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EPFL

Authors:Alkis Kalavasis, Amin Karbasi, Argyris Oikonomou, Katerina Sotiraki, Grigoris Velegkas, Manolis Zampetakis

Abstract:As ML models become increasingly complex and integral to high-stakes domains such as finance and healthcare, they also become more susceptible to sophisticated adversarial attacks. We investigate the threat posed by undetectable backdoors in models developed by insidious external expert firms. When such backdoors exist, they allow the designer of the model to sell information to the users on how to carefully perturb the least significant bits of their input to change the classification outcome to a favorable one. We develop a general strategy to plant a backdoor to neural networks while ensuring that even if the model's weights and architecture are accessible, the existence of the backdoor is still undetectable. To achieve this, we utilize techniques from cryptography such as cryptographic signatures and indistinguishability obfuscation. We further introduce the notion of undetectable backdoors to language models and extend our neural network backdoor attacks to such models based on the existence of steganographic functions.

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Abstract:We study computational aspects of algorithmic replicability, a notion of stability introduced by Impagliazzo, Lei, Pitassi, and Sorrell [2022]. Motivated by a recent line of work that established strong statistical connections between replicability and other notions of learnability such as online learning, private learning, and SQ learning, we aim to understand better the computational connections between replicability and these learning paradigms. Our first result shows that there is a concept class that is efficiently replicably PAC learnable, but, under standard cryptographic assumptions, no efficient online learner exists for this class. Subsequently, we design an efficient replicable learner for PAC learning parities when the marginal distribution is far from uniform, making progress on a question posed by Impagliazzo et al. [2022]. To obtain this result, we design a replicable lifting framework inspired by Blanc, Lange, Malik, and Tan [2023] that transforms in a black-box manner efficient replicable PAC learners under the uniform marginal distribution over the Boolean hypercube to replicable PAC learners under any marginal distribution, with sample and time complexity that depends on a certain measure of the complexity of the distribution. Finally, we show that any pure DP learner can be transformed to a replicable one in time polynomial in the accuracy, confidence parameters and exponential in the representation dimension of the underlying hypothesis class.

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Abstract:We provide efficient replicable algorithms for the problem of learning large-margin halfspaces. Our results improve upon the algorithms provided by Impagliazzo, Lei, Pitassi, and Sorrell [STOC, 2022]. We design the first dimension-independent replicable algorithms for this task which runs in polynomial time, is proper, and has strictly improved sample complexity compared to the one achieved by Impagliazzo et al. [2022] with respect to all the relevant parameters. Moreover, our first algorithm has sample complexity that is optimal with respect to the accuracy parameter $\epsilon$. We also design an SGD-based replicable algorithm that, in some parameters' regimes, achieves better sample and time complexity than our first algorithm. Departing from the requirement of polynomial time algorithms, using the DP-to-Replicability reduction of Bun, Gaboardi, Hopkins, Impagliazzo, Lei, Pitassi, Sorrell, and Sivakumar [STOC, 2023], we show how to obtain a replicable algorithm for large-margin halfspaces with improved sample complexity with respect to the margin parameter $\tau$, but running time doubly exponential in $1/\tau^2$ and worse sample complexity dependence on $\epsilon$ than one of our previous algorithms. We then design an improved algorithm with better sample complexity than all three of our previous algorithms and running time exponential in $1/\tau^{2}$.

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Abstract:Despite the significant success of large language models (LLMs), their extensive memory requirements pose challenges for deploying them in long-context token generation. The substantial memory footprint of LLM decoders arises from the necessity to store all previous tokens in the attention module, a requirement imposed by key-value (KV) caching. In this work, our focus is on developing an efficient compression technique for the KV cache. Empirical evidence indicates a significant clustering tendency within key embeddings in the attention module. Building on this key insight, we have devised a novel caching method with sublinear complexity, employing online clustering on key tokens and online $\ell_2$ sampling on values. The result is a provably accurate and efficient attention decoding algorithm, termed SubGen. Not only does this algorithm ensure a sublinear memory footprint and sublinear time complexity, but we also establish a tight error bound for our approach. Empirical evaluations on long-context question-answering tasks demonstrate that SubGen significantly outperforms existing and state-of-the-art KV cache compression methods in terms of performance and efficiency.

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Authors:Anay Mehrotra, Manolis Zampetakis, Paul Kassianik, Blaine Nelson, Hyrum Anderson, Yaron Singer, Amin Karbasi

Abstract:While Large Language Models (LLMs) display versatile functionality, they continue to generate harmful, biased, and toxic content, as demonstrated by the prevalence of human-designed jailbreaks. In this work, we present Tree of Attacks with Pruning (TAP), an automated method for generating jailbreaks that only requires black-box access to the target LLM. TAP utilizes an LLM to iteratively refine candidate (attack) prompts using tree-of-thoughts reasoning until one of the generated prompts jailbreaks the target. Crucially, before sending prompts to the target, TAP assesses them and prunes the ones unlikely to result in jailbreaks. Using tree-of-thought reasoning allows TAP to navigate a large search space of prompts and pruning reduces the total number of queries sent to the target. In empirical evaluations, we observe that TAP generates prompts that jailbreak state-of-the-art LLMs (including GPT4 and GPT4-Turbo) for more than 80% of the prompts using only a small number of queries. This significantly improves upon the previous state-of-the-art black-box method for generating jailbreaks.

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Abstract:Algorithmic reproducibility measures the deviation in outputs of machine learning algorithms upon minor changes in the training process. Previous work suggests that first-order methods would need to trade-off convergence rate (gradient complexity) for better reproducibility. In this work, we challenge this perception and demonstrate that both optimal reproducibility and near-optimal convergence guarantees can be achieved for smooth convex minimization and smooth convex-concave minimax problems under various error-prone oracle settings. Particularly, given the inexact initialization oracle, our regularization-based algorithms achieve the best of both worlds - optimal reproducibility and near-optimal gradient complexity - for minimization and minimax optimization. With the inexact gradient oracle, the near-optimal guarantees also hold for minimax optimization. Additionally, with the stochastic gradient oracle, we show that stochastic gradient descent ascent is optimal in terms of both reproducibility and gradient complexity. We believe our results contribute to an enhanced understanding of the reproducibility-convergence trade-off in the context of convex optimization.

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Abstract:We present an approximate attention mechanism named HyperAttention to address the computational challenges posed by the growing complexity of long contexts used in Large Language Models (LLMs). Recent work suggests that in the worst-case scenario, quadratic time is necessary unless the entries of the attention matrix are bounded or the matrix has low stable rank. We introduce two parameters which measure: (1) the max column norm in the normalized attention matrix, and (2) the ratio of row norms in the unnormalized attention matrix after detecting and removing large entries. We use these fine-grained parameters to capture the hardness of the problem. Despite previous lower bounds, we are able to achieve a linear time sampling algorithm even when the matrix has unbounded entries or a large stable rank, provided the above parameters are small. HyperAttention features a modular design that easily accommodates integration of other fast low-level implementations, particularly FlashAttention. Empirically, employing Locality Sensitive Hashing (LSH) to identify large entries, HyperAttention outperforms existing methods, giving significant speed improvements compared to state-of-the-art solutions like FlashAttention. We validate the empirical performance of HyperAttention on a variety of different long-context length datasets. For example, HyperAttention makes the inference time of ChatGLM2 50\% faster on 32k context length while perplexity increases from 5.6 to 6.3. On larger context length, e.g., 131k, with causal masking, HyperAttention offers 5-fold speedup on a single attention layer.

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Abstract:In this work, we aim to characterize the statistical complexity of realizable regression both in the PAC learning setting and the online learning setting. Previous work had established the sufficiency of finiteness of the fat shattering dimension for PAC learnability and the necessity of finiteness of the scaled Natarajan dimension, but little progress had been made towards a more complete characterization since the work of Simon 1997 (SICOMP '97). To this end, we first introduce a minimax instance optimal learner for realizable regression and propose a novel dimension that both qualitatively and quantitatively characterizes which classes of real-valued predictors are learnable. We then identify a combinatorial dimension related to the Graph dimension that characterizes ERM learnability in the realizable setting. Finally, we establish a necessary condition for learnability based on a combinatorial dimension related to the DS dimension, and conjecture that it may also be sufficient in this context. Additionally, in the context of online learning we provide a dimension that characterizes the minimax instance optimal cumulative loss up to a constant factor and design an optimal online learner for realizable regression, thus resolving an open question raised by Daskalakis and Golowich in STOC '22.

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Abstract:Thompson sampling (TS) is widely used in sequential decision making due to its ease of use and appealing empirical performance. However, many existing analytical and empirical results for TS rely on restrictive assumptions on reward distributions, such as belonging to conjugate families, which limits their applicability in realistic scenarios. Moreover, sequential decision making problems are often carried out in a batched manner, either due to the inherent nature of the problem or to serve the purpose of reducing communication and computation costs. In this work, we jointly study these problems in two popular settings, namely, stochastic multi-armed bandits (MABs) and infinite-horizon reinforcement learning (RL), where TS is used to learn the unknown reward distributions and transition dynamics, respectively. We propose batched $\textit{Langevin Thompson Sampling}$ algorithms that leverage MCMC methods to sample from approximate posteriors with only logarithmic communication costs in terms of batches. Our algorithms are computationally efficient and maintain the same order-optimal regret guarantees of $\mathcal{O}(\log T)$ for stochastic MABs, and $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T})$ for RL. We complement our theoretical findings with experimental results.

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Abstract:We initiate the mathematical study of replicability as an algorithmic property in the context of reinforcement learning (RL). We focus on the fundamental setting of discounted tabular MDPs with access to a generative model. Inspired by Impagliazzo et al. [2022], we say that an RL algorithm is replicable if, with high probability, it outputs the exact same policy after two executions on i.i.d. samples drawn from the generator when its internal randomness is the same. We first provide an efficient $\rho$-replicable algorithm for $(\varepsilon, \delta)$-optimal policy estimation with sample and time complexity $\widetilde O\left(\frac{N^3\cdot\log(1/\delta)}{(1-\gamma)^5\cdot\varepsilon^2\cdot\rho^2}\right)$, where $N$ is the number of state-action pairs. Next, for the subclass of deterministic algorithms, we provide a lower bound of order $\Omega\left(\frac{N^3}{(1-\gamma)^3\cdot\varepsilon^2\cdot\rho^2}\right)$. Then, we study a relaxed version of replicability proposed by Kalavasis et al. [2023] called TV indistinguishability. We design a computationally efficient TV indistinguishable algorithm for policy estimation whose sample complexity is $\widetilde O\left(\frac{N^2\cdot\log(1/\delta)}{(1-\gamma)^5\cdot\varepsilon^2\cdot\rho^2}\right)$. At the cost of $\exp(N)$ running time, we transform these TV indistinguishable algorithms to $\rho$-replicable ones without increasing their sample complexity. Finally, we introduce the notion of approximate-replicability where we only require that two outputted policies are close under an appropriate statistical divergence (e.g., Renyi) and show an improved sample complexity of $\widetilde O\left(\frac{N\cdot\log(1/\delta)}{(1-\gamma)^5\cdot\varepsilon^2\cdot\rho^2}\right)$.

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