Get our free extension to see links to code for papers anywhere online!Free add-on: code for papers everywhere!Free add-on: See code for papers anywhere!

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Despite their stellar performance on a wide range of tasks, including in-context tasks only revealed during inference, vanilla transformers and variants trained for next-token predictions (a) do not learn an explicit world model of their environment which can be flexibly queried and (b) cannot be used for planning or navigation. In this paper, we consider partially observed environments (POEs), where an agent receives perceptually aliased observations as it navigates, which makes path planning hard. We introduce a transformer with (multiple) discrete bottleneck(s), TDB, whose latent codes learn a compressed representation of the history of observations and actions. After training a TDB to predict the future observation(s) given the history, we extract interpretable cognitive maps of the environment from its active bottleneck(s) indices. These maps are then paired with an external solver to solve (constrained) path planning problems. First, we show that a TDB trained on POEs (a) retains the near perfect predictive performance of a vanilla transformer or an LSTM while (b) solving shortest path problems exponentially faster. Second, a TDB extracts interpretable representations from text datasets, while reaching higher in-context accuracy than vanilla sequence models. Finally, in new POEs, a TDB (a) reaches near-perfect in-context accuracy, (b) learns accurate in-context cognitive maps (c) solves in-context path planning problems.

Via

Authors:Sivaramakrishnan Swaminathan, Antoine Dedieu, Rajkumar Vasudeva Raju, Murray Shanahan, Miguel Lazaro-Gredilla, Dileep George

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:In-context learning (ICL) is one of the most powerful and most unexpected capabilities to emerge in recent transformer-based large language models (LLMs). Yet the mechanisms that underlie it are poorly understood. In this paper, we demonstrate that comparable ICL capabilities can be acquired by an alternative sequence prediction learning method using clone-structured causal graphs (CSCGs). Moreover, a key property of CSCGs is that, unlike transformer-based LLMs, they are {\em interpretable}, which considerably simplifies the task of explaining how ICL works. Specifically, we show that it uses a combination of (a) learning template (schema) circuits for pattern completion, (b) retrieving relevant templates in a context-sensitive manner, and (c) rebinding of novel tokens to appropriate slots in the templates. We go on to marshall evidence for the hypothesis that similar mechanisms underlie ICL in LLMs. For example, we find that, with CSCGs as with LLMs, different capabilities emerge at different levels of overparameterization, suggesting that overparameterization helps in learning more complex template (schema) circuits. By showing how ICL can be achieved with small models and datasets, we open up a path to novel architectures, and take a vital step towards a more general understanding of the mechanics behind this important capability.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Noisy-OR Bayesian Networks (BNs) are a family of probabilistic graphical models which express rich statistical dependencies in binary data. Variational inference (VI) has been the main method proposed to learn noisy-OR BNs with complex latent structures (Jaakkola & Jordan, 1999; Ji et al., 2020; Buhai et al., 2020). However, the proposed VI approaches either (a) use a recognition network with standard amortized inference that cannot induce ``explaining-away''; or (b) assume a simple mean-field (MF) posterior which is vulnerable to bad local optima. Existing MF VI methods also update the MF parameters sequentially which makes them inherently slow. In this paper, we propose parallel max-product as an alternative algorithm for learning noisy-OR BNs with complex latent structures and we derive a fast stochastic training scheme that scales to large datasets. We evaluate both approaches on several benchmarks where VI is the state-of-the-art and show that our method (a) achieves better test performance than Ji et al. (2020) for learning noisy-OR BNs with hierarchical latent structures on large sparse real datasets; (b) recovers a higher number of ground truth parameters than Buhai et al. (2020) from cluttered synthetic scenes; and (c) solves the 2D blind deconvolution problem from Lazaro-Gredilla et al. (2021) and variant - including binary matrix factorization - while VI catastrophically fails and is up to two orders of magnitude slower.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Discrete undirected graphical models, also known as Markov Random Fields (MRFs), can flexibly encode probabilistic interactions of multiple variables, and have enjoyed successful applications to a wide range of problems. However, a well-known yet little studied limitation of discrete MRFs is that they cannot capture context-specific independence (CSI). Existing methods require carefully developed theories and purpose-built inference methods, which limit their applications to only small-scale problems. In this paper, we propose the Markov Attention Model (MAM), a family of discrete MRFs that incorporates an attention mechanism. The attention mechanism allows variables to dynamically attend to some other variables while ignoring the rest, and enables capturing of CSIs in MRFs. A MAM is formulated as an MRF, allowing it to benefit from the rich set of existing MRF inference methods and scale to large models and datasets. To demonstrate MAM's capabilities to capture CSIs at scale, we apply MAMs to capture an important type of CSI that is present in a symbolic approach to recurrent computations in perceptual grouping. Experiments on two recently proposed synthetic perceptual grouping tasks and on realistic images demonstrate the advantages of MAMs in sample-efficiency, interpretability and generalizability when compared with strong recurrent neural network baselines, and validate MAM's capabilities to efficiently capture CSIs at scale.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Perturb-and-MAP offers an elegant approach to approximately sample from a energy-based model (EBM) by computing the maximum-a-posteriori (MAP) configuration of a perturbed version of the model. Sampling in turn enables learning. However, this line of research has been hindered by the general intractability of the MAP computation. Very few works venture outside tractable models, and when they do, they use linear programming approaches, which as we will show, have several limitations. In this work we present perturb-and-max-product (PMP), a parallel and scalable mechanism for sampling and learning in discrete EBMs. Models can be arbitrary as long as they are built using tractable factors. We show that (a) for Ising models, PMP is orders of magnitude faster than Gibbs and Gibbs-with-Gradients (GWG) at learning and generating samples of similar or better quality; (b) PMP is able to learn and sample from RBMs; (c) in a large, entangled graphical model in which Gibbs and GWG fail to mix, PMP succeeds.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We consider the problem of learning the underlying graph of a sparse Ising model with $p$ nodes from $n$ i.i.d. samples. The most recent and best performing approaches combine an empirical loss (the logistic regression loss or the interaction screening loss) with a regularizer (an L1 penalty or an L1 constraint). This results in a convex problem that can be solved separately for each node of the graph. In this work, we leverage the cardinality constraint L0 norm, which is known to properly induce sparsity, and further combine it with an L2 norm to better model the non-zero coefficients. We show that our proposed estimators achieve an improved sample complexity, both (a) theoretically -- by reaching new state-of-the-art upper bounds for recovery guarantees -- and (b) empirically -- by showing sharper phase transitions between poor and full recovery for graph topologies studied in the literature -- when compared to their L1-based counterparts.

Via

Authors:Miguel Lázaro-Gredilla, Wolfgang Lehrach, Nishad Gothoskar, Guangyao Zhou, Antoine Dedieu, Dileep George

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:Probabilistic graphical models (PGMs) provide a compact representation of knowledge that can be queried in a flexible way: after learning the parameters of a graphical model, new probabilistic queries can be answered at test time without retraining. However, learning undirected graphical models is notoriously hard due to the intractability of the partition function. For directed models, a popular approach is to use variational autoencoders, but there is no systematic way to choose the encoder architecture given the PGM, and the encoder only amortizes inference for a single probabilistic query (i.e., new queries require separate training). We introduce Query Training (QT), a systematic method to turn any PGM structure (directed or not, with or without hidden variables) into a trainable inference network. This single network can approximate any inference query. We demonstrate experimentally that QT can be used to learn a challenging 8-connected grid Markov random field with hidden variables and that it consistently outperforms the state-of-the-art AdVIL when tested on three undirected models across multiple datasets.

Via

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We consider a discrete optimization based approach for learning sparse classifiers, where the outcome depends upon a linear combination of a small subset of features. Recent work has shown that mixed integer programming (MIP) can be used to solve (to optimality) $\ell_0$-regularized problems at scales much larger than what was conventionally considered possible in the statistics and machine learning communities. Despite their usefulness, MIP-based approaches are significantly slower compared to relatively mature algorithms based on $\ell_1$-regularization and relatives. We aim to bridge this computational gap by developing new MIP-based algorithms for $\ell_0$-regularized classification. We propose two classes of scalable algorithms: an exact algorithm that can handle $p\approx 50,000$ features in a few minutes, and approximate algorithms that can address instances with $p\approx 10^6$ in times comparable to fast $\ell_1$-based algorithms. Our exact algorithm is based on the novel idea of \textsl{integrality generation}, which solves the original problem (with $p$ binary variables) via a sequence of mixed integer programs that involve a small number of binary variables. Our approximate algorithms are based on coordinate descent and local combinatorial search. In addition, we present new estimation error bounds for a class of $\ell_0$-regularized estimators. Experiments on real and synthetic data demonstrate that our approach leads to models with considerably improved statistical performance (especially, variable selection) when compared to competing toolkits.

Via

Authors:Antoine Dedieu

Abstract:We leverage recent advances in high-dimensional statistics to derive new L2 estimation upper bounds for Lasso and Group Lasso in high-dimensions. For Lasso, our bounds scale as $(k^*/n) \log(p/k^*)$---$n\times p$ is the size of the design matrix and $k^*$ the dimension of the ground truth $\boldsymbol{\beta}^*$---and match the optimal minimax rate. For Group Lasso, our bounds scale as $(s^*/n) \log\left( G / s^* \right) + m^* / n$---$G$ is the total number of groups and $m^*$ the number of coefficients in the $s^*$ groups which contain $\boldsymbol{\beta}^*$---and improve over existing results. We additionally show that when the signal is strongly group-sparse, Group Lasso is superior to Lasso.

Via

Authors:Antoine Dedieu

Figures and Tables:

Abstract:We study a family of sparse estimators defined as minimizers of some empirical Lipschitz loss function---which include hinge, logistic and quantile regression losses---with a convex, sparse or group-sparse regularization. In particular, we consider the L1-norm on the coefficients, its sorted Slope version, and the Group L1-L2 extension. First, we propose a theoretical framework which simultaneously derives new L2 estimation upper bounds for all three regularization schemes. For L1 and Slope regularizations, our bounds scale as $(k^*/n) \log(p/k^*)$---$n\times p$ is the size of the design matrix and $k^*$ the dimension of the theoretical loss minimizer $\beta^*$---matching the optimal minimax rate achieved for the least-squares case. For Group L1-L2 regularization, our bounds scale as $(s^*/n) \log\left( G / s^* \right) + m^* / n$---$G$ is the total number of groups and $m^*$ the number of coefficients in the $s^*$ groups which contain $\beta^*$---and improve over the least-squares case. We additionally show that when the signal is strongly group-sparse Group L1-L2 is superior to L1 and Slope. Our bounds are achieved both in probability and in expectation, under common assumptions in the literature. Second, we propose an accelerated proximal algorithm which computes the convex estimators studied when the number of variables is of the order of $100,000$. We additionally compare their statistical performance of our estimators against standard baselines for settings where the signal is either sparse or group-sparse. Our experiments findings reveal (i) the good empirical performance of L1 and Slope regularizations for sparse binary classification problems, (ii) the superiority of Group L1-L2 regularization for group-sparse classification problems and (iii) the appealing properties of sparse quantile regression estimators for sparse regression problems with heteroscedastic noise.

Via