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Authors:Yashas Samaga B L, Varun Yerram, Chong You, Srinadh Bhojanapalli, Sanjiv Kumar, Prateek Jain, Praneeth Netrapalli

Abstract:Autoregressive decoding with generative Large Language Models (LLMs) on accelerators (GPUs/TPUs) is often memory-bound where most of the time is spent on transferring model parameters from high bandwidth memory (HBM) to cache. On the other hand, recent works show that LLMs can maintain quality with significant sparsity/redundancy in the feedforward (FFN) layers by appropriately training the model to operate on a top-$k$ fraction of rows/columns (where $k \approx 0.05$), there by suggesting a way to reduce the transfer of model parameters, and hence latency. However, exploiting this sparsity for improving latency is hindered by the fact that identifying top rows/columns is data-dependent and is usually performed using full matrix operations, severely limiting potential gains. To address these issues, we introduce HiRE (High Recall Approximate Top-k Estimation). HiRE comprises of two novel components: (i) a compression scheme to cheaply predict top-$k$ rows/columns with high recall, followed by full computation restricted to the predicted subset, and (ii) DA-TOP-$k$: an efficient multi-device approximate top-$k$ operator. We demonstrate that on a one billion parameter model, HiRE applied to both the softmax as well as feedforward layers, achieves almost matching pretraining and downstream accuracy, and speeds up inference latency by $1.47\times$ on a single TPUv5e device.

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Abstract:Neural collapse provides an elegant mathematical characterization of learned last layer representations (a.k.a. features) and classifier weights in deep classification models. Such results not only provide insights but also motivate new techniques for improving practical deep models. However, most of the existing empirical and theoretical studies in neural collapse focus on the case that the number of classes is small relative to the dimension of the feature space. This paper extends neural collapse to cases where the number of classes are much larger than the dimension of feature space, which broadly occur for language models, retrieval systems, and face recognition applications. We show that the features and classifier exhibit a generalized neural collapse phenomenon, where the minimum one-vs-rest margins is maximized.We provide empirical study to verify the occurrence of generalized neural collapse in practical deep neural networks. Moreover, we provide theoretical study to show that the generalized neural collapse provably occurs under unconstrained feature model with spherical constraint, under certain technical conditions on feature dimension and number of classes.

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Abstract:Classical wisdom in machine learning holds that the generalization error can be decomposed into bias and variance, and these two terms exhibit a \emph{trade-off}. However, in this paper, we show that for an ensemble of deep learning based classification models, bias and variance are \emph{aligned} at a sample level, where squared bias is approximately \emph{equal} to variance for correctly classified sample points. We present empirical evidence confirming this phenomenon in a variety of deep learning models and datasets. Moreover, we study this phenomenon from two theoretical perspectives: calibration and neural collapse. We first show theoretically that under the assumption that the models are well calibrated, we can observe the bias-variance alignment. Second, starting from the picture provided by the neural collapse theory, we show an approximate correlation between bias and variance.

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Authors:Shanda Li, Chong You, Guru Guruganesh, Joshua Ainslie, Santiago Ontanon, Manzil Zaheer, Sumit Sanghai, Yiming Yang, Sanjiv Kumar, Srinadh Bhojanapalli

Abstract:Preventing the performance decay of Transformers on inputs longer than those used for training has been an important challenge in extending the context length of these models. Though the Transformer architecture has fundamentally no limits on the input sequence lengths it can process, the choice of position encoding used during training can limit the performance of these models on longer inputs. We propose a novel functional relative position encoding with progressive interpolation, FIRE, to improve Transformer generalization to longer contexts. We theoretically prove that this can represent some of the popular relative position encodings, such as T5's RPE, Alibi, and Kerple. We next empirically show that FIRE models have better generalization to longer contexts on both zero-shot language modeling and long text benchmarks.

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Authors:Xili Dai, Mingyang Li, Pengyuan Zhai, Shengbang Tong, Xingjian Gao, Shao-Lun Huang, Zhihui Zhu, Chong You, Yi Ma

Abstract:Despite strong empirical performance for image classification, deep neural networks are often regarded as ``black boxes'' and they are difficult to interpret. On the other hand, sparse convolutional models, which assume that a signal can be expressed by a linear combination of a few elements from a convolutional dictionary, are powerful tools for analyzing natural images with good theoretical interpretability and biological plausibility. However, such principled models have not demonstrated competitive performance when compared with empirically designed deep networks. This paper revisits the sparse convolutional modeling for image classification and bridges the gap between good empirical performance (of deep learning) and good interpretability (of sparse convolutional models). Our method uses differentiable optimization layers that are defined from convolutional sparse coding as drop-in replacements of standard convolutional layers in conventional deep neural networks. We show that such models have equally strong empirical performance on CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, and ImageNet datasets when compared to conventional neural networks. By leveraging stable recovery property of sparse modeling, we further show that such models can be much more robust to input corruptions as well as adversarial perturbations in testing through a simple proper trade-off between sparse regularization and data reconstruction terms. Source code can be found at https://github.com/Delay-Xili/SDNet.

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Authors:Zonglin Li, Chong You, Srinadh Bhojanapalli, Daliang Li, Ankit Singh Rawat, Sashank J. Reddi, Ke Ye, Felix Chern, Felix Yu, Ruiqi Guo(+1 more)

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Abstract:This paper studies the curious phenomenon for machine learning models with Transformer architectures that their activation maps are sparse. By activation map we refer to the intermediate output of the multi-layer perceptrons (MLPs) after a ReLU activation function, and by "sparse" we mean that on average very few entries (e.g., 3.0% for T5-Base and 6.3% for ViT-B16) are nonzero for each input to MLP. Moreover, larger Transformers with more layers and wider MLP hidden dimensions are sparser as measured by the percentage of nonzero entries. Through extensive experiments we demonstrate that the emergence of sparsity is a prevalent phenomenon that occurs for both natural language processing and vision tasks, on both training and evaluation data, for Transformers of various configurations, at layers of all depth levels, as well as for other architectures including MLP-mixers and 2-layer MLPs. We show that sparsity also emerges using training datasets with random labels, or with random inputs, or with infinite amount of data, demonstrating that sparsity is not a result of a specific family of datasets. We discuss how sparsity immediately implies a way to significantly reduce the FLOP count and improve efficiency for Transformers. Moreover, we demonstrate perhaps surprisingly that enforcing an even sparser activation via Top-k thresholding with a small value of k brings a collection of desired but missing properties for Transformers, namely less sensitivity to noisy training data, more robustness to input corruptions, and better calibration for their prediction confidence.

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Abstract:While cross entropy (CE) is the most commonly used loss to train deep neural networks for classification tasks, many alternative losses have been developed to obtain better empirical performance. Among them, which one is the best to use is still a mystery, because there seem to be multiple factors affecting the answer, such as properties of the dataset, the choice of network architecture, and so on. This paper studies the choice of loss function by examining the last-layer features of deep networks, drawing inspiration from a recent line work showing that the global optimal solution of CE and mean-square-error (MSE) losses exhibits a Neural Collapse phenomenon. That is, for sufficiently large networks trained until convergence, (i) all features of the same class collapse to the corresponding class mean and (ii) the means associated with different classes are in a configuration where their pairwise distances are all equal and maximized. We extend such results and show through global solution and landscape analyses that a broad family of loss functions including commonly used label smoothing (LS) and focal loss (FL) exhibits Neural Collapse. Hence, all relevant losses(i.e., CE, LS, FL, MSE) produce equivalent features on training data. Based on the unconstrained feature model assumption, we provide either the global landscape analysis for LS loss or the local landscape analysis for FL loss and show that the (only!) global minimizers are neural collapse solutions, while all other critical points are strict saddles whose Hessian exhibit negative curvature directions either in the global scope for LS loss or in the local scope for FL loss near the optimal solution. The experiments further show that Neural Collapse features obtained from all relevant losses lead to largely identical performance on test data as well, provided that the network is sufficiently large and trained until convergence.

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Authors:Manzil Zaheer, Ankit Singh Rawat, Seungyeon Kim, Chong You, Himanshu Jain, Andreas Veit, Rob Fergus, Sanjiv Kumar

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Abstract:The remarkable performance gains realized by large pretrained models, e.g., GPT-3, hinge on the massive amounts of data they are exposed to during training. Analogously, distilling such large models to compact models for efficient deployment also necessitates a large amount of (labeled or unlabeled) training data. In this paper, we propose the teacher-guided training (TGT) framework for training a high-quality compact model that leverages the knowledge acquired by pretrained generative models, while obviating the need to go through a large volume of data. TGT exploits the fact that the teacher has acquired a good representation of the underlying data domain, which typically corresponds to a much lower dimensional manifold than the input space. Furthermore, we can use the teacher to explore input space more efficiently through sampling or gradient-based methods; thus, making TGT especially attractive for limited data or long-tail settings. We formally capture this benefit of proposed data-domain exploration in our generalization bounds. We find that TGT can improve accuracy on several image classification benchmarks as well as a range of text classification and retrieval tasks.

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Abstract:When training deep neural networks for classification tasks, an intriguing empirical phenomenon has been widely observed in the last-layer classifiers and features, where (i) the class means and the last-layer classifiers all collapse to the vertices of a Simplex Equiangular Tight Frame (ETF) up to scaling, and (ii) cross-example within-class variability of last-layer activations collapses to zero. This phenomenon is called Neural Collapse (NC), which seems to take place regardless of the choice of loss functions. In this work, we justify NC under the mean squared error (MSE) loss, where recent empirical evidence shows that it performs comparably or even better than the de-facto cross-entropy loss. Under a simplified unconstrained feature model, we provide the first global landscape analysis for vanilla nonconvex MSE loss and show that the (only!) global minimizers are neural collapse solutions, while all other critical points are strict saddles whose Hessian exhibit negative curvature directions. Furthermore, we justify the usage of rescaled MSE loss by probing the optimization landscape around the NC solutions, showing that the landscape can be improved by tuning the rescaling hyperparameters. Finally, our theoretical findings are experimentally verified on practical network architectures.

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Abstract:Recently, over-parameterized deep networks, with increasingly more network parameters than training samples, have dominated the performances of modern machine learning. However, when the training data is corrupted, it has been well-known that over-parameterized networks tend to overfit and do not generalize. In this work, we propose a principled approach for robust training of over-parameterized deep networks in classification tasks where a proportion of training labels are corrupted. The main idea is yet very simple: label noise is sparse and incoherent with the network learned from clean data, so we model the noise and learn to separate it from the data. Specifically, we model the label noise via another sparse over-parameterization term, and exploit implicit algorithmic regularizations to recover and separate the underlying corruptions. Remarkably, when trained using such a simple method in practice, we demonstrate state-of-the-art test accuracy against label noise on a variety of real datasets. Furthermore, our experimental results are corroborated by theory on simplified linear models, showing that exact separation between sparse noise and low-rank data can be achieved under incoherent conditions. The work opens many interesting directions for improving over-parameterized models by using sparse over-parameterization and implicit regularization.

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