Thesis 2021

Off-Policy Inverse Reinforcement Learning via Distribution Matching (Hana Hoshino)

Inverse Reinforcement Learning (IRL) is attractive in scenarios where reward engineering can be tedious. However, prior IRL algorithms use on-policy transitions, which require intensive sampling from the current policy for stable and optimal performance. This limits IRL applications in the real world, where environment interactions can become highly expensive. To tackle this problem, we present Off-Policy Inverse Reinforcement Learning (OPIRL), which (1) adopts off-policy data distribution instead of on-policy and enables significant reduction of the number of interactions with the environment, (2) learns a reward function that is transferable with high generalization capabilities on changing dynamics, and (3) leverages mode-covering behavior for faster convergence. We demonstrate that our method is considerably more sample efficient and generalizes to novel environments through the experiments. Our method achieves better or comparable results on policy performance baselines with significantly fewer interactions. Furthermore, we empirically show that the recovered reward function generalizes to different tasks where prior arts are prone to fail.

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Informative Sample-Aware Proxy for Deep Metric Learning (Aoyu Li)

Metric Learning is one if the core fundamental tasks of machine learning. In deep metric learning (DML), the proxy-based methods are drawing more and more attention recently because of their flexibility and efficiency while maintaining higher performance. In this work, we propose a novel proxy-based method combined with class-dependent dynamic weighting, called Informative Sample-Aware Proxy (Proxy-ISA).
Proxies, which are class-representative points in the representation space, receive updates based on proxy-sample similarities as sample representations do. In existing methods, it may be possible that a relatively small number of samples producing large gradient magnitudes (i.e., hard samples) and a relatively large number of samples producing small gradient magnitudes (i.e., easy samples) play a major part in the update. Based on the assumption that acquiring too much sensitivities to such extreme sets of samples would deteriorate the generalization ability, the proposed Proxy-ISA directly modifies a gradient weighting factor to each sample. In this work, we first design a method to estimate the learned class-related region to acquire the information of class hardness. By defining the hard and easy samples adaptively to the class hardness, each proxy identifies its own hard and easy samples and reduces their weighting factors with a scheduled threshold function, so that the model acquires more sensitivity to the intermediate samples, which is called "informative" samples. Furthermore, we incorporate the idea of active learning to emphasize the informative samples dynamically according to the learning step, and the dynamic weights are assigned separately for positive pairs and negative pairs. Extensive experiments on the CUB-200-2011, Cars-196, Stanford Online Products and In-shop Clothes Retrieval datasets demonstrate superiority of Proxy-ISA over the state-of-the-art methods.

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On the generalization gap of SAM optimizers for very large batch sizes (Elvin Munoz)

The generalization properties of a trained network are highly tied to the geometrical shape of the loss function evaluated at the parameters of the model; it has been found that flat minima increase the generalization properties of a neural network. Due to the stochasticity of most optimizers such as SGD, normally a flat minima will be found rather than a sharp minima. However, as we increase the batch size and thus reduce the stochasticity of the training process, it becomes more likely to fall into a sharp minima. There have been many methods that have been devised to counteract this effect and obtain high generalization properties even when using large batches, one of such methods is SAM (Sharpness-aware minimization). This method has been proven to improve the generalization properties of trained neural networks in the small-mid range of batch sizes and even it has been found to work in distributed training. However, a more in-detail study of its capabilities at higher batch sizes is needed; moreover this method introduces a new hyperparameter (neighborhood size) that needs to be tuned. The main goal of this work was to shed some light at the behavior of this optimizer when using a large batch (reaching almost full batch) and a study of the behavior of the neighborhood size for proper tuning.

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Thesis 2020

Second-order Optimization for Large-scale Deep Learning(Kazuki Osawa)

Large-scale distributed training of deep neural networks results in models with worse generalization performance as a result of the increase in the effective mini-batch size.  Previous approaches attempt to address this problem by varying the learning rate and batch size over epochs and layers, or ad hoc modifications of Batch Normalization.  We propose Scalable and Practical Natural Gradient Descent , a principled approach for training models that allows them to attain similar generalization performance to models trained with first-order optimization methods, but with accelerated convergence. Furthermore, SP-NGD scales to large mini-batch sizes with a negligible computational overhead as compared to first-order methods.  We evaluate SP-NGD on a benchmark task where highly optimized first-order methods are available as references: training a ResNet-50 model for image classification on the ImageNet dataset. We demonstrate convergence to a top-1 validation accuracy of 75.4% in 5.5 minutes using a mini-batch size of 32,768 with 1,024 GPUs, as well as an accuracy of 74.9% with an extremely large mini-batch size of 131,072 in 873 steps of SP-NGD.

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Thesis 2019

Efficient library for hierarchical low rank approximation (Peter Spalthoff)

Dense matrices have a quadratic memory complexity and many operations on them have cubic scaling. This makes them prohibitively expensive for large scale operations. In many applications (covariance matrices, BEM...) a substructure of low rank blocks is found. This substructure can be exploited to create an efficient compression of the matrix, called hierarchical low rank approximation. On the resulting so-called Hierarchical Matrices, which only have linear storage complexity, all arithmetic operations (multiplication, inversion...) can be defined. These operations are also much faster with cloes to linear complexity. We are working on a modern, flexible library with distributed memory parallelization on heterogeneous nodes.

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Thesis 2018

Verification of speeding up using low precision arithmetic in convolutional neural network (Hiroki Naganuma)

The recent trend in convolutional neural networks (CNN) is to have deeper multilayered structures. While this improves the accuracy of the model, the amount of computation and the amount of data involved in learning and inference increases. In order to solve this problem, several techniques have been proposed to reduce the amount of data and the amount of computation by lowering the numerical precision of computation and data by utilizing the CNN's resistance to noise.

However, there is a lack of discussion on the relationship between parameter compression and speedup within each layer of the CNN.

In this research, we propose a method to speed up the inference by using half precision floating point SIMD instructions, by applying low precision to the learned model, in addition to reducing the data of the CNN model, and speeding up data access for layers that are computation-bound.

We examined the influence of CNN recognition accuracy, the speedup for each layer, and its reason, when we apply our method.

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Smoothing of the Objective Function in Stochastic Optimization for Large Scale Parallel Deep Learning (Hiroki Naganuma)

Classical learning theory states that when the number of parameters of the model is too large compared to the data, the model will overfit and the generalization performance deteriorates. However, it has been empirically shown that deep neural networks (DNN) can achieve high generalization capability by training with extremely large amount of data and model parameters, which exceeds the predictions of classical learning theory. One drawback of this is that training of DNN requires enormous calculation time. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the training time through large scale parallelization. Straightforward data-parallelization of DNN degrades convergence and generalization. In the present work, we investigate the possibility of using second order methods to solve this generalization gap in large-batch training. This is motivated by our observation that each mini-batch becomes more statistically stable, and thus the effect of considering the curvature plays a more important role in large-batch training. We have also found that naively adapting the natural gradient method causes the generalization performance to deteriorate further due to the lack of regularization capability. We propose an improved second order method by smoothing the loss function, which allows second order methods to generalize as well as mini-batch SGD.

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