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In this paper, we provide a theoretical understanding of word embedding and its dimensionality. Motivated by the unitary-invariance of word embedding, we propose the Pairwise Inner Product (PIP) loss, a novel metric on the dissimilarity between word embeddings. Using techniques from matrix perturbation theory, we reveal a fundamental bias-variance trade-off in dimensionality selection for word embeddings. This bias-variance trade-off sheds light on many empirical observations which were previously unexplained, for example the existence of an optimal dimensionality. Moreover, new insights and discoveries, like when and how word embeddings are robust to over-fitting, are revealed. By optimizing over the bias-variance trade-off of the PIP loss, we can explicitly answer the open question of dimensionality selection for word embedding.

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We define the capacity of a learning machine to be the logarithm of the number (or volume) of the functions it can implement. We review known results, and derive new results, estimating the capacity of several neuronal models: linear and polynomial threshold gates, linear and polynomial threshold gates with constrained weights (binary weights, positive weights), and ReLU neurons. We also derive capacity estimates and bounds for fully recurrent networks and layered feedforward networks.

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For the task of generating complex outputs such as source code, editing existing outputs can be easier than generating complex outputs from scratch. With this motivation, we propose an approach that first retrieves a training example based on the input (e.g., natural language description) and then edits it to the desired output (e.g., code). Our contribution is a computationally efficient method for learning a retrieval model that embeds the input in a task-dependent way without relying on a hand-crafted metric or incurring the expense of jointly training the retriever with the editor. Our retrieve-and-edit framework can be applied on top of any base model. We show that on a new autocomplete task for GitHub Python code and the Hearthstone cards benchmark, retrieve-and-edit significantly boosts the performance of a vanilla sequence-to-sequence model on both tasks.

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Deep learning has seen remarkable developments over the last years, many of them inspired by neuroscience. However, the main learning mechanism behind these advances – error backpropagation – appears to be at odds with neurobiology. Here, we introduce a multilayer neuronal network model with simplified dendritic compartments in which error-driven synaptic plasticity adapts the network towards a global desired output. In contrast to previous work our model does not require separate phases and synaptic learning is driven by local dendritic prediction errors continuously in time. Such errors originate at apical dendrites and occur due to a mismatch between predictive input from lateral interneurons and activity from actual top-down feedback. Through the use of simple dendritic compartments and different cell-types our model can represent both error and normal activity within a pyramidal neuron. We demonstrate the learning capabilities of the model in regression and classification tasks, and show analytically that it approximates the error backpropagation algorithm. Moreover, our framework is consistent with recent observations of learning between brain areas and the architecture of cortical microcircuits. Overall, we introduce a novel view of learning on dendritic cortical circuits and on how the brain may solve the long-standing synaptic credit assignment problem.

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We give a polynomial-time algorithm for learning latent-state linear dynamical systems without system identification, and without assumptions on the spectral radius of the system's transition matrix. The algorithm extends the recently introduced technique of spectral filtering, previously applied only to systems with a symmetric transition matrix, using a novel convex relaxation to allow for the efficient identification of phases.

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A central problem to understanding intelligence is the concept of generalisation. This allows previously learnt structure to be exploited to solve tasks in novel situations differing in their particularities. We take inspiration from neuroscience, specifically the hippocampal-entorhinal system known to be important for generalisation. We propose that to generalise structural knowledge, the representations of the structure of the world, i.e. how entities in the world relate to each other, need to be separated from representations of the entities themselves. We show, under these principles, artificial neural networks embedded with hierarchy and fast Hebbian memory, can learn the statistics of memories and generalise structural knowledge. Spatial neuronal representations mirroring those found in the brain emerge, suggesting spatial cognition is an instance of more general organising principles. We further unify many entorhinal cell types as basis functions for constructing transition graphs, and show these representations effectively utilise memories. We experimentally support model assumptions, showing a preserved relationship between entorhinal grid and hippocampal place cells across environments.

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We introduce a new family of deep neural network models. Instead of specifying a discrete sequence of hidden layers, we parameterize the derivative of the hidden state using a neural network. The output of the network is computed using a blackbox differential equation solver. These continuous-depth models have constant memory cost, adapt their evaluation strategy to each input, and can explicitly trade numerical precision for speed. We demonstrate these properties in continuous-depth residual networks and continuous-time latent variable models. We also construct continuous normalizing flows, a generative model that can train by maximum likelihood, without partitioning or ordering the data dimensions. For training, we show how to scalably backpropagate through any ODE solver, without access to its internal operations. This allows end-to-end training of ODEs within larger models.

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We present a new approach for learning to solve SMT formulas. We phrase the challenge of solving SMT formulas as a tree search problem where at each step a transformation is applied to the input formula until the formula is solved. Our approach works in two phases: first, given a dataset of unsolved formulas we learn a policy that for each formula selects a suitable transformation to apply at each step in order to solve the formula, and second, we synthesize a strategy in the form of a loop-free program with branches. This strategy is an interpretable representation of the policy decisions and is used to guide the SMT solver to decide formulas more efficiently, without requiring any modification to the solver itself and without needing to evaluate the learned policy at inference time. We show that our approach is effective in practice - it solves 17% more formulas over a range of benchmarks and achieves up to 100x runtime improvement over a state-of-the-art SMT solver.

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Batch Normalization (BatchNorm) is a widely adopted technique that enables faster and more stable training of deep neural networks (DNNs). Despite its pervasiveness, the exact reasons for BatchNorm's effectiveness are still poorly understood. The popular belief is that this effectiveness stems from controlling the change of the layers' input distributions during training to reduce the so-called "internal covariate shift". In this work, we demonstrate that such distributional stability of layer inputs has little to do with the success of BatchNorm. Instead, we uncover a more fundamental impact of BatchNorm on the training process: it makes the optimization landscape significantly smoother. This smoothness induces a more predictive and stable behavior of the gradients, allowing for faster training.

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Sensory processing is often characterized as implementing probabilistic inference: networks of neurons compute posterior beliefs over unobserved causes given the sensory inputs. How these beliefs are computed and represented by neural responses is much-debated (Fiser et al. 2010, Pouget et al. 2013). A central debate concerns the question of whether neural responses represent samples of latent variables (Hoyer & Hyvarinnen 2003) or parameters of their distributions (Ma et al. 2006) with efforts being made to distinguish between them (Grabska-Barwinska et al. 2013). A separate debate addresses the question of whether neural responses are proportionally related to the encoded probabilities (Barlow 1969), or proportional to the logarithm of those probabilities (Jazayeri & Movshon 2006, Ma et al. 2006, Beck et al. 2012). Here, we show that these alternatives -- contrary to common assumptions -- are not mutually exclusive and that the very same system can be compatible with all of them. As a central analytical result, we show that modeling neural responses in area V1 as samples from a posterior distribution over latents in a linear Gaussian model of the image implies that those neural responses form a linear Probabilistic Population Code (PPC, Ma et al. 2006). In particular, the posterior …

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Humans routinely retrace a path in a novel environment both forwards and backwards despite uncertainty in their motion. In this paper, we present an approach for doing so. Given a demonstration of a path, a first network generates an abstraction of the path. Equipped with this abstraction, a second network then observes the world and decides how to act in order to retrace the path under noisy actuation and a changing environment. The two networks are optimized end-to-end at training time. We evaluate the method in two realistic simulators, performing path following both forwards and backwards. Our experiments show that our approach outperforms both a classical approach to solving this task as well as a number of other baselines.

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We prove that ϴ(k d^2 / ε^2) samples are necessary and sufficient for learning a mixture of k Gaussians in R^d, up to error ε in total variation distance. This improves both the known upper bounds and lower bounds for this problem. For mixtures of axis-aligned Gaussians, we show that O(k d / ε^2) samples suffice, matching a known lower bound.

The upper bound is based on a novel technique for distribution learning based on a notion of sample compression. Any class of distributions that allows such a sample compression scheme can also be learned with few samples. Moreover, if a class of distributions has such a compression scheme, then so do the classes of products and mixtures of those distributions. The core of our main result is showing that the class of Gaussians in R^d has an efficient sample compression.

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We address reinforcement learning problems with finite state and action spaces where the underlying MDP has some known structure that could be potentially exploited to minimize the exploration rates of suboptimal (state, action) pairs. For any arbitrary structure, we derive problem-specific regret lower bounds satisfied by any learning algorithm. These lower bounds are made explicit for unstructured MDPs and for those whose transition probabilities and average reward functions are Lipschitz continuous w.r.t. the state and action. For Lipschitz MDPs, the bounds are shown not to scale with the sizes S and A of the state and action spaces, i.e., they are smaller than c log T where T is the time horizon and the constant c only depends on the Lipschitz structure, the span of the bias function, and the minimal action sub-optimality gap. This contrasts with unstructured MDPs where the regret lower bound typically scales as SA log T. We devise DEL (Directed Exploration Learning), an algorithm that matches our regret lower bounds. We further simplify the algorithm for Lipschitz MDPs, and show that the simplified version is still able to efficiently exploit the structure.

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We decompose the evidence lower bound to show the existence of a term measuring the total correlation between latent variables. We use this to motivate the beta-TCVAE (Total Correlation Variational Autoencoder) algorithm, a refinement and plug-in replacement of the beta-VAE for learning disentangled representations, requiring no additional hyperparameters during training. We further propose a principled classifier-free measure of disentanglement called the mutual information gap (MIG). We perform extensive quantitative and qualitative experiments, in both restricted and non-restricted settings, and show a strong relation between total correlation and disentanglement, when the model is trained using our framework.

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Policy optimization is an effective reinforcement learning approach to solve continuous control tasks. Recent achievements have shown that alternating online and offline optimization is a successful choice for efficient trajectory reuse. However, deciding when to stop optimizing and collect new trajectories is non-trivial, as it requires to account for the variance of the objective function estimate. In this paper, we propose a novel, model-free, policy search algorithm, POIS, applicable in both action-based and parameter-based settings. We first derive a high-confidence bound for importance sampling estimation; then we define a surrogate objective function, which is optimized offline whenever a new batch of trajectories is collected. Finally, the algorithm is tested on a selection of continuous control tasks, with both linear and deep policies, and compared with state-of-the-art policy optimization methods.

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A generative recurrent neural network is quickly trained in an unsupervised manner to model popular reinforcement learning environments through compressed spatio-temporal representations. The world model's extracted features are fed into compact and simple policies trained by evolution, achieving state of the art results in various environments. We also train our agent entirely inside of an environment generated by its own internal world model, and transfer this policy back into the actual environment. Interactive version of this paper is available at https://worldmodels.github.io

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We introduce collapsed compilation, a novel approximate inference algorithm for discrete probabilistic graphical models. It is a collapsed sampling algorithm that incrementally selects which variable to sample next based on the partial compila- tion obtained so far. This online collapsing, together with knowledge compilation inference on the remaining variables, naturally exploits local structure and context- specific independence in the distribution. These properties are used implicitly in exact inference, but are difficult to harness for approximate inference. More- over, by having a partially compiled circuit available during sampling, collapsed compilation has access to a highly effective proposal distribution for importance sampling. Our experimental evaluation shows that collapsed compilation performs well on standard benchmarks. In particular, when the amount of exact inference is equally limited, collapsed compilation is competitive with the state of the art, and outperforms it on several benchmarks.

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In this paper we study the fundamental problems of maximizing a continuous non monotone submodular function over a hypercube, with and without coordinate-wise concavity. This family of optimization problems has several applications in machine learning, economics, and communication systems. Our main result is the first 1/2 approximation algorithm for continuous submodular function maximization; this approximation factor of is the best possible for algorithms that use only polynomially many queries. For the special case of DR-submodular maximization, we provide a faster 1/2-approximation algorithm that runs in (almost) linear time. Both of these results improve upon prior work [Bian et al., 2017, Soma and Yoshida, 2017, Buchbinder et al., 2012].

Our first algorithm is a single-pass algorithm that uses novel ideas such as reducing the guaranteed approximation problem to analyzing a zero-sum game for each coordinate, and incorporates the geometry of this zero-sum game to fix the value at this coordinate. Our second algorithm is a faster single-pass algorithm that exploits coordinate-wise concavity to identify a monotone equilibrium condition sufficient for getting the required approximation guarantee, and hunts for the equilibrium point using binary search. We further run experiments to verify the performance of our proposed algorithms in related machine learning applications.

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Variational inference with α-divergences has been widely used in modern probabilistic machine learning. Compared to Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence, a major advantage of using α-divergences (with positive α values) is their mass-covering property. However, estimating and optimizing α-divergences require to use importance sampling, which could have extremely large or infinite variances due to heavy tails of importance weights. In this paper, we propose a new class of tail-adaptive f-divergences that adaptively change the convex function f with the tail of the importance weights, in a way that theoretically guarantee finite moments, while simultaneously achieving mass-covering properties. We test our methods on Bayesian neural networks, as well as deep reinforcement learning in which our method is applied to improve a recent soft actor-critic (SAC) algorithm (Haarnoja et al., 2018). Our results show that our approach yields significant advantages compared with existing methods based on classical KL and α-divergences.

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Neuroscience studies of human decision-making abilities commonly involve subjects completing a decision-making task while BOLD signals are recorded using fMRI. Hypotheses are tested about which brain regions mediate the effect of past experience, such as rewards, on future actions. One standard approach to this is model-based fMRI data analysis, in which a model is fitted to the behavioral data, i.e., a subject's choices, and then the neural data are parsed to find brain regions whose BOLD signals are related to the model's internal signals. However, the internal mechanics of such purely behavioral models are not constrained by the neural data, and therefore might miss or mischaracterize aspects of the brain. To address this limitation, we introduce a new method using recurrent neural network models that are flexible enough to be jointly fitted to the behavioral and neural data. We trained a model so that its internal states were suitably related to neural activity during the task, while at the same time its output predicted the next action a subject would execute. We then used the fitted model to create a novel visualization of the relationship between the activity in brain regions at different times following a reward and the choices …

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This paper presents KeypointNet, an end-to-end geometric reasoning framework to learn an optimal set of category-specific keypoints, along with their detectors to predict 3D keypoints in a single 2D input image. We demonstrate this framework on 3D pose estimation task by proposing a differentiable pose objective that seeks the optimal set of keypoints for recovering the relative pose between two views of an object. Our network automatically discovers a consistent set of keypoints across viewpoints of a single object as well as across all object instances of a given object class. Importantly, we find that our end-to-end approach using no ground-truth keypoint annotations outperforms a fully supervised baseline using the same neural network architecture for the pose estimation task. The discovered 3D keypoints across the car, chair, and plane categories of ShapeNet are visualized at https://keypoints.github.io/

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Integrating model-free and model-based approaches in reinforcement learning has the potential to achieve the high performance of model-free algorithms with low sample complexity. However, this is difficult because an imperfect dynamics model can degrade the performance of the learning algorithm, and in sufficiently complex environments, the dynamics model will almost always be imperfect. As a result, a key challenge is to combine model-based approaches with model-free learning in such a way that errors in the model do not degrade performance. We propose stochastic ensemble value expansion (STEVE), a novel model-based technique that addresses this issue. By dynamically interpolating between model rollouts of various horizon lengths for each individual example, STEVE ensures that the model is only utilized when doing so does not introduce significant errors. Our approach outperforms model-free baselines on challenging continuous control benchmarks with an order-of-magnitude increase in sample efficiency, and in contrast to previous model-based approaches, performance does not degrade in complex environments.

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From a single image, humans are able to perceive the full 3D shape of an object by exploiting learned shape priors from everyday life. Contemporary single-image 3D reconstruction algorithms aim to solve this task in a similar fashion, but often end up with priors that are highly biased by training classes. Here we present an algorithm, Generalizable Reconstruction (GenRe), designed to capture more generic, class-agnostic shape priors. We achieve this with an inference network and training procedure that combine 2.5D representations of visible surfaces (depth and silhouette), spherical shape representations of both visible and non-visible surfaces, and 3D voxel-based representations, in a principled manner that exploits the causal structure of how 3D shapes give rise to 2D images. Experiments demonstrate that GenRe performs well on single-view shape reconstruction, and generalizes to diverse novel objects from categories not seen during training.

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We identify a fundamental source of error in Q-learning and other forms of dynamic programming with function approximation. Delusional bias arises when the approximation architecture limits the class of expressible greedy policies. Since standard Q-updates make globally uncoordinated action choices with respect to the expressible policy class, inconsistent or even conflicting Q-value estimates can result, leading to pathological behaviour such as over/under-estimation, instability and even divergence. To solve this problem, we introduce a new notion of policy consistency and define a local backup process that ensures global consistency through the use of information sets---sets that record constraints on policies consistent with backed-up Q-values. We prove that both the model-based and model-free algorithms using this backup remove delusional bias, yielding the first known algorithms that guarantee optimal results under general conditions. These algorithms furthermore only require polynomially many information sets (from a potentially exponential support). Finally, we suggest other practical heuristics for value-iteration and Q-learning that attempt to reduce delusional bias.

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