Gradient-based first-order adaptive optimization methods such as the Adam optimizer are prevalent in training artificial networks, achieving the state-of-the-art results. This work attempts to answer the question whether it is viable for biological neural systems to adopt such optimization methods. To this end, we demonstrate a realization of the Adam optimizer using biologically-plausible mechanisms in synapses. The proposed learning rule has clear biological correspondence, runs continuously in time, and achieves performance to comparable Adam's. In addition, we present a new approach, inspired by the predisposition property of synapses observed in neuroscience, to circumvent the biological implausibility of the weight transport problem in backpropagation (BP). With only local information and no separate training phases, this method establishes and maintains weight symmetry in the forward and backward signaling paths, and is applicable to the proposed biologically plausible Adam learning rule. These mechanisms may shed light on the way in which biological synaptic dynamics facilitate learning.
Several recent studies attempt to address the biological implausibility of the well-known backpropagation (BP) method. While promising methods such as feedback alignment, direct feedback alignment, and their variants like sign-concordant feedback alignment tackle BP's weight transport problem, their validity remains controversial owing to a set of other unsolved issues. In this work, we answer the question of whether it is possible to realize random backpropagation solely based on mechanisms observed in neuroscience. We propose a hypothetical framework consisting of a new microcircuit architecture and its supporting Hebbian learning rules. Comprising three types of cells and two types of synaptic connectivity, the proposed microcircuit architecture computes and propagates error signals through local feedback connections and supports the training of multi-layered spiking neural networks with a globally defined spiking error function. We employ the Hebbian rule operating in local compartments to update synaptic weights and achieve supervised learning in a biologically plausible manner. Finally, we interpret the proposed framework from an optimization point of view and show its equivalence to sign-concordant feedback alignment. The proposed framework is benchmarked on several datasets including MNIST and CIFAR10, demonstrating promising BP-comparable accuracy.
Deep learning has made many remarkable achievements in many fields but suffers from noisy labels in datasets. The state-of-the-art learning with noisy label method Co-teaching and Co-teaching+ confronts the noisy label by mutual-information between dual-network. However, the dual network always tends to convergent which would weaken the dual-network mechanism to resist the noisy labels. In this paper, we proposed a noise-tolerant framework named MLC in an end-to-end manner. It adjusts the dual-network with divergent regularization to ensure the effectiveness of the mechanism. In addition, we correct the label distribution according to the agreement between dual-networks. The proposed method can utilize the noisy data to improve the accuracy, generalization, and robustness of the network. We test the proposed method on the simulate noisy dataset MNIST, CIFAR-10, and the real-world noisy dataset Clothing1M. The experimental result shows that our method outperforms the previous state-of-the-art method. Besides, our method is network-free thus it is applicable to many tasks.
Our brain consists of biological neurons encoding information through accurate spike timing, yet both the architecture and learning rules of our brain remain largely unknown. Comparing to the recent development of backpropagation-based (BP-based) methods that are able to train spiking neural networks (SNNs) with high accuracy, biologically plausible methods are still in their infancy. In this work, we wish to answer the question of whether it is possible to attain comparable accuracy of SNNs trained by BP-based rules with bio-plausible mechanisms. We propose a new bio-plausible learning framework, consisting of two components: a new architecture, and its supporting learning rules. With two types of cells and four types of synaptic connections, the proposed local microcircuit architecture can compute and propagate error signals through local feedback connections and support training of multi-layers SNNs with a globally defined spiking error function. Under our microcircuit architecture, we employ the Spike-Timing-Dependent-Plasticity (STDP) rule operating in local compartments to update synaptic weights and achieve supervised learning in a biologically plausible manner. Finally, We interpret the proposed framework from an optimization point of view and show the equivalence between it and the BP-based rules under a special circumstance. Our experiments show that the proposed framework demonstrates learning accuracy comparable to BP-based rules and may provide new insights on how learning is orchestrated in biological systems.
While backpropagation (BP) has been applied to spiking neural networks (SNNs) achieving encouraging results, a key challenge involved is to backpropagate a continuous-valued loss over layers of spiking neurons exhibiting discontinuous all-or-none firing activities. Existing methods deal with this difficulty by introducing compromises that come with their own limitations, leading to potential performance degradation. We propose a novel BP-like method, called neighborhood aggregation (NA), which computes accurate error gradients guiding weight updates that may lead to discontinuous modifications of firing activities. NA achieves this goal by aggregating finite differences of the loss over multiple perturbed membrane potential waveforms in the neighborhood of the present membrane potential of each neuron while utilizing a new membrane potential distance function. Our experiments show that the proposed NA algorithm delivers the state-of-the-art performance for SNN training on several datasets.
Spiking neural networks (SNN) are usually more energy-efficient as compared to Artificial neural networks (ANN), and the way they work has a great similarity with our brain. Back-propagation (BP) has shown its strong power in training ANN in recent years. However, since spike behavior is non-differentiable, BP cannot be applied to SNN directly. Although prior works demonstrated several ways to approximate the BP-gradient in both spatial and temporal directions either through surrogate gradient or randomness, they omitted the temporal dependency introduced by the reset mechanism between each step. In this article, we target on theoretical completion and investigate the effect of the missing term thoroughly. By adding the temporal dependency of the reset mechanism, the new algorithm is more robust to learning-rate adjustments on a toy dataset but does not show much improvement on larger learning tasks like CIFAR-10. Empirically speaking, the benefits of the missing term are not worth the additional computational overhead. In many cases, the missing term can be ignored.
Neural backdoor attack is emerging as a severe security threat to deep learning, while the capability of existing defense methods is limited, especially for complex backdoor triggers. In the work, we explore the space formed by the pixel values of all possible backdoor triggers. An original trigger used by an attacker to build the backdoored model represents only a point in the space. It then will be generalized into a distribution of valid triggers, all of which can influence the backdoored model. Thus, previous methods that model only one point of the trigger distribution is not sufficient. Getting the entire trigger distribution, e.g., via generative modeling, is a key to effective defense. However, existing generative modeling techniques for image generation are not applicable to the backdoor scenario as the trigger distribution is completely unknown. In this work, we propose max-entropy staircase approximator (MESA), an algorithm for high-dimensional sampling-free generative modeling and use it to recover the trigger distribution. We also develop a defense technique to remove the triggers from the backdoored model. Our experiments on Cifar10/100 dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of MESA in modeling the trigger distribution and the robustness of the proposed defense method.
Designing neural architectures for edge devices is subject to constraints of accuracy, inference latency, and computational cost. Traditionally, researchers manually craft deep neural networks to meet the needs of mobile devices. Neural Architecture Search (NAS) was proposed to automate the neural architecture design without requiring extensive domain expertise and significant manual efforts. Recent works utilized NAS to design mobile models by taking into account hardware constraints and achieved state-of-the-art accuracy with fewer parameters and less computational cost measured in Multiply-accumulates (MACs). To find highly compact neural architectures, existing works relies on predefined cells and directly applying width multiplier, which may potentially limit the model flexibility, reduce the useful feature map information, and cause accuracy drop. To conquer this issue, we propose GRAM(GRAph propagation as Meta-knowledge) that adopts fine-grained (node-wise) search method and accumulates the knowledge learned in updates into a meta-graph. As a result, GRAM can enable more flexible search space and achieve higher search efficiency. Without the constraints of predefined cell or blocks, we propose a new structure-level pruning method to remove redundant operations in neural architectures. SwiftNet, which is a set of models discovered by GRAM, outperforms MobileNet-V2 by 2.15x higher accuracy density and 2.42x faster with similar accuracy. Compared with FBNet, SwiftNet reduces the search cost by 26x and achieves 2.35x higher accuracy density and 1.47x speedup while preserving similar accuracy. SwiftNetcan obtain 63.28% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet-1K with only 53M MACs and 2.07M parameters. The corresponding inference latency is only 19.09 ms on Google Pixel 1.