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Dheeraj Baby, Aniket Das, Dheeraj Nagaraj, Praneeth Netrapalli

We consider the problem of heteroscedastic linear regression, where, given $n$ samples $(\mathbf{x}_i, y_i)$ from $y_i = \langle \mathbf{w}^{*}, \mathbf{x}_i \rangle + \epsilon_i \cdot \langle \mathbf{f}^{*}, \mathbf{x}_i \rangle$ with $\mathbf{x}_i \sim N(0,\mathbf{I})$, $\epsilon_i \sim N(0,1)$, we aim to estimate $\mathbf{w}^{*}$. Beyond classical applications of such models in statistics, econometrics, time series analysis etc., it is also particularly relevant in machine learning when data is collected from multiple sources of varying but apriori unknown quality. Our work shows that we can estimate $\mathbf{w}^{*}$ in squared norm up to an error of $\tilde{O}\left(\|\mathbf{f}^{*}\|^2 \cdot \left(\frac{1}{n} + \left(\frac{d}{n}\right)^2\right)\right)$ and prove a matching lower bound (upto log factors). This represents a substantial improvement upon the previous best known upper bound of $\tilde{O}\left(\|\mathbf{f}^{*}\|^2\cdot \frac{d}{n}\right)$. Our algorithm is an alternating minimization procedure with two key subroutines 1. An adaptation of the classical weighted least squares heuristic to estimate $\mathbf{w}^{*}$, for which we provide the first non-asymptotic guarantee. 2. A nonconvex pseudogradient descent procedure for estimating $\mathbf{f}^{*}$ inspired by phase retrieval. As corollaries, we obtain fast non-asymptotic rates for two important problems, linear regression with multiplicative noise and phase retrieval with multiplicative noise, both of which are of independent interest. Beyond this, the proof of our lower bound, which involves a novel adaptation of LeCam's method for handling infinite mutual information quantities (thereby preventing a direct application of standard techniques like Fano's method), could also be of broader interest for establishing lower bounds for other heteroscedastic or heavy-tailed statistical problems.

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Aniket Das, Dheeraj Nagaraj

Stein Variational Gradient Descent (SVGD) is a popular variational inference algorithm which simulates an interacting particle system to approximately sample from a target distribution, with impressive empirical performance across various domains. Theoretically, its population (i.e, infinite-particle) limit dynamics is well studied but the behavior of SVGD in the finite-particle regime is much less understood. In this work, we design two computationally efficient variants of SVGD, namely VP-SVGD (which is conceptually elegant) and GB-SVGD (which is empirically effective), with provably fast finite-particle convergence rates. We introduce the notion of \emph{virtual particles} and develop novel stochastic approximations of population-limit SVGD dynamics in the space of probability measures, which are exactly implementable using a finite number of particles. Our algorithms can be viewed as specific random-batch approximations of SVGD, which are computationally more efficient than ordinary SVGD. We show that the $n$ particles output by VP-SVGD and GB-SVGD, run for $T$ steps with batch-size $K$, are at-least as good as i.i.d samples from a distribution whose Kernel Stein Discrepancy to the target is at most $O\left(\tfrac{d^{1/3}}{(KT)^{1/6}}\right)$ under standard assumptions. Our results also hold under a mild growth condition on the potential function, which is much weaker than the isoperimetric (e.g. Poincare Inequality) or information-transport conditions (e.g. Talagrand's Inequality $\mathsf{T}_1$) generally considered in prior works. As a corollary, we consider the convergence of the empirical measure (of the particles output by VP-SVGD and GB-SVGD) to the target distribution and demonstrate a \emph{double exponential improvement} over the best known finite-particle analysis of SVGD.

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Aniket Das, Bernhard Schölkopf, Michael Muehlebach

We analyze the convergence rates of stochastic gradient algorithms for smooth finite-sum minimax optimization and show that, for many such algorithms, sampling the data points without replacement leads to faster convergence compared to sampling with replacement. For the smooth and strongly convex-strongly concave setting, we consider gradient descent ascent and the proximal point method, and present a unified analysis of two popular without-replacement sampling strategies, namely Random Reshuffling (RR), which shuffles the data every epoch, and Single Shuffling or Shuffle Once (SO), which shuffles only at the beginning. We obtain tight convergence rates for RR and SO and demonstrate that these strategies lead to faster convergence than uniform sampling. Moving beyond convexity, we obtain similar results for smooth nonconvex-nonconcave objectives satisfying a two-sided Polyak-{\L}ojasiewicz inequality. Finally, we demonstrate that our techniques are general enough to analyze the effect of data-ordering attacks, where an adversary manipulates the order in which data points are supplied to the optimizer. Our analysis also recovers tight rates for the incremental gradient method, where the data points are not shuffled at all.

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Avinandan Bose, Aniket Das, Yatin Dandi, Piyush Rai

A wide range of applications require learning image generation models whose latent space effectively captures the high-level factors of variation present in the data distribution. The extent to which a model represents such variations through its latent space can be judged by its ability to interpolate between images smoothly. However, most generative models mapping a fixed prior to the generated images lead to interpolation trajectories lacking smoothness and containing images of reduced quality. In this work, we propose a novel generative model that learns a flexible non-parametric prior over interpolation trajectories, conditioned on a pair of source and target images. Instead of relying on deterministic interpolation methods (such as linear or spherical interpolation in latent space), we devise a framework that learns a distribution of trajectories between two given images using Latent Second-Order Neural Ordinary Differential Equations. Through a hybrid combination of reconstruction and adversarial losses, the generator is trained to map the sampled points from these trajectories to sequences of realistic images that smoothly transition from the source to the target image. Through comprehensive qualitative and quantitative experiments, we demonstrate our approach's effectiveness in generating images of improved quality as well as its ability to learn a diverse distribution over smooth interpolation trajectories for any pair of real source and target images.

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Yatin Dandi, Aniket Das, Soumye Singhal, Vinay P. Namboodiri, Piyush Rai

In this work, we propose a modeling technique for jointly training image and video generation models by simultaneously learning to map latent variables with a fixed prior onto real images and interpolate over images to generate videos. The proposed approach models the variations in representations using residual vectors encoding the change at each time step over a summary vector for the entire video. We utilize the technique to jointly train an image generation model with a fixed prior along with a video generation model lacking constraints such as disentanglement. The joint training enables the image generator to exploit temporal information while the video generation model learns to flexibly share information across frames. Moreover, experimental results verify our approach's compatibility with pre-training on videos or images and training on datasets containing a mixture of both. A comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative evaluations reveal the improvements in sample quality and diversity over both video generation and image generation baselines. We further demonstrate the technique's capabilities of exploiting similarity in features across frames by applying it to a model based on decomposing the video into motion and content. The proposed model allows minor variations in content across frames while maintaining the temporal dependence through latent vectors encoding the pose or motion features.

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Avik Pal, Aniket Das

TorchGAN is a PyTorch based framework for writing succinct and comprehensible code for training and evaluation of Generative Adversarial Networks. The framework's modular design allows effortless customization of the model architecture, loss functions, training paradigms, and evaluation metrics. The key features of TorchGAN are its extensibility, built-in support for a large number of popular models, losses and evaluation metrics, and zero overhead compared to vanilla PyTorch. By using the framework to implement several popular GAN models, we demonstrate its extensibility and ease of use. We also benchmark the training time of our framework for said models against the corresponding baseline PyTorch implementations and observe that TorchGAN's features bear almost zero overhead.

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