Alert button
Picture for Francesco Locatello

Francesco Locatello

Alert button

Amazon Research Tuebingen

Multi-View Causal Representation Learning with Partial Observability

Nov 07, 2023
Dingling Yao, Danru Xu, Sébastien Lachapelle, Sara Magliacane, Perouz Taslakian, Georg Martius, Julius von Kügelgen, Francesco Locatello

We present a unified framework for studying the identifiability of representations learned from simultaneously observed views, such as different data modalities. We allow a partially observed setting in which each view constitutes a nonlinear mixture of a subset of underlying latent variables, which can be causally related. We prove that the information shared across all subsets of any number of views can be learned up to a smooth bijection using contrastive learning and a single encoder per view. We also provide graphical criteria indicating which latent variables can be identified through a simple set of rules, which we refer to as identifiability algebra. Our general framework and theoretical results unify and extend several previous works on multi-view nonlinear ICA, disentanglement, and causal representation learning. We experimentally validate our claims on numerical, image, and multi-modal data sets. Further, we demonstrate that the performance of prior methods is recovered in different special cases of our setup. Overall, we find that access to multiple partial views enables us to identify a more fine-grained representation, under the generally milder assumption of partial observability.

* 28 pages, 10 figures, 10 tables 
Viaarxiv icon

Latent Space Translation via Semantic Alignment

Nov 01, 2023
Valentino Maiorca, Luca Moschella, Antonio Norelli, Marco Fumero, Francesco Locatello, Emanuele Rodolà

While different neural models often exhibit latent spaces that are alike when exposed to semantically related data, this intrinsic similarity is not always immediately discernible. Towards a better understanding of this phenomenon, our work shows how representations learned from these neural modules can be translated between different pre-trained networks via simpler transformations than previously thought. An advantage of this approach is the ability to estimate these transformations using standard, well-understood algebraic procedures that have closed-form solutions. Our method directly estimates a transformation between two given latent spaces, thereby enabling effective stitching of encoders and decoders without additional training. We extensively validate the adaptability of this translation procedure in different experimental settings: across various trainings, domains, architectures (e.g., ResNet, CNN, ViT), and in multiple downstream tasks (classification, reconstruction). Notably, we show how it is possible to zero-shot stitch text encoders and vision decoders, or vice-versa, yielding surprisingly good classification performance in this multimodal setting.

* Accepted at NeurIPS 2023. 21 pages, 13 figures, 8 tables 
Viaarxiv icon

Sample Complexity Bounds for Score-Matching: Causal Discovery and Generative Modeling

Oct 27, 2023
Zhenyu Zhu, Francesco Locatello, Volkan Cevher

This paper provides statistical sample complexity bounds for score-matching and its applications in causal discovery. We demonstrate that accurate estimation of the score function is achievable by training a standard deep ReLU neural network using stochastic gradient descent. We establish bounds on the error rate of recovering causal relationships using the score-matching-based causal discovery method of Rolland et al. [2022], assuming a sufficiently good estimation of the score function. Finally, we analyze the upper bound of score-matching estimation within the score-based generative modeling, which has been applied for causal discovery but is also of independent interest within the domain of generative models.

* Accepted in NeurIPS 2023 
Viaarxiv icon

Shortcuts for causal discovery of nonlinear models by score matching

Oct 22, 2023
Francesco Montagna, Nicoletta Noceti, Lorenzo Rosasco, Francesco Locatello

The use of simulated data in the field of causal discovery is ubiquitous due to the scarcity of annotated real data. Recently, Reisach et al., 2021 highlighted the emergence of patterns in simulated linear data, which displays increasing marginal variance in the casual direction. As an ablation in their experiments, Montagna et al., 2023 found that similar patterns may emerge in nonlinear models for the variance of the score vector $\nabla \log p_{\mathbf{X}}$, and introduced the ScoreSort algorithm. In this work, we formally define and characterize this score-sortability pattern of nonlinear additive noise models. We find that it defines a class of identifiable (bivariate) causal models overlapping with nonlinear additive noise models. We theoretically demonstrate the advantages of ScoreSort in terms of statistical efficiency compared to prior state-of-the-art score matching-based methods and empirically show the score-sortability of the most common synthetic benchmarks in the literature. Our findings remark (1) the lack of diversity in the data as an important limitation in the evaluation of nonlinear causal discovery approaches, (2) the importance of thoroughly testing different settings within a problem class, and (3) the importance of analyzing statistical properties in causal discovery, where research is often limited to defining identifiability conditions of the model.

Viaarxiv icon

Assumption violations in causal discovery and the robustness of score matching

Oct 20, 2023
Francesco Montagna, Atalanti A. Mastakouri, Elias Eulig, Nicoletta Noceti, Lorenzo Rosasco, Dominik Janzing, Bryon Aragam, Francesco Locatello

When domain knowledge is limited and experimentation is restricted by ethical, financial, or time constraints, practitioners turn to observational causal discovery methods to recover the causal structure, exploiting the statistical properties of their data. Because causal discovery without further assumptions is an ill-posed problem, each algorithm comes with its own set of usually untestable assumptions, some of which are hard to meet in real datasets. Motivated by these considerations, this paper extensively benchmarks the empirical performance of recent causal discovery methods on observational i.i.d. data generated under different background conditions, allowing for violations of the critical assumptions required by each selected approach. Our experimental findings show that score matching-based methods demonstrate surprising performance in the false positive and false negative rate of the inferred graph in these challenging scenarios, and we provide theoretical insights into their performance. This work is also the first effort to benchmark the stability of causal discovery algorithms with respect to the values of their hyperparameters. Finally, we hope this paper will set a new standard for the evaluation of causal discovery methods and can serve as an accessible entry point for practitioners interested in the field, highlighting the empirical implications of different algorithm choices.

Viaarxiv icon

Unsupervised Open-Vocabulary Object Localization in Videos

Sep 18, 2023
Ke Fan, Zechen Bai, Tianjun Xiao, Dominik Zietlow, Max Horn, Zixu Zhao, Carl-Johann Simon-Gabriel, Mike Zheng Shou, Francesco Locatello, Bernt Schiele, Thomas Brox, Zheng Zhang, Yanwei Fu, Tong He

Figure 1 for Unsupervised Open-Vocabulary Object Localization in Videos
Figure 2 for Unsupervised Open-Vocabulary Object Localization in Videos
Figure 3 for Unsupervised Open-Vocabulary Object Localization in Videos
Figure 4 for Unsupervised Open-Vocabulary Object Localization in Videos

In this paper, we show that recent advances in video representation learning and pre-trained vision-language models allow for substantial improvements in self-supervised video object localization. We propose a method that first localizes objects in videos via a slot attention approach and then assigns text to the obtained slots. The latter is achieved by an unsupervised way to read localized semantic information from the pre-trained CLIP model. The resulting video object localization is entirely unsupervised apart from the implicit annotation contained in CLIP, and it is effectively the first unsupervised approach that yields good results on regular video benchmarks.

* Accepted by ICCV 2023 
Viaarxiv icon

Object-Centric Multiple Object Tracking

Sep 05, 2023
Zixu Zhao, Jiaze Wang, Max Horn, Yizhuo Ding, Tong He, Zechen Bai, Dominik Zietlow, Carl-Johann Simon-Gabriel, Bing Shuai, Zhuowen Tu, Thomas Brox, Bernt Schiele, Yanwei Fu, Francesco Locatello, Zheng Zhang, Tianjun Xiao

Figure 1 for Object-Centric Multiple Object Tracking
Figure 2 for Object-Centric Multiple Object Tracking
Figure 3 for Object-Centric Multiple Object Tracking
Figure 4 for Object-Centric Multiple Object Tracking

Unsupervised object-centric learning methods allow the partitioning of scenes into entities without additional localization information and are excellent candidates for reducing the annotation burden of multiple-object tracking (MOT) pipelines. Unfortunately, they lack two key properties: objects are often split into parts and are not consistently tracked over time. In fact, state-of-the-art models achieve pixel-level accuracy and temporal consistency by relying on supervised object detection with additional ID labels for the association through time. This paper proposes a video object-centric model for MOT. It consists of an index-merge module that adapts the object-centric slots into detection outputs and an object memory module that builds complete object prototypes to handle occlusions. Benefited from object-centric learning, we only require sparse detection labels (0%-6.25%) for object localization and feature binding. Relying on our self-supervised Expectation-Maximization-inspired loss for object association, our approach requires no ID labels. Our experiments significantly narrow the gap between the existing object-centric model and the fully supervised state-of-the-art and outperform several unsupervised trackers.

* ICCV 2023 camera-ready version 
Viaarxiv icon

Self-Compatibility: Evaluating Causal Discovery without Ground Truth

Jul 18, 2023
Philipp M. Faller, Leena Chennuru Vankadara, Atalanti A. Mastakouri, Francesco Locatello, Dominik Janzing

Figure 1 for Self-Compatibility: Evaluating Causal Discovery without Ground Truth
Figure 2 for Self-Compatibility: Evaluating Causal Discovery without Ground Truth
Figure 3 for Self-Compatibility: Evaluating Causal Discovery without Ground Truth
Figure 4 for Self-Compatibility: Evaluating Causal Discovery without Ground Truth

As causal ground truth is incredibly rare, causal discovery algorithms are commonly only evaluated on simulated data. This is concerning, given that simulations reflect common preconceptions about generating processes regarding noise distributions, model classes, and more. In this work, we propose a novel method for falsifying the output of a causal discovery algorithm in the absence of ground truth. Our key insight is that while statistical learning seeks stability across subsets of data points, causal learning should seek stability across subsets of variables. Motivated by this insight, our method relies on a notion of compatibility between causal graphs learned on different subsets of variables. We prove that detecting incompatibilities can falsify wrongly inferred causal relations due to violation of assumptions or errors from finite sample effects. Although passing such compatibility tests is only a necessary criterion for good performance, we argue that it provides strong evidence for the causal models whenever compatibility entails strong implications for the joint distribution. We also demonstrate experimentally that detection of incompatibilities can aid in causal model selection.

* 28 pages, 10 figures 
Viaarxiv icon

Unsupervised Conditional Slot Attention for Object Centric Learning

Jul 18, 2023
Avinash Kori, Francesco Locatello, Francesca Toni, Ben Glocker

Figure 1 for Unsupervised Conditional Slot Attention for Object Centric Learning
Figure 2 for Unsupervised Conditional Slot Attention for Object Centric Learning
Figure 3 for Unsupervised Conditional Slot Attention for Object Centric Learning
Figure 4 for Unsupervised Conditional Slot Attention for Object Centric Learning

Extracting object-level representations for downstream reasoning tasks is an emerging area in AI. Learning object-centric representations in an unsupervised setting presents multiple challenges, a key one being binding an arbitrary number of object instances to a specialized object slot. Recent object-centric representation methods like Slot Attention utilize iterative attention to learn composable representations with dynamic inference level binding but fail to achieve specialized slot level binding. To address this, in this paper we propose Unsupervised Conditional Slot Attention using a novel Probabilistic Slot Dictionary (PSD). We define PSD with (i) abstract object-level property vectors as key and (ii) parametric Gaussian distribution as its corresponding value. We demonstrate the benefits of the learnt specific object-level conditioning distributions in multiple downstream tasks, namely object discovery, compositional scene generation, and compositional visual reasoning. We show that our method provides scene composition capabilities and a significant boost in a few shot adaptability tasks of compositional visual reasoning, while performing similarly or better than slot attention in object discovery tasks

Viaarxiv icon