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  1. This paper studies the fundamental problem of multi-layer generator models in learning hierarchical representations. The multi-layer generator model that consists of multiple layers of latent variables organized in a top-down architecture tends to learn multiple levels of data abstraction. However, such multi-layer latent variables are typically parameterized to be Gaussian, which can be less informative in capturing complex abstractions, resulting in limited success in hierarchical representation learning. On the other hand, the energy-based (EBM) prior is known to be expressive in capturing the data regularities, but it often lacks the hierarchical structure to capture different levels of hierarchical representations. In this paper, we propose a joint latent space EBM prior model with multi-layer latent variables for effective hierarchical representation learning. We develop a variational joint learning scheme that seamlessly integrates an inference model for efficient inference. Our experiments demonstrate that the proposed joint EBM prior is effective and expressive in capturing hierarchical representations and modeling data distribution. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Generation of molecules with desired chemical and biological properties such as high drug-likeness, high binding affinity to target proteins, is critical for drug discovery. In this paper, we propose a probabilistic generative model to capture the joint distribution of molecules and their properties. Our model assumes an energy-based model (EBM) in the latent space. Conditional on the latent vector, the molecule and its properties are modeled by a molecule generation model and a property regression model respectively. To search for molecules with desired properties, we propose a sampling with gradual distribution shifting (SGDS) algorithm, so that after learning the model initially on the training data of existing molecules and their properties, the proposed algorithm gradually shifts the model distribution towards the region supported by molecules with desired values of properties. Our experiments show that our method achieves very strong performances on various molecule design tasks. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. This paper studies the fundamental problem of learning multi-layer generator models. The multi-layer generator model builds multiple layers of latent variables as a prior model on top of the generator, which benefits learning complex data distribution and hierarchical representations. However, such a prior model usually focuses on modeling inter-layer relations between latent variables by assuming non-informative (conditional) Gaussian distributions, which can be limited in model expressivity. To tackle this issue and learn more expressive prior models, we propose an energy-based model (EBM) on the joint latent space over all layers of latent variables with the multi-layer generator as its backbone. Such joint latent space EBM prior model captures the intra-layer contextual relations at each layer through layer-wise energy terms, and latent variables across different layers are jointly corrected. We develop a joint training scheme via maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), which involves Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling for both prior and posterior distributions of the latent variables from different layers. To ensure efficient inference and learning, we further propose a variational training scheme where an inference model is used to amortize the costly posterior MCMC sampling. Our experiments demonstrate that the learned model can be expressive in generating high-quality images and capturing hierarchical features for better outlier detection. 
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  4. We propose to learn energy-based model (EBM) in the latent space of a generator model, so that the EBM serves as a prior model that stands on the top-down networkofthegeneratormodel. BoththelatentspaceEBMandthetop-down network can be learned jointly by maximum likelihood, which involves short-run MCMC sampling from both the prior and posterior distributions of the latent vector. Due to the low dimensionality of the latent space and the expressiveness of the top-down network, a simple EBM in latent space can capture regularities in the data effectively, and MCMC sampling in latent space is efficient and mixes well. We show that the learned model exhibits strong performances in terms of image and text generation and anomaly detection. The one-page code can be found in supplementary materials. 
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  5. Latent variable models for text, when trained successfully, accurately model the data distribution and capture global semantic and syntactic features of sentences. The prominent approach to train such models is variational autoencoders (VAE). It is nevertheless challenging to train and often results in a trivial local optimum where the latent variable is ignored and its posterior collapses into the prior, an issue known as posterior collapse. Various techniques have been proposed to mitigate this issue. Most of them focus on improving the inference model to yield latent codes of higher quality. The present work proposes a short run dynamics for inference. It is initialized from the prior distribution of the latent variable and then runs a small number (e.g., 20) of Langevin dynamics steps guided by its posterior distribution. The major advantage of our method is that it does not require a separate inference model or assume simple geometry of the posterior distribution, thus rendering an automatic, natural and flexible inference engine. We show that the models trained with short run dynamics more accurately model the data, compared to strong language model and VAE baselines, and exhibit no sign of posterior collapse. Analyses of the latent space show that interpolation in the latent space is able to generate coherent sentences with smooth transition and demonstrate improved classification over strong baselines with latent features from unsupervised pretraining. These results together expose a well-structured latent space of our generative model. 
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  6. This paper studies the fundamental problem of learning deep generative models that consist of multiple layers of latent variables organized in top-down architectures. Such models have high expressivity and allow for learning hierarchical representations. Learning such a generative model requires inferring the latent variables for each training example based on the posterior distribution of these latent variables. The inference typically requires Markov chain Monte Caro (MCMC) that can be time consuming. In this paper, we propose to use noise initialized non-persistent short run MCMC, such as nite step Langevin dynamics initialized from the prior distribution of the latent variables, as an approximate inference engine, where the step size of the Langevin dynamics is variationally optimized by minimizing the Kullback-Leibler divergence between the distribution produced by the short run MCMC and the posterior distribution. Our experiments show that the proposed method outperforms variational auto-encoder (VAE) in terms of reconstruction error and synthesis quality. The advantage of the proposed method is that it is simple and automatic without the need to design an inference model. 
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  7. Abstract

    A multi-TeV muon collider offers a spectacular opportunity in the direct exploration of the energy frontier. Offering a combination of unprecedented energy collisions in a comparatively clean leptonic environment, a high energy muon collider has the unique potential to provide both precision measurements and the highest energy reach in one machine that cannot be paralleled by any currently available technology. The topic generated a lot of excitement in Snowmass meetings and continues to attract a large number of supporters, including many from the early career community. In light of this very strong interest within the US particle physics community, Snowmass Energy, Theory and Accelerator Frontiers created a cross-frontier Muon Collider Forum in November of 2020. The Forum has been meeting on a monthly basis and organized several topical workshops dedicated to physics, accelerator technology, and detector R&D. Findings of the Forum are summarized in this report.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  8. How local interactions of actin regulators yield large-scale organization of cell shape and movement is not well understood. Here we investigate how the WAVE complex organizes sheet-like lamellipodia. Using super-resolution microscopy, we find that the WAVE complex forms actin-independent 230-nm-wide rings that localize to regions of saddle membrane curvature. This pattern of enrichment could explain several emergent cell behaviors, such as expanding and self-straightening lamellipodia and the ability of endothelial cells to recognize and seal transcellular holes. The WAVE complex recruits IRSp53 to sites of saddle curvature but does not depend on IRSp53 for its own localization. Although the WAVE complex stimulates actin nucleation via the Arp2/3 complex, sheet-like protrusions are still observed in ARP2-null, but not WAVE complex-null, cells. Therefore, the WAVE complex has additional roles in cell morphogenesis beyond Arp2/3 complex activation. Our work defines organizing principles of the WAVE complex lamellipodial template and suggests how feedback between cell shape and actin regulators instructs cell morphogenesis.

     
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