approach is the use of a cache of itemsets in combination with branch-and-bound search; this new type of cache also stores results for parts of the search space that have been traversed partially.

We critically appraise the recent interest in out-of-distribution (OOD) detection and question the practical relevance of existing benchmarks. While the currently prevalent trend is to consider different datasets as OOD, we argue that out-distributions of practical interest are ones where the distinction is semantic in nature for a specified context, and that evaluative tasks should reflect this more closely. Assuming a context of object recognition, we recommend a set of benchmarks, motivated by practical applications. We make progress on these benchmarks by exploring a multi-task learning based approach, showing that auxiliary objectives for improved semantic awareness result in improved semantic anomaly detection, with accompanying generalization benefits.

Collective Flow Diffusion Model (CFDM) is a general framework to find the hidden movements underlying aggregated population data. The key procedure in CFDM analysis is MAP inference of hidden variables. Unfortunately, existing approaches fail to offer exact MAP inferences, only approximate versions, and take a lot of computation time when applied to large scale problems. In this paper, we propose an exact and efficient method for MAP inference in CFDM. Our key idea is formulating the MAP inference problem as a combinatorial optimization problem called Minimum Convex Cost Flow Problem (C-MCFP) with no approximation or continuous relaxation. On the basis of this formulation, we propose an efficient inference method that employs the C-MCFP algorithm as a subroutine. Our experiments on synthetic and real datasets show that the proposed method is effective both in single MAP inference and people flow estimation with EM algorithm.

In tracking of time-varying low-rank models of time-varying matrices, we present a method robust to both uniformly-distributed measurement noise and arbitrarily-distributed “sparse” noise. In theory, we bound the tracking error. In practice, our use of randomised coordinate descent is scalable and allows for encouraging results on changedetection.net, a benchmark.

We shed new insights on the two commonly used updates for the online k-PCA problem, namely, Krasulina's and Oja's updates. We show that Krasulina's update corresponds to a projected gradient descent step on the Stiefel manifold of orthonormal k-frames, while Oja's update amounts to a gradient descent step using the unprojected gradient. Following these observations, we derive a more implicit form of Krasulina's k-PCA update, i.e. a version that uses the information of the future gradient as much as possible. Most interestingly, our implicit Krasulina update avoids the costly QR-decomposition step by bypassing the orthonormality constraint. A related update, called the Sanger's rule, can be seen as an explicit approximation of our implicit update. We show that the new update in fact corresponds to an online EM step applied to a probabilistic k-PCA model. The probabilistic view of the update allows us to combine multiple models in a distributed setting. We show experimentally that the implicit Krasulina update yields superior convergence while being significantly faster. We also give strong evidence that the new update can benefit from parallelism and is more stable w.r.t. tuning of the learning rate.

Spatial interpolation is a class of estimation problems where locations with known values are used to estimate values at other locations, with an emphasis on harnessing spatial locality and trends. Traditional kriging methods have strong Gaussian assumptions, and as a result, often fail to capture complexities within the data. Inspired by the recent progress of graph neural networks, we introduce Kriging Convolutional Networks (KCN), a method of combining advantages of Graph Neural Networks (GNN) and kriging. Compared to standard GNNs, KCNs make direct use of neighboring observations when generating predictions. KCNs also contain the kriging method as a specific configuration. Empirically, we show that this model outperforms GNNs and kriging in several applications.

Inferring a decision tree from a given dataset is a classic problem in machine learning. This problem consists of building, from a labelled dataset, a tree where each node corresponds to a class and a path between the tree root and a leaf corresponds to a conjunction of features to be satisfied in this class. Following the principle of parsimony, we want to infer a minimal tree consistent with the dataset. Unfortunately, inferring an optimal decision tree is NP-complete for several definitions of optimality. For this reason, the majority of existing approaches rely on heuristics, and the few existing exact approaches do not work on large datasets. In this paper, we propose a novel approach for inferring an optimal decision tree with a minimum depth based on the incremental generation of Boolean formulas. The experimental results indicate that it scales sufficiently well and the time it takes to run grows slowly with the size of datasets.

Model compression has been widely adopted to obtain light-weighted deep neural networks. Most prevalent methods, however, require fine-tuning with sufficient training data to ensure accuracy, which could be challenged by privacy and security issues. As a compromise between privacy and performance, in this paper we investigate few shot network compression: given few samples per class, how can we effectively compress the network with negligible performance drop? The core challenge of few shot network compression lies in high estimation errors from the original network during inference, since the compressed network can easily over-fits on the few training instances. The estimation errors could propagate and accumulate layer-wisely and finally deteriorate the network output. To address the problem, we propose cross distillation, a novel layer-wise knowledge distillation approach. By interweaving hidden layers of teacher and student network, layer-wisely accumulated estimation errors can be effectively reduced. The proposed method offers a general framework compatible with prevalent network compression techniques such as pruning. Extensive experiments n benchmark datasets demonstrate that cross distillation can significantly improve the student network's accuracy when only a few training instances are available.

Due to the complex structure of the real-world data, nonlinearly separable clustering is one of popular and widely studied clustering problems. Currently, various types of algorithms, such as kernel k-means, spectral clustering and density clustering, have been developed to solve this problem. However, it is difficult for them to balance the efficiency and effectiveness of clustering, which limits their real applications. To get rid of the deficiency, we propose a three-level optimization model for nonlinearly separable clustering which divides the clustering problem into three sub-problems: a linearly separable clustering on the object set, a nonlinearly separable clustering on the cluster set and an ensemble clustering on the partition set. An iterative algorithm is proposed to solve the optimization problem. The proposed algorithm can use low computational cost to effectively recognize nonlinearly separable clusters. The performance of this algorithm has been studied on synthetical and real data sets. Comparisons with other nonlinearly separable clustering algorithms illustrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.

Graph similarity computation is one of the core operations in many graph-based applications, such as graph similarity search, graph database analysis, graph clustering, etc. Since computing the exact distance/similarity between two graphs is typically NP-hard, a series of approximate methods have been proposed with a trade-off between accuracy and speed. Recently, several data-driven approaches based on neural networks have been proposed, most of which model the graph-graph similarity as the inner product of their graph-level representations, with different techniques proposed for generating one embedding per graph. However, using one fixed-dimensional embedding per graph may fail to fully capture graphs in varying sizes and link structures—a limitation that is especially problematic for the task of graph similarity computation, where the goal is to find the fine-grained difference between two graphs. In this paper, we address the problem of graph similarity computation from another perspective, by directly matching two sets of node embeddings without the need to use fixed-dimensional vectors to represent whole graphs for their similarity computation. The model, Graph-Sim, achieves the state-of-the-art performance on four real-world graph datasets under six out of eight settings (here we count a specific dataset and metric combination as one setting), compared to existing popular methods for approximate Graph Edit Distance (GED) and Maximum Common Subgraph (MCS) computation.

Algorithms typically come with tunable parameters that have a considerable impact on the computational resources they consume. Too often, practitioners must hand-tune the parameters, a tedious and error-prone task. A recent line of research provides algorithms that return nearly-optimal parameters from within a finite set. These algorithms can be used when the parameter space is infinite by providing as input a random sample of parameters. This data-independent discretization, however, might miss pockets of nearly-optimal parameters: prior research has presented scenarios where the only viable parameters lie within an arbitrarily small region. We provide an algorithm that learns a finite set of promising parameters from within an infinite set. Our algorithm can help compile a configuration portfolio, or it can be used to select the input to a configuration algorithm for finite parameter spaces. Our approach applies to any configuration problem that satisfies a simple yet ubiquitous structure: the algorithm's performance is a piecewise constant function of its parameters. Prior research has exhibited this structure in domains from integer programming to clustering.

Recent state-of-the-art natural language understanding models, such as BERT and XLNet, score a pair of sentences (A and B) using multiple cross-attention operations – a process in which each word in sentence A attends to all words in sentence B and vice versa. As a result, computing the similarity between a query sentence and a set of candidate sentences, requires the propagation of all query-candidate sentence-pairs throughout a stack of cross-attention layers. This exhaustive process becomes computationally prohibitive when the number of candidate sentences is large. In contrast, sentence embedding techniques learn a sentence-to-vector mapping and compute the similarity between the sentence vectors via simple elementary operations. In this paper, we introduce Distilled Sentence Embedding (DSE) – a model that is based on knowledge distillation from cross-attentive models, focusing on sentence-pair tasks. The outline of DSE is as follows: Given a cross-attentive teacher model (e.g. a fine-tuned BERT), we train a sentence embedding based student model to reconstruct the sentence-pair scores obtained by the teacher model. We empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of DSE on five GLUE sentence-pair tasks. DSE significantly outperforms several ELMO variants and other sentence embedding methods, while accelerating computation of the query-candidate sentence-pairs similarities by several orders of magnitude, with an average relative degradation of 4.6% compared to BERT. Furthermore, we show that DSE produces sentence embeddings that reach state-of-the-art performance on universal sentence representation benchmarks. Our code is made publicly available at https://github.com/microsoft/Distilled-Sentence-Embedding.

Given a stream of graph edges from a dynamic graph, how can we assign anomaly scores to edges in an online manner, for the purpose of detecting unusual behavior, using constant time and memory? Existing approaches aim to detect individually surprising edges. In this work, we propose Midas, which focuses on detecting microcluster anomalies, or suddenly arriving groups of suspiciously similar edges, such as lockstep behavior, including denial of service attacks in network traffic data. Midas has the following properties: (a) it detects microcluster anomalies while providing theoretical guarantees about its false positive probability; (b) it is online, thus processing each edge in constant time and constant memory, and also processes the data 108–505 times faster than state-of-the-art approaches; (c) it provides 46%-52% higher accuracy (in terms of AUC) than state-of-the-art approaches.

Many real-world problems can be reduced to combinatorial optimization on a graph, where the subset or ordering of vertices that maximize some objective function must be found. With such tasks often NP-hard and analytically intractable, reinforcement learning (RL) has shown promise as a framework with which efficient heuristic methods to tackle these problems can be learned. Previous works construct the solution subset incrementally, adding one element at a time, however, the irreversible nature of this approach prevents the agent from revising its earlier decisions, which may be necessary given the complexity of the optimization task. We instead propose that the agent should seek to continuously improve the solution by learning to explore at test time. Our approach of exploratory combinatorial optimization (ECO-DQN) is, in principle, applicable to any combinatorial problem that can be defined on a graph. Experimentally, we show our method to produce state-of-the-art RL performance on the Maximum Cut problem. Moreover, because ECO-DQN can start from any arbitrary configuration, it can be combined with other search methods to further improve performance, which we demonstrate using a simple random search.

We introduce a novel event-driven continuous time Bayesian network (ECTBN) representation to model situations where a system's state variables could be influenced by occurrences of events of various types. In this way, the model parameters and graphical structure capture not only potential “causal” dynamics of system evolution but also the influence of event occurrences that may be interventions. We propose a greedy search procedure for structure learning based on the BIC score for a special class of ECTBNs, showing that it is asymptotically consistent and also effective for limited data. We demonstrate the power of the representation by applying it to model paths out of poverty for clients of CityLink Center, an integrated social service provider in Cincinnati, USA. Here the ECTBN formulation captures the effect of classes/counseling sessions on an individual's life outcome areas such as education, transportation, employment and financial education.

In this paper, we study the problem of selecting a subset from a ground set to maximize a monotone objective function f such that a monotone cost function c is bounded by an upper limit. State-of-the-art algorithms include the generalized greedy algorithm and POMC. The former is an efficient fixed time algorithm, but the performance is limited by the greedy nature. The latter is an anytime algorithm that can find better subsets using more time, but without any polynomial-time approximation guarantee. In this paper, we propose a new anytime algorithm EAMC, which employs a simple evolutionary algorithm to optimize a surrogate objective integrating f and c. We prove that EAMC achieves the best known approximation guarantee in polynomial expected running time. Experimental results on the applications of maximum coverage, influence maximization and sensor placement show the excellent performance of EAMC.

We consider the problem of unconstrained minimization of a smooth objective function in ℝn in a setting where only function evaluations are possible. While importance sampling is one of the most popular techniques used by machine learning practitioners to accelerate the convergence of their models when applicable, there is not much existing theory for this acceleration in the derivative-free setting. In this paper, we propose the first derivative free optimization method with importance sampling and derive new improved complexity results on non-convex, convex and strongly convex functions. We conduct extensive experiments on various synthetic and real LIBSVM datasets confirming our theoretical results. We test our method on a collection of continuous control tasks on MuJoCo environments with varying difficulty. Experiments show that our algorithm is practical for high dimensional continuous control problems where importance sampling results in a significant sample complexity improvement.

Reinforcement Learning (RL) has achieved impressive performance in many complex environments due to the integration with Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). At the same time, Genetic Algorithms (GAs), often seen as a competing approach to RL, had limited success in scaling up to the DNNs required to solve challenging tasks. Contrary to this dichotomic view, in the physical world, evolution and learning are complementary processes that continuously interact. The recently proposed Evolutionary Reinforcement Learning (ERL) framework has demonstrated mutual benefits to performance when combining the two methods. However, ERL has not fully addressed the scalability problem of GAs. In this paper, we show that this problem is rooted in an unfortunate combination of a simple genetic encoding for DNNs and the use of traditional biologically-inspired variation operators. When applied to these encodings, the standard operators are destructive and cause catastrophic forgetting of the traits the networks acquired. We propose a novel algorithm called Proximal Distilled Evolutionary Reinforcement Learning (PDERL) that is characterised by a hierarchical integration between evolution and learning. The main innovation of PDERL is the use of learning-based variation operators that compensate for the simplicity of the genetic representation. Unlike traditional operators, our proposals meet the functional requirements of variation operators when applied on directly-encoded DNNs. We evaluate PDERL in five robot locomotion settings from the OpenAI gym. Our method outperforms ERL, as well as two state-of-the-art RL algorithms, PPO and TD3, in all tested environments.

We introduce an efficient method for the verification of ReLU-based feed-forward neural networks. We derive an automated procedure that exploits dependency relations between the ReLU nodes, thereby pruning the search tree that needs to be considered by MILP-based formulations of the verification problem. We augment the resulting algorithm with methods for input domain splitting and symbolic interval propagation. We present Venus, the resulting verification toolkit, and evaluate it on the ACAS collision avoidance networks and models trained on the MNIST and CIFAR-10 datasets. The experimental results obtained indicate considerable gains over the present state-of-the-art tools.