Get our free extension to see links to code for papers anywhere online!Free extension: code links for papers anywhere!Free add-on: See code for papers anywhere!

Nikki Lijing Kuang, Ming Yin, Mengdi Wang, Yu-Xiang Wang, Yi-An Ma

Recent studies in reinforcement learning (RL) have made significant progress by leveraging function approximation to alleviate the sample complexity hurdle for better performance. Despite the success, existing provably efficient algorithms typically rely on the accessibility of immediate feedback upon taking actions. The failure to account for the impact of delay in observations can significantly degrade the performance of real-world systems due to the regret blow-up. In this work, we tackle the challenge of delayed feedback in RL with linear function approximation by employing posterior sampling, which has been shown to empirically outperform the popular UCB algorithms in a wide range of regimes. We first introduce Delayed-PSVI, an optimistic value-based algorithm that effectively explores the value function space via noise perturbation with posterior sampling. We provide the first analysis for posterior sampling algorithms with delayed feedback in RL and show our algorithm achieves $\widetilde{O}(\sqrt{d^3H^3 T} + d^2H^2 E[\tau])$ worst-case regret in the presence of unknown stochastic delays. Here $E[\tau]$ is the expected delay. To further improve its computational efficiency and to expand its applicability in high-dimensional RL problems, we incorporate a gradient-based approximate sampling scheme via Langevin dynamics for Delayed-LPSVI, which maintains the same order-optimal regret guarantee with $\widetilde{O}(dHK)$ computational cost. Empirical evaluations are performed to demonstrate the statistical and computational efficacy of our algorithms.

Via

Sumanth Varambally, Yi-An Ma, Rose Yu

In fields such as finance, climate science, and neuroscience, inferring causal relationships from time series data poses a formidable challenge. While contemporary techniques can handle nonlinear relationships between variables and flexible noise distributions, they rely on the simplifying assumption that data originates from the same underlying causal model. In this work, we relax this assumption and perform causal discovery from time series data originating from mixtures of different causal models. We infer both the underlying structural causal models and the posterior probability for each sample belonging to a specific mixture component. Our approach employs an end-to-end training process that maximizes an evidence-lower bound for data likelihood. Through extensive experimentation on both synthetic and real-world datasets, we demonstrate that our method surpasses state-of-the-art benchmarks in causal discovery tasks, particularly when the data emanates from diverse underlying causal graphs. Theoretically, we prove the identifiability of such a model under some mild assumptions.

Via

Abhishek Roy, Geelon So, Yi-An Ma

In multi-objective optimization, a single decision vector must balance the trade-offs between many objectives. Solutions achieving an optimal trade-off are said to be Pareto optimal: these are decision vectors for which improving any one objective must come at a cost to another. But as the set of Pareto optimal vectors can be very large, we further consider a more practically significant Pareto-constrained optimization problem, where the goal is to optimize a preference function constrained to the Pareto set. We investigate local methods for solving this constrained optimization problem, which poses significant challenges because the constraint set is (i) implicitly defined, and (ii) generally non-convex and non-smooth, even when the objectives are. We define notions of optimality and stationarity, and provide an algorithm with a last-iterate convergence rate of $O(K^{-1/2})$ to stationarity when the objectives are strongly convex and Lipschitz smooth.

Via

Amin Karbasi, Nikki Lijing Kuang, Yi-An Ma, Siddharth Mitra

Thompson sampling (TS) is widely used in sequential decision making due to its ease of use and appealing empirical performance. However, many existing analytical and empirical results for TS rely on restrictive assumptions on reward distributions, such as belonging to conjugate families, which limits their applicability in realistic scenarios. Moreover, sequential decision making problems are often carried out in a batched manner, either due to the inherent nature of the problem or to serve the purpose of reducing communication and computation costs. In this work, we jointly study these problems in two popular settings, namely, stochastic multi-armed bandits (MABs) and infinite-horizon reinforcement learning (RL), where TS is used to learn the unknown reward distributions and transition dynamics, respectively. We propose batched $\textit{Langevin Thompson Sampling}$ algorithms that leverage MCMC methods to sample from approximate posteriors with only logarithmic communication costs in terms of batches. Our algorithms are computationally efficient and maintain the same order-optimal regret guarantees of $\mathcal{O}(\log T)$ for stochastic MABs, and $\mathcal{O}(\sqrt{T})$ for RL. We complement our theoretical findings with experimental results.

Via

Chaoyue Liu, Dmitriy Drusvyatskiy, Mikhail Belkin, Damek Davis, Yi-An Ma

Modern machine learning paradigms, such as deep learning, occur in or close to the interpolation regime, wherein the number of model parameters is much larger than the number of data samples. In this work, we propose a regularity condition within the interpolation regime which endows the stochastic gradient method with the same worst-case iteration complexity as the deterministic gradient method, while using only a single sampled gradient (or a minibatch) in each iteration. In contrast, all existing guarantees require the stochastic gradient method to take small steps, thereby resulting in a much slower linear rate of convergence. Finally, we demonstrate that our condition holds when training sufficiently wide feedforward neural networks with a linear output layer.

Via

Kush Bhatia, Nikki Lijing Kuang, Yi-An Ma, Yixin Wang

Variational inference has recently emerged as a popular alternative to the classical Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) in large-scale Bayesian inference. The core idea of variational inference is to trade statistical accuracy for computational efficiency. It aims to approximate the posterior, reducing computation costs but potentially compromising its statistical accuracy. In this work, we study this statistical and computational trade-off in variational inference via a case study in inferential model selection. Focusing on Gaussian inferential models (a.k.a. variational approximating families) with diagonal plus low-rank precision matrices, we initiate a theoretical study of the trade-offs in two aspects, Bayesian posterior inference error and frequentist uncertainty quantification error. From the Bayesian posterior inference perspective, we characterize the error of the variational posterior relative to the exact posterior. We prove that, given a fixed computation budget, a lower-rank inferential model produces variational posteriors with a higher statistical approximation error, but a lower computational error; it reduces variances in stochastic optimization and, in turn, accelerates convergence. From the frequentist uncertainty quantification perspective, we consider the precision matrix of the variational posterior as an uncertainty estimate. We find that, relative to the true asymptotic precision, the variational approximation suffers from an additional statistical error originating from the sampling uncertainty of the data. Moreover, this statistical error becomes the dominant factor as the computation budget increases. As a consequence, for small datasets, the inferential model need not be full-rank to achieve optimal estimation error. We finally demonstrate these statistical and computational trade-offs inference across empirical studies, corroborating the theoretical findings.

Via

Dongxia Wu, Matteo Chinazzi, Alessandro Vespignani, Yi-An Ma, Rose Yu

Science and engineering fields use computer simulation extensively. These simulations are often run at multiple levels of sophistication to balance accuracy and efficiency. Multi-fidelity surrogate modeling reduces the computational cost by fusing different simulation outputs. Cheap data generated from low-fidelity simulators can be combined with limited high-quality data generated by an expensive high-fidelity simulator. Existing methods based on Gaussian processes rely on strong assumptions of the kernel functions and can hardly scale to high-dimensional settings. We propose Multi-fidelity Hierarchical Neural Processes (MF-HNP), a unified neural latent variable model for multi-fidelity surrogate modeling. MF-HNP inherits the flexibility and scalability of Neural Processes. The latent variables transform the correlations among different fidelity levels from observations to latent space. The predictions across fidelities are conditionally independent given the latent states. It helps alleviate the error propagation issue in existing methods. MF-HNP is flexible enough to handle non-nested high dimensional data at different fidelity levels with varying input and output dimensions. We evaluate MF-HNP on epidemiology and climate modeling tasks, achieving competitive performance in terms of accuracy and uncertainty estimation. In contrast to deep Gaussian Processes with only low-dimensional (< 10) tasks, our method shows great promise for speeding up high-dimensional complex simulations (over 7000 for epidemiology modeling and 45000 for climate modeling).

Via

Yi-An Ma, Teodor Vanislavov Marinov, Tong Zhang

This paper considers the generalization performance of differentially private convex learning. We demonstrate that the convergence analysis of Langevin algorithms can be used to obtain new generalization bounds with differential privacy guarantees for DP-SGD. More specifically, by using some recently obtained dimension-independent convergence results for stochastic Langevin algorithms with convex objective functions, we obtain $O(n^{-1/4})$ privacy guarantees for DP-SGD with the optimal excess generalization error of $\tilde{O}(n^{-1/2})$ for certain classes of overparameterized smooth convex optimization problems. This improves previous DP-SGD results for such problems that contain explicit dimension dependencies, so that the resulting generalization bounds become unsuitable for overparameterized models used in practical applications.

Via

Ruoqi Shen, Liyao Gao, Yi-An Ma

Early stopping is a simple and widely used method to prevent over-training neural networks. We develop theoretical results to reveal the relationship between the optimal early stopping time and model dimension as well as sample size of the dataset for certain linear models. Our results demonstrate two very different behaviors when the model dimension exceeds the number of features versus the opposite scenario. While most previous works on linear models focus on the latter setting, we observe that the dimension of the model often exceeds the number of features arising from data in common deep learning tasks and propose a model to study this setting. We demonstrate experimentally that our theoretical results on optimal early stopping time corresponds to the training process of deep neural networks.

Via