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Pierre Marion, Anna Korba, Peter Bartlett, Mathieu Blondel, Valentin De Bortoli, Arnaud Doucet, Felipe Llinares-López, Courtney Paquette, Quentin Berthet

We present a new algorithm to optimize distributions defined implicitly by parameterized stochastic diffusions. Doing so allows us to modify the outcome distribution of sampling processes by optimizing over their parameters. We introduce a general framework for first-order optimization of these processes, that performs jointly, in a single loop, optimization and sampling steps. This approach is inspired by recent advances in bilevel optimization and automatic implicit differentiation, leveraging the point of view of sampling as optimization over the space of probability distributions. We provide theoretical guarantees on the performance of our method, as well as experimental results demonstrating its effectiveness in real-world settings.

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Pierre Marion, Yu-Han Wu, Michael E. Sander, Gérard Biau

Residual neural networks are state-of-the-art deep learning models. Their continuous-depth analog, neural ordinary differential equations (ODEs), are also widely used. Despite their success, the link between the discrete and continuous models still lacks a solid mathematical foundation. In this article, we take a step in this direction by establishing an implicit regularization of deep residual networks towards neural ODEs, for nonlinear networks trained with gradient flow. We prove that if the network is initialized as a discretization of a neural ODE, then such a discretization holds throughout training. Our results are valid for a finite training time, and also as the training time tends to infinity provided that the network satisfies a Polyak-Lojasiewicz condition. Importantly, this condition holds for a family of residual networks where the residuals are two-layer perceptrons with an overparameterization in width that is only linear, and implies the convergence of gradient flow to a global minimum. Numerical experiments illustrate our results.

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Pierre Marion

Neural ordinary differential equations (neural ODEs) are a popular family of continuous-depth deep learning models. In this work, we consider a large family of parameterized ODEs with continuous-in-time parameters, which include time-dependent neural ODEs. We derive a generalization bound for this class by a Lipschitz-based argument. By leveraging the analogy between neural ODEs and deep residual networks, our approach yields in particular a generalization bound for a class of deep residual networks. The bound involves the magnitude of the difference between successive weight matrices. We illustrate numerically how this quantity affects the generalization capability of neural networks.

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Pierre Marion, Raphaël Berthier

We study the training dynamics of shallow neural networks, in a two-timescale regime in which the stepsizes for the inner layer are much smaller than those for the outer layer. In this regime, we prove convergence of the gradient flow to a global optimum of the non-convex optimization problem in a simple univariate setting. The number of neurons need not be asymptotically large for our result to hold, distinguishing our result from popular recent approaches such as the neural tangent kernel or mean-field regimes. Experimental illustration is provided, showing that the stochastic gradient descent behaves according to our description of the gradient flow and thus converges to a global optimum in the two-timescale regime, but can fail outside of this regime.

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Pierre Marion, Adeline Fermanian, Gérard Biau, Jean-Philippe Vert

Deep ResNets are recognized for achieving state-of-the-art results in complex machine learning tasks. However, the remarkable performance of these architectures relies on a training procedure that needs to be carefully crafted to avoid vanishing or exploding gradients, particularly as the depth $L$ increases. No consensus has been reached on how to mitigate this issue, although a widely discussed strategy consists in scaling the output of each layer by a factor $\alpha_L$. We show in a probabilistic setting that with standard i.i.d. initializations, the only non-trivial dynamics is for $\alpha_L = 1/\sqrt{L}$ (other choices lead either to explosion or to identity mapping). This scaling factor corresponds in the continuous-time limit to a neural stochastic differential equation, contrarily to a widespread interpretation that deep ResNets are discretizations of neural ordinary differential equations. By contrast, in the latter regime, stability is obtained with specific correlated initializations and $\alpha_L = 1/L$. Our analysis suggests a strong interplay between scaling and regularity of the weights as a function of the layer index. Finally, in a series of experiments, we exhibit a continuous range of regimes driven by these two parameters, which jointly impact performance before and after training.

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Pierre Marion, Paweł Krzysztof Nowak, Francesco Piccinno

We tackle the problem of weakly-supervised conversational Question Answering over large Knowledge Graphs using a neural semantic parsing approach. We introduce a new Logical Form (LF) grammar that can model a wide range of queries on the graph while remaining sufficiently simple to generate supervision data efficiently. Our Transformer-based model takes a JSON-like structure as input, allowing us to easily incorporate both Knowledge Graph and conversational contexts. This structured input is transformed to lists of embeddings and then fed to standard attention layers. We validate our approach, both in terms of grammar coverage and LF execution accuracy, on two publicly available datasets, CSQA and ConvQuestions, both grounded in Wikidata. On CSQA, our approach increases the coverage from $80\%$ to $96.2\%$, and the LF execution accuracy from $70.6\%$ to $75.6\%$, with respect to previous state-of-the-art results. On ConvQuestions, we achieve competitive results with respect to the state-of-the-art.

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Adeline Fermanian, Pierre Marion, Jean-Philippe Vert, Gérard Biau

Building on the interpretation of a recurrent neural network (RNN) as a continuous-time neural differential equation, we show, under appropriate conditions, that the solution of a RNN can be viewed as a linear function of a specific feature set of the input sequence, known as the signature. This connection allows us to frame a RNN as a kernel method in a suitable reproducing kernel Hilbert space. As a consequence, we obtain theoretical guarantees on generalization and stability for a large class of recurrent networks. Our results are illustrated on simulated datasets.

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