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  1. Non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) is a highly celebrated algorithm for matrix decomposition that guarantees non-negative factors. The underlying optimization problem is computationally intractable, yet in practice, gradient-descent-based methods often find good solutions. In this paper, we revisit the NMF optimization problem and analyze its loss landscape in non-worst-case settings. It has recently been observed that gradients in deep networks tend to point towards the final minimizer throughout the optimization procedure. We show that a similar property holds (with high probability) for NMF, provably in a non-worst case model with a planted solution, and empirically across an extensive suite of real-world NMF problems. Our analysis predicts that this property becomes more likely with growing number of parameters, and experiments suggest that a similar trend might also hold for deep neural networks---turning increasing dataset sizes and model sizes into a blessing from an optimization perspective.
  2. Most computer science conferences rely on paper bidding to assign reviewers to papers. Although paper bidding enables high-quality assignments in days of unprecedented submission numbers, it also opens the door for dishonest reviewers to adversarially influence paper reviewing assignments. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some reviewers bid on papers by "friends" or colluding authors, even though these papers are outside their area of expertise, and recommend them for acceptance without considering the merit of the work. In this paper, we study the efficacy of such bid manipulation attacks and find that, indeed, they can jeopardize the integrity of the review process. We develop a novel approach for paper bidding and assignment that is much more robust against such attacks. We show empirically that our approach provides robustness even when dishonest reviewers collude, have full knowledge of the assignment system’s internal workings, and have access to the system’s inputs. In addition to being more robust, the quality of our paper review assignments is comparable to that of current, non-robust assignment approaches.
  3. Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs) and their variants have experienced significant attention and have become the de facto methods for learning graph representations. GCNs derive inspiration primarily from recent deep learning approaches, and as a result, may inherit unnecessary complexity and redundant computation. In this paper, we reduce this excess complexity through successively removing nonlinearities and collapsing weight matrices between consecutive layers. We theoretically analyze the resulting linear model and show that it corresponds to a fixed low-pass filter followed by a linear classifier. Notably, our experimental evaluation demonstrates that these simplifications do not negatively impact accuracy in many downstream applications. Moreover, the resulting model scales to larger datasets, is naturally interpretable, and yields up to two orders of magnitude speedup over FastGCN.
  4. Evaluating generative adversarial networks (GANs) is inherently challenging. In this paper, we revisit several representative sample-based evaluation metrics for GANs, and address the problem of how to evaluate the evaluation metrics. We start with a few necessary conditions for metrics to produce meaningful scores, such as distinguishing real from generated samples, identifying mode dropping and mode collapsing, and detecting overfitting. With a series of carefully designed experiments, we comprehensively investigate existing sample-based metrics and identify their strengths and limitations in practical settings. Based on these results, we observe that kernel Maximum Mean Discrepancy (MMD) and the 1-Nearest- Neighbor (1-NN) two-sample test seem to satisfy most of the desirable properties, provided that the distances between samples are computed in a suitable feature space. Our experiments also unveil interesting properties about the behavior of several popular GAN models, such as whether they are memorizing training samples, and how far they are from learning the target distribution.
  5. Recent work shows that inference for Gaussian processes can be performed efficiently using iterative methods that rely only on matrix-vector multiplications (MVMs). Structured Kernel Interpolation (SKI) exploits these techniques by deriving approximate kernels with very fast MVMs. Unfortunately, such strategies suffer badly from the curse of dimensionality. We develop a new technique for MVM based learning that exploits product kernel structure. We demonstrate that this technique is broadly applicable, resulting in linear rather than exponential runtime with dimension for SKI, as well as state-of-the-art asymptotic complexity for multi-task GPs.
  6. State-of-the-art deep reading comprehension models are dominated by recurrent neural nets. Their sequential nature is a natural fit for language, but it also precludes parallelization within an instances and often becomes the bottleneck for deploying such models to latency critical scenarios. This is particularly problematic for longer texts. Here we present a convolutional architecture as an alternative to these recurrent architectures. Using simple dilated convolutional units in place of recurrent ones, we achieve results comparable to the state of the art on two question answering tasks, while at the same time achieving up to two orders of magnitude speedups for question answering.
  7. One of the most compelling features of Gaussian process (GP) regression is its ability to provide well-calibrated posterior distributions. Recent advances in inducing point methods have sped up GP marginal likelihood and posterior mean computations, leaving posterior covariance estimation and sampling as the remaining computational bottlenecks. In this paper we address these shortcomings by using the Lanczos algorithm to rapidly approximate the predictive covariance matrix. Our approach, which we refer to as LOVE (LanczOs Variance Estimates), substantially improves time and space complexity. In our experiments, LOVE computes covariances up to 2,000 times faster and draws samples 18,000 times faster than existing methods, all without sacrificing accuracy.
  8. One of the most compelling features of Gaussian process (GP) regression is its ability to provide well-calibrated posterior distributions. Recent ad- vances in inducing point methods have sped up GP marginal likelihood and posterior mean computations, leaving posterior covariance estimation and sampling as the remaining computational bottlenecks. In this paper we address these shortcom- ings by using the Lanczos algorithm to rapidly ap- proximate the predictive covariance matrix. Our approach, which we refer to as LOVE (LanczOs Variance Estimates), substantially improves time and space complexity. In our experiments, LOVE computes covariances up to 2,000 times faster and draws samples 18,000 times faster than existing methods, all without sacrificing accuracy.
  9. We propose Deep Feature Interpolation (DFI), a new data-driven baseline for automatic high-resolution image transformation. As the name suggests, it relies only on simple linear interpolation of deep convolutional features from pre-trained convnets. We show that despite its simplicity, DFI can perform high-level semantic transformations like "make older/younger", "make bespectacled", "add smile", among others, surprisingly well - sometimes even matching or outperforming the state-of-the-art. This is particularly unexpected as DFI requires no specialized network architecture or even any deep network to be trained for these tasks. DFI therefore can be used as a new baseline to evaluate more complex algorithms and provides a practical answer to the question of which image transformation tasks are still challenging in the rise of deep learning.
  10. Confidence calibration -- the problem of predicting probability estimates representative of the true correctness likelihood -- is important for classification models in many applications. We discover that modern neural networks, unlike those from a decade ago, are poorly calibrated. Through extensive experiments, we observe that depth, width, weight decay, and Batch Normalization are important factors influencing calibration. We evaluate the performance of various post-processing calibration methods on state-of-the-art architectures with image and document classification datasets. Our analysis and experiments not only offer insights into neural network learning, but also provide a simple and straightforward recipe for practical settings: on most datasets, temperature scaling -- a single-parameter variant of Platt Scaling -- is surprisingly effective at calibrating predictions.