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  1. Inverse decision theory (IDT) aims to learn a performance metric for classification by eliciting expert classifications on examples. However, elicitation in practical settings may require many classifications of potentially ambiguous examples. To improve the efficiency of elicitation, we propose the cooperative inverse decision theory (CIDT) framework as a formalization of the performance metric elicitation problem. In cooperative inverse decision theory, the expert and a machine play a game where both are rewarded according to the expert’s performance metric, but the machine does not initially know what this function is. We show that optimal policies in this framework produce active learning that leads to an exponential improvement in sample complexity over previous work. One of our key findings is that a broad class of sub-optimal experts can be represented as having uncertain preferences. We use this finding to show such experts naturally fit into our proposed framework extending inverse decision theory to efficiently deal with decision data that is sub-optimal due to noise, conflicting experts, or systematic error 
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  2. Although parallelism has been extensively used in reinforcement learning (RL), the quantitative effects of parallel exploration are not well understood theoretically. We study the benefits of simple parallel exploration for reward-free RL in linear Markov decision processes (MDPs) and two-player zero-sum Markov games (MGs). In contrast to the existing literature, which focuses on approaches that encourage agents to explore a diverse set of policies, we show that using a single policy to guide exploration across all agents is sufficient to obtain an almost-linear speedup in all cases compared to their fully sequential counterpart. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this simple procedure is near-minimax optimal in the reward-free setting for linear MDPs. From a practical perspective, our paper shows that a single policy is sufficient and provably near-optimal for incorporating parallelism during the exploration phase. 
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  3. Collaborative inference leverages diverse features provided by different agents (e.g., sensors) for more accurate inference. A common setup is where each agent sends its embedded features instead of the raw data to the Fusion Center (FC) for joint prediction. In this setting, we consider the inference-time attacks when a small fraction of agents are compromised. The compromised agent either does not send embedded features to the FC, or sends arbitrarily embedded features. To address this, we propose a certifiably robust COllaborative inference framework via feature PURification (CoPur), by leveraging the block-sparse nature of adversarial perturbations on the feature vector, as well as exploring the underlying redundancy across the embedded features (by assuming the overall features lie on an underlying lower dimensional manifold). We theoretically show that the proposed feature purification method can robustly recover the true feature vector, despite adversarial corruptions and/or incomplete observations. We also propose and test an untargeted distributed feature-flipping attack, which is agnostic to the model, training data, label, as well as the features held by other agents, and is shown to be effective in attacking state-of-the-art defenses. Experiments on ExtraSensory and NUS-WIDE datasets show that CoPur significantly outperforms existing defenses in terms of robustness against targeted and untargeted adversarial attacks. 
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  4. Deep generative models have enabled the automated synthesis of high-quality data for diverse applications. However, the most effective generative models are specialized to data from a single domain (e.g., images or text). Real-world applications such as healthcare require multi-modal data from multiple domains (e.g., both images and corresponding text), which are difficult to acquire due to limited availability and privacy concerns and are much harder to synthesize. To tackle this joint synthesis challenge, we propose an End-to-end MultImodal X-ray genERative model (EMIXER) for jointly synthesizing x-ray images and corresponding free-text reports, all conditional on diagnosis labels. EMIXER is an conditional generative adversarial model by 1) generating an image based on a label, 2) encoding the image to a hidden embedding, 3) producing the corresponding text via a hierarchical decoder from the image embedding, and 4) a joint discriminator for assessing both the image and the corresponding text. EMIXER also enables self-supervision to leverage vast amount of unlabeled data. Extensive experiments with real X-ray reports data illustrate how data augmentation using synthesized multimodal samples can improve the performance of a variety of supervised tasks including COVID-19 X-ray classification with very limited samples. The quality of generated images and reports are also confirmed by radiologists. We quantitatively show that EMIXER generated synthetic datasets can augment X-ray image classification, report generation models to achieve 5.94% and 6.9% improvement on models trained only on real data samples. Taken together, our results highlight the promise of state of generative models to advance clinical machine learning. 
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  5. Chaudhuri, Kamalika ; Jegelka, Stefanie ; Song, Le ; Szepesvari, Csaba ; Niu, Gang ; Sabato, Sivan (Ed.)
    Machine learning (ML) robustness and domain generalization are fundamentally correlated: they essentially concern data distribution shifts under adversarial and natural settings, respectively. On one hand, recent studies show that more robust (adversarially trained) models are more generalizable. On the other hand, there is a lack of theoretical understanding of their fundamental connections. In this paper, we explore the relationship between regularization and domain transferability considering different factors such as norm regularization and data augmentations (DA). We propose a general theoretical framework proving that factors involving the model function class regularization are sufficient conditions for relative domain transferability. Our analysis implies that “robustness" is neither necessary nor sufficient for transferability; rather, regularization is a more fundamental perspective for understanding domain transferability. We then discuss popular DA protocols (including adversarial training) and show when they can be viewed as the function class regularization under certain conditions and therefore improve generalization. We conduct extensive experiments to verify our theoretical findings and show several counterexamples where robustness and generalization are negatively correlated on different datasets. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Understanding how neural structure varies across individuals is critical for characterizing the effects of disease, learning, and aging on the brain. However, disentangling the different factors that give rise to individual variability is still an outstanding challenge. In this paper, we introduce a deep generative modeling approach to find different modes of variation across many individuals. Our approach starts with training a variational autoencoder on a collection of auto-fluorescence images from a little over 1,700 mouse brains at 25 μ m resolution. We then tap into the learned factors and validate the model’s expressiveness, via a novel bi-directional technique that makes structured perturbations to both, the high-dimensional inputs of the network, as well as the low-dimensional latent variables in its bottleneck. Our results demonstrate that through coupling generative modeling frameworks with structured perturbations, it is possible to probe the latent space of the generative model to provide insights into the representations of brain structure formed in deep networks. 
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