Social media, self-driving cars, and traffic cameras produce video streams at large scales and cheap cost. However, storing and querying video at such scales is prohibitively expensive. We propose to treat large-scale video analytics as a data warehousing problem: Video is a format that is easy to produce but needs to be transformed into an application-specific format that is easy to query. Analogously, we define the problem of Video Extract-Transform-Load (V-ETL). V-ETL systems need to reduce the cost of running a user-defined V-ETL job while also giving throughput guarantees to keep up with the rate at which data is produced. We find that no current system sufficiently fulfills both needs and therefore propose Skyscraper, a system tailored to V-ETL. Skyscraper can execute arbitrary video ingestion pipelines and adaptively tunes them to reduce cost at minimal or no quality degradation, e.g., by adjusting sampling rates and resolutions to the ingested content. Skyscraper can hereby be provisioned with cheap on-premises compute and uses a combination of buffering and cloud bursting to deal with peaks in workload caused by expensive processing configurations. In our experiments, we find that Skyscraper significantly reduces the cost of V-ETL ingestion compared to adaptions of current SOTA systems, while at the same time giving robustness guarantees that these systems are lacking.
Timeseries analytics is of great importance in many real-world applications. Recently, the Transformer model, popular in natural language processing, has been leveraged to learn high quality feature embeddings from timeseries, core to the performance of various timeseries analytics tasks. However, the quadratic time and space complexities limit Transformers' scalability, especially for long timeseries. To address these issues, we develop a timeseries analytics tool, RITA, which uses a novel attention mechanism, named group attention, to address this scalability issue. Group attention dynamically clusters the objects based on their similarity into a small number of groups and approximately computes the attention at the coarse group granularity. It thus significantly reduces the time and space complexity, yet provides a theoretical guarantee on the quality of the computed attention. The dynamic scheduler of RITA continuously adapts the number of groups and the batch size in the training process, ensuring group attention always uses the fewest groups needed to meet the approximation quality requirement. Extensive experiments on various timeseries datasets and analytics tasks demonstrate that RITA outperforms the state-of-the-art in accuracy and is significantly faster -- with speedups of up to 63X.
Outlier detection is critical in real applications to prevent financial fraud, defend network intrusions, or detecting imminent device failures. To reduce the human effort in evaluating outlier detection results and effectively turn the outliers into actionable insights, the users often expect a system to automatically produce interpretable summarizations of subgroups of outlier detection results. Unfortunately, to date no such systems exist. To fill this gap, we propose STAIR which learns a compact set of human understandable rules to summarize and explain the anomaly detection results. Rather than use the classical decision tree algorithms to produce these rules, STAIR proposes a new optimization objective to produce a small number of rules with least complexity, hence strong interpretability, to accurately summarize the detection results. The learning algorithm of STAIR produces a rule set by iteratively splitting the large rules and is optimal in maximizing this objective in each iteration. Moreover, to effectively handle high dimensional, highly complex data sets which are hard to summarize with simple rules, we propose a localized STAIR approach, called L-STAIR. Taking data locality into consideration, it simultaneously partitions data and learns a set of localized rules for each partition. Our experimental study on many outlier benchmark datasets shows that STAIR significantly reduces the complexity of the rules required to summarize the outlier detection results, thus more amenable for humans to understand and evaluate, compared to the decision tree methods.
Cardinality estimation is one of the most fundamental and challenging problems in query optimization. Neither classical nor learning-based methods yield satisfactory performance when estimating the cardinality of the join queries. They either rely on simplified assumptions leading to ineffective cardinality estimates or build large models to understand the data distributions, leading to long planning times and a lack of generalizability across queries. In this paper, we propose a new framework FactorJoin for estimating join queries. FactorJoin combines the idea behind the classical join-histogram method to efficiently handle joins with the learning-based methods to accurately capture attribute correlation. Specifically, FactorJoin scans every table in a DB and builds single-table conditional distributions during an offline preparation phase. When a join query comes, FactorJoin translates it into a factor graph model over the learned distributions to effectively and efficiently estimate its cardinality. Unlike existing learning-based methods, FactorJoin does not need to de-normalize joins upfront or require executed query workloads to train the model. Since it only relies on single-table statistics, FactorJoin has small space overhead and is extremely easy to train and maintain. In our evaluation, FactorJoin can produce more effective estimates than the previous state-of-the-art learning-based methods, with 40x less estimation latency, 100x smaller model size, and 100x faster training speed at comparable or better accuracy. In addition, FactorJoin can estimate 10,000 sub-plan queries within one second to optimize the query plan, which is very close to the traditional cardinality estimators in commercial DBMS.
Inferring road graphs from satellite imagery is a challenging computer vision task. Prior solutions fall into two categories: (1) pixel-wise segmentation-based approaches, which predict whether each pixel is on a road, and (2) graph-based approaches, which predict the road graph iteratively. We find that these two approaches have complementary strengths while suffering from their own inherent limitations. In this paper, we propose a new method, Sat2Graph, which combines the advantages of the two prior categories into a unified framework. The key idea in Sat2Graph is a novel encoding scheme, graph-tensor encoding (GTE), which encodes the road graph into a tensor representation. GTE makes it possible to train a simple, non-recurrent, supervised model to predict a rich set of features that capture the graph structure directly from an image. We evaluate Sat2Graph using two large datasets. We find that Sat2Graph surpasses prior methods on two widely used metrics, TOPO and APLS. Furthermore, whereas prior work only infers planar road graphs, our approach is capable of inferring stacked roads (e.g., overpasses), and does so robustly.
Large, human-annotated datasets are central to the development of natural language processing models. Collecting these datasets can be the most challenging part of the development process. We address this problem by introducing a general purpose technique for ``simulation-to-real'' transfer in language understanding problems with a delimited set of target behaviors, making it possible to develop models that can interpret natural utterances without natural training data. We begin with a synthetic data generation procedure, and train a model that can accurately interpret utterances produced by the data generator. To generalize to natural utterances, we automatically find projections of natural language utterances onto the support of the synthetic language, using learned sentence embeddings to define a distance metric. With only synthetic training data, our approach matches or outperforms state-of-the-art models trained on natural language data in several domains. These results suggest that simulation-to-real transfer is a practical framework for developing NLP applications, and that improved models for transfer might provide wide-ranging improvements in downstream tasks.
Inferring road attributes such as lane count and road type from satellite imagery is challenging. Often, due to the occlusion in satellite imagery and the spatial correlation of road attributes, a road attribute at one position on a road may only be apparent when considering far-away segments of the road. Thus, to robustly infer road attributes, the model must integrate scattered information and capture the spatial correlation of features along roads. Existing solutions that rely on image classifiers fail to capture this correlation, resulting in poor accuracy. We find this failure is caused by a fundamental limitation -- the limited effective receptive field of image classifiers. To overcome this limitation, we propose RoadTagger, an end-to-end architecture which combines both Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) to infer road attributes. The usage of graph neural networks allows information propagation on the road network graph and eliminates the receptive field limitation of image classifiers. We evaluate RoadTagger on both a large real-world dataset covering 688 km^2 area in 20 U.S. cities and a synthesized micro-dataset. In the evaluation, RoadTagger improves inference accuracy over the CNN image classifier based approaches. RoadTagger also demonstrates strong robustness against different disruptions in the satellite imagery and the ability to learn complicated inductive rules for aggregating scattered information along the road network.
Machine learning (ML) techniques are enjoying rapidly increasing adoption. However, designing and implementing the systems that support ML models in real-world deployments remains a significant obstacle, in large part due to the radically different development and deployment profile of modern ML methods, and the range of practical concerns that come with broader adoption. We propose to foster a new systems machine learning research community at the intersection of the traditional systems and ML communities, focused on topics such as hardware systems for ML, software systems for ML, and ML optimized for metrics beyond predictive accuracy. To do this, we describe a new conference, SysML, that explicitly targets research at the intersection of systems and machine learning with a program committee split evenly between experts in systems and ML, and an explicit focus on topics at the intersection of the two.
As neural networks become widely deployed in different applications and on different hardware, it has become increasingly important to optimize inference time and model size along with model accuracy. Most current techniques optimize model size, model accuracy and inference time in different stages, resulting in suboptimal results and computational inefficiency. In this work, we propose a new technique called Smallify that optimizes all three of these metrics at the same time. Specifically we present a new method to simultaneously optimize network size and model performance by neuron-level pruning during training. Neuron-level pruning not only produces much smaller networks but also produces dense weight matrices that are amenable to efficient inference. By applying our technique to convolutional as well as fully connected models, we show that Smallify can reduce network size by 35X with a 6X improvement in inference time with similar accuracy as models found by traditional training techniques.