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Chen Xu, Jonghyeok Lee, Xiuyuan Cheng, Yao Xie

We present a computationally efficient framework, called FlowDRO, for solving flow-based distributionally robust optimization (DRO) problems with Wasserstein uncertainty sets while aiming to find continuous worst-case distribution (also called the Least Favorable Distribution, LFD). The requirement for LFD to be continuous is so that the algorithm can be scalable to problems with larger sample sizes and achieve better generalization capability for the induced robust algorithms. To tackle the computationally challenging infinitely dimensional optimization problem, we leverage flow-based models and continuous-time invertible transport maps between the data distribution and the target distribution. We also develop a Wasserstein proximal gradient flow type of algorithm. In theory, we establish the equivalence of the solution by optimal transport map to the original formulation, as well as the dual form of the problem through Wasserstein calculus and Brenier theorem. In practice, we parameterize the transport maps by a sequence of neural networks progressively trained in blocks by gradient descent. Our computational framework is general, can handle high-dimensional data with large sample sizes, and can be useful for various applications. We demonstrate its usage in adversarial learning, distributionally robust hypothesis testing, and a new mechanism for data-driven distribution perturbation differential privacy, where the proposed method gives strong empirical performance on real high-dimensional data.

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Xiuyuan Cheng, Jianfeng Lu, Yixin Tan, Yao Xie

Flow-based generative models enjoy certain advantages in computing the data generation and the likelihood, and have recently shown competitive empirical performance. Compared to the accumulating theoretical studies on related score-based diffusion models, analysis of flow-based models, which are deterministic in both forward (data-to-noise) and reverse (noise-to-data) directions, remain sparse. In this paper, we provide a theoretical guarantee of generating data distribution by a progressive flow model, the so-called JKO flow model, which implements the Jordan-Kinderleherer-Otto (JKO) scheme in a normalizing flow network. Leveraging the exponential convergence of the proximal gradient descent (GD) in Wasserstein space, we prove the Kullback-Leibler (KL) guarantee of data generation by a JKO flow model to be $O(\varepsilon^2)$ when using $N \lesssim \log (1/\varepsilon)$ many JKO steps ($N$ Residual Blocks in the flow) where $\varepsilon $ is the error in the per-step first-order condition. The assumption on data density is merely a finite second moment, and the theory extends to data distributions without density and when there are inversion errors in the reverse process where we obtain KL-$W_2$ mixed error guarantees. The non-asymptotic convergence rate of the JKO-type $W_2$-proximal GD is proved for a general class of convex objective functionals that includes the KL divergence as a special case, which can be of independent interest.

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Zheng Dong, Matthew Repasky, Xiuyuan Cheng, Yao Xie

Point process models are widely used to analyze asynchronous events occurring within a graph that reflect how different types of events influence one another. Predicting future events' times and types is a crucial task, and the size and topology of the graph add to the challenge of the problem. Recent neural point process models unveil the possibility of capturing intricate inter-event-category dependencies. However, such methods utilize an unfiltered history of events, including all event categories in the intensity computation for each target event type. In this work, we propose a graph point process method where event interactions occur based on a latent graph topology. The corresponding undirected graph has nodes representing event categories and edges indicating potential contribution relationships. We then develop a novel deep graph kernel to characterize the triggering and inhibiting effects between events. The intrinsic influence structures are incorporated via the graph neural network (GNN) model used to represent the learnable kernel. The computational efficiency of the GNN approach allows our model to scale to large graphs. Comprehensive experiments on synthetic and real-world data show the superior performance of our approach against the state-of-the-art methods in predicting future events and uncovering the relational structure among data.

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Eitan Rosen, Xiuyuan Cheng, Yoel Shkolnisky

The diffusion maps embedding of data lying on a manifold have shown success in tasks ranging from dimensionality reduction and clustering, to data visualization. In this work, we consider embedding data sets which were sampled from a manifold which is closed under the action of a continuous matrix group. An example of such a data set are images who's planar rotations are arbitrary. The G-invariant graph Laplacian, introduced in a previous work of the authors, admits eigenfunctions in the form of tensor products between the elements of the irreducible unitary representations of the group and eigenvectors of certain matrices. We employ these eigenfunctions to derive diffusion maps that intrinsically account for the group action on the data. In particular, we construct both equivariant and invariant embeddings which can be used naturally to cluster and align the data points. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our construction with simulated data.

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Yixuan Tan, Liyan Xie, Xiuyuan Cheng

The neural Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE) model has shown success in learning complex continuous-time processes from observations on discrete time stamps. In this work, we consider the modeling and forecasting of time series data that are non-stationary and may have sharp changes like spikes. We propose an RNN-based model, called RNN-ODE-Adap, that uses a neural ODE to represent the time development of the hidden states, and we adaptively select time steps based on the steepness of changes of the data over time so as to train the model more efficiently for the "spike-like" time series. Theoretically, RNN-ODE-Adap yields provably a consistent estimation of the intensity function for the Hawkes-type time series data. We also provide an approximation analysis of the RNN-ODE model showing the benefit of adaptive steps. The proposed model is demonstrated to achieve higher prediction accuracy with reduced computational cost on simulated dynamic system data and point process data and on a real electrocardiography dataset.

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Chen Xu, Xiuyuan Cheng, Yao Xie

Continuous normalizing flows are widely used in generative tasks, where a flow network transports from a data distribution $P$ to a normal distribution. A flow model that can transport from $P$ to an arbitrary $Q$, where both $P$ and $Q$ are accessible via finite samples, would be of various application interests, particularly in the recently developed telescoping density ratio estimation (DRE) which calls for the construction of intermediate densities to bridge between $P$ and $Q$. In this work, we propose such a ``Q-malizing flow'' by a neural-ODE model which is trained to transport invertibly from $P$ to $Q$ (and vice versa) from empirical samples and is regularized by minimizing the transport cost. The trained flow model allows us to perform infinitesimal DRE along the time-parametrized $\log$-density by training an additional continuous-time flow network using classification loss, which estimates the time-partial derivative of the $\log$-density. Integrating the time-score network along time provides a telescopic DRE between $P$ and $Q$ that is more stable than a one-step DRE. The effectiveness of the proposed model is empirically demonstrated on mutual information estimation from high-dimensional data and energy-based generative models of image data.

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Eitan Rosen, Xiuyuan Cheng, Yoel Shkolnisky

Graph Laplacian based algorithms for data lying on a manifold have been proven effective for tasks such as dimensionality reduction, clustering, and denoising. In this work, we consider data sets whose data point not only lie on a manifold, but are also closed under the action of a continuous group. An example of such data set is volumes that line on a low dimensional manifold, where each volume may be rotated in three-dimensional space. We introduce the G-invariant graph Laplacian that generalizes the graph Laplacian by accounting for the action of the group on the data set. We show that like the standard graph Laplacian, the G-invariant graph Laplacian converges to the Laplace-Beltrami operator on the data manifold, but with a significantly improved convergence rate. Furthermore, we show that the eigenfunctions of the G-invariant graph Laplacian admit the form of tensor products between the group elements and eigenvectors of certain matrices, which can be computed efficiently using FFT-type algorithms. We demonstrate our construction and its advantages on the problem of filtering data on a noisy manifold closed under the action of the special unitary group SU(2).

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Chen Xu, Xiuyuan Cheng, Yao Xie

Normalizing flow is a class of deep generative models for efficient sampling and density estimation. In practice, the flow often appears as a chain of invertible neural network blocks; to facilitate training, existing works have regularized flow trajectories and designed special network architectures. The current paper develops a neural ODE flow network inspired by the Jordan-Kinderleherer-Otto (JKO) scheme, which allows efficient block-wise training of the residual blocks and avoids inner loops of score matching or variational learning. As the JKO scheme unfolds the dynamic of gradient flow, the proposed model naturally stacks residual network blocks one-by-one, reducing the memory load and difficulty of performing end-to-end training of deep flow networks. We also develop adaptive time reparameterization of the flow network with a progressive refinement of the trajectory in probability space, which improves the model training efficiency and accuracy in practice. Using numerical experiments with synthetic and real data, we show that the proposed JKO-iFlow model achieves similar or better performance in generating new samples compared with existing flow and diffusion models at a significantly reduced computational and memory cost.

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Zheng Dong, Xiuyuan Cheng, Yao Xie

Point process data are becoming ubiquitous in modern applications, such as social networks, health care, and finance. Despite the powerful expressiveness of the popular recurrent neural network (RNN) models for point process data, they may not successfully capture sophisticated non-stationary dependencies in the data due to their recurrent structures. Another popular type of deep model for point process data is based on representing the influence kernel (rather than the intensity function) by neural networks. We take the latter approach and develop a new deep non-stationary influence kernel that can model non-stationary spatio-temporal point processes. The main idea is to approximate the influence kernel with a novel and general low-rank decomposition, enabling efficient representation through deep neural networks and computational efficiency and better performance. We also take a new approach to maintain the non-negativity constraint of the conditional intensity by introducing a log-barrier penalty. We demonstrate our proposed method's good performance and computational efficiency compared with the state-of-the-art on simulated and real data.

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Junghwan Lee, Yao Xie, Xiuyuan Cheng

Detecting an abrupt distributional shift of the data stream, known as change-point detection, is a fundamental problem in statistics and signal processing. We present a new approach for online change-point detection by training neural networks (NN), and sequentially cumulating the detection statistics by evaluating the trained discriminating function on test samples by a CUSUM recursion. The idea is based on the observation that training neural networks through logistic loss may lead to the log-likelihood function. We demonstrated the good performance of NN-CUSUM on detecting change-point in high-dimensional data using both synthetic and real-world data.

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