Spotlights

Adversarial robustness is an increasingly critical property of classifiers in applications. The design of robust algorithms relies on surrogate losses since the optimization of the adversarial loss with most hypothesis sets is NP-hard. But, which surrogate losses should be used and when do they benefit from theoretical guarantees? We present an extensive study of this question, including a detailed analysis of the $\mathcal{H}$-calibration and $\mathcal{H}$-consistency of adversarial surrogate losses. We show that convex loss functions, or the supremum-based convex losses often used in applications, are not $\mathcal{H}$-calibrated for common hypothesis sets used in machine learning. We then give a characterization of $\mathcal{H}$-calibration and prove that some surrogate losses are indeed $\mathcal{H}$-calibrated for the adversarial zero-one loss, with common hypothesis sets. In particular, we fix some calibration results presented in prior work for a family of linear models and significantly generalize the results to the nonlinear hypothesis sets. Next, we show that $\mathcal{H}$-calibration is not sufficient to guarantee consistency and prove that, in the absence of any distributional assumption, no continuous surrogate loss is consistent in the adversarial setting. This, in particular, proves that a claim made in prior work is inaccurate. Next, we identify natural conditions under which some surrogate …

Stochastic gradient descent (SGD) is a cornerstone of machine learning. When the number $N$ of data items is large, SGD relies on constructing an unbiased estimator of the gradient of the empirical risk using a small subset of the original dataset, called a minibatch. Default minibatch construction involves uniformly sampling a subset of the desired size, but alternatives have been explored for variance reduction. In particular, experimental evidence suggests drawing minibatches from determinantal point processes (DPPs), tractable distributions over minibatches that favour diversity among selected items. However, like in recent work on DPPs for coresets, providing a systematic and principled understanding of how and why DPPs help has been difficult. In this work, we contribute an orthogonal polynomial-based determinantal point process paradigm for performing minibatch sampling in SGD. Our approach leverages the specific data distribution at hand, which endows it with greater sensitivity and power over existing data-agnostic methods. We substantiate our method via a detailed theoretical analysis of its convergence properties, interweaving between the discrete data set and the underlying continuous domain. In particular, we show how specific DPPs and a string of controlled approximations can lead to gradient estimators with a variance that decays faster with the batchsize …

We present two sample-efficient differentially private mean estimators for $d$-dimensional (sub)Gaussian distributions with unknown covariance. Informally, given $n \gtrsim d/\alpha^2$ samples from such a distribution with mean $\mu$ and covariance $\Sigma$, our estimators output $\tilde\mu$ such that $\| \tilde\mu - \mu \|_{\Sigma} \leq \alpha$, where $\| \cdot \|_{\Sigma}$ is the \emph{Mahalanobis distance}. All previous estimators with the same guarantee either require strong a priori bounds on the covariance matrix or require $\Omega(d^{3/2})$ samples. Each of our estimators is based on a simple, general approach to designing differentially private mechanisms, but with novel technical steps to make the estimator private and sample-efficient. Our first estimator samples a point with approximately maximum Tukey depth using the exponential mechanism, but restricted to the set of points of large Tukey depth. Proving that this mechanism is private requires a novel analysis. Our second estimator perturbs the empirical mean of the data set with noise calibrated to the empirical covariance. Only the mean is released, however; the covariance is only used internally. Its sample complexity guarantees hold more generally for subgaussian distributions, albeit with a slightly worse dependence on the privacy parameter. For both estimators, careful preprocessing of the data is required to satisfy differential …

*Weight*NeurIPS2021.

Deep learning is adaptive to intrinsic dimensionality of model smoothness in anisotropic Besov space

Deep learning has exhibited superior performance for various tasks, especially for high-dimensional datasets, such as images. To understand this property, we investigate the approximation and estimation ability of deep learning on {\it anisotropic Besov spaces}.The anisotropic Besov space is characterized by direction-dependent smoothness and includes several function classes that have been investigated thus far.We demonstrate that the approximation error and estimation error of deep learning only depend on the average value of the smoothness parameters in all directions. Consequently, the curse of dimensionality can be avoided if the smoothness of the target function is highly anisotropic.Unlike existing studies, our analysis does not require a low-dimensional structure of the input data.We also investigate the minimax optimality of deep learning and compare its performance with that of the kernel method (more generally, linear estimators).The results show that deep learning has better dependence on the input dimensionality if the target function possesses anisotropic smoothness, and it achieves an adaptive rate for functions with spatially inhomogeneous smoothness.

`pure exploration'. Our approach is to reformulate the convex MDP problem as a min-max game involving policy and cost (negative reward)`

players', using Fenchel duality. We propose a meta-algorithm for solving this problem and show that it unifies many existing algorithms in the literature.

We give a fast algorithm to compose privacy guarantees of differentially private (DP) algorithms to arbitrary accuracy. Our method is based on the notion of privacy loss random variables to quantify the privacy loss of DP algorithms. The running time and memory needed for our algorithm to approximate the privacy curve of a DP algorithm composed with itself $k$ times is $\tilde{O}(\sqrt{k})$. This improves over the best prior method by Koskela et al. (2020) which requires $\tilde{\Omega}(k^{1.5})$ running time. We demonstrate the utility of our algorithm by accurately computing the privacy loss of DP-SGD algorithm of Abadi et al. (2016) and showing that our algorithm speeds up the privacy computations by a few orders of magnitude compared to prior work, while maintaining similar accuracy.

The recovery of sparse data is at the core of many applications in machine learning and signal processing. While such problems can be tackled using $\ell_1$-regularization as in the LASSO estimator and in the Basis Pursuit approach, specialized algorithms are typically required to solve the corresponding high-dimensional non-smooth optimization for large instances.Iteratively Reweighted Least Squares (IRLS) is a widely used algorithm for this purpose due to its excellent numerical performance. However, while existing theory is able to guarantee convergence of this algorithm to the minimizer, it does not provide a global convergence rate. In this paper, we prove that a variant of IRLS converges \emph{with a global linear rate} to a sparse solution, i.e., with a linear error decrease occurring immediately from any initialization if the measurements fulfill the usual null space property assumption. We support our theory by numerical experiments showing that our linear rate captures the correct dimension dependence. We anticipate that our theoretical findings will lead to new insights for many other use cases of the IRLS algorithm, such as in low-rank matrix recovery.

The Transformer and its variants have been proven to be efficient sequence learners in many different domains. Despite their staggering success, a critical issue has been the enormous number of parameters that must be trained (ranging from $10^7$ to $10^{11}$) along with the quadratic complexity of dot-product attention. In this work, we investigate the problem of approximating the two central components of the Transformer --- multi-head self-attention and point-wise feed-forward transformation, with reduced parameter space and computational complexity. We build upon recent developments in analyzing deep neural networks as numerical solvers of ordinary differential equations. Taking advantage of an analogy between Transformer stages and the evolution of a dynamical system of multiple interacting particles, we formulate a temporal evolution scheme, \name, to bypass costly dot-product attention over multiple stacked layers. We perform exhaustive experiments with \name\ on well-known encoder-decoder as well as encoder-only tasks. We observe that the degree of approximation (or inversely, the degree of parameter reduction) has different effects on the performance, depending on the task. While in the encoder-decoder regime, \name\ delivers performances comparable to the original Transformer, in encoder-only tasks it consistently outperforms Transformer along with several subsequent variants.

Bayesian neural networks are theoretically well-understood only in the infinite-width limit, where Gaussian priors over network weights yield Gaussian priors over network outputs. Recent work has suggested that finite Bayesian networks may outperform their infinite counterparts, but their non-Gaussian output priors have been characterized only though perturbative approaches. Here, we derive exact solutions for the function space priors for individual input examples of a class of finite fully-connected feedforward Bayesian neural networks. For deep linear networks, the prior has a simple expression in terms of the Meijer $G$-function. The prior of a finite ReLU network is a mixture of the priors of linear networks of smaller widths, corresponding to different numbers of active units in each layer. Our results unify previous descriptions of finite network priors in terms of their tail decay and large-width behavior.

Kernel $k$-means is one of the most popular approaches to clustering and its theoretical properties have been investigated for decades. However, the existing state-of-the-art risk bounds are of order $\mathcal{O}(k/\sqrt{n})$, which do not match with the stated lower bound $\Omega(\sqrt{k/n})$ in terms of $k$, where $k$ is the number of clusters and $n$ is the size of the training set. In this paper, we study the statistical properties of kernel $k$-means and Nystr\"{o}m-based kernel $k$-means, and obtain optimal clustering risk bounds, which improve the existing risk bounds. Particularly, based on a refined upper bound of Rademacher complexity [21], we first derive an optimal risk bound of rate $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{k/n})$ for empirical risk minimizer (ERM), and further extend it to general cases beyond ERM. Then, we analyze the statistical effect of computational approximations of Nystr\"{o}m kernel $k$-means, and prove that it achieves the same statistical accuracy as the original kernel $k$-means considering only $\Omega(\sqrt{nk})$ Nystr\"{o}m landmark points. We further relax the restriction of landmark points from $\Omega(\sqrt{nk})$ to $\Omega(\sqrt{n})$ under a mild condition. Finally, we validate the theoretical findings via numerical experiments.

Policy gradient (PG) gives rise to a rich class of reinforcement learning (RL) methods. Recently, there has been an emerging trend to augment the existing PG methods such as REINFORCE by the \emph{variance reduction} techniques. However, all existing variance-reduced PG methods heavily rely on an uncheckable importance weight assumption made for every single iteration of the algorithms. In this paper, a simple gradient truncation mechanism is proposed to address this issue. Moreover, we design a Truncated Stochastic Incremental Variance-Reduced Policy Gradient (TSIVR-PG) method, which is able to maximize not only a cumulative sum of rewards but also a general utility function over a policy's long-term visiting distribution. We show an $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\epsilon^{-3})$ sample complexity for TSIVR-PG to find an $\epsilon$-stationary policy. By assuming the \emph{overparameterization} of policy and exploiting the \emph{hidden convexity} of the problem, we further show that TSIVR-PG converges to global $\epsilon$-optimal policy with $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\epsilon^{-2})$ samples.

In this work, we consider the regret minimization problem for reinforcement learning in latent Markov Decision Processes (LMDP). In an LMDP, an MDP is randomly drawn from a set of $M$ possible MDPs at the beginning of the interaction, but the identity of the chosen MDP is not revealed to the agent. We first show that a general instance of LMDPs requires at least $\Omega((SA)^M)$ episodes to even approximate the optimal policy. Then, we consider sufficient assumptions under which learning good policies requires polynomial number of episodes. We show that the key link is a notion of separation between the MDP system dynamics. With sufficient separation, we provide an efficient algorithm with local guarantee, {\it i.e.,} providing a sublinear regret guarantee when we are given a good initialization. Finally, if we are given standard statistical sufficiency assumptions common in the Predictive State Representation (PSR) literature (e.g., \cite{boots2011online}) and a reachability assumption, we show that the need for initialization can be removed.

In the robust submodular partitioning problem, we aim to allocate a set of items into $m$ blocks, so that the evaluation of the minimum block according to a submodular function is maximized. Robust submodular partitioning promotes the diversity of every block in the partition. It has many applications in machine learning, e.g., partitioning data for distributed training so that the gradients computed on every block are consistent. We study an extension of the robust submodular partition problem with additional constraints (e.g., cardinality, multiple matroids, and/or knapsack) on every block. For example, when partitioning data for distributed training, we can add a constraint that the number of samples of each class is the same in each partition block, ensuring data balance. We present two classes of algorithms, i.e., Min-Block Greedy based algorithms (with an $\Omega(1/m)$ bound), and Round-Robin Greedy based algorithms (with a constant bound) and show that under various constraints, they still have good approximation guarantees. Interestingly, while normally the latter runs in only weakly polynomial time, we show that using the two together yields strongly polynomial running time while preserving the approximation guarantee. Lastly, we apply the algorithms on a real-world machine learning data partitioning problem showing good results.

We study the problem of constructing coresets for clustering problems with time series data. This problem has gained importance across many fields including biology, medicine, and economics due to the proliferation of sensors facilitating real-time measurement and rapid drop in storage costs. In particular, we consider the setting where the time series data on $N$ entities is generated from a Gaussian mixture model with autocorrelations over $k$ clusters in $\mathbb{R}^d$. Our main contribution is an algorithm to construct coresets for the maximum likelihood objective for this mixture model. Our algorithm is efficient, and under a mild boundedness assumption on the covariance matrices of the underlying Gaussians, the size of the coreset is independent of the number of entities $N$ and the number of observations for each entity, and depends only polynomially on $k$, $d$ and $1/\varepsilon$, where $\varepsilon$ is the error parameter. We empirically assess the performance of our coreset with synthetic data.

Motivated by applications to resource-limited and safety-critical domains, we study selective classification in the online learning model, wherein a predictor may abstain from classifying an instance. For example, this may model an adaptive decision to invoke more resources on this instance. Two salient aspects of the setting we consider are that the data may be non-realisable, due to which abstention may be a valid long-term action, and that feedback is only received when the learner abstains, which models the fact that reliable labels are only available when the resource intensive processing is invoked.Within this framework, we explore strategies that make few mistakes, while not abstaining too many times more than the best-in-hindsight error-free classifier from a given class. That is, the one that makes no mistakes, while abstaining the fewest number of times. We construct simple versioning-based schemes for any $\mu \in (0,1],$ that make most $T^\mu$ mistakes while incurring $\tilde{O}(T^{1-\mu})$ excess abstention against adaptive adversaries. We further show that this dependence on $T$ is tight, and provide illustrative experiments on realistic datasets.

What advantage do sequential procedures provide over batch algorithms for testing properties of unknown distributions? Focusing on the problem of testing whether two distributions $\mathcal{D}_1$ and $\mathcal{D}_2$ on $\{1,\dots, n\}$ are equal or $\epsilon$-far, we give several answers to this question. We show that for a small alphabet size $n$, there is a sequential algorithm that outperforms any batch algorithm by a factor of at least $4$ in terms sample complexity. For a general alphabet size $n$, we give a sequential algorithm that uses no more samples than its batch counterpart, and possibly fewer if the actual distance between $\mathcal{D}_1$ and $\mathcal{D}_2$ is larger than $\epsilon$. As a corollary, letting $\epsilon$ go to $0$, we obtain a sequential algorithm for testing closeness (with no a priori bound on the distance between $\mathcal{D}_1$ and $\mathcal{D}_2$) with a sample complexity $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{n^{2/3}}{TV(\mathcal{D}_1, \mathcal{D}_2)^{4/3}})$: this improves over the $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}(\frac{n/\log n}{TV(\mathcal{D}_1, \mathcal{D}_2)^{2} })$ tester of [Daskalakis and Kawase 2017] and is optimal up to multiplicative constants. We also establish limitations of sequential algorithms for the problem of testing closeness: they can improve the worst case number of samples by at most a constant factor.

We provide the first coreset for clustering points in $\mathbb{R}^d$ that have multiple missing values (coordinates). Previous coreset constructions only allow one missing coordinate. The challenge in this setting is that objective functions, like \kMeans, are evaluated only on the set of available (non-missing) coordinates, which varies across points. Recall that an $\epsilon$-coreset of a large dataset is a small proxy, usually a reweighted subset of points, that $(1+\epsilon)$-approximates the clustering objective for every possible center set.Our coresets for $k$-Means and $k$-Median clustering have size $(jk)^{O(\min(j,k))} (\epsilon^{-1} d \log n)^2$, where $n$ is the number of data points, $d$ is the dimension and $j$ is the maximum number of missing coordinates for each data point. We further design an algorithm to construct these coresets in near-linear time, and consequently improve a recent quadratic-time PTAS for $k$-Means with missing values [Eiben et al., SODA 2021] to near-linear time.We validate our coreset construction, which is based on importance sampling and is easy to implement, on various real data sets. Our coreset exhibits a flexible tradeoff between coreset size and accuracy, and generally outperforms the uniform-sampling baseline. Furthermore, it significantly speeds up a Lloyd's-style heuristic for $k$-Means with missing values.

Logistic regression remains one of the most widely used tools in applied statistics, machine learning and data science. However, in moderately high-dimensional problems, where the number of features $d$ is a non-negligible fraction of the sample size $n$, the logistic regression maximum likelihood estimator (MLE), and statistical procedures based the large-sample approximation of its distribution, behave poorly. Recently, Sur and Candès (2019) showed that these issues can be corrected by applying a new approximation of the MLE's sampling distribution in this high-dimensional regime. Unfortunately, these corrections are difficult to implement in practice, because they require an estimate of the \emph{signal strength}, which is a function of the underlying parameters $\beta$ of the logistic regression. To address this issue, we propose SLOE, a fast and straightforward approach to estimate the signal strength in logistic regression. The key insight of SLOE is that the Sur and Candès (2019) correction can be reparameterized in terms of the corrupted signal strength, which is only a function of the estimated parameters $\widehat \beta$. We propose an estimator for this quantity, prove that it is consistent in the relevant high-dimensional regime, and show that dimensionality correction using SLOE is accurate in finite samples. Compared to the …

Large-scale vision and language representation learning has shown promising improvements on various vision-language tasks. Most existing methods employ a transformer-based multimodal encoder to jointly model visual tokens (region-based image features) and word tokens. Because the visual tokens and word tokens are unaligned, it is challenging for the multimodal encoder to learn image-text interactions. In this paper, we introduce a contrastive loss to ALign the image and text representations BEfore Fusing (ALBEF) them through cross-modal attention, which enables more grounded vision and language representation learning. Unlike most existing methods, our method does not require bounding box annotations nor high-resolution images. In order to improve learning from noisy web data, we propose momentum distillation, a self-training method which learns from pseudo-targets produced by a momentum model. We provide a theoretical analysis of ALBEF from a mutual information maximization perspective, showing that different training tasks can be interpreted as different ways to generate views for an image-text pair. ALBEF achieves state-of-the-art performance on multiple downstream vision-language tasks. On image-text retrieval, ALBEF outperforms methods that are pre-trained on orders of magnitude larger datasets. On VQA and NLVR$^2$, ALBEF achieves absolute improvements of 2.37% and 3.84% compared to the state-of-the-art, while enjoying faster inference speed. …

We consider the problem of online classification under a privacy constraint. In this setting a learner observes sequentially a stream of labelled examples $(x_t, y_t)$, for $1 \leq t \leq T$, and returns at each iteration $t$ a hypothesis $h_t$ which is used to predict the label of each new example $x_t$. The learner's performance is measured by her regret against a known hypothesis class $\mathcal{H}$. We require that the algorithm satisfies the following privacy constraint: the sequence $h_1, \ldots, h_T$ of hypotheses output by the algorithm needs to be an $(\epsilon, \delta)$-differentially private function of the whole input sequence $(x_1, y_1), \ldots, (x_T, y_T)$.We provide the first non-trivial regret bound for the realizable setting. Specifically, we show that if the class $\mathcal{H}$ has constant Littlestone dimension then, given an oblivious sequence of labelled examples, there is a private learner that makes in expectation at most $O(\log T)$ mistakes -- comparable to the optimal mistake bound in the non-private case, up to a logarithmic factor. Moreover, for general values of the Littlestone dimension $d$, the same mistake bound holds but with a doubly-exponential in $d$ factor. A recent line of work has demonstrated a strong connection between classes that are …

Recent advances in center-based clustering continue to improve upon the drawbacks of Lloyd's celebrated $k$-means algorithm over $60$ years after its introduction. Various methods seek to address poor local minima, sensitivity to outliers, and data that are not well-suited to Euclidean measures of fit, but many are supported largely empirically. Moreover, combining such approaches in a piecemeal manner can result in ad hoc methods, and the limited theoretical results supporting each individual contribution may no longer hold. Toward addressing these issues in a principled way, this paper proposes a cohesive robust framework for center-based clustering under a general class of dissimilarity measures. In particular, we present a rigorous theoretical treatment within a Median-of-Means (MoM) estimation framework, showing that it subsumes several popular $k$-means variants. In addition to unifying existing methods, we derive uniform concentration bounds that complete their analyses, and bridge these results to the MoM framework via Dudley's chaining arguments. Importantly, we neither require any assumptions on the distribution of the outlying observations nor on the relative number of observations $n$ to features $p$. We establish strong consistency and an error rate of $O(n^{-1/2})$ under mild conditions, surpassing the best-known results in the literature. The methods are empirically validated …

One of the challenges in online reinforcement learning (RL) is that the agent needs to trade off the exploration of the environment and the exploitation of the samples to optimize its behavior. Whether we optimize for regret, sample complexity, state-space coverage or model estimation, we need to strike a different exploration-exploitation trade-off. In this paper, we propose to tackle the exploration-exploitation problem following a decoupled approach composed of: 1) An "objective-specific" algorithm that (adaptively) prescribes how many samples to collect at which states, as if it has access to a generative model (i.e., a simulator of the environment); 2) An "objective-agnostic" sample collection exploration strategy responsible for generating the prescribed samples as fast as possible. Building on recent methods for exploration in the stochastic shortest path problem, we first provide an algorithm that, given as input the number of samples $b(s,a)$ needed in each state-action pair, requires $\widetilde{O}(B D + D^{3/2} S^2 A)$ time steps to collect the $B=\sum_{s,a} b(s,a)$ desired samples, in any unknown communicating MDP with $S$ states, $A$ actions and diameter $D$. Then we show how this general-purpose exploration algorithm can be paired with "objective-specific" strategies that prescribe the sample requirements to tackle a variety of settings …

We provide a probabilistic interpretation of attention and show that the standard dot-product attention in transformers is a special case of Maximum A Posteriori (MAP) inference. The proposed approach suggests the use of Expectation Maximization algorithms for on-line adaptation of key and value model parameters. This approach is useful for cases in which external agents, e.g., annotators, provide inference-time information about the correct values of some tokens, e.g., the semantic category of some pixels, and we need for this new information to propagate to other tokens in a principled manner. We illustrate the approach on an interactive semantic segmentation task in which annotators and models collaborate online to improve annotation efficiency. Using standard benchmarks, we observe that key adaptation boosts model performance ($\sim10\%$ mIoU) in the low feedback regime and value propagation improves model responsiveness in the high feedback regime. A PyTorch layer implementation of our probabilistic attention model is available here: https://github.com/apple/ml-probabilistic-attention.

Bilevel optimization has been widely applied in many important machine learning applications such as hyperparameter optimization and meta-learning. Recently, several momentum-based algorithms have been proposed to solve bilevel optimization problems faster. However, those momentum-based algorithms do not achieve provably better computational complexity than $\mathcal{\widetilde O}(\epsilon^{-2})$ of the SGD-based algorithm. In this paper, we propose two new algorithms for bilevel optimization, where the first algorithm adopts momentum-based recursive iterations, and the second algorithm adopts recursive gradient estimations in nested loops to decrease the variance. We show that both algorithms achieve the complexity of $\mathcal{\widetilde O}(\epsilon^{-1.5})$, which outperforms all existing algorithms by the order of magnitude. Our experiments validate our theoretical results and demonstrate the superior empirical performance of our algorithms in hyperparameter applications.

Score-based diffusion models synthesize samples by reversing a stochastic process that diffuses data to noise, and are trained by minimizing a weighted combination of score matching losses. The log-likelihood of score-based diffusion models can be tractably computed through a connection to continuous normalizing flows, but log-likelihood is not directly optimized by the weighted combination of score matching losses. We show that for a specific weighting scheme, the objective upper bounds the negative log-likelihood, thus enabling approximate maximum likelihood training of score-based diffusion models. We empirically observe that maximum likelihood training consistently improves the likelihood of score-based diffusion models across multiple datasets, stochastic processes, and model architectures. Our best models achieve negative log-likelihoods of 2.83 and 3.76 bits/dim on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet $32\times 32$ without any data augmentation, on a par with state-of-the-art autoregressive models on these tasks.

Vehicle routing problems (VRPs) form a class of combinatorial problems with wide practical applications. While previous heuristic or learning-based works achieve decent solutions on small problem instances, their performance deteriorates in large problems. This article presents a novel learning-augmented local search framework to solve large-scale VRP. The method iteratively improves the solution by identifying appropriate subproblems and $delegating$ their improvement to a black box subsolver. At each step, we leverage spatial locality to consider only a linear number of subproblems, rather than exponential. We frame subproblem selection as regression and train a Transformer on a generated training set of problem instances. Our method accelerates state-of-the-art VRP solvers by 10x to 100x while achieving competitive solution qualities for VRPs with sizes ranging from 500 to 3000. Learned subproblem selection offers a 1.5x to 2x speedup over heuristic or random selection. Our results generalize to a variety of VRP distributions, variants, and solvers.

We propose new width-based planning and learning algorithms inspired from a careful analysis of the design decisions made by previous width-based planners. The algorithms are applied over the Atari-2600 games and our best performing algorithm, Novelty guided Critical Path Learning (N-CPL), outperforms the previously introduced width-based planning and learning algorithms $\pi$-IW(1), $\pi$-IW(1)+ and $\pi$-HIW(n, 1). Furthermore, we present a taxonomy of the Atari-2600 games according to some of their defining characteristics. This analysis of the games provides further insight into the behaviour and performance of the algorithms introduced. Namely, for games with large branching factors, and games with sparse meaningful rewards, N-CPL outperforms $\pi$-IW, $\pi$-IW(1)+ and $\pi$-HIW(n, 1).

Estimating the data uncertainty in regression tasks is often done by learning a quantile function or a prediction interval of the true label conditioned on the input. It is frequently observed that quantile regression---a vanilla algorithm for learning quantiles with asymptotic guarantees---tends to *under-cover* than the desired coverage level in reality. While various fixes have been proposed, a more fundamental understanding of why this under-coverage bias happens in the first place remains elusive.In this paper, we present a rigorous theoretical study on the coverage of uncertainty estimation algorithms in learning quantiles. We prove that quantile regression suffers from an inherent under-coverage bias, in a vanilla setting where we learn a realizable linear quantile function and there is more data than parameters. More quantitatively, for $\alpha>0.5$ and small $d/n$, the $\alpha$-quantile learned by quantile regression roughly achieves coverage $\alpha - (\alpha-1/2)\cdot d/n$ regardless of the noise distribution, where $d$ is the input dimension and $n$ is the number of training data. Our theory reveals that this under-coverage bias stems from a certain high-dimensional parameter estimation error that is not implied by existing theories on quantile regression. Experiments on simulated and real data verify our theory and further illustrate the effect …

We study personalization of supervised learning with user-level differential privacy. Consider a setting with many users, each of whom has a training data set drawn from their own distribution $P_i$. Assuming some shared structure among the problems $P_i$, can users collectively learn the shared structure---and solve their tasks better than they could individually---while preserving the privacy of their data? We formulate this question using joint, user-level differential privacy---that is, we control what is leaked about each user's entire data set. We provide algorithms that exploit popular non-private approaches in this domain like the Almost-No-Inner-Loop (ANIL) method, and give strong user-level privacy guarantees for our general approach. When the problems $P_i$ are linear regression problems with each user's regression vector lying in a common, unknown low-dimensional subspace, we show that our efficient algorithms satisfy nearly optimal estimation error guarantees. We also establish a general, information-theoretic upper bound via an exponential mechanism-based algorithm.

We study predictive control in a setting where the dynamics are time-varying and linear, and the costs are time-varying and well-conditioned. At each time step, the controller receives the exact predictions of costs, dynamics, and disturbances for the future $k$ time steps. We show that when the prediction window $k$ is sufficiently large, predictive control is input-to-state stable and achieves a dynamic regret of $O(\lambda^k T)$, where $\lambda < 1$ is a positive constant. This is the first dynamic regret bound on the predictive control of linear time-varying systems. We also show a variation of predictive control obtains the first competitive bound for the control of linear time-varying systems: $1 + O(\lambda^k)$. Our results are derived using a novel proof framework based on a perturbation bound that characterizes how a small change to the system parameters impacts the optimal trajectory.

We study the problem of learning in the stochastic shortest path (SSP) setting, where an agent seeks to minimize the expected cost accumulated before reaching a goal state. We design a novel model-based algorithm EB-SSP that carefully skews the empirical transitions and perturbs the empirical costs with an exploration bonus to induce an optimistic SSP problem whose associated value iteration scheme is guaranteed to converge. We prove that EB-SSP achieves the minimax regret rate $\widetilde{O}(B_{\star} \sqrt{S A K})$, where $K$ is the number of episodes, $S$ is the number of states, $A$ is the number of actions and $B_{\star}$ bounds the expected cumulative cost of the optimal policy from any state, thus closing the gap with the lower bound. Interestingly, EB-SSP obtains this result while being parameter-free, i.e., it does not require any prior knowledge of $B_{\star}$, nor of $T_{\star}$, which bounds the expected time-to-goal of the optimal policy from any state. Furthermore, we illustrate various cases (e.g., positive costs, or general costs when an order-accurate estimate of $T_{\star}$ is available) where the regret only contains a logarithmic dependence on $T_{\star}$, thus yielding the first (nearly) horizon-free regret bound beyond the finite-horizon MDP setting.

Generalised linear models for multi-class classification problems are one of the fundamental building blocks of modern machine learning tasks. In this manuscript, we characterise the learning of a mixture of $K$ Gaussians with generic means and covariances via empirical risk minimisation (ERM) with any convex loss and regularisation. In particular, we prove exact asymptotics characterising the ERM estimator in high-dimensions, extending several previous results about Gaussian mixture classification in the literature. We exemplify our result in two tasks of interest in statistical learning: a) classification for a mixture with sparse means, where we study the efficiency of $\ell_1$ penalty with respect to $\ell_2$; b) max-margin multi-class classification, where we characterise the phase transition on the existence of the multi-class logistic maximum likelihood estimator for $K>2$. Finally, we discuss how our theory can be applied beyond the scope of synthetic data, showing that in different cases Gaussian mixtures capture closely the learning curve of classification tasks in real data sets.

Spherical Motion Dynamics: Learning Dynamics of Normalized Neural Network using SGD and Weight Decay

In this paper, we comprehensively reveal the learning dynamics of normalized neural network using Stochastic Gradient Descent (with momentum) and Weight Decay (WD), named as Spherical Motion Dynamics (SMD). Most related works focus on studying behavior of `effective learning rate" in`

equilibrium" state, i.e. assuming weight norm remains unchanged. However, their discussion on why this equilibrium can be reached is either absent or less convincing. Our work directly explores the cause of equilibrium, as a special state of SMD. Specifically, 1) we introduce the assumptions that can lead to equilibrium state in SMD, and prove equilibrium can be reached in a linear rate regime under given assumptions; 2) we propose ``angular update" as a substitute for effective learning rate to depict the state of SMD, and derive the theoretical value of angular update in equilibrium state; 3) we verify our assumptions and theoretical results on various large-scale computer vision tasks including ImageNet and MSCOCO with standard settings. Experiment results show our theoretical findings agree well with empirical observations. We also show that the behavior of angular update in SMD can produce interesting effect to the optimization of neural network in practice.

We consider online sequential decision problems where an agent must balance exploration and exploitation. We derive a set of Bayesian `optimistic' policies which, in the stochastic multi-armed bandit case, includes the Thompson sampling policy. We provide a new analysis showing that any algorithm producing policies in the optimistic set enjoys $\tilde O(\sqrt{AT})$ Bayesian regret for a problem with $A$ actions after $T$ rounds. We extend the regret analysis for optimistic policies to bilinear saddle-point problems which include zero-sum matrix games and constrained bandits as special cases. In this case we show that Thompson sampling can produce policies outside of the optimistic set and suffer linear regret in some instances. Finding a policy inside the optimistic set amounts to solving a convex optimization problem and we call the resulting algorithm `variational Bayesian optimistic sampling' (VBOS). The procedure works for any posteriors, \ie, it does not require the posterior to have any special properties, such as log-concavity, unimodality, or smoothness. The variational view of the problem has many useful properties, including the ability to tune the exploration-exploitation tradeoff, add regularization, incorporate constraints, and linearly parameterize the policy.

Access to 3D point cloud representations has been widely facilitated by LiDAR sensors embedded in various mobile devices. This has led to an emerging need for fast and accurate point cloud processing techniques. In this paper, we revisit and dive deeper into PointNet++, one of the most influential yet under-explored networks, and develop faster and more accurate variants of the model. We first present a novel Separable Set Abstraction (SA) module that disentangles the vanilla SA module used in PointNet++ into two separate learning stages: (1) learning channel correlation and (2) learning spatial correlation. The Separable SA module is significantly faster than the vanilla version, yet it achieves comparable performance. We then introduce a new Anisotropic Reduction function into our Separable SA module and propose an Anisotropic Separable SA (ASSA) module that substantially increases the network's accuracy. We later replace the vanilla SA modules in PointNet++ with the proposed ASSA modules, and denote the modified network as ASSANet. Extensive experiments on point cloud classification, semantic segmentation, and part segmentation show that ASSANet outperforms PointNet++ and other methods, achieving much higher accuracy and faster speeds. In particular, ASSANet outperforms PointNet++ by $7.4$ mIoU on S3DIS Area 5, while maintaining $1.6 \times …

We study the differentially private Empirical Risk Minimization (ERM) and Stochastic Convex Optimization (SCO) problems for non-smooth convex functions. We get a (nearly) optimal bound on the excess empirical risk for ERM with $O(\frac{N^{3/2}}{d^{1/8}}+ \frac{N^2}{d})$ gradient queries, which is achieved with the help of subsampling and smoothing the function via convolution. Combining this result with the iterative localization technique of Feldman et al. \cite{fkt20}, we achieve the optimal excess population loss for the SCO problem with $O(\min\{N^{5/4}d^{1/8},\frac{ N^{3/2}}{d^{1/8}}\})$ gradient queries.Our work makes progress towards resolving a question raised by Bassily et al. \cite{bfgt20}, giving first algorithms for private SCO with subquadratic steps. In a concurrent work, Asi et al. \cite{afkt21} gave other algorithms for private ERM and SCO with subquadratic steps.

We consider the problem of recovering an unknown latent code vector under a known generative model. For a $d$-layer deep generative network $\mathcal{G}:\mathbb{R}^{n_0}\rightarrow \mathbb{R}^{n_d}$ with ReLU activation functions, let the observation be $\mathcal{G}(x)+\epsilon$ where $\epsilon$ is noise. We introduce a simple novel algorithm, Partially Linearized Update for Generative Inversion (PLUGIn), to estimate $x$ (and thus $\mathcal{G}(x)$). We prove that, when weights are Gaussian and layer widths $n_i \gtrsim 5^i n_0$ (up to log factors), the algorithm converges geometrically to a neighbourhood of $x$ with high probability. Note the inequality on layer widths allows $n_i>n_{i+1}$ when $i\geq 1$. To our knowledge, this is the first such result for networks with some contractive layers. After a sufficient number of iterations, the estimation errors for both $x$ and $\mathcal{G}(x)$ are at most in the order of $\sqrt{4^dn_0/n_d} \|\epsilon\|$. Thus, the algorithm can denoise when the expansion ratio $n_d/n_0$ is large. Numerical experiments on synthetic data and real data are provided to validate our theoretical results and to illustrate that the algorithm can effectively remove artifacts in an image.

There have been many recent advances on provably efficient Reinforcement Learning (RL) in problems with rich observation spaces. However, all these works share a strong realizability assumption about the optimal value function of the true MDP. Such realizability assumptions are often too strong to hold in practice. In this work, we consider the more realistic setting of agnostic RL with rich observation spaces and a fixed class of policies $\Pi$ that may not contain any near-optimal policy. We provide an algorithm for this setting whose error is bounded in terms of the rank $d$ of the underlying MDP. Specifically, our algorithm enjoys a sample complexity bound of $\widetilde{O}\left((H^{4d} K^{3d} \log |\Pi|)/\epsilon^2\right)$ where $H$ is the length of episodes, $K$ is the number of actions and $\epsilon>0$ is the desired sub-optimality. We also provide a nearly matching lower bound for this agnostic setting that shows that the exponential dependence on rank is unavoidable, without further assumptions.

Numerical solutions to high-dimensional partial differential equations (PDEs) based on neural networks have seen exciting developments. This paper derives complexity estimates of the solutions of $d$-dimensional second-order elliptic PDEs in the Barron space, that is a set of functions admitting the integral of certain parametric ridge function against a probability measure on the parameters. We prove under some appropriate assumptions that if the coefficients and the source term of the elliptic PDE lie in Barron spaces, then the solution of the PDE is $\epsilon$-close with respect to the $H^1$ norm to a Barron function. Moreover, we prove dimension-explicit bounds for the Barron norm of this approximate solution, depending at most polynomially on the dimension $d$ of the PDE. As a direct consequence of the complexity estimates, the solution of the PDE can be approximated on any bounded domain by a two-layer neural network with respect to the $H^1$ norm with a dimension-explicit convergence rate.

Most real world applications require dealing with stochasticity like sensor noise or predictive uncertainty, where formal specifications of desired behavior are inherently probabilistic. Despite the promise of formal verification in ensuring the reliability of neural networks, progress in the direction of probabilistic specifications has been limited. In this direction, we first introduce a general formulation of probabilistic specifications for neural networks, which captures both probabilistic networks (e.g., Bayesian neural networks, MC-Dropout networks) and uncertain inputs (distributions over inputs arising from sensor noise or other perturbations). We then propose a general technique to verify such specifications by generalizing the notion of Lagrangian duality, replacing standard Lagrangian multipliers with "functional multipliers" that can be arbitrary functions of the activations at a given layer. We show that an optimal choice of functional multipliers leads to exact verification (i.e., sound and complete verification), and for specific forms of multipliers, we develop tractable practical verification algorithms. We empirically validate our algorithms by applying them to Bayesian Neural Networks (BNNs) and MC Dropout Networks, and certifying properties such as adversarial robustness and robust detection of out-of-distribution (OOD) data. On these tasks we are able to provide significantly stronger guarantees when compared to prior work -- for …

In many machine learning tasks, a common approach for dealing with large-scale data is to build a small summary, {\em e.g.,} coreset, that can efficiently represent the original input. However, real-world datasets usually contain outliers and most existing coreset construction methods are not resilient against outliers (in particular, an outlier can be located arbitrarily in the space by an adversarial attacker). In this paper, we propose a novel robust coreset method for the {\em continuous-and-bounded learning} problems (with outliers) which includes a broad range of popular optimization objectives in machine learning, {\em e.g.,} logistic regression and $ k $-means clustering. Moreover, our robust coreset can be efficiently maintained in fully-dynamic environment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first robust and fully-dynamic coreset construction method for these optimization problems. Another highlight is that our coreset size can depend on the doubling dimension of the parameter space, rather than the VC dimension of the objective function which could be very large or even challenging to compute. Finally, we conduct the experiments on real-world datasets to evaluate the effectiveness of our proposed robust coreset method.

We initiate the work towards a comprehensive picture of the worst average-case satisfaction of voting axioms in semi-random models, to provide a finer and more realistic foundation for comparing voting rules. We adopt the semi-random model and formulation in [Xia 2020], where an adversary chooses arbitrarily correlated ``ground truth'' preferences for the agents, on top of which random noises are added. We focus on characterizing the semi-random satisfaction of two well-studied voting axioms: Condorcet criterion and participation. We prove that for any fixed number of alternatives, when the number of voters $n$ is sufficiently large, the semi-random satisfaction of the Condorcet criterion under a wide range of voting rules is $1$, $1-\exp(-\Theta(n))$, $\Theta(n^{-0.5})$, $ \exp(-\Theta(n))$, or being $\Theta(1)$ and $1-\Theta(1)$ at the same time; and the semi-random satisfaction of participation is $1-\Theta(n^{-0.5})$. Our results address open questions by Berg and Lepelley in 1994, and also confirm the following high-level message: the Condorcet criterion is a bigger concern than participation under realistic models.

We study the problem of learning revenue-optimal multi-bidder auctions from samples when the samples of bidders' valuations can be adversarially corrupted or drawn from distributions that are adversarially perturbed. First, we prove tight upper bounds on the revenue we can obtain with a corrupted distribution under a population model, for both regular valuation distributions and distributions with monotone hazard rate (MHR). We then propose new algorithms that, given only an ``approximate distribution'' for the bidder's valuation, can learn a mechanism whose revenue is nearly optimal simultaneously for all ``true distributions'' that are $\alpha$-close to the original distribution in Kolmogorov-Smirnov distance. The proposed algorithms operate beyond the setting of bounded distributions that have been studied in prior works, and are guaranteed to obtain a fraction $1-O(\alpha)$ of the optimal revenue under the true distribution when the distributions are MHR. Moreover, they are guaranteed to yield at least a fraction $1-O(\sqrt{\alpha})$ of the optimal revenue when the distributions are regular. We prove that these upper bounds cannot be further improved, by providing matching lower bounds. Lastly, we derive sample complexity upper bounds for learning a near-optimal auction for both MHR and regular distributions.

Correlated Stochastic Block Models: Exact Graph Matching with Applications to Recovering Communities

We consider the task of learning latent community structure from multiple correlated networks. First, we study the problem of learning the latent vertex correspondence between two edge-correlated stochastic block models, focusing on the regime where the average degree is logarithmic in the number of vertices. We derive the precise information-theoretic threshold for exact recovery: above the threshold there exists an estimator that outputs the true correspondence with probability close to 1, while below it no estimator can recover the true correspondence with probability bounded away from 0. As an application of our results, we show how one can exactly recover the latent communities using \emph{multiple} correlated graphs in parameter regimes where it is information-theoretically impossible to do so using just a single graph.

Matrix trace estimation is ubiquitous in machine learning applications and has traditionally relied on Hutchinson's method, which requires $O(\log(1/\delta)/\epsilon^2)$ matrix-vector product queries to achieve a $(1 \pm \epsilon)$-multiplicative approximation to $\text{trace}(A)$ with failure probability $\delta$ on positive-semidefinite input matrices $A$. Recently, the Hutch++ algorithm was proposed, which reduces the number of matrix-vector queries from $O(1/\epsilon^2)$ to the optimal $O(1/\epsilon)$, and the algorithm succeeds with constant probability. However, in the high probability setting, the non-adaptive Hutch++ algorithm suffers an extra $O(\sqrt{\log(1/\delta)})$ multiplicative factor in its query complexity. Non-adaptive methods are important, as they correspond to sketching algorithms, which are mergeable, highly parallelizable, and provide low-memory streaming algorithms as well as low-communication distributed protocols. In this work, we close the gap between non-adaptive and adaptive algorithms, showing that even non-adaptive algorithms can achieve $O(\sqrt{\log(1/\delta)}/\epsilon + \log(1/\delta))$ matrix-vector products. In addition, we prove matching lower bounds demonstrating that, up to a $\log \log(1/\delta)$ factor, no further improvement in the dependence on $\delta$ or $\epsilon$ is possible by any non-adaptive algorithm. Finally, our experiments demonstrate the superior performance of our sketch over the adaptive Hutch++ algorithm, which is less parallelizable, as well as over the non-adaptive Hutchinson's method.

We consider the problem of quantifying uncertainty for the estimation error of the leading eigenvector from Oja's algorithm for streaming principal component analysis, where the data are generated IID from some unknown distribution. By combining classical tools from the U-statistics literature with recent results on high-dimensional central limit theorems for quadratic forms of random vectors and concentration of matrix products, we establish a weighted $\chi^2$ approximation result for the $\sin^2$ error between the population eigenvector and the output of Oja’s algorithm. Since estimating the covariance matrix associated with the approximating distribution requires knowledge of unknown model parameters, we propose a multiplier bootstrap algorithm that may be updated in an online manner. We establish conditions under which the bootstrap distribution is close to the corresponding sampling distribution with high probability, thereby establishing the bootstrap as a consistent inferential method in an appropriate asymptotic regime.

Gradient compression is a widely-established remedy to tackle the communication bottleneck in distributed training of large deep neural networks (DNNs). Under the error-feedback framework, Top-$k$ sparsification, sometimes with $k$ as little as 0.1% of the gradient size, enables training to the same model quality as the uncompressed case for a similar iteration count. From the optimization perspective, we find that Top-$k$ is the communication-optimal sparsifier given a per-iteration $k$ element budget.We argue that to further the benefits of gradient sparsification, especially for DNNs, a different perspective is necessary — one that moves from per-iteration optimality to consider optimality for the entire training.We identify that the total error — the sum of the compression errors for all iterations — encapsulates sparsification throughout training. Then, we propose a communication complexity model that minimizes the total error under a communication budget for the entire training. We find that the hard-threshold sparsifier, a variant of the Top-$k$ sparsifier with $k$ determined by a constant hard-threshold, is the optimal sparsifier for this model. Motivated by this, we provide convex and non-convex convergence analyses for the hard-threshold sparsifier with error-feedback. We show that hard-threshold has the same asymptotic convergence and linear speedup property as SGD in …

Given only positive examples and unlabeled examples (from both positive and negative classes), we might hope nevertheless to estimate an accurate positive-versus-negative classifier. Formally, this task is broken down into two subtasks: (i) Mixture Proportion Estimation (MPE)---determining the fraction of positive examples in the unlabeled data; and (ii) PU-learning---given such an estimate, learning the desired positive-versus-negative classifier. Unfortunately, classical methods for both problems break down in high-dimensional settings. Meanwhile, recently proposed heuristics lack theoretical coherence and depend precariously on hyperparameter tuning. In this paper, we propose two simple techniques: Best Bin Estimation (BBE) (for MPE); and Conditional Value Ignoring Risk (CVIR), a simple objective for PU-learning. Both methods dominate previous approaches empirically, and for BBE, we establish formal guarantees that hold whenever we can train a model to cleanly separate out a small subset of positive examples. Our final algorithm (TED)$^n$, alternates between the two procedures, significantly improving both our mixture proportion estimator and classifier

*single* network evaluation, as opposed to hundreds of evaluations per ray for ray-marching or volumetric based renderers in 3D-structured neural scene representations. In the setting of simple scenes, we leverage meta-learning to learn a prior over LFNs that enables multi-view consistent light field reconstruction from as little as a single image observation. This results in dramatic reductions in time and memory complexity, and enables real-time rendering. The cost of storing a 360-degree light field via an LFN is two orders of magnitude lower than conventional methods such as the Lumigraph. Utilizing the analytical differentiability of neural implicit representations and a novel parameterization of light space, we further demonstrate the extraction of sparse depth maps from LFNs.

Our work focuses on tackling large-scale fine-grained image retrieval as ranking the images depicting the concept of interests (i.e., the same sub-category labels) highest based on the fine-grained details in the query. It is desirable to alleviate the challenges of both fine-grained nature of small inter-class variations with large intra-class variations and explosive growth of fine-grained data for such a practical task. In this paper, we propose an Attribute-Aware hashing Network (A$^2$-Net) for generating attribute-aware hash codes to not only make the retrieval process efficient, but also establish explicit correspondences between hash codes and visual attributes. Specifically, based on the captured visual representations by attention, we develop an encoder-decoder structure network of a reconstruction task to unsupervisedly distill high-level attribute-specific vectors from the appearance-specific visual representations without attribute annotations. A$^2$-Net is also equipped with a feature decorrelation constraint upon these attribute vectors to enhance their representation abilities. Finally, the required hash codes are generated by the attribute vectors driven by preserving original similarities. Qualitative experiments on five benchmark fine-grained datasets show our superiority over competing methods. More importantly, quantitative results demonstrate the obtained hash codes can strongly correspond to certain kinds of crucial properties of fine-grained objects.

One of the main challenges in model-based reinforcement learning (RL) is to decide which aspects of the environment should be modeled. The value-equivalence (VE) principle proposes a simple answer to this question: a model should capture the aspects of the environment that are relevant for value-based planning. Technically, VE distinguishes models based on a set of policies and a set of functions: a model is said to be VE to the environment if the Bellman operators it induces for the policies yield the correct result when applied to the functions. As the number of policies and functions increase, the set of VE models shrinks, eventually collapsing to a single point corresponding to a perfect model. A fundamental question underlying the VE principle is thus how to select the smallest sets of policies and functions that are sufficient for planning. In this paper we take an important step towards answering this question. We start by generalizing the concept of VE to order-$k$ counterparts defined with respect to $k$ applications of the Bellman operator. This leads to a family of VE classes that increase in size as $k \rightarrow \infty$. In the limit, all functions become value functions, and we have a …

Transformers provide a class of expressive architectures that are extremely effective for sequence modeling. However, the key limitation of transformers is their quadratic memory and time complexity $\mathcal{O}(L^2)$ with respect to the sequence length in attention layers, which restricts application in extremely long sequences. Most existing approaches leverage sparsity or low-rank assumptions in the attention matrix to reduce cost, but sacrifice expressiveness. Instead, we propose Combiner, which provides full attention capability in each attention head while maintaining low computation and memory complexity. The key idea is to treat the self-attention mechanism as a conditional expectation over embeddings at each location, and approximate the conditional distribution with a structured factorization. Each location can attend to all other locations, either via direct attention, or through indirect attention to abstractions, which are again conditional expectations of embeddings from corresponding local regions. We show that most sparse attention patterns used in existing sparse transformers are able to inspire the design of such factorization for full attention, resulting in the same sub-quadratic cost ($\mathcal{O}(L\log(L))$ or $\mathcal{O}(L\sqrt{L})$). Combiner is a drop-in replacement for attention layers in existing transformers and can be easily implemented in common frameworks. An experimental evaluation on both autoregressive and bidirectional sequence tasks …

Realistically---and equitably---modeling the dynamics of group-level disparities in machine learning remains an open problem. In particular, we desire models that do not suppose inherent differences between artificial groups of people---but rather endogenize disparities by appeal to unequal initial conditions of insular subpopulations. In this paper, agents each have a real-valued feature $X$ (e.g., credit score) informed by a ``true'' binary label $Y$ representing qualification (e.g., for a loan). Each agent alternately (1) receives a binary classification label $\hat{Y}$ (e.g., loan approval) from a Bayes-optimal machine learning classifier observing $X$ and (2) may update their qualification $Y$ by imitating successful strategies (e.g., seek a raise) within an isolated group $G$ of agents to which they belong. We consider the disparity of qualification rates $\Pr(Y=1)$ between different groups and how this disparity changes subject to a sequence of Bayes-optimal classifiers repeatedly retrained on the global population. We model the evolving qualification rates of each subpopulation (group) using the replicator equation, which derives from a class of imitation processes. We show that differences in qualification rates between subpopulations can persist indefinitely for a set of non-trivial equilibrium states due to uniformed classifier deployments, even when groups are identical in all aspects except initial …

Achieving sample efficiency in online episodic reinforcement learning (RL) requires optimally balancing exploration and exploitation. When it comes to a finite-horizon episodic Markov decision process with $S$ states, $A$ actions and horizon length $H$, substantial progress has been achieved towards characterizing the minimax-optimal regret, which scales on the order of $\sqrt{H^2SAT}$ (modulo log factors) with $T$ the total number of samples. While several competing solution paradigms have been proposed to minimize regret, they are either memory-inefficient, or fall short of optimality unless the sample size exceeds an enormous threshold (e.g., $S^6A^4 \,\mathrm{poly}(H)$ for existing model-free methods).To overcome such a large sample size barrier to efficient RL, we design a novel model-free algorithm, with space complexity $O(SAH)$, that achieves near-optimal regret as soon as the sample size exceeds the order of $SA\,\mathrm{poly}(H)$. In terms of this sample size requirement (also referred to the initial burn-in cost), our method improves --- by at least a factor of $S^5A^3$ --- upon any prior memory-efficient algorithm that is asymptotically regret-optimal. Leveraging the recently introduced variance reduction strategy (also called {\em reference-advantage decomposition}), the proposed algorithm employs an {\em early-settled} reference update rule, with the aid of two Q-learning sequences with upper and lower confidence …

We study the power of learning via mini-batch stochastic gradient descent (SGD) on the loss of a differentiable model or neural network, and ask what learning problems can be learnt using this paradigm. We show that SGD can always simulate learning with statistical queries (SQ), but its ability to go beyond that depends on the precision $\rho$ of the gradients and the minibatch size $b$. With fine enough precision relative to minibatch size, namely when $b \rho$ is small enough, SGD can go beyond SQ learning and simulate any sample-based learning algorithm and thus its learning power is equivalent to that of PAC learning; this extends prior work that achieved this result for $b=1$. Moreover, with polynomially many bits of precision (i.e. when $\rho$ is exponentially small), SGD can simulate PAC learning regardless of the batch size. On the other hand, when $b \rho^2$ is large enough, the power of SGD is equivalent to that of SQ learning.

Holographic Reduced Representations (HRR) are a method for performing symbolic AI on top of real-valued vectors by associating each vector with an abstract concept, and providing mathematical operations to manipulate vectors as if they were classic symbolic objects. This method has seen little use outside of older symbolic AI work and cognitive science. Our goal is to revisit this approach to understand if it is viable for enabling a hybrid neural-symbolic approach to learning as a differential component of a deep learning architecture. HRRs today are not effective in a differential solution due to numerical instability, a problem we solve by introducing a projection step that forces the vectors to exist in a well behaved point in space. In doing so we improve the concept retrieval efficacy of HRRs by over $100\times$. Using multi-label classification we demonstrate how to leverage the symbolic HRR properties to develop a output layer and loss function that is able to learn effectively, and allows us to investigate some of the pros and cons of an HRR neuro-symbolic learning approach.

A $k$-decision tree $t$ (or $k$-tree) is a recursive partition of a matrix (2D-signal) into $k\geq 1$ block matrices (axis-parallel rectangles, leaves) where each rectangle is assigned a real label. Its regression or classification loss to a given matrix $D$ of $N$ entries (labels) is the sum of squared differences over every label in $D$ and its assigned label by $t$.Given an error parameter $\varepsilon\in(0,1)$, a $(k,\varepsilon)$-coreset $C$ of $D$ is a small summarization that provably approximates this loss to \emph{every} such tree, up to a multiplicative factor of $1\pm\varepsilon$. In particular, the optimal $k$-tree of $C$ is a $(1+\varepsilon)$-approximation to the optimal $k$-tree of $D$.We provide the first algorithm that outputs such a $(k,\varepsilon)$-coreset for \emph{every} such matrix $D$. The size $|C|$ of the coreset is polynomial in $k\log(N)/\varepsilon$, and its construction takes $O(Nk)$ time.This is by forging a link between decision trees from machine learning -- to partition trees in computational geometry. Experimental results on \texttt{sklearn} and \texttt{lightGBM} show that applying our coresets on real-world data-sets boosts the computation time of random forests and their parameter tuning by up to x$10$, while keeping similar accuracy. Full open source code is provided.

A precise understanding of why units in an artificial network respond to certain stimuli would constitute a big step towards explainable artificial intelligence. One widely used approach towards this goal is to visualize unit responses via activation maximization. These feature visualizations are purported to provide humans with precise information about the image features that cause a unit to be activated - an advantage over other alternatives like strongly activating dataset samples. If humans indeed gain causal insight from visualizations, this should enable them to predict the effect of an intervention, such as how occluding a certain patch of the image (say, a dog's head) changes a unit's activation. Here, we test this hypothesis by asking humans to decide which of two square occlusions causes a larger change to a unit's activation.Both a large-scale crowdsourced experiment and measurements with experts show that on average the extremely activating feature visualizations by Olah et al. (2017) indeed help humans on this task ($68 \pm 4$% accuracy; baseline performance without any visualizations is $60 \pm 3$%). However, they do not provide any substantial advantage over other visualizations (such as e.g. dataset samples), which yield similar performance ($66\pm3$% to $67 \pm3$% accuracy). Taken together, we …

In this paper, we consider the problem of finding high dimensional power means: given a set $A$ of $n$ points in $\R^d$, find the point $m$ that minimizes the sum of Euclidean distance, raised to the power $z$, over all input points. Special cases of problem include the well-known Fermat-Weber problem -- or geometric median problem -- where $z = 1$, the mean or centroid where $z=2$, and the Minimum Enclosing Ball problem, where $z = \infty$.We consider these problem in the big data regime.Here, we are interested in sampling as few points as possible such that we can accurately estimate $m$.More specifically, we consider sublinear algorithms as well as coresets for these problems.Sublinear algorithms have a random query access to the $A$ and the goal is to minimize the number of queries.Here, we show that $\tilde{O}(\varepsilon^{-z-3})$ samples are sufficient to achieve a $(1+\varepsilon)$ approximation, generalizing the results from Cohen, Lee, Miller, Pachocki, and Sidford [STOC '16] and Inaba, Katoh, and Imai [SoCG '94] to arbitrary $z$. Moreover, we show that this bound is nearly optimal, as any algorithm requires at least $\Omega(\varepsilon^{-z+1})$ queries to achieve said approximation.The second contribution are coresets for these problems, where we aim to find …

A challenging aspect of the bandit problem is that a stochastic reward is observed only for the chosen arm and the rewards of other arms remain missing. The dependence of the arm choice on the past context and reward pairs compounds the complexity of regret analysis.We propose a novel multi-armed contextual bandit algorithm called Doubly Robust Thompson Sampling (DRTS) employing the doubly-robust estimator used in missing data literature to Thompson Sampling with contexts (\texttt{LinTS}).Different from previous works relying on missing data techniques (Dimakopoulou et al. [2019], Kim and Paik [2019]), the proposed algorithm is designed to allow a novel additive regret decomposition leading to an improved regret bound with the order of $\tilde{O}(\phi^{-2}\sqrt{T})$, where $\phi^2$ is the minimum eigenvalue of the covariance matrix of contexts.This is the first regret bound of \texttt{LinTS} using $\phi^2$ without $d$, where $d$ is the dimension of the context.Applying the relationship between $\phi^2$ and $d$, the regret bound of the proposed algorithm is $\tilde{O}(d\sqrt{T})$ in many practical scenarios, improving the bound of \texttt{LinTS} by a factor of $\sqrt{d}$.A benefit of the proposed method is that it uses all the context data, chosen or not chosen, thus allowing to circumvent the technical definition of unsaturated arms …

It was estimated that the world produced $59 ZB$ ($5.9 \times 10^{13} GB$) of data in 2020, resulting in the enormous costs of both data storage and transmission. Fortunately, recent advances in deep generative models have spearheaded a new class of so-called "neural compression" algorithms, which significantly outperform traditional codecs in terms of compression ratio. Unfortunately, the application of neural compression garners little commercial interest due to its limited bandwidth; therefore, developing highly efficient frameworks is of critical practical importance. In this paper, we discuss lossless compression using normalizing flows which have demonstrated a great capacity for achieving high compression ratios. As such, we introduce iFlow, a new method for achieving efficient lossless compression. We first propose Modular Scale Transform (MST) and a novel family of numerically invertible flow transformations based on MST. Then we introduce the Uniform Base Conversion System (UBCS), a fast uniform-distribution codec incorporated into iFlow, enabling efficient compression. iFlow achieves state-of-the-art compression ratios and is $5 \times$ quicker than other high-performance schemes. Furthermore, the techniques presented in this paper can be used to accelerate coding time for a broad class of flow-based algorithms.

Motivated by packet routing in computer networks, online queuing systems are composed of queues receiving packets at different rates. Repeatedly, they send packets to servers, each of them treating only at most one packet at a time. In the centralized case, the number of accumulated packets remains bounded (i.e., the system is stable) as long as the ratio between service rates and arrival rates is larger than $1$. In the decentralized case, individual no-regret strategies ensures stability when this ratio is larger than $2$. Yet, myopically minimizing regret disregards the long term effects due to the carryover of packets to further rounds. On the other hand, minimizing long term costs leads to stable Nash equilibria as soon as the ratio exceeds $\frac{e}{e-1}$. Stability with decentralized learning strategies with a ratio below $2$ was a major remaining question. We first argue that for ratios up to $2$, cooperation is required for stability of learning strategies, as selfish minimization of policy regret, a patient notion of regret, might indeed still be unstable in this case. We therefore consider cooperative queues and propose the first learning decentralized algorithm guaranteeing stability of the system as long as the ratio of rates is larger than …

Stochastic nested optimization, including stochastic compositional, min-max, and bilevel optimization, is gaining popularity in many machine learning applications. While the three problems share a nested structure, existing works often treat them separately, thus developing problem-specific algorithms and analyses. Among various exciting developments, simple SGD-type updates (potentially on multiple variables) are still prevalent in solving this class of nested problems, but they are believed to have a slower convergence rate than non-nested problems. This paper unifies several SGD-type updates for stochastic nested problems into a single SGD approach that we term ALternating Stochastic gradient dEscenT (ALSET) method. By leveraging the hidden smoothness of the problem, this paper presents a tighter analysis of ALSET for stochastic nested problems. Under the new analysis, to achieve an $\epsilon$-stationary point of the nested problem, it requires ${\cal O}(\epsilon^{-2})$ samples in total. Under certain regularity conditions, applying our results to stochastic compositional, min-max, and reinforcement learning problems either improves or matches the best-known sample complexity in the respective cases. Our results explain why simple SGD-type algorithms in stochastic nested problems all work very well in practice without the need for further modifications.

Many of the challenges facing today's reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms, such as robustness, generalization, transfer, and computational efficiency are closely related to compression. Prior work has convincingly argued why minimizing information is useful in the supervised learning setting, but standard RL algorithms lack an explicit mechanism for compression. The RL setting is unique because (1) its sequential nature allows an agent to use past information to avoid looking at future observations and (2) the agent can optimize its behavior to prefer states where decision making requires few bits. We take advantage of these properties to propose a method (RPC) for learning simple policies. This method brings together ideas from information bottlenecks, model-based RL, and bits-back coding into a simple and theoretically-justified algorithm. Our method jointly optimizes a latent-space model and policy to be self-consistent, such that the policy avoids states where the model is inaccurate. We demonstrate that our method achieves much tighter compression than prior methods, achieving up to 5$\times$ higher reward than a standard information bottleneck when constrained to use just 0.3 bits per observation. We also demonstrate that our method learns policies that are more robust and generalize better to new tasks.

Mixability has been shown to be a powerful tool to obtain algorithms with optimal regret. However, the resulting methods often suffer from high computational complexity which has reduced their practical applicability. For example, in the case of multiclass logistic regression, the aggregating forecaster (see Foster et al. 2018) achieves a regret of $O(\log(Bn))$ whereas Online Newton Step achieves $O(e^B\log(n))$ obtaining a double exponential gain in $B$ (a bound on the norm of comparative functions). However, this high statistical performance is at the price of a prohibitive computational complexity $O(n^{37})$.In this paper, we use quadratic surrogates to make aggregating forecasters more efficient. We show that the resulting algorithm has still high statistical performance for a large class of losses. In particular, we derive an algorithm for multiclass regression with a regret bounded by $O(B\log(n))$ and computational complexity of only $O(n^4)$.

We study the complexity of optimizing highly smooth convex functions. For a positive integer $p$, we want to find an $\epsilon$-approximate minimum of a convex function $f$, given oracle access to the function and its first $p$ derivatives, assuming that the $p$th derivative of $f$ is Lipschitz. Recently, three independent research groups (Jiang et al., PLMR 2019; Gasnikov et al., PLMR 2019; Bubeck et al., PLMR 2019) developed a new algorithm that solves this problem with $\widetilde{O}\left(1/\epsilon^{\frac{2}{3p+1}}\right)$ oracle calls for constant $p$. This is known to be optimal (up to log factors) for deterministic algorithms, but known lower bounds for randomized algorithms do not match this bound. We prove a new lower bound that matches this bound (up to log factors), and holds not only for randomized algorithms, but also for quantum algorithms.

`shadows" of a state, a model that also requires learners to be differentially private (STOC'19) and the online model of learning states (NeurIPS'18). In these models it was shown that an unknown state can be learned`

approximately" using linear in n many copies of rho. But is there any relationship between these models? In this paper we prove a sequence of (information-theoretic) implications from differentially-private PAC learning to online learning and then to quantum stability.Our main result generalizes the recent work of Bun, Livni and Moran (Journal of the ACM'21) who showed that finite Littlestone dimension (of Boolean-valued concept classes) implies PAC learnability in the (approximate) differentially private (DP) setting. We first consider their work in the real-valued setting and further extend to their techniques to the setting of learning quantum states. Key to our results is our generic quantum …

In this work, we investigate the expressiveness of the "conditional mutual information" (CMI) framework of Steinke and Zakynthinou (2020) and the prospect of using it to provide a unified framework for proving generalization bounds in the realizable setting. We first demonstrate that one can use this framework to express non-trivial (but sub-optimal) bounds for any learning algorithm that outputs hypotheses from a class of bounded VC dimension. We then explore two directions of strengthening this bound: (i) Can the CMI framework express optimal bounds for VC classes? (ii) Can the CMI framework be used to analyze algorithms whose output hypothesis space is unrestricted (i.e. has an unbounded VC dimension)? With respect to Item (i) we prove that the CMI framework yields the optimal bound on the expected risk of Support Vector Machines (SVMs) for learning halfspaces. This result is an application of our general result showing that stable compression schemes Bousquet al. (2020) of size $k$ have uniformly bounded CMI of order $O(k)$. We further show that an inherent limitation of proper learning of VC classes contradicts the existence of a proper learner with constant CMI, and it implies a negative resolution to an open problem of Steinke and Zakynthinou …

Lightweight image super-resolution (SR) networks have obtained promising results with moderate model size. Many SR methods have focused on designing lightweight architectures, which neglect to further reduce the redundancy of network parameters. On the other hand, model compression techniques, like neural architecture search and knowledge distillation, typically consume considerable memory and computation resources. In contrast, network pruning is a cheap and effective model compression technique. However, it is hard to be applied to SR networks directly, because filter pruning for residual blocks is well-known tricky. To address the above issues, we propose aligned structured sparsity learning (ASSL), which introduces a weight normalization layer and applies $L_2$ regularization to the scale parameters for sparsity. To align the pruned locations across different layers, we propose a \emph{sparsity structure alignment} penalty term, which minimizes the norm of soft mask gram matrix. We apply aligned structured sparsity learning strategy to train efficient image SR network, named as ASSLN, with smaller model size and lower computation than state-of-the-art methods. We conduct extensive comparisons with lightweight SR networks. Our ASSLN achieves superior performance gains over recent methods quantitatively and visually.

The solution of a partial differential equation can be obtained by computing the inverse operator map between the input and the solution space. Towards this end, we introduce a $\textit{multiwavelet-based neural operator learning scheme}$ that compresses the associated operator's kernel using fine-grained wavelets. By explicitly embedding the inverse multiwavelet filters, we learn the projection of the kernel onto fixed multiwavelet polynomial bases. The projected kernel is trained at multiple scales derived from using repeated computation of multiwavelet transform. This allows learning the complex dependencies at various scales and results in a resolution-independent scheme. Compare to the prior works, we exploit the fundamental properties of the operator's kernel which enable numerically efficient representation. We perform experiments on the Korteweg-de Vries (KdV) equation, Burgers' equation, Darcy Flow, and Navier-Stokes equation. Compared with the existing neural operator approaches, our model shows significantly higher accuracy and achieves state-of-the-art in a range of datasets. For the time-varying equations, the proposed method exhibits a ($2X-10X$) improvement ($0.0018$ ($0.0033$) relative $L2$ error for Burgers' (KdV) equation). By learning the mappings between function spaces, the proposed method has the ability to find the solution of a high-resolution input after learning from lower-resolution data.

Thompson sampling and other Bayesian sequential decision-making algorithms are among the most popular approaches to tackle explore/exploit trade-offs in (contextual) bandits. The choice of prior in these algorithms offers flexibility to encode domain knowledge but can also lead to poor performance when misspecified. In this paper, we demonstrate that performance degrades gracefully with misspecification. We prove that the expected reward accrued by Thompson sampling (TS) with a misspecified prior differs by at most $\tilde{O}(H^2 \epsilon)$ from TS with a well-specified prior, where $\epsilon$ is the total-variation distance between priors and $H$ is the learning horizon. Our bound does not require the prior to have any parametric form. For priors with bounded support, our bound is independent of the cardinality or structure of the action space, and we show that it is tight up to universal constants in the worst case.Building on our sensitivity analysis, we establish generic PAC guarantees for algorithms in the recently studied Bayesian meta-learning setting and derive corollaries for various families of priors. Our results generalize along two axes: (1) they apply to a broader family of Bayesian decision-making algorithms, including a Monte-Carlo implementation of the knowledge gradient algorithm (KG), and (2) they apply to Bayesian POMDPs, …

We show that diffusion models can achieve image sample quality superior to the current state-of-the-art generative models. We achieve this on unconditional image synthesis by finding a better architecture through a series of ablations. For conditional image synthesis, we further improve sample quality with classifier guidance: a simple, compute-efficient method for trading off diversity for fidelity using gradients from a classifier. We achieve an FID of 2.97 on ImageNet 128$\times$128, 4.59 on ImageNet 256$\times$256, and 7.72 on ImageNet 512$\times$512, and we match BigGAN-deep even with as few as 25 forward passes per sample, all while maintaining better coverage of the distribution. Finally, we find that classifier guidance combines well with upsampling diffusion models, further improving FID to 3.94 on ImageNet 256$\times$256 and 3.85 on ImageNet 512$\times$512.

Robust statistics has traditionally focused on designing estimators tolerant to a minority of contaminated data. {\em List-decodable learning}~\cite{CharikarSV17} studies the more challenging regime where only a minority $\tfrac 1 k$ fraction of the dataset, $k \geq 2$, is drawn from the distribution of interest, and no assumptions are made on the remaining data. We study the fundamental task of list-decodable mean estimation in high dimensions. Our main result is a new algorithm for bounded covariance distributions with optimal sample complexity and near-optimal error guarantee, running in {\em nearly-PCA time}. Assuming the ground truth distribution on $\mathbb{R}^d$ has identity-bounded covariance, our algorithm outputs $O(k)$ candidate means, one of which is within distance $O(\sqrt{k\log k})$ from the truth. Our algorithm runs in time $\widetilde{O}(ndk)$, where $n$ is the dataset size. This runtime nearly matches the cost of performing $k$-PCA on the data, a natural bottleneck of known algorithms for (very) special cases of our problem, such as clustering well-separated mixtures. Prior to our work, the fastest runtimes were $\widetilde{O}(n^2 d k^2)$~\cite{DiakonikolasKK20}, and $\widetilde{O}(nd k^C)$ \cite{CherapanamjeriMY20} for an unspecified constant $C \geq 6$. Our approach builds on a novel soft downweighting method we term SIFT, arguably the simplest known polynomial-time mean estimator in …

We consider the setting of vector valued non-linear dynamical systems $X_{t+1} = \phi(A^{*} X_t) + \eta_t$, where $\eta_t$ is unbiased noise and $\phi : \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ is a known link function that satisfies certain {\em expansivity property}. The goal is to learn $A^{*}$ from a single trajectory $X_1,\cdots , X_T$ of {\em dependent or correlated} samples.While the problem is well-studied in the linear case, where $\phi$ is identity, with optimal error rates even for non-mixing systems, existing results in the non-linear case hold only for mixing systems. In this work, we improve existing results for learning nonlinear systems in a number of ways: a) we provide the first offline algorithm that can learn non-linear dynamical systems without the mixing assumption, b) we significantly improve upon the sample complexity of existing results for mixing systems, c) in the much harder one-pass, streaming setting we study a SGD with Reverse Experience Replay (SGD-RER) method, and demonstrate that for mixing systems, it achieves the same sample complexity as our offline algorithm, d) we justify the expansivity assumption by showing that for the popular ReLU link function --- a non-expansive but easy to learn link function with i.i.d. samples --- any method would …

Perhaps the single most important use case for differential privacy is to privately answer numerical queries, which is usually achieved by adding noise to the answer vector. The central question is, therefore, to understand which noise distribution optimizes the privacy-accuracy trade-off, especially when the dimension of the answer vector is high. Accordingly, an extensive literature has been dedicated to the question and the upper and lower bounds have been successfully matched up to constant factors (Bun et al.,2018; Steinke & Ullman, 2017). In this paper, we take a novel approach to address this important optimality question. We first demonstrate an intriguing central limit theorem phenomenon in the high-dimensional regime. More precisely, we prove that a mechanism is approximately Gaussian Differentially Private (Dong et al., 2021) if the added noise satisfies certain conditions. In particular, densities proportional to $\mathrm{e}^{-\|x\|_p^\alpha}$, where $\|x\|_p$ is the standard $\ell_p$-norm, satisfies the conditions. Taking this perspective, we make use of the Cramer--Rao inequality and show an "uncertainty principle"-style result: the product of privacy parameter and the $\ell_2$-loss of the mechanism is lower bounded by the dimension. Furthermore, the Gaussian mechanism achieves the constant-sharp optimal privacy-accuracy trade-off among all such noises. Our findings are corroborated by numerical …

We study the problem of list-decodable linear regression, where an adversary can corrupt a majority of the examples. Specifically, we are given a set $T$ of labeled examples $(x, y) \in \mathbb{R}^d \times \mathbb{R}$ and a parameter $0< \alpha <1/2$ such that an $\alpha$-fraction of the points in $T$ are i.i.d. samples from a linear regression model with Gaussian covariates, and the remaining $(1-\alpha)$-fraction of the points are drawn from an arbitrary noise distribution. The goal is to output a small list of hypothesis vectors such that at least one of them is close to the target regression vector. Our main result is a Statistical Query (SQ) lower bound of $d^{\mathrm{poly}(1/\alpha)}$ for this problem. Our SQ lower bound qualitatively matches the performance of previously developed algorithms, providing evidence that current upper bounds for this task are nearly best possible.

Recent experiments have shown that deep networks can approximate solutions to high-dimensional PDEs, seemingly escaping the curse of dimensionality. However, questions regarding the theoretical basis for such approximations, including the required network size remain open. In this paper, we investigate the representational power of neural networks for approximating solutions to linear elliptic PDEs with Dirichlet boundary conditions. We prove that when a PDE's coefficients are representable by small neural networks, the parameters required to approximate its solution scale polynomially with the input dimension $d$ and proportionally to the parameter counts of the coefficient networks. To this end, we develop a proof technique that simulates gradient descent (in an appropriate Hilbert space) by growing a neural network architecture whose iterates each participate as sub-networks in their (slightly larger) successors, and converge to the solution of the PDE.

Feature-based dynamic pricing is an increasingly popular model of setting prices for highly differentiated products with applications in digital marketing, online sales, real estate and so on. The problem was formally studied as an online learning problem [Javanmard & Nazerzadeh, 2019] where a seller needs to propose prices on the fly for a sequence of $T$ products based on their features $x$ while having a small regret relative to the best ---"omniscient"--- pricing strategy she could have come up with in hindsight. We revisit this problem and provide two algorithms (EMLP and ONSP) for stochastic and adversarial feature settings, respectively, and prove the optimal $O(d\log{T})$ regret bounds for both. In comparison, the best existing results are $O\left(\min\left\{\frac{1}{\lambda_{\min}^2}\log{T}, \sqrt{T}\right\}\right)$ and $O(T^{2/3})$ respectively, with $\lambda_{\min}$ being the smallest eigenvalue of $\mathbb{E}[xx^T]$ that could be arbitrarily close to $0$. We also prove an $\Omega(\sqrt{T})$ information-theoretic lower bound for a slightly more general setting, which demonstrates that "knowing-the-demand-curve" leads to an exponential improvement in feature-based dynamic pricing.