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Abstract:In deep reinforcement learning applications, maximizing discounted reward is often employed instead of maximizing total reward to ensure the convergence and stability of algorithms, even though the performance metric for evaluating the policy remains the total reward. However, the optimal policies corresponding to these two objectives may not always be consistent. To address this issue, we analyzed the suboptimality of the policy obtained through maximizing discounted reward in relation to the policy that maximizes total reward and identified the influence of hyperparameters. Additionally, we proposed sufficient conditions for aligning the optimal policies of these two objectives under various settings. The primary contributions are as follows: We theoretically analyzed the factors influencing performance when using discounted reward as a proxy for total reward, thereby enhancing the theoretical understanding of this scenario. Furthermore, we developed methods to align the optimal policies of the two objectives in certain situations, which can improve the performance of reinforcement learning algorithms.

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Abstract:Semi-gradient Q-learning is applied in many fields, but due to the absence of an explicit loss function, studying its dynamics and implicit bias in the parameter space is challenging. This paper introduces the Fokker--Planck equation and employs partial data obtained through sampling to construct and visualize the effective loss landscape within a two-dimensional parameter space. This visualization reveals how the global minima in the loss landscape can transform into saddle points in the effective loss landscape, as well as the implicit bias of the semi-gradient method. Additionally, we demonstrate that saddle points, originating from the global minima in loss landscape, still exist in the effective loss landscape under high-dimensional parameter spaces and neural network settings. This paper develop a novel approach for probing implicit bias in semi-gradient Q-learning.

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Abstract:This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of critical point sets in two-layer neural networks. To study such complex entities, we introduce the critical embedding operator and critical reduction operator as our tools. Given a critical point, we use these operators to uncover the whole underlying critical set representing the same output function, which exhibits a hierarchical structure. Furthermore, we prove existence of saddle branches for any critical set whose output function can be represented by a narrower network. Our results provide a solid foundation to the further study of optimization and training behavior of neural networks.

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Abstract:In this paper, we advance the understanding of neural network training dynamics by examining the intricate interplay of various factors introduced by weight parameters in the initialization process. Motivated by the foundational work of Luo et al. (J. Mach. Learn. Res., Vol. 22, Iss. 1, No. 71, pp 3327-3373), we explore the gradient descent dynamics of neural networks through the lens of macroscopic limits, where we analyze its behavior as width $m$ tends to infinity. Our study presents a unified approach with refined techniques designed for multi-layer fully connected neural networks, which can be readily extended to other neural network architectures. Our investigation reveals that gradient descent can rapidly drive deep neural networks to zero training loss, irrespective of the specific initialization schemes employed by weight parameters, provided that the initial scale of the output function $\kappa$ surpasses a certain threshold. This regime, characterized as the theta-lazy area, accentuates the predominant influence of the initial scale $\kappa$ over other factors on the training behavior of neural networks. Furthermore, our approach draws inspiration from the Neural Tangent Kernel (NTK) paradigm, and we expand its applicability. While NTK typically assumes that $\lim_{m\to\infty}\frac{\log \kappa}{\log m}=\frac{1}{2}$, and imposes each weight parameters to scale by the factor $\frac{1}{\sqrt{m}}$, in our theta-lazy regime, we discard the factor and relax the conditions to $\lim_{m\to\infty}\frac{\log \kappa}{\log m}>0$. Similar to NTK, the behavior of overparameterized neural networks within the theta-lazy regime trained by gradient descent can be effectively described by a specific kernel. Through rigorous analysis, our investigation illuminates the pivotal role of $\kappa$ in governing the training dynamics of neural networks.

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Abstract:Deep reinforcement learning excels in numerous large-scale practical applications. However, existing performance analyses ignores the unique characteristics of continuous-time control problems, is unable to directly estimate the generalization error of the Bellman optimal loss and require a boundedness assumption. Our work focuses on continuous-time control problems and proposes a method that is applicable to all such problems where the transition function satisfies semi-group and Lipschitz properties. Under this method, we can directly analyze the \emph{a priori} generalization error of the Bellman optimal loss. The core of this method lies in two transformations of the loss function. To complete the transformation, we propose a decomposition method for the maximum operator. Additionally, this analysis method does not require a boundedness assumption. Finally, we obtain an \emph{a priori} generalization error without the curse of dimensionality.

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Abstract:Empirical and theoretical works show that the input weights of two-layer neural networks, when initialized with small values, converge towards isolated orientations. This phenomenon, referred to as condensation, indicates that the gradient descent methods tend to spontaneously reduce the complexity of neural networks during the training process. In this work, we elucidate the mechanisms behind the condensation phenomena occurring in the training of three-layer neural networks and distinguish it from the training of two-layer neural networks. Through rigorous theoretical analysis, we establish the blow-up property of effective dynamics and present a sufficient condition for the occurrence of condensation, findings that are substantiated by experimental results. Additionally, we explore the association between condensation and the low-rank bias observed in deep matrix factorization.

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Abstract:This article studies the problem of image segmentation-based semantic communication in autonomous driving. In real traffic scenes, detecting the key objects (e.g., vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles) is more crucial than that of other objects to guarantee driving safety. Therefore, we propose a vehicular image segmentation-oriented semantic communication system, termed VIS-SemCom, where image segmentation features of important objects are transmitted to reduce transmission redundancy. First, to accurately extract image semantics, we develop a semantic codec based on Swin Transformer architecture, which expands the perceptual field thus improving the segmentation accuracy. Next, we propose a multi-scale semantic extraction scheme via assigning the number of Swin Transformer blocks for diverse resolution features, thus highlighting the important objects' accuracy. Furthermore, the importance-aware loss is invoked to emphasize the important objects, and an online hard sample mining (OHEM) strategy is proposed to handle small sample issues in the dataset. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed VIS-SemCom can achieve a coding gain of nearly 6 dB with a 60% mean intersection over union (mIoU), reduce the transmitted data amount by up to 70% with a 60% mIoU, and improve the segmentation intersection over union (IoU) of important objects by 4%, compared to traditional transmission scheme.

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Authors:Chun-Mei Feng, Yang Bai, Tao Luo, Zhen Li, Salman Khan, Wangmeng Zuo, Xinxing Xu, Rick Siow Mong Goh, Yong Liu

Abstract:Albeit progress has been made in Composed Image Retrieval (CIR), we empirically find that a certain percentage of failure retrieval results are not consistent with their relative captions. To address this issue, this work provides a Visual Question Answering (VQA) perspective to boost the performance of CIR. The resulting VQA4CIR is a post-processing approach and can be directly plugged into existing CIR methods. Given the top-C retrieved images by a CIR method, VQA4CIR aims to decrease the adverse effect of the failure retrieval results being inconsistent with the relative caption. To find the retrieved images inconsistent with the relative caption, we resort to the "QA generation to VQA" self-verification pipeline. For QA generation, we suggest fine-tuning LLM (e.g., LLaMA) to generate several pairs of questions and answers from each relative caption. We then fine-tune LVLM (e.g., LLaVA) to obtain the VQA model. By feeding the retrieved image and question to the VQA model, one can find the images inconsistent with relative caption when the answer by VQA is inconsistent with the answer in the QA pair. Consequently, the CIR performance can be boosted by modifying the ranks of inconsistently retrieved images. Experimental results show that our proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art CIR methods on the CIRR and Fashion-IQ datasets.

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Authors:Xiao Wang, Isaac Lyngaas, Aristeidis Tsaris, Peng Chen, Sajal Dash, Mayanka Chandra Shekar, Tao Luo, Hong-Jun Yoon, Mohamed Wahib, John Gouley

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Abstract:Transformer models trained on long sequences often achieve higher accuracy than short sequences. Unfortunately, conventional transformers struggle with long sequence training due to the overwhelming computation and memory requirements. Existing methods for long sequence training offer limited speedup and memory reduction, and may compromise accuracy. This paper presents a novel and efficient distributed training method, the Long Short-Sequence Transformer (LSS Transformer), for training transformer with long sequences. It distributes a long sequence into segments among GPUs, with each GPU computing a partial self-attention for its segment. Then, it uses a fused communication and a novel double gradient averaging technique to avoid the need to aggregate partial self-attention and minimize communication overhead. We evaluated the performance between LSS Transformer and the state-of-the-art Nvidia sequence parallelism on a Wikipedia enwik8 dataset. Results show that our proposed method lead to 5.6x faster and 10.2x more memory-efficient implementation compared to state-of-the-art sequence parallelism on 144 Nvidia V100 GPUs. Moreover, our algorithm scales to an extreme sequence length of 50,112 at 3,456 GPUs, achieving 161% super-linear parallel efficiency and a throughput of 32 petaflops.

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Abstract:Under mild assumptions, we investigate the structure of loss landscape of two-layer neural networks near global minima, determine the set of parameters which give perfect generalization, and fully characterize the gradient flows around it. With novel techniques, our work uncovers some simple aspects of the complicated loss landscape and reveals how model, target function, samples and initialization affect the training dynamics differently. Based on these results, we also explain why (overparametrized) neural networks could generalize well.

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