Welcome to ShortScience.org! |

- ShortScience.org is a platform for post-publication discussion aiming to improve accessibility and reproducibility of research ideas.
- The website has 1583 public summaries, mostly in machine learning, written by the community and organized by paper, conference, and year.
- Reading summaries of papers is useful to obtain the perspective and insight of another reader, why they liked or disliked it, and their attempt to demystify complicated sections.
- Also, writing summaries is a good exercise to understand the content of a paper because you are forced to challenge your assumptions when explaining it.
- Finally, you can keep up to date with the flood of research by reading the latest summaries on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Understanding deep learning requires rethinking generalization

Chiyuan Zhang and Samy Bengio and Moritz Hardt and Benjamin Recht and Oriol Vinyals

arXiv e-Print archive - 2016 via Local arXiv

Keywords: cs.LG

**First published:** 2016/11/10 (7 years ago)

**Abstract:** Despite their massive size, successful deep artificial neural networks can
exhibit a remarkably small difference between training and test performance.
Conventional wisdom attributes small generalization error either to properties
of the model family, or to the regularization techniques used during training.
Through extensive systematic experiments, we show how these traditional
approaches fail to explain why large neural networks generalize well in
practice. Specifically, our experiments establish that state-of-the-art
convolutional networks for image classification trained with stochastic
gradient methods easily fit a random labeling of the training data. This
phenomenon is qualitatively unaffected by explicit regularization, and occurs
even if we replace the true images by completely unstructured random noise. We
corroborate these experimental findings with a theoretical construction showing
that simple depth two neural networks already have perfect finite sample
expressivity as soon as the number of parameters exceeds the number of data
points as it usually does in practice.
We interpret our experimental findings by comparison with traditional models.
more
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Chiyuan Zhang and Samy Bengio and Moritz Hardt and Benjamin Recht and Oriol Vinyals

arXiv e-Print archive - 2016 via Local arXiv

Keywords: cs.LG

[link]
This paper deals with the question what / how exactly CNNs learn, considering the fact that they usually have more trainable parameters than data points on which they are trained. When the authors write "deep neural networks", they are talking about Inception V3, AlexNet and MLPs. ## Key contributions * Deep neural networks easily fit random labels (achieving a training error of 0 and a test error which is just randomly guessing labels as expected). $\Rightarrow$Those architectures can simply brute-force memorize the training data. * Deep neural networks fit random images (e.g. Gaussian noise) with 0 training error. The authors conclude that VC-dimension / Rademacher complexity, and uniform stability are bad explanations for generalization capabilities of neural networks * The authors give a construction for a 2-layer network with $p = 2n+d$ parameters - where $n$ is the number of samples and $d$ is the dimension of each sample - which can easily fit any labeling. (Finite sample expressivity). See section 4. ## What I learned * Any measure $m$ of the generalization capability of classifiers $H$ should take the percentage of corrupted labels ($p_c \in [0, 1]$, where $p_c =0$ is a perfect labeling and $p_c=1$ is totally random) into account: If $p_c = 1$, then $m()$ should be 0, too, as it is impossible to learn something meaningful with totally random labels. * We seem to have built models which work well on image data in general, but not "natural" / meaningful images as we thought. ## Funny > deep neural nets remain mysterious for many reasons > Note that this is not exactly simple as the kernel matrix requires 30GB to store in memory. Nonetheless, this system can be solved in under 3 minutes in on a commodity workstation with 24 cores and 256 GB of RAM with a conventional LAPACK call. ## See also * [Deep Nets Don't Learn Via Memorization](https://openreview.net/pdf?id=rJv6ZgHYg) |

NeRF: Representing Scenes as Neural Radiance Fields for View Synthesis

Mildenhall, Ben and Srinivasan, Pratul P. and Tancik, Matthew and Barron, Jonathan T. and Ramamoorthi, Ravi and Ng, Ren

- 2020 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: view_sythesis, deeplearning, eccv20, neural_rendering

Mildenhall, Ben and Srinivasan, Pratul P. and Tancik, Matthew and Barron, Jonathan T. and Ramamoorthi, Ravi and Ng, Ren

- 2020 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: view_sythesis, deeplearning, eccv20, neural_rendering

[link]
This summary builds extensively on my prior summary of SIRENs, so if you haven't read that summary or the underlying paper yet, I'd recommend doing that first! At a high level, the idea of SIRENs is to use a neural network to learn a compressed, continuous representation of an image, where the neural network encodes a mapping from (x, y) to the pixel value at that location, and the image can be reconstructed (or, potentially, expanded in size) by sampling from that function across the full range of the image. To do this effectively, they use sinusoidal activation functions, which let them match not just the output of the neural network f(x, y) to the true image, but also the first and second derivatives of the neural network to the first and second derivatives of the true image, which provides a more robust training signal. NERFs builds on this idea, but instead of trying to learn a continuous representation of an image (mapping from 2D position to 3D RGB), they try to learn a continuous representation of a scene, mapping from position (specified with with three coordinates) and viewing direction (specified with two angles) to the RGB color at a given point in a 3D grid (or "voxel", analogous to "pixel"), as well as the *density* or opacity of that point. Why is this interesting? Because if you have a NERF that has learned a good underlying function of a particular 3D scene, you can theoretically take samples of that scene from arbitrary angles, even angles not seen during training. It essentially functions as a usable 3D model of a scene, but one that, because it's stored in the weights of a neural network, and specified in a continuous function, is far smaller than actually storing all the values of all the voxels in a 3D scene (the authors give an example of 5MB vs 15GB for a NERF vs a full 3D model). To get some intuition for this, consider that if you wanted to store the curve represented by a particular third-degree polynomial function between 0 and 10,000 it would be much more space-efficient to simply store the 3 coefficients of that polynomial, and be able to sample from it at your desired granularity at will, rather than storing many empirically sampled points from along the curve. https://i.imgur.com/0c33YqV.png How is a NERF model learned? - The (x, y, z) position of each point is encoded as a combination of sine-wave, Fourier-style curves of increasingly higher frequency. This is similar to the positional encoding used by transformers. In practical turns, this means a location in space will be represented as a vector calculated as [some point on a low-frequency curve, some point on a slightly higher frequency curve..., some point on the highest-frequency curve]. This doesn't contain any more *information* than the (x, y, z) representation, but it does empirically seem to help training when you separate the frequencies like this - You take a dataset of images for which viewing direction is known, and simulate sending a ray through the scene in that direction, hitting some line (or possibly tube?) of voxels on the way. You calculate the perceived color at that point, which is an integral of the color information and density/opacity returned by your model, for each point. Intuitively, if you have a high opacity weight early on, that part of the object blocks any voxels further in the ray, whereas if the opacity weight is lower, more of the voxels behind will contribute to the overall effective color perceived. You then compare these predicted perceived colors to the actual colors captured by the 2D image, and train on the prediction error. - (One note on sampling: the paper proposes a hierarchical sampling scheme to help with sampling efficiently along the ray, first taking a course sample, and then adding additional samples in regions of high predicted density) - At the end of training, you have a network that hopefully captures the information from *that particular scene*. A notable downside of this approach is that it's quite slow for any use cases that require training on many scenes, since each individual scene network takes about 1-2 days of GPU time to train |

Behavior Regularized Offline Reinforcement Learning

Wu, Yifan and Tucker, George and Nachum, Ofir

arXiv e-Print archive - 2019 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

Wu, Yifan and Tucker, George and Nachum, Ofir

arXiv e-Print archive - 2019 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

[link]
Wu et al. provide a framework (behavior regularized actor critic (BRAC)) which they use to empirically study the impact of different design choices in batch reinforcement learning (RL). Specific instantiations of the framework include BCQ, KL-Control and BEAR. Pure off-policy rl describes the problem of learning a policy purely from a batch $B$ of one step transitions collected with a behavior policy $\pi_b$. The setting allows for no further interactions with the environment. This learning regime is for example in high stake scenarios, like education or heath care, desirable. The core principle of batch RL-algorithms in to stay in some sense close to the behavior policy. The paper proposes to incorporate this firstly via a regularization term in the value function, which is denoted as **value penalty**. In this case the value function of BRAC takes the following form: $ V_D^{\pi}(s) = \sum_{t=0}^{\infty} \gamma ^t \mathbb{E}_{s_t \sim P_t^{\pi}(s)}[R^{pi}(s_t)- \alpha D(\pi(\cdot\vert s_t) \Vert \pi_b(\cdot \vert s_t)))], $ where $\pi_b$ is the maximum likelihood estimate of the behavior policy based upon $B$. This results in a Q-function objective: $\min_{Q} = \mathbb{E}_{\substack{(s,a,r,s') \sim D \\ a' \sim \pi_{\theta}(\cdot \vert s)}}\left[(r + \gamma \left(\bar{Q}(s',a')-\alpha D(\pi(\cdot\vert s) \Vert \pi_b(\cdot \vert s) \right) - Q(s,a) \right] $ and the corresponding policy update: $ \max_{\pi_{\theta}} \mathbb{E}_{(s,a,r,s') \sim D} \left[ \mathbb{E}_{a^{''} \sim \pi_{\theta}(\cdot \vert s)}[Q(s,a^{''})] - \alpha D(\pi(\cdot\vert s) \Vert \pi_b(\cdot \vert s) \right] $ The second approach is **policy regularization** . Here the regularization weight $\alpha$ is set for value-objectives (V- and Q) to zero and is non-zero for the policy objective. It is possible to instantiate for example the following batch RL algorithms in this setting: - BEAR: policy regularization with sample-based kernel MMD as D and min-max mixture of the two ensemble elements for $\bar{Q}$ - BCQ: no regularization but policy optimization over restricted space Extensive Experiments over the four Mujoco tasks Ant, HalfCheetah,Hopper Walker show: 1. for a BEAR like instantiation there is a modest advantage of keeping $\alpha$ fixed 2. using a mixture of a two or four Q-networks ensemble as target value yields better returns that using one Q-network 3. taking the minimum of ensemble Q-functions is slightly better than taking a mixture (for Ant, HalfCeetah & Walker, but not for Hooper 4. the use of value-penalty yields higher return than the policy-penalty 5. no choice for D (MMD, KL (primal), KL(dual) or Wasserstein (dual)) significantly outperforms the other (note that his contradicts the BEAR paper where MMD was better than KL) 6. the value penalty version consistently outperforms BEAR which in turn outperforms BCQ with improves upon a partially trained baseline. This large scale study of different design choices helps in developing new methods. It is however surprising to see, that most design choices in current methods are shown empirically to be non crucial. This points to the importance of agreeing upon common test scenarios within a community to prevent over-fitting new algorithms to a particular setting. |

The Pitfalls of Simplicity Bias in Neural Networks

Shah, Harshay and Tamuly, Kaustav and Raghunathan, Aditi and Jain, Prateek and Netrapalli, Praneeth

arXiv e-Print archive - 2020 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

Shah, Harshay and Tamuly, Kaustav and Raghunathan, Aditi and Jain, Prateek and Netrapalli, Praneeth

arXiv e-Print archive - 2020 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

[link]
This is an interesting paper that makes a fairly radical claim, and I haven't fully decided whether what they find is an interesting-but-rare corner case, or a more fundamental weakness in the design of neural nets. The claim is: neural nets prefer learning simple features, even if there exist complex features that are equally or more predictive, and even if that means learning a classifier with a smaller margin - where margin means "the distance between the decision boundary and the nearest-by data". A large-margin classifier is preferable in machine learning because the larger the margin, the larger the perturbation that would have to be made - by an adversary, or just by the random nature of the test set - to trigger misclassification. https://i.imgur.com/PJ6QB6h.png This paper defines simplicity and complexity in a few ways. In their simulated datasets, a feature is simpler when the decision boundary along that axis requires fewer piecewise linear segments to separate datapoints. (In the example above, note that having multiple alternating blocks still allows for linear separation, but with a higher piecewise linear requirement). In their datasets that concatenate MNIST and CIFAR images, the MNIST component represents the simple feature. The authors then test which models use which features by training a model with access to all of the features - simple and complex - and then testing examples where one set of features is sampled in alignment with the label, and one set of features is sampled randomly. If the features being sampled randomly are being used by the model, perturbing them like this should decrease the test performance of the model. For the simulated datasets, a fully connected network was used; for the MNIST/CIFAR concatenation, a variety of different image classification convolutional architectures were tried. The paper finds that neural networks will prefer to use the simpler feature to the complete exclusion of more complex features, even if the complex feature is slightly more predictive (can achieve 100 vs 95% separation). The authors go on to argue that what they call this Extreme Simplicity Bias, or Extreme SB, might actually explain some of the observed pathologies in neural nets, like relying on spurious features or being subject to adversarial perturbations. They claim that spurious features - like background color or texture - will tend to be simpler, and that their theory explains networks' reliance on them. Additionally, relying completely or predominantly on single features means that a perturbation along just that feature can substantially hurt performance, as opposed to a network using multiple features, all of which must be perturbed to hurt performance an equivalent amount. As I mentioned earlier, I feel like I'd need more evidence before I was strongly convinced by the claims made in this paper, but they are interestingly provocative. On a broader level, I think a lot of the difficulties in articulating why we expect simpler features to perform well come from an imprecision in thinking in language around the idea - we think of complex features as inherently brittle and high-dimensional, but this paper makes me wonder how well our existing definitions of simplicity actually match those intuitions. |

Recurrent Batch Normalization

Cooijmans, Tim and Ballas, Nicolas and Laurent, César and Courville, Aaron

arXiv e-Print archive - 2016 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

Cooijmans, Tim and Ballas, Nicolas and Laurent, César and Courville, Aaron

arXiv e-Print archive - 2016 via Local Bibsonomy

Keywords: dblp

[link]
This paper describes how to apply the idea of batch normalization (BN) successfully to recurrent neural networks, specifically to LSTM networks. The technique involves the 3 following ideas: **1) Careful initialization of the BN scaling parameter.** While standard practice is to initialize it to 1 (to have unit variance), they show that this situation creates problems with the gradient flow through time, which vanishes quickly. A value around 0.1 (used in the experiments) preserves gradient flow much better. **2) Separate BN for the "hiddens to hiddens pre-activation and for the "inputs to hiddens" pre-activation.** In other words, 2 separate BN operators are applied on each contributions to the pre-activation, before summing and passing through the tanh and sigmoid non-linearities. **3) Use of largest time-step BN statistics for longer test-time sequences.** Indeed, one issue with applying BN to RNNs is that if the input sequences have varying length, and if one uses per-time-step mean/variance statistics in the BN transformation (which is the natural thing to do), it hasn't been clear how do deal with the last time steps of longer sequences seen at test time, for which BN has no statistics from the training set. The paper shows evidence that the pre-activation statistics tend to gradually converge to stationary values over time steps, which supports the idea of simply using the training set's last time step statistics. Among these ideas, I believe the most impactful idea is 1). The papers mentions towards the end that improper initialization of the BN scaling parameter probably explains previous failed attempts to apply BN to recurrent networks. Experiments on 4 datasets confirms the method's success. **My two cents** This is an excellent development for LSTMs. BN has had an important impact on our success in training deep neural networks, and this approach might very well have a similar impact on the success of LSTMs in practice. |

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