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Insu Han, Rajesh Jayaram, Amin Karbasi, Vahab Mirrokni, David P. Woodruff, Amir Zandieh

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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Amir Zandieh, Insu Han, Majid Daliri, Amin Karbasi

Dot-product attention mechanism plays a crucial role in modern deep architectures (e.g., Transformer) for sequence modeling, however, na\"ive exact computation of this model incurs quadratic time and memory complexities in sequence length, hindering the training of long-sequence models. Critical bottlenecks are due to the computation of partition functions in the denominator of softmax function as well as the multiplication of the softmax matrix with the matrix of values. Our key observation is that the former can be reduced to a variant of the kernel density estimation (KDE) problem, and an efficient KDE solver can be further utilized to accelerate the latter via subsampling-based fast matrix products. Our proposed KDEformer can approximate the attention in sub-quadratic time with provable spectral norm bounds, while all prior results merely provide entry-wise error bounds. Empirically, we verify that KDEformer outperforms other attention approximations in terms of accuracy, memory, and runtime on various pre-trained models. On BigGAN image generation, we achieve better generative scores than the exact computation with over $4\times$ speedup. For ImageNet classification with T2T-ViT, KDEformer shows over $18\times$ speedup while the accuracy drop is less than $0.5\%$.

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Insu Han, Amir Zandieh, Jaehoon Lee, Roman Novak, Lechao Xiao, Amin Karbasi

Infinite width limit has shed light on generalization and optimization aspects of deep learning by establishing connections between neural networks and kernel methods. Despite their importance, the utility of these kernel methods was limited in large-scale learning settings due to their (super-)quadratic runtime and memory complexities. Moreover, most prior works on neural kernels have focused on the ReLU activation, mainly due to its popularity but also due to the difficulty of computing such kernels for general activations. In this work, we overcome such difficulties by providing methods to work with general activations. First, we compile and expand the list of activation functions admitting exact dual activation expressions to compute neural kernels. When the exact computation is unknown, we present methods to effectively approximate them. We propose a fast sketching method that approximates any multi-layered Neural Network Gaussian Process (NNGP) kernel and Neural Tangent Kernel (NTK) matrices for a wide range of activation functions, going beyond the commonly analyzed ReLU activation. This is done by showing how to approximate the neural kernels using the truncated Hermite expansion of any desired activation functions. While most prior works require data points on the unit sphere, our methods do not suffer from such limitations and are applicable to any dataset of points in $\mathbb{R}^d$. Furthermore, we provide a subspace embedding for NNGP and NTK matrices with near input-sparsity runtime and near-optimal target dimension which applies to any \emph{homogeneous} dual activation functions with rapidly convergent Taylor expansion. Empirically, with respect to exact convolutional NTK (CNTK) computation, our method achieves $106\times$ speedup for approximate CNTK of a 5-layer Myrtle network on CIFAR-10 dataset.

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Amir Zandieh, Insu Han, Haim Avron

We propose an algorithm for robust recovery of the spherical harmonic expansion of functions defined on the d-dimensional unit sphere $\mathbb{S}^{d-1}$ using a near-optimal number of function evaluations. We show that for any $f \in L^2(\mathbb{S}^{d-1})$, the number of evaluations of $f$ needed to recover its degree-$q$ spherical harmonic expansion equals the dimension of the space of spherical harmonics of degree at most $q$ up to a logarithmic factor. Moreover, we develop a simple yet efficient algorithm to recover degree-$q$ expansion of $f$ by only evaluating the function on uniformly sampled points on $\mathbb{S}^{d-1}$. Our algorithm is based on the connections between spherical harmonics and Gegenbauer polynomials and leverage score sampling methods. Unlike the prior results on fast spherical harmonic transform, our proposed algorithm works efficiently using a nearly optimal number of samples in any dimension d. We further illustrate the empirical performance of our algorithm on numerical examples.

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David P. Woodruff, Amir Zandieh

We give an input sparsity time sampling algorithm for spectrally approximating the Gram matrix corresponding to the $q$-fold column-wise tensor product of $q$ matrices using a nearly optimal number of samples, improving upon all previously known methods by poly$(q)$ factors. Furthermore, for the important special care of the $q$-fold self-tensoring of a dataset, which is the feature matrix of the degree-$q$ polynomial kernel, the leading term of our method's runtime is proportional to the size of the dataset and has no dependence on $q$. Previous techniques either incur a poly$(q)$ factor slowdown in their runtime or remove the dependence on $q$ at the expense of having sub-optimal target dimension, and depend quadratically on the number of data-points in their runtime. Our sampling technique relies on a collection of $q$ partially correlated random projections which can be simultaneously applied to a dataset $X$ in total time that only depends on the size of $X$, and at the same time their $q$-fold Kronecker product acts as a near-isometry for any fixed vector in the column span of $X^{\otimes q}$. We show that our sampling methods generalize to other classes of kernels beyond polynomial, such as Gaussian and Neural Tangent kernels.

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Insu Han, Amir Zandieh, Haim Avron

We propose efficient random features for approximating a new and rich class of kernel functions that we refer to as Generalized Zonal Kernels (GZK). Our proposed GZK family, generalizes the zonal kernels (i.e., dot-product kernels on the unit sphere) by introducing radial factors in their Gegenbauer series expansion, and includes a wide range of ubiquitous kernel functions such as the entirety of dot-product kernels as well as the Gaussian and the recently introduced Neural Tangent kernels. Interestingly, by exploiting the reproducing property of the Gegenbauer polynomials, we can construct efficient random features for the GZK family based on randomly oriented Gegenbauer kernels. We prove subspace embedding guarantees for our Gegenbauer features which ensures that our features can be used for approximately solving learning problems such as kernel k-means clustering, kernel ridge regression, etc. Empirical results show that our proposed features outperform recent kernel approximation methods.

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Amir Zandieh, Insu Han, Haim Avron, Neta Shoham, Chaewon Kim, Jinwoo Shin

The Neural Tangent Kernel (NTK) characterizes the behavior of infinitely-wide neural networks trained under least squares loss by gradient descent. Recent works also report that NTK regression can outperform finitely-wide neural networks trained on small-scale datasets. However, the computational complexity of kernel methods has limited its use in large-scale learning tasks. To accelerate learning with NTK, we design a near input-sparsity time approximation algorithm for NTK, by sketching the polynomial expansions of arc-cosine kernels: our sketch for the convolutional counterpart of NTK (CNTK) can transform any image using a linear runtime in the number of pixels. Furthermore, we prove a spectral approximation guarantee for the NTK matrix, by combining random features (based on leverage score sampling) of the arc-cosine kernels with a sketching algorithm. We benchmark our methods on various large-scale regression and classification tasks and show that a linear regressor trained on our CNTK features matches the accuracy of exact CNTK on CIFAR-10 dataset while achieving 150x speedup.

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Amir Zandieh

The Neural Tangent Kernel (NTK) characterizes the behavior of infinitely wide neural nets trained under least squares loss by gradient descent (Jacot et al., 2018). However, despite its importance, the super-quadratic runtime of kernel methods limits the use of NTK in large-scale learning tasks. To accelerate kernel machines with NTK, we propose a near input sparsity time algorithm that maps the input data to a randomized low-dimensional feature space so that the inner product of the transformed data approximates their NTK evaluation. Furthermore, we propose a feature map for approximating the convolutional counterpart of the NTK (Arora et al., 2019), which can transform any image using a runtime that is only linear in the number of pixels. We show that in standard large-scale regression and classification tasks a linear regressor trained on our features outperforms trained NNs and Nystrom method with NTK kernels.

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Michael Kapralov, Navid Nouri, Ilya Razenshteyn, Ameya Velingker, Amir Zandieh

Random binning features, introduced in the seminal paper of Rahimi and Recht (2007), are an efficient method for approximating a kernel matrix using locality sensitive hashing. Random binning features provide a very simple and efficient way of approximating the Laplace kernel but unfortunately do not apply to many important classes of kernels, notably ones that generate smooth Gaussian processes, such as the Gaussian kernel and Matern kernel. In this paper, we introduce a simple weighted version of random binning features and show that the corresponding kernel function generates Gaussian processes of any desired smoothness. We show that our weighted random binning features provide a spectral approximation to the corresponding kernel matrix, leading to efficient algorithms for kernel ridge regression. Experiments on large scale regression datasets show that our method outperforms the accuracy of random Fourier features method.

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Haim Avron, Michael Kapralov, Cameron Musco, Christopher Musco, Ameya Velingker, Amir Zandieh

Reconstructing continuous signals from a small number of discrete samples is a fundamental problem across science and engineering. In practice, we are often interested in signals with 'simple' Fourier structure, such as bandlimited, multiband, and Fourier sparse signals. More broadly, any prior knowledge about a signal's Fourier power spectrum can constrain its complexity. Intuitively, signals with more highly constrained Fourier structure require fewer samples to reconstruct. We formalize this intuition by showing that, roughly, a continuous signal from a given class can be approximately reconstructed using a number of samples proportional to the *statistical dimension* of the allowed power spectrum of that class. Further, in nearly all settings, this natural measure tightly characterizes the sample complexity of signal reconstruction. Surprisingly, we also show that, up to logarithmic factors, a universal non-uniform sampling strategy can achieve this optimal complexity for *any class of signals*. We present a simple and efficient algorithm for recovering a signal from the samples taken. For bandlimited and sparse signals, our method matches the state-of-the-art. At the same time, it gives the first computationally and sample efficient solution to a broad range of problems, including multiband signal reconstruction and kriging and Gaussian process regression tasks in one dimension. Our work is based on a novel connection between randomized linear algebra and signal reconstruction with constrained Fourier structure. We extend tools based on statistical leverage score sampling and column-based matrix reconstruction to the approximation of continuous linear operators that arise in signal reconstruction. We believe that these extensions are of independent interest and serve as a foundation for tackling a broad range of continuous time problems using randomized methods.

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