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  1. We provide an efficient algorithm for the classical problem, going back to Galton, Pearson, and Fisher, of estimating, with arbitrary accuracy the parameters of a multivariate normal distribution from truncated samples. Truncated samples from a d-variate normal N(μ,Σ) means a samples is only revealed if it falls in some subset S⊆Rd; otherwise the samples are hidden and their count in proportion to the revealed samples is also hidden. We show that the mean μ and covariance matrix Σ can be estimated with arbitrary accuracy in polynomial-time, as long as we have oracle access to S, and S has non-trivial measure under the unknown d-variate normal distribution. Additionally we show that without oracle access to S, any non-trivial estimation is impossible.
  2. We present O(log logn)-round algorithms in the Massively Parallel Computation (MPC) model, with ˜O(n) memory per machine, that compute a maximal independent set, a 1 + ε approximation of maximum matching, and a 2 + ε approximation of minimum vertex cover, for any n-vertex graph and any constant ε > 0. These improve the state of the art as follows: • Our MIS algorithm leads to a simple O(log log Δ)-round MIS algorithm in the CONGESTED-CLIQUE model of distributed computing, which improves on the ˜O (plog Δ)-round algorithm of Ghaffari [PODC’17]. • OurO(log logn)-round (1+ε)-approximate maximum matching algorithm simplifies or improves on the following prior work: O(log2 logn)-round (1 + ε)-approximation algorithm of Czumaj et al. [STOC’18] and O(log logn)-round (1 + ε)- approximation algorithm of Assadi et al. [arXiv’17]. • Our O(log logn)-round (2+ε)-approximate minimum vertex cover algorithm improves on an O(log logn)-round O(1)- approximation of Assadi et al. [arXiv’17].
  3. In many situations, sample data is obtained from a noisy or imperfect source. In order to address such corruptions, this paper introduces the concept of a sampling corrector. Such algorithms use structure that the distribution is purported to have, in order to allow one to make “on-the-fly” corrections to samples drawn from probability distributions. These algorithms then act as filters between the noisy data and the end user. We show connections between sampling correctors, distribution learning algorithms, and distribution property testing algorithms. We show that these connections can be utilized to expand the applicability of known distribution learning and property testing algorithms as well as to achieve improved algorithms for those tasks. As a first step, we show how to design sampling correctors using proper learning algorithms. We then focus on the question of whether algorithms for sampling correctors can be more efficient in terms of sample complexity than learning algorithms for the analogous families of distributions. When correcting monotonicity, we show that this is indeed the case when also granted query access to the cumulative distribution function. We also obtain sampling correctors for monotonicity even without this stronger type of access, provided that the distribution be originally very closemore »to monotone (namely, at a distance $O(1/\log^2 n)$). In addition to that, we consider a restricted error model that aims at capturing “missing data” corruptions. In this model, we show that distributions that are close to monotone have sampling correctors that are significantly more efficient than achievable by the learning approach. We consider the question of whether an additional source of independent random bits is required by sampling correctors to implement the correction process. We show that for correcting close-to-uniform distributions and close-to-monotone distributions, no additional source of random bits is required, as the samples from the input source itself can be used to produce this randomness.« less
  4. We study the fundamental problems of identity and equivalence testing over a discrete populationfrom random samples. Our goal is to develop efficient testers while guaranteeingdifferential privacy to the individuals of the population. We provide sample-efficient differentially private testers for these problems.Our theoretical results significantly improve over the best known algorithms for identity testing, and are the first results for private equivalence testing. The conceptual message of our work is thatthere exist private hypothesis testers that are nearly as sample-efficient as their non-private counterparts. We perform an experimental evaluation of our algorithms on synthetic data. Our experiments illustrate that our private testers achieve small type I and type II errors with sample size sublinear in the domain size of the underlying distributions.
  5. While Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) have demonstrated promising performance on multiple vision tasks, their learning dynamics are not yet well understood, both in theory and in practice. To address this issue, we study GAN dynamics in a simple yet rich parametric model that exhibits several of the common problematic convergence behaviors such as vanishing gradients, mode collapse, and diverging or oscillatory behavior. In spite of the non-convex nature of our model, we are able to perform a rigorous theoretical analysis of its convergence behavior. Our analysis reveals an interesting dichotomy: a GAN with an optimal discriminator provably converges, while first order approximations of the discriminator steps lead to unstable GAN dynamics and mode collapse. Our result suggests that using first order discriminator steps (the de-facto standard in most existing GAN setups) might be one of the factors that makes GAN training challenging in practice.
  6. We study the problem of testing identity against a given distribution with a focus on the high confidence regime. More precisely, given samples from an unknown distribution p over n elements, an explicitly given distribution q, and parameters 0< epsilon, delta < 1, we wish to distinguish, with probability at least 1-delta, whether the distributions are identical versus epsilon-far in total variation distance. Most prior work focused on the case that delta = Omega(1), for which the sample complexity of identity testing is known to be Theta(sqrt{n}/epsilon^2). Given such an algorithm, one can achieve arbitrarily small values of delta via black-box amplification, which multiplies the required number of samples by Theta(log(1/delta)). We show that black-box amplification is suboptimal for any delta = o(1), and give a new identity tester that achieves the optimal sample complexity. Our new upper and lower bounds show that the optimal sample complexity of identity testing is Theta((1/epsilon^2) (sqrt{n log(1/delta)} + log(1/delta))) for any n, epsilon, and delta. For the special case of uniformity testing, where the given distribution is the uniform distribution U_n over the domain, our new tester is surprisingly simple: to test whether p = U_n versus d_{TV} (p, U_n) >= epsilon, wemore »simply threshold d_{TV}({p^}, U_n), where {p^} is the empirical probability distribution. The fact that this simple "plug-in" estimator is sample-optimal is surprising, even in the constant delta case. Indeed, it was believed that such a tester would not attain sublinear sample complexity even for constant values of epsilon and delta. An important contribution of this work lies in the analysis techniques that we introduce in this context. First, we exploit an underlying strong convexity property to bound from below the expectation gap in the completeness and soundness cases. Second, we give a new, fast method for obtaining provably correct empirical estimates of the true worst-case failure probability for a broad class of uniformity testing statistics over all possible input distributions - including all previously studied statistics for this problem. We believe that our novel analysis techniques will be useful for other distribution testing problems as well.« less
  7. A wide range of learning tasks require human input in labeling massive data. The collected data though are usually low quality and contain inaccuracies and errors. As a result, modern science and business face the problem of learning from unreliable data sets. In this work, we provide a generic approach that is based on \textit{verification} of only few records of the data set to guarantee high quality learning outcomes for various optimization objectives. Our method, identifies small sets of critical records and verifies their validity. We show that many problems only need poly(1/ε) verifications, to ensure that the output of the computation is at most a factor of (1±ε) away from the truth. For any given instance, we provide an \textit{instance optimal} solution that verifies the minimum possible number of records to approximately certify correctness. Then using this instance optimal formulation of the problem we prove our main result: “every function that satisfies some Lipschitz continuity condition can be certified with a small number of verifications”. We show that the required Lipschitz continuity condition is satisfied even by some NP-complete problems, which illustrates the generality and importance of this theorem. In case this certification step fails, an invalid record willmore »be identified. Removing these records and repeating until success, guarantees that the result will be accurate and will depend only on the verified records. Surprisingly, as we show, for several computation tasks more efficient methods are possible. These methods always guarantee that the produced result is not affected by the invalid records, since any invalid record that affects the output will be detected and verified.« less
  8. A generative model may generate utter nonsense when it is fit to maximize the likelihood of observed data. This happens due to “model error,” i.e., when the true data generating distribution does not fit within the class of generative models being learned. To address this, we propose a model of active distribution learning using a binary invalidity oracle that identifies some examples as clearly invalid, together with random positive examples sampled from the true distribution. The goal is to maximize the likelihood of the positive examples subject to the constraint of (almost) never generating examples labeled invalid by the oracle. Guarantees are agnostic compared to a class of probability distributions. We first show that proper learning may require exponentially many queries to the invalidity oracle. We then give an improper distribution learning algorithm that uses only polynomially many queries.
  9. Banach's fixed point theorem for contraction maps has been widely used to analyze the convergence of iterative methods in non-convex problems. It is a common experience, however, that iterative maps fail to be globally contracting under the natural metric in their domain, making the applicability of Banach's theorem limited. We explore how generally we can apply Banach's fixed point theorem to establish the convergence of iterative methods when pairing it with carefully designed metrics. Our first result is a strong converse of Banach's theorem, showing that it is a universal analysis tool for establishing global convergence of iterative methods to unique fixed points, and for bounding their convergence rate. In other words, we show that, whenever an iterative map globally converges to a unique fixed point, there exists a metric under which the iterative map is contracting and which can be used to bound the number of iterations until convergence. We illustrate our approach in the widely used power method, providing a new way of bounding its convergence rate through contraction arguments. We next consider the computational complexity of Banach's fixed point theorem. Making the proof of our converse theorem constructive, we show that computing a fixed point whose existencemore »is guaranteed by Banach's fixed point theorem is CLS-complete. We thus provide the first natural complete problem for the class CLS, which was defined in [DP11] to capture the complexity of problems such as P-matrix LCP, computing KKT-points, and finding mixed Nash equilibria in congestion and network coordination games.« less
  10. We introduce a new technique for reducing the dimension of the ambient space of low-degree polynomials in the Gaussian space while preserving their relative correlation structure. As an application, we obtain an explicit upper bound on the dimension of an epsilon-optimal noise-stable Gaussian partition. In fact, we address the more general problem of upper bounding the number of samples needed to epsilon-approximate any joint distribution that can be non-interactively simulated from a correlated Gaussian source. Our results significantly improve (from Ackermann-like to "merely" exponential) the upper bounds recently proved on the above problems by De, Mossel & Neeman [CCC 2017, SODA 2018 resp.] and imply decidability of the larger alphabet case of the gap non-interactive simulation problem posed by Ghazi, Kamath & Sudan [FOCS 2016]. Our technique of dimension reduction for low-degree polynomials is simple and can be seen as a generalization of the Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma and could be of independent interest.