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  1. Adversarial Examples Detection (AED) is a crucial defense technique against adversarial attacks and has drawn increasing attention from the Natural Language Processing (NLP) community. Despite the surge of new AED methods, our studies show that existing methods heavily rely on a shortcut to achieve good performance. In other words, current search-based adversarial attacks in NLP stop once model predictions change, and thus most adversarial examples generated by those attacks are located near model decision boundaries. To surpass this shortcut and fairly evaluate AED methods, we propose to test AED methods with Far Boundary (FB) adversarial examples. Existing methods show worse than random guess performance under this scenario. To overcome this limitation, we propose a new technique, ADDMU, adversary detection with data and model uncertainty, which combines two types of uncertainty estimation for both regular and FB adversarial example detection. Our new method outperforms previous methods by 3.6 and 6.0 AUC points under each scenario. Finally, our analysis shows that the two types of uncertainty provided by ADDMU can be leveraged to characterize adversarialexamples and identify the ones that contribute most to model’s robustness in adversarial training. 
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  2. De Vico Fallani, Fabrizio (Ed.)
    The exponential family random graph modeling (ERGM) framework provides a highly flexible approach for the statistical analysis of networks (i.e., graphs). As ERGMs with dyadic dependence involve normalizing factors that are extremely costly to compute, practical strategies for ERGMs inference generally employ a variety of approximations or other workarounds. Markov Chain Monte Carlo maximum likelihood (MCMC MLE) provides a powerful tool to approximate the maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) of ERGM parameters, and is generally feasible for typical models on single networks with as many as a few thousand nodes. MCMC-based algorithms for Bayesian analysis are more expensive, and high-quality answers are challenging to obtain on large graphs. For both strategies, extension to the pooled case—in which we observe multiple networks from a common generative process—adds further computational cost, with both time and memory scaling linearly in the number of graphs. This becomes prohibitive for large networks, or cases in which large numbers of graph observations are available. Here, we exploit some basic properties of the discrete exponential families to develop an approach for ERGM inference in the pooled case that (where applicable) allows an arbitrarily large number of graph observations to be fit at no additional computational cost beyond preprocessing the data itself. Moreover, a variant of our approach can also be used to perform Bayesian inference under conjugate priors, again with no additional computational cost in the estimation phase. The latter can be employed either for single graph observations, or for observations from graph sets. As we show, the conjugate prior is easily specified, and is well-suited to applications such as regularization. Simulation studies show that the pooled method leads to estimates with good frequentist properties, and posterior estimates under the conjugate prior are well-behaved. We demonstrate the usefulness of our approach with applications to pooled analysis of brain functional connectivity networks and to replicated x-ray crystal structures of hen egg-white lysozyme. 
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  3. Low‐dimensional parametric models for network dynamics have been successful as inferentially efficient and interpretable tools for modelling network evolution but have difficulty in settings with strong time inhomogeneity (particularly when sharp variation in parameters is possible and covariates are limited). Here, we propose to address this problem via a novel family of block‐structured dynamic exponential‐family random graph models (ERGMs), where the time domain is divided into consecutive blocks and the network parameters are assumed to evolve smoothly within each block. In particular, we let the latent ERGM parameters follow a piecewise polynomial model with an unknown block structure (e.g., change points). We propose an iterative estimation procedure that involves estimating the block structure using trend filtering and fitting ERGMs for networks belonging to the same time block. We demonstrate the utility of the proposed approach using simulation studies and applications to interbank transaction networks and citations among political blogs over the course of an electoral cycle.

     
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  4. Recent years have witnessed the emergence of a variety of post-hoc interpretations that aim to uncover how natural language processing (NLP) models make predictions. Despite the surge of new interpretation methods, it remains an open problem how to define and quantitatively measure the faithfulness of interpretations, i.e., to what extent interpretations reflect the reasoning process by a model. We propose two new criteria, sensitivity and stability, that provide complementary notions of faithfulness to the existed removal-based criteria. Our results show that the conclusion for how faithful interpretations are could vary substantially based on different notions. Motivated by the desiderata of sensitivity and stability, we introduce a new class of interpretation methods that adopt techniques from adversarial robustness. Empirical results show that our proposed methods are effective under the new criteria and overcome limitations of gradient-based methods on removal-based criteria. Besides text classification, we also apply interpretation methods and metrics to dependency parsing. Our results shed light on understanding the diverse set of interpretations. 
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  5. The uneven spread of COVID-19 has resulted in disparate experiences for marginalized populations in urban centers. Using computational models, we examine the effects of local cohesion on COVID-19 spread in social contact networks for the city of San Francisco, finding that more early COVID-19 infections occur in areas with strong local cohesion. This spatially correlated process tends to affect Black and Hispanic communities more than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Local social cohesion thus acts as a potential source of hidden risk for COVID-19 infection. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Standard epidemiological models for COVID-19 employ variants of compartment (SIR or susceptible–infectious–recovered) models at local scales, implicitly assuming spatially uniform local mixing. Here, we examine the effect of employing more geographically detailed diffusion models based on known spatial features of interpersonal networks, most particularly the presence of a long-tailed but monotone decline in the probability of interaction with distance, on disease diffusion. Based on simulations of unrestricted COVID-19 diffusion in 19 US cities, we conclude that heterogeneity in population distribution can have large impacts on local pandemic timing and severity, even when aggregate behavior at larger scales mirrors a classic SIR-like pattern. Impacts observed include severe local outbreaks with long lag time relative to the aggregate infection curve, and the presence of numerous areas whose disease trajectories correlate poorly with those of neighboring areas. A simple catchment model for hospital demand illustrates potential implications for health care utilization, with substantial disparities in the timing and extremity of impacts even without distancing interventions. Likewise, analysis of social exposure to others who are morbid or deceased shows considerable variation in how the epidemic can appear to individuals on the ground, potentially affecting risk assessment and compliance with mitigation measures. These results demonstrate the potential for spatial network structure to generate highly nonuniform diffusion behavior even at the scale of cities, and suggest the importance of incorporating such structure when designing models to inform health care planning, predict community outcomes, or identify potential disparities. 
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  7. We conduct a thorough study to diagnose the behaviors of pre-trained language encoders (ELMo, BERT, and RoBERTa) when confronted with natural grammatical errors. Specifically, we collect real grammatical errors from non-native speakers and conduct adversarial attacks to simulate these errors on clean text data. We use this approach to facilitate debugging models on downstream applications. Results confirm that the performance of all tested models is affected but the degree of impact varies. To interpret model behaviors, we further design a linguistic acceptability task to reveal their abilities in identifying ungrammatical sentences and the position of errors. We find that fixed contextual encoders with a simple classifier trained on the prediction of sentence correctness are able to locate error positions. We also design a cloze test for BERT and discover that BERT captures the interaction between errors and specific tokens in context. Our results shed light on understanding the robustness and behaviors of language encoders against grammatical errors. 
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