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Creators/Authors contains: "Feng, Shi"

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  1. Abstract

    With rapid progress in simulation of strongly interacting quantum Hamiltonians, the challenge in characterizing unknown phases becomes a bottleneck for scientific progress. We demonstrate that a Quantum-Classical hybrid approach (QuCl) of mining sampled projective snapshots with interpretable classical machine learning can unveil signatures of seemingly featureless quantum states. The Kitaev-Heisenberg model on a honeycomb lattice under external magnetic field presents an ideal system to test QuCl, where simulations have found an intermediate gapless phase (IGP) sandwiched between known phases, launching a debate over its elusive nature. We use the correlator convolutional neural network, trained on labeled projective snapshots, in conjunction with regularization path analysis to identify signatures of phases. We show that QuCl reproduces known features of established phases. Significantly, we also identify a signature of the IGP in the spin channel perpendicular to the field direction, which we interpret as a signature of Friedel oscillations of gapless spinons forming a Fermi surface. Our predictions can guide future experimental searches for spin liquids.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    The glutaminase enzymes GAC and GLS2 catalyze the hydrolysis of glutamine to glutamate, satisfying the ‘glutamine addiction’ of cancer cells. They are the targets of anti-cancer drugs; however, their mechanisms of activation and catalytic activity have been unclear. Here we demonstrate that the ability of GAC and GLS2 to form filaments is directly coupled to their catalytic activity and present their cryo-EM structures which provide a view of the conformational states essential for catalysis. Filament formation guides an ‘activation loop’ to assume a specific conformation that works together with a ‘lid’ to close over the active site and position glutamine for nucleophilic attack by an essential serine. Our findings highlight how ankyrin repeats on GLS2 regulate enzymatic activity, while allosteric activators stabilize, and clinically relevant inhibitors block, filament formation that enables glutaminases to catalyze glutaminolysis and support cancer progression.

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  3. Peer prediction refers to a collection of mechanisms for eliciting information from human agents when direct verification of the obtained information is unavailable. They are designed to have a game-theoretic equilibrium where everyone reveals their private information truthfully. This result holds under the assumption that agents are Bayesian and they each adopt a fixed strategy across all tasks. Human agents however are observed in many domains to exhibit learning behavior in sequential settings. In this paper, we explore the dynamics of sequential peer prediction mechanisms when participants are learning agents. We first show that the notion of no regret alone for the agents’ learning algorithms cannot guaran- tee convergence to the truthful strategy. We then focus on a family of learning algorithms where strategy updates only depend on agents’ cumulative rewards and prove that agents’ strategies in the popular Correlated Agreement (CA) mechanism converge to truthful reporting when they use algorithms from this family. This fam- ily of algorithms is not necessarily no-regret, but includes several familiar no-regret learning algorithms (e.g multiplicative weight update and Follow the Perturbed Leader) as special cases. Simulation of several algorithms in this family as well as the ε-greedy algorithm, which is outside of this family, shows convergence to the truthful strategy in the CA mechanism. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  4. Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have emerged as a powerful tool for semi- supervised node classification tasks. However, recent studies have revealed various biases in GNNs stemming from both node features and graph topology. In this work, we uncover a new bias - label position bias, which indicates that the node closer to the labeled nodes tends to perform better. We introduce a new metric, the Label Proximity Score, to quantify this bias, and find that it is closely related to performance disparities. To address the label position bias, we propose a novel optimization framework for learning a label position unbiased graph structure, which can be applied to existing GNNs. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our proposed method not only outperforms backbone methods but also significantly mitigates the issue of label position bias in GNNs. 
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  5. In-context learning (ICL) is an important paradigm for adapting large language models (LLMs) to new tasks, but the generalization behavior of ICL remains poorly understood. We investigate the inductive biases of ICL from the perspective of feature bias: which feature ICL is more likely to use given a set of underspecified demonstrations in which two features are equally predictive of the labels. First, we characterize the feature biases of GPT-3 models by constructing underspecified demonstrations from a range of NLP datasets and feature combinations. We find that LLMs exhibit clear feature biases—for example, demonstrating a strong bias to predict labels according to sentiment rather than shallow lexical features, like punctuation. Second, we evaluate the effect of different interventions that are designed to impose an inductive bias in favor of a particular feature, such as adding a natural language instruction or using semantically relevant label words. We find that, while many interventions can influence the learner to prefer a particular feature, it can be difficult to overcome strong prior biases. Overall, our results provide a broader picture of the types of features that ICL may be more likely to exploit and how to impose inductive biases that are better aligned with the intended task. 
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  6. Large Language Models (LLMs) are increasingly used for accessing information on the web. Their truthfulness and factuality are thus of great interest. To help users make the right decisions about the information they get, LLMs should not only provide information but also help users fact-check it. Our experiments with 80 crowdworkers compare language models with search engines (information retrieval systems) at facilitating fact-checking. We prompt LLMs to validate a given claim and provide corresponding explanations. Users reading LLM explanations are significantly more efficient than those using search engines while achieving similar accuracy. However, they over-rely on the LLMs when the explanation is wrong. To reduce over-reliance on LLMs, we ask LLMs to provide contrastive information - explain both why the claim is true and false, and then we present both sides of the explanation to users. This contrastive explanation mitigates users' over-reliance on LLMs, but cannot significantly outperform search engines. Further, showing both search engine results and LLM explanations offers no complementary benefits compared to search engines alone. Taken together, our study highlights that natural language explanations by LLMs may not be a reliable replacement for reading the retrieved passages, especially in high-stakes settings where over-relying on wrong AI explanations could lead to critical consequences. 
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  7. Algorithmic case-based decision support provides examples to help human make sense of predicted labels and aid human in decision-making tasks. Despite the promising performance of supervised learning, representations learned by supervised models may not align well with human intuitions: what models consider as similar examples can be perceived as distinct by humans. As a result, they have limited effectiveness in case-based decision support. In this work, we incorporate ideas from metric learning with supervised learning to examine the importance of alignment for effective decision support. In addition to instance-level labels, we use human-provided triplet judgments to learn human-compatible decision-focused representations. Using both synthetic data and human subject experiments in multiple classification tasks, we demonstrate that such representation is better aligned with human perception than representation solely optimized for classification. Human-compatible representations identify nearest neighbors that are perceived as more similar by humans and allow humans to make more accurate predictions, leading to substantial improvements in human decision accuracies (17.8% in butterfly vs. moth classification and 13.2% in pneumonia classification). 
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