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CNRS, LJAD

Abstract:The present work aims at proving mathematically that a neural network inspired by biology can learn a classification task thanks to local transformations only. In this purpose, we propose a spiking neural network named CHANI (Correlation-based Hawkes Aggregation of Neurons with bio-Inspiration), whose neurons activity is modeled by Hawkes processes. Synaptic weights are updated thanks to an expert aggregation algorithm, providing a local and simple learning rule. We were able to prove that our network can learn on average and asymptotically. Moreover, we demonstrated that it automatically produces neuronal assemblies in the sense that the network can encode several classes and that a same neuron in the intermediate layers might be activated by more than one class, and we provided numerical simulations on synthetic dataset. This theoretical approach contrasts with the traditional empirical validation of biologically inspired networks and paves the way for understanding how local learning rules enable neurons to form assemblies able to represent complex concepts.

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Abstract:We consider stochastic optimization problems where the objective depends on some parameter, as commonly found in hyperparameter optimization for instance. We investigate the behavior of the derivatives of the iterates of Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) with respect to that parameter and show that they are driven by an inexact SGD recursion on a different objective function, perturbed by the convergence of the original SGD. This enables us to establish that the derivatives of SGD converge to the derivative of the solution mapping in terms of mean squared error whenever the objective is strongly convex. Specifically, we demonstrate that with constant step-sizes, these derivatives stabilize within a noise ball centered at the solution derivative, and that with vanishing step-sizes they exhibit $O(\log(k)^2 / k)$ convergence rates. Additionally, we prove exponential convergence in the interpolation regime. Our theoretical findings are illustrated by numerical experiments on synthetic tasks.

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Abstract:We aim to deepen the theoretical understanding of Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) on large graphs, with a focus on their expressive power. Existing analyses relate this notion to the graph isomorphism problem, which is mostly relevant for graphs of small sizes, or studied graph classification or regression tasks, while prediction tasks on nodes are far more relevant on large graphs. Recently, several works showed that, on very general random graphs models, GNNs converge to certains functions as the number of nodes grows. In this paper, we provide a more complete and intuitive description of the function space generated by equivariant GNNs for node-tasks, through general notions of convergence that encompass several previous examples. We emphasize the role of input node features, and study the impact of node Positional Encodings (PEs), a recent line of work that has been shown to yield state-of-the-art results in practice. Through the study of several examples of PEs on large random graphs, we extend previously known universality results to significantly more general models. Our theoretical results hint at some normalization tricks, which is shown numerically to have a positive impact on GNN generalization on synthetic and real data. Our proofs contain new concentration inequalities of independent interest.

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Abstract:In appropriate frameworks, automatic differentiation is transparent to the user at the cost of being a significant computational burden when the number of operations is large. For iterative algorithms, implicit differentiation alleviates this issue but requires custom implementation of Jacobian evaluation. In this paper, we study one-step differentiation, also known as Jacobian-free backpropagation, a method as easy as automatic differentiation and as performant as implicit differentiation for fast algorithms (e.g., superlinear optimization methods). We provide a complete theoretical approximation analysis with specific examples (Newton's method, gradient descent) along with its consequences in bilevel optimization. Several numerical examples illustrate the well-foundness of the one-step estimator.

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Abstract:We study the convergence of message passing graph neural networks on random graph models to their continuous counterpart as the number of nodes tends to infinity. Until now, this convergence was only known for architectures with aggregation functions in the form of degree-normalized means. We extend such results to a very large class of aggregation functions, that encompasses all classically used message passing graph neural networks, such as attention-based mesage passing or max convolutional message passing on top of (degree-normalized) convolutional message passing. Under mild assumptions, we give non asymptotic bounds with high probability to quantify this convergence. Our main result is based on the McDiarmid inequality. Interestingly, we treat the case where the aggregation is a coordinate-wise maximum separately, at it necessitates a very different proof technique and yields a qualitatively different convergence rate.

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Abstract:A common issue in graph learning under the semi-supervised setting is referred to as gradient scarcity. That is, learning graphs by minimizing a loss on a subset of nodes causes edges between unlabelled nodes that are far from labelled ones to receive zero gradients. The phenomenon was first described when optimizing the graph and the weights of a Graph Neural Network (GCN) with a joint optimization algorithm. In this work, we give a precise mathematical characterization of this phenomenon, and prove that it also emerges in bilevel optimization, where additional dependency exists between the parameters of the problem. While for GCNs gradient scarcity occurs due to their finite receptive field, we show that it also occurs with the Laplacian regularization model, in the sense that gradients amplitude decreases exponentially with distance to labelled nodes. To alleviate this issue, we study several solutions: we propose to resort to latent graph learning using a Graph-to-Graph model (G2G), graph regularization to impose a prior structure on the graph, or optimizing on a larger graph than the original one with a reduced diameter. Our experiments on synthetic and real datasets validate our analysis and prove the efficiency of the proposed solutions.

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Abstract:A fundamental issue in natural language processing is the robustness of the models with respect to changes in the input. One critical step in this process is the embedding of documents, which transforms sequences of words or tokens into vector representations. Our work formally proves that popular embedding schemes, such as concatenation, TF-IDF, and Paragraph Vector (a.k.a. doc2vec), exhibit robustness in the H\"older or Lipschitz sense with respect to the Hamming distance. We provide quantitative bounds for these schemes and demonstrate how the constants involved are affected by the length of the document. These findings are exemplified through a series of numerical examples.

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Abstract:Bilevel optimization problems, which are problems where two optimization problems are nested, have more and more applications in machine learning. In many practical cases, the upper and the lower objectives correspond to empirical risk minimization problems and therefore have a sum structure. In this context, we propose a bilevel extension of the celebrated SARAH algorithm. We demonstrate that the algorithm requires $\mathcal{O}((n+m)^{\frac12}\varepsilon^{-1})$ gradient computations to achieve $\varepsilon$-stationarity with $n+m$ the total number of samples, which improves over all previous bilevel algorithms. Moreover, we provide a lower bound on the number of oracle calls required to get an approximate stationary point of the objective function of the bilevel problem. This lower bound is attained by our algorithm, which is therefore optimal in terms of sample complexity.

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Abstract:We show that the derivatives of the Sinkhorn-Knopp algorithm, or iterative proportional fitting procedure, converge towards the derivatives of the entropic regularization of the optimal transport problem with a locally uniform linear convergence rate.

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Authors:Thomas Moreau, Mathurin Massias, Alexandre Gramfort, Pierre Ablin, Pierre-Antoine Bannier, Benjamin Charlier, Mathieu Dagréou, Tom Dupré la Tour, Ghislain Durif, Cassio F. Dantas(+11 more)

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Abstract:Numerical validation is at the core of machine learning research as it allows to assess the actual impact of new methods, and to confirm the agreement between theory and practice. Yet, the rapid development of the field poses several challenges: researchers are confronted with a profusion of methods to compare, limited transparency and consensus on best practices, as well as tedious re-implementation work. As a result, validation is often very partial, which can lead to wrong conclusions that slow down the progress of research. We propose Benchopt, a collaborative framework to automate, reproduce and publish optimization benchmarks in machine learning across programming languages and hardware architectures. Benchopt simplifies benchmarking for the community by providing an off-the-shelf tool for running, sharing and extending experiments. To demonstrate its broad usability, we showcase benchmarks on three standard learning tasks: $\ell_2$-regularized logistic regression, Lasso, and ResNet18 training for image classification. These benchmarks highlight key practical findings that give a more nuanced view of the state-of-the-art for these problems, showing that for practical evaluation, the devil is in the details. We hope that Benchopt will foster collaborative work in the community hence improving the reproducibility of research findings.

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