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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. We consider concept generalization at a large scale in the diverse and natural visual spectrum. Established computational modes (i.e., rule-based or similarity-based) are primarily studied isolated and focus on confined and abstract problem spaces. In this work, we study these two modes when the problem space scales up, and the complexity of concepts becomes diverse. Specifically, at the representational level, we seek to answer how the complexity varies when a visual concept is mapped to the representation space. Prior psychology literature has shown that two types of complexities (i.e., subjective complexity and visual complexity) build an inverted-U relation. Leveraging the Representativeness of Attribute (RoA), we computationally confirm the following observation: Models use attributes with high RoA to describe visual concepts, and the description length falls in an inverted-U relation with the increment in visual complexity. At the computational level, we aim to answer how the complexity of representation affects the shift between the rule- and similarity-based generalization. We hypothesize that category-conditioned visual modeling estimates the co-occurrence frequency between visual and categorical attributes, thus potentially serving as the prior for the natural visual world. Experimental results show that representations with relatively high subjective complexity out-perform those with relatively low subjective complexity in the rule-based generalization, while the trend is the opposite in the similarity-based generalization. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  3. Inspired by humans’ exceptional ability to master arithmetic and generalize to new problems, we present a new dataset, Handwritten arithmetic with INTegers (HINT), to examine machines’ capability of learning generalizable concepts at three levels: perception, syntax, and semantics. In HINT, machines are tasked with learning how concepts are perceived from raw signals such as images (i.e., perception), how multiple concepts are structurally combined to form a valid expression (i.e., syntax), and how concepts are realized to afford various reasoning tasks (i.e., semantics), all in a weakly supervised manner. Focusing on systematic generalization, we carefully design a five-fold test set to evaluate both the interpolation and the extrapolation of learned concepts w.r.t. the three levels. Further, we design a few-shot learning split to determine whether or not models can rapidly learn new concepts and generalize them to more complex scenarios. To comprehend existing models’ limitations, we undertake extensive experiments with various sequence-to-sequence models, including RNNs, Transformers, and GPT-3 (with the chain of thought prompting). The results indicate that current models struggle to extrapolate to long-range syntactic dependency and semantics. Models exhibit a considerable gap toward human-level generalization when evaluated with new concepts in a few-shot setting. Moreover, we discover that it is infeasible to solve HINT by merely scaling up the dataset and the model size; this strategy contributes little to the extrapolation of syntax and semantics. Finally, in zero-shot GPT-3 experiments, the chain of thought prompting exhibits impressive results and significantly boosts the test accuracy. We believe the HINT dataset and the experimental findings are of great interest to the learning community on systematic generalization. 
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  4. Mathematical reasoning, a core ability of human intelligence, presents unique challenges for machines in abstract thinking and logical reasoning. Recent large pre-trained language models such as GPT-3 have achieved remarkable progress on mathematical reasoning tasks written in text form, such as math word problems (MWP). However, it is unknown if the models can handle more complex problems that involve math reasoning over heterogeneous information, such as tabular data. To fill the gap, we present Tabular Math Word Problems (TABMWP), a new dataset containing 38,431 open-domain grade-level problems that require mathematical reasoning on both textual and tabular data. Each question in TABMWP is aligned with a tabular context, which is presented as an image, semi-structured text, and a structured table. There are two types of questions: free-text and multi-choice, and each problem is annotated with gold solutions to reveal the multi-step reasoning process. We evaluate different pre-trained models on TABMWP, including the GPT-3 model in a few-shot setting. As earlier studies suggest, since few-shot GPT-3 relies on the selection of in-context examples, its performance is unstable and can degrade to near chance. The unstable issue is more severe when handling complex problems like TABMWP. To mitigate this, we further propose a novel approach, PROMPTPG, which utilizes policy gradient to learn to select in-context examples from a small amount of training data and then constructs the corresponding prompt for the test example. Experimental results show that our method outperforms the best baseline by 5.31% on the accuracy metric and reduces the prediction variance significantly compared to random selection, which verifies its effectiveness in selecting in-context examples. 
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  5. Is intelligence realized by connectionist or classicist? While connectionist approaches have achieved superhuman performance, there has been growing evidence that such task-specific superiority is particularly fragile in systematic generalization. This observation lies in the central debate between connectionist and classicist, wherein the latter continually advocates an algebraic treatment in cognitive architectures. In this work, we follow the classicist’s call and propose a hybrid approach to improve systematic generalization in reasoning. Specifically, we showcase a prototype with algebraic representation for the abstract spatial-temporal reasoning task of Raven’s Progressive Matrices (RPM) and present the ALgebra-Aware Neuro-Semi-Symbolic (ALANS) learner. The ALANS learner is motivated by abstract algebra and the representation theory. It consists of a neural visual perception frontend and an algebraic abstract reasoning backend: the frontend summarizes the visual information from object-based representation, while the backend transforms it into an algebraic structure and induces the hidden operator on the fly. The induced operator is later executed to predict the answer’s representation, and the choice most similar to the prediction is selected as the solution. Extensive experiments show that by incorporating an algebraic treatment, the ALANS learner outperforms various pure connectionist models in domains requiring systematic generalization. We further show the generative nature of the learned algebraic representation; it can be decoded by isomorphism to generate an answer. 
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  6. This paper proposes a representational model for image pairs such as consecutive video frames that are related by local pixel displacements, in the hope that the model may shed light on motion perception in primary visual cortex (V1). The model couples the following two components: (1) the vector representations of local contents of images and (2) the matrix representations of local pixel displacements caused by the relative motions between the agent and the objects in the 3D scene. When the image frame undergoes changes due to local pixel displacements, the vectors are multiplied by the matrices that represent the local displacements. Thus the vector representation is equivariant as it varies according to the local displacements. Our experiments show that our model can learn Gabor-like filter pairs of quadrature phases. The profiles of the learned filters match those of simple cells in Macaque V1. Moreover, we demonstrate that the model can learn to infer local motions in either a supervised or unsupervised manner. With such a simple model, we achieve competitive results on optical flow estimation. 
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  7. Learning energy-based model (EBM) requires MCMC sampling of the learned model as an inner loop of the learning algorithm. However, MCMC sampling of EBMs in high-dimensional data space is generally not mixing, because the energy function, which is usually parametrized by deep network, is highly multi-modal in the data space. This is a serious handicap for both theory and practice of EBMs. In this paper, we propose to learn EBM with a flow-based model (or in general latent variable model) serving as a backbone, so that the EBM is a correction or an exponential tilting of the flow-based model. We show that the model has a particularly simple form in the space of the latent variables of the generative model, and MCMC sampling of the EBM in the latent space mixes well and traverses modes in the data space. This enables proper sampling and learning of EBMs. 
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  8. Latent space Energy-Based Models (EBMs), also known as energy-based priors, have drawn growing interests in generative modeling. Fueled by its flexibility in the formulation and strong modeling power of the latent space, recent works built upon it have made interesting attempts aiming at the interpretability of text modeling. However, latent space EBMs also inherit some flaws from EBMs in data space; the degenerate MCMC sampling quality in practice can lead to poor generation quality and instability in training, especially on data with complex latent structures. Inspired by the recent efforts that leverage diffusion recovery likelihood learning as a cure for the sampling issue, we introduce a novel symbiosis between the diffusion models and latent space EBMs in a variational learning framework, coined as the latent diffusion energy-based model. We develop a geometric clustering-based regularization jointly with the information bottleneck to further improve the quality of the learned latent space. Experiments on several challenging tasks demonstrate the superior performance of our model on interpretable text modeling over strong counterparts. 
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  9. A prerequisite for social coordination is bidirectional communication between teammates, each playing two roles simultaneously: as receptive listeners and expressive speakers. For robots working with humans in complex situations with multiple goals that differ in importance, failure to fulfill the expectation of either role could undermine group performance due to misalignment of values between humans and robots. Specifically, a robot needs to serve as an effective listener to infer human users’ intents from instructions and feedback and as an expressive speaker to explain its decision processes to users. Here, we investigate how to foster effective bidirectional human-robot communications in the context of value alignment—collaborative robots and users form an aligned understanding of the importance of possible task goals. We propose an explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) system in which a group of robots predicts users’ values by taking in situ feedback into consideration while communicating their decision processes to users through explanations. To learn from human feedback, our XAI system integrates a cooperative communication model for inferring human values associated with multiple desirable goals. To be interpretable to humans, the system simulates human mental dynamics and predicts optimal explanations using graphical models. We conducted psychological experiments to examine the core components of the proposed computational framework. Our results show that real-time human-robot mutual understanding in complex cooperative tasks is achievable with a learning model based on bidirectional communication. We believe that this interaction framework can shed light on bidirectional value alignment in communicative XAI systems and, more broadly, in future human-machine teaming systems. 
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  10. 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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