Network Architecture Search and specifically Regularized Evolution is a common way to refine the structure of a deep learning model.However, little is known about how models empirically evolve over time which has design implications for designing caching policies, refining the search algorithm for particular applications, and other important use cases.In this work, we algorithmically analyze and quantitatively characterize the patterns of model evolution for a set of models from the Candle project and the Nasbench-201 search space.We show how the evolution of the model structure is influenced by the regularized evolution algorithm. We describe how evolutionary patterns appear in distributed settings and opportunities for caching and improved scheduling. Lastly, we describe the conditions that affect when particular model architectures rise and fall in popularity based on their frequency of acting as a donor in a sliding window.
Research on both natural intelligence (NI) and artificial intelligence (AI) generally assumes that the future resembles the past: intelligent agents or systems (what we call 'intelligence') observe and act on the world, then use this experience to act on future experiences of the same kind. We call this 'retrospective learning'. For example, an intelligence may see a set of pictures of objects, along with their names, and learn to name them. A retrospective learning intelligence would merely be able to name more pictures of the same objects. We argue that this is not what true intelligence is about. In many real world problems, both NIs and AIs will have to learn for an uncertain future. Both must update their internal models to be useful for future tasks, such as naming fundamentally new objects and using these objects effectively in a new context or to achieve previously unencountered goals. This ability to learn for the future we call 'prospective learning'. We articulate four relevant factors that jointly define prospective learning. Continual learning enables intelligences to remember those aspects of the past which it believes will be most useful in the future. Prospective constraints (including biases and priors) facilitate the intelligence finding general solutions that will be applicable to future problems. Curiosity motivates taking actions that inform future decision making, including in previously unmet situations. Causal estimation enables learning the structure of relations that guide choosing actions for specific outcomes, even when the specific action-outcome contingencies have never been observed before. We argue that a paradigm shift from retrospective to prospective learning will enable the communities that study intelligence to unite and overcome existing bottlenecks to more effectively explain, augment, and engineer intelligences.
We present methods to serialize and deserialize tree ensembles that optimize inference latency when models are not already loaded into memory. This arises whenever models are larger than memory, but also systematically when models are deployed on low-resource devices, such as in the Internet of Things, or run as Web micro-services where resources are allocated on demand. Our packed serialized trees (PACSET) encode reference locality in the layout of a tree ensemble using principles from external memory algorithms. The layout interleaves correlated nodes across multiple trees, uses leaf cardinality to collocate the nodes on the most popular paths and is optimized for the I/O blocksize. The result is that each I/O yields a higher fraction of useful data, leading to a 2-6 times reduction in classification latency for interactive workloads.
Geodesic distance is the shortest path between two points in a Riemannian manifold. Manifold learning algorithms, such as Isomap, seek to learn a manifold that preserves geodesic distances. However, such methods operate on the ambient dimensionality, and are therefore fragile to noise dimensions. We developed an unsupervised random forest method (URerF) to approximately learn geodesic distances in linear and nonlinear manifolds with noise. URerF operates on low-dimensional sparse linear combinations of features, rather than the full observed dimensionality. To choose the optimal split in a computationally efficient fashion, we developed a fast Bayesian Information Criterion statistic for Gaussian mixture models. We introduce geodesic precision-recall curves which quantify performance relative to the true latent manifold. Empirical results on simulated and real data demonstrate that URerF is robust to high-dimensional noise, where as other methods, such as Isomap, UMAP, and FLANN, quickly deteriorate in such settings. In particular, URerF is able to estimate geodesic distances on a real connectome dataset better than other approaches.
Ensemble methods---particularly those based on decision trees---have recently demonstrated superior performance in a variety of machine learning settings. We introduce a generalization of many existing decision tree methods called "Random Projection Forests" (RPF), which is any decision forest that uses (possibly data dependent and random) linear projections. Using this framework, we introduce a special case, called "Lumberjack", using very sparse random projections, that is, linear combinations of a small subset of features. Lumberjack obtains statistically significantly improved accuracy over Random Forests, Gradient Boosted Trees, and other approaches on a standard benchmark suites for classification with varying dimension, sample size, and number of classes. To illustrate how, why, and when Lumberjack outperforms other methods, we conduct extensive simulated experiments, in vectors, images, and nonlinear manifolds. Lumberjack typically yields improved performance over existing decision trees ensembles, while mitigating computational efficiency and scalability, and maintaining interpretability. Lumberjack can easily be incorporated into other ensemble methods such as boosting to obtain potentially similar gains.
Classifying samples into categories becomes intractable when a single sample can have millions to billions of features, such as in genetics or imaging data. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) is widely used to identify a low-dimensional representation of such features for further analysis. However, PCA ignores class labels, such as whether or not a subject has cancer, thereby discarding information that could substantially improve downstream classification performance. We describe an approach, "Linear Optimal Low-rank" projection (LOL), which extends PCA by incorporating the class labels in a fashion that is advantageous over existing supervised dimensionality reduction techniques. We prove, and substantiate with synthetic experiments, that LOL leads to a better representation of the data for subsequent classification than other linear approaches, while adding negligible computational cost. We then demonstrate that LOL substantially outperforms PCA in differentiating cancer patients from healthy controls using genetic data, and in differentiating gender using magnetic resonance imaging data with $>$500 million features and 400 gigabytes of data. LOL therefore allows the solution of previous intractable problems, yet requires only a few minutes to run on a desktop computer.
An open challenge problem at the forefront of modern neuroscience is to obtain a comprehensive mapping of the neural pathways that underlie human brain function; an enhanced understanding of the wiring diagram of the brain promises to lead to new breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders. Inferring brain structure from image data, such as that obtained via electron microscopy (EM), entails solving the problem of identifying biological structures in large data volumes. Synapses, which are a key communication structure in the brain, are particularly difficult to detect due to their small size and limited contrast. Prior work in automated synapse detection has relied upon time-intensive biological preparations (post-staining, isotropic slice thicknesses) in order to simplify the problem. This paper presents VESICLE, the first known approach designed for mammalian synapse detection in anisotropic, non-post-stained data. Our methods explicitly leverage biological context, and the results exceed existing synapse detection methods in terms of accuracy and scalability. We provide two different approaches - one a deep learning classifier (VESICLE-CNN) and one a lightweight Random Forest approach (VESICLE-RF) to offer alternatives in the performance-scalability space. Addressing this synapse detection challenge enables the analysis of high-throughput imaging data soon expected to reach petabytes of data, and provide tools for more rapid estimation of brain-graphs. Finally, to facilitate community efforts, we developed tools for large-scale object detection, and demonstrated this framework to find $\approx$ 50,000 synapses in 60,000 $\mu m ^3$ (220 GB on disk) of electron microscopy data.
Reconstructing a map of neuronal connectivity is a critical challenge in contemporary neuroscience. Recent advances in high-throughput serial section electron microscopy (EM) have produced massive 3D image volumes of nanoscale brain tissue for the first time. The resolution of EM allows for individual neurons and their synaptic connections to be directly observed. Recovering neuronal networks by manually tracing each neuronal process at this scale is unmanageable, and therefore researchers are developing automated image processing modules. Thus far, state-of-the-art algorithms focus only on the solution to a particular task (e.g., neuron segmentation or synapse identification). In this manuscript we present the first fully automated images-to-graphs pipeline (i.e., a pipeline that begins with an imaged volume of neural tissue and produces a brain graph without any human interaction). To evaluate overall performance and select the best parameters and methods, we also develop a metric to assess the quality of the output graphs. We evaluate a set of algorithms and parameters, searching possible operating points to identify the best available brain graph for our assessment metric. Finally, we deploy a reference end-to-end version of the pipeline on a large, publicly available data set. This provides a baseline result and framework for community analysis and future algorithm development and testing. All code and data derivatives have been made publicly available toward eventually unlocking new biofidelic computational primitives and understanding of neuropathologies.
Accurately estimating the wiring diagram of a brain, known as a connectome, at an ultrastructure level is an open research problem. Specifically, precisely tracking neural processes is difficult, especially across many image slices. Here, we propose a novel method to automatically identify and annotate small subcellular structures present in axons, known as axoplasmic reticula, through a 3D volume of high-resolution neural electron microscopy data. Our method produces high precision annotations, which can help improve automatic segmentation by using our results as seeds for segmentation, and as cues to aid segment merging.
In this paper, we present a new pipeline which automatically identifies and annotates axoplasmic reticula, which are small subcellular structures present only in axons. We run our algorithm on the Kasthuri11 dataset, which was color corrected using gradient-domain techniques to adjust contrast. We use a bilateral filter to smooth out the noise in this data while preserving edges, which highlights axoplasmic reticula. These axoplasmic reticula are then annotated using a morphological region growing algorithm. Additionally, we perform Laplacian sharpening on the bilaterally filtered data to enhance edges, and repeat the morphological region growing algorithm to annotate more axoplasmic reticula. We track our annotations through the slices to improve precision, and to create long objects to aid in segment merging. This method annotates axoplasmic reticula with high precision. Our algorithm can easily be adapted to annotate axoplasmic reticula in different sets of brain data by changing a few thresholds. The contribution of this work is the introduction of a straightforward and robust pipeline which annotates axoplasmic reticula with high precision, contributing towards advancements in automatic feature annotations in neural EM data.