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Xiaohan Cui, Long Ma, Tengyu Ma, Jinyuan Liu, Xin Fan, Risheng Liu

Object detection in low-light scenarios has attracted much attention in the past few years. A mainstream and representative scheme introduces enhancers as the pre-processing for regular detectors. However, because of the disparity in task objectives between the enhancer and detector, this paradigm cannot shine at its best ability. In this work, we try to arouse the potential of enhancer + detector. Different from existing works, we extend the illumination-based enhancers (our newly designed or existing) as a scene decomposition module, whose removed illumination is exploited as the auxiliary in the detector for extracting detection-friendly features. A semantic aggregation module is further established for integrating multi-scale scene-related semantic information in the context space. Actually, our built scheme successfully transforms the "trash" (i.e., the ignored illumination in the detector) into the "treasure" for the detector. Plenty of experiments are conducted to reveal our superiority against other state-of-the-art methods. The code will be public if it is accepted.

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Kaiyue Wen, Zhiyuan Li, Tengyu Ma

Despite extensive studies, the underlying reason as to why overparameterized neural networks can generalize remains elusive. Existing theory shows that common stochastic optimizers prefer flatter minimizers of the training loss, and thus a natural potential explanation is that flatness implies generalization. This work critically examines this explanation. Through theoretical and empirical investigation, we identify the following three scenarios for two-layer ReLU networks: (1) flatness provably implies generalization; (2) there exist non-generalizing flattest models and sharpness minimization algorithms fail to generalize, and (3) perhaps most surprisingly, there exist non-generalizing flattest models, but sharpness minimization algorithms still generalize. Our results suggest that the relationship between sharpness and generalization subtly depends on the data distributions and the model architectures and sharpness minimization algorithms do not only minimize sharpness to achieve better generalization. This calls for the search for other explanations for the generalization of over-parameterized neural networks.

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Arvind Mahankali, Tatsunori B. Hashimoto, Tengyu Ma

Recent works have empirically analyzed in-context learning and shown that transformers trained on synthetic linear regression tasks can learn to implement ridge regression, which is the Bayes-optimal predictor, given sufficient capacity [Aky\"urek et al., 2023], while one-layer transformers with linear self-attention and no MLP layer will learn to implement one step of gradient descent (GD) on a least-squares linear regression objective [von Oswald et al., 2022]. However, the theory behind these observations remains poorly understood. We theoretically study transformers with a single layer of linear self-attention, trained on synthetic noisy linear regression data. First, we mathematically show that when the covariates are drawn from a standard Gaussian distribution, the one-layer transformer which minimizes the pre-training loss will implement a single step of GD on the least-squares linear regression objective. Then, we find that changing the distribution of the covariates and weight vector to a non-isotropic Gaussian distribution has a strong impact on the learned algorithm: the global minimizer of the pre-training loss now implements a single step of $\textit{pre-conditioned}$ GD. However, if only the distribution of the responses is changed, then this does not have a large effect on the learned algorithm: even when the response comes from a more general family of $\textit{nonlinear}$ functions, the global minimizer of the pre-training loss still implements a single step of GD on a least-squares linear regression objective.

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Arvind Mahankali, Jeff Z. Haochen, Kefan Dong, Margalit Glasgow, Tengyu Ma

Despite recent theoretical progress on the non-convex optimization of two-layer neural networks, it is still an open question whether gradient descent on neural networks without unnatural modifications can achieve better sample complexity than kernel methods. This paper provides a clean mean-field analysis of projected gradient flow on polynomial-width two-layer neural networks. Different from prior works, our analysis does not require unnatural modifications of the optimization algorithm. We prove that with sample size $n = O(d^{3.1})$ where $d$ is the dimension of the inputs, the network converges in polynomially many iterations to a non-trivial error that is not achievable by kernel methods using $n \ll d^4$ samples, hence demonstrating a clear separation between unmodified gradient descent and NTK.

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Khashayar Gatmiry, Zhiyuan Li, Ching-Yao Chuang, Sashank Reddi, Tengyu Ma, Stefanie Jegelka

Recent works on over-parameterized neural networks have shown that the stochasticity in optimizers has the implicit regularization effect of minimizing the sharpness of the loss function (in particular, the trace of its Hessian) over the family zero-loss solutions. More explicit forms of flatness regularization also empirically improve the generalization performance. However, it remains unclear why and when flatness regularization leads to better generalization. This work takes the first step toward understanding the inductive bias of the minimum trace of the Hessian solutions in an important setting: learning deep linear networks from linear measurements, also known as \emph{deep matrix factorization}. We show that for all depth greater than one, with the standard Restricted Isometry Property (RIP) on the measurements, minimizing the trace of Hessian is approximately equivalent to minimizing the Schatten 1-norm of the corresponding end-to-end matrix parameters (i.e., the product of all layer matrices), which in turn leads to better generalization. We empirically verify our theoretical findings on synthetic datasets.

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Tianle Cai, Xuezhi Wang, Tengyu Ma, Xinyun Chen, Denny Zhou

Recent research shows the potential of enhancing the problem-solving ability of large language models (LLMs) through the use of external tools. However, prior work along this line depends on the availability of existing tools. In this work, we take an initial step towards removing this dependency by proposing a closed-loop framework, referred to as LLMs As Tool Makers (LATM), where LLMs create their own reusable tools for problem-solving. Our approach consists of two key phases: 1) tool making: an LLM acts as the tool maker that crafts tools for given tasks, where a tool is implemented as a Python utility function. 2) tool using: an LLM acts as the tool user, which applies the tool built by the tool maker for problem-solving. The tool user can be either the same or a different LLM from the tool maker. Tool-making enables an LLM to continually generate tools that can be applied to different requests so that future requests can call the corresponding APIs when beneficial for solving the tasks. Furthermore, the division of labor among LLMs for tool-making and tool-using phases introduces the opportunity to achieve cost effectiveness without degrading the quality of generated tools and problem solutions. For example, recognizing that tool-making demands more sophisticated capabilities than tool-using, we can apply a powerful yet resource-intensive model as the tool maker, and a lightweight while cost-effective model as the tool user. We validate the effectiveness of our approach across a variety of complex reasoning tasks, including Big-Bench tasks. With GPT-4 as the tool maker and GPT-3.5 as the tool user, LATM can achieve performance that is on par with using GPT-4 for both tool making and tool using, while the inference cost is significantly reduced.

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Sang Michael Xie, Hieu Pham, Xuanyi Dong, Nan Du, Hanxiao Liu, Yifeng Lu, Percy Liang, Quoc V. Le, Tengyu Ma, Adams Wei Yu

The mixture proportions of pretraining data domains (e.g., Wikipedia, books, web text) greatly affect language model (LM) performance. In this paper, we propose Domain Reweighting with Minimax Optimization (DoReMi), which first trains a small proxy model using group distributionally robust optimization (Group DRO) over domains to produce domain weights (mixture proportions) without knowledge of downstream tasks. We then resample a dataset with these domain weights and train a larger, full-sized model. In our experiments, we use DoReMi on a 280M-parameter proxy model to find domain weights for training an 8B-parameter model (30x larger) more efficiently. On The Pile, DoReMi improves perplexity across all domains, even when it downweights a domain. DoReMi improves average few-shot downstream accuracy by 6.5% points over a baseline model trained using The Pile's default domain weights and reaches the baseline accuracy with 2.6x fewer training steps. On the GLaM dataset, DoReMi, which has no knowledge of downstream tasks, even matches the performance of using domain weights tuned on downstream tasks.

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Hong Liu, Zhiyuan Li, David Hall, Percy Liang, Tengyu Ma

Given the massive cost of language model pre-training, a non-trivial improvement of the optimization algorithm would lead to a material reduction on the time and cost of training. Adam and its variants have been state-of-the-art for years, and more sophisticated second-order (Hessian-based) optimizers often incur too much per-step overhead. In this paper, we propose Sophia, Second-order Clipped Stochastic Optimization, a simple scalable second-order optimizer that uses a light-weight estimate of the diagonal Hessian as the pre-conditioner. The update is the moving average of the gradients divided by the moving average of the estimated Hessian, followed by element-wise clipping. The clipping controls the worst-case update size and tames the negative impact of non-convexity and rapid change of Hessian along the trajectory. Sophia only estimates the diagonal Hessian every handful of iterations, which has negligible average per-step time and memory overhead. On language modeling with GPT-2 models of sizes ranging from 125M to 770M, Sophia achieves a 2x speed-up compared with Adam in the number of steps, total compute, and wall-clock time. Theoretically, we show that Sophia adapts to the curvature in different components of the parameters, which can be highly heterogeneous for language modeling tasks. Our run-time bound does not depend on the condition number of the loss.

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Jerry Wei, Le Hou, Andrew Lampinen, Xiangning Chen, Da Huang, Yi Tay, Xinyun Chen, Yifeng Lu, Denny Zhou, Tengyu Ma, Quoc V. Le

We present symbol tuning - finetuning language models on in-context input-label pairs where natural language labels (e.g., "positive/negative sentiment") are replaced with arbitrary symbols (e.g., "foo/bar"). Symbol tuning leverages the intuition that when a model cannot use instructions or natural language labels to figure out a task, it must instead do so by learning the input-label mappings. We experiment with symbol tuning across Flan-PaLM models up to 540B parameters and observe benefits across various settings. First, symbol tuning boosts performance on unseen in-context learning tasks and is much more robust to underspecified prompts, such as those without instructions or without natural language labels. Second, symbol-tuned models are much stronger at algorithmic reasoning tasks, with up to 18.2% better performance on the List Functions benchmark and up to 15.3% better performance on the Simple Turing Concepts benchmark. Finally, symbol-tuned models show large improvements in following flipped-labels presented in-context, meaning that they are more capable of using in-context information to override prior semantic knowledge.

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Kefan Dong, Tengyu Ma

Many machine learning applications require learning a function with a small worst-case error over the entire input domain, that is, the $L_\infty$-error, whereas most existing theoretical works only guarantee recovery in average errors such as the $L_2$-error. $L_\infty$-recovery from polynomial samples is even impossible for seemingly simple function classes such as constant-norm infinite-width two-layer neural nets. This paper makes some initial steps beyond the impossibility results by leveraging the randomness in the ground-truth functions. We prove a polynomial sample complexity bound for random ground-truth functions drawn from Gaussian random fields. Our key technical novelty is to prove that the degree-$k$ spherical harmonics components of a function from Gaussian random field cannot be spiky in that their $L_\infty$/$L_2$ ratios are upperbounded by $O(d \sqrt{\ln k})$ with high probability. In contrast, the worst-case $L_\infty$/$L_2$ ratio for degree-$k$ spherical harmonics is on the order of $\Omega(\min\{d^{k/2},k^{d/2}\})$.

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