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  9. Selecting suitable architecture parameters and training hyperparameters is essential for enhancing machine learning (ML) model performance. Several recent empirical studies conduct large-scale correlational analysis on neural networks (NNs) to search for effective generalization metrics that can guide this type of model selection. Effective metrics are typically expected to correlate strongly with test performance. In this paper, we expand on prior analyses by examining generalization-metric-based model selection with the following objectives: (i) focusing on natural language processing (NLP) tasks, as prior work primarily concentrates on computer vision (CV) tasks; (ii) considering metrics that directly predict test error instead of the generalization gap; (iii) exploring metrics that do not need access to data to compute. From these objectives, we are able to provide the first model selection results on large pretrained Transformers from Huggingface using generalization metrics. Our analyses consider (I) hundreds of Transformers trained in different settings, in which we systematically vary the amount of data, the model size and the optimization hyperparameters, (II) a total of 51 pretrained Transformers from eight families of Huggingface NLP models, including GPT2, BERT, etc., and (III) a total of 28 existing and novel generalization metrics. Despite their niche status, we find that metrics derived from the heavy-tail (HT) perspective are particularly useful in NLP tasks, exhibiting stronger correlations than other, more popular metrics. To further examine these metrics, we extend prior formulations relying on power law (PL) spectral distributions to exponential (EXP) and exponentially-truncated power law (E-TPL) families. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2024
  10. Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithms are often known for sample inefficiency and difficult generalization. Recently, Unsupervised Environment Design (UED) emerged as a new paradigm for zero-shot generalization by simultaneously learning a task distribution and agent policies on the generated tasks. This is a non-stationary process where the task distribution evolves along with agent policies; creating an instability over time. While past works demonstrated the potential of such approaches, sampling effectively from the task space remains an open challenge, bottlenecking these approaches. To this end, we introduce CLUTR: a novel unsupervised curriculum learning algorithm that decouples task representation and curriculum learning into a two-stage optimization. It first trains a recurrent variational autoencoder on randomly generated tasks to learn a latent task manifold. Next, a teacher agent creates a curriculum by maximizing a minimax REGRET-based objective on a set of latent tasks sampled from this manifold. Using the fixed-pretrained task manifold, we show that CLUTR successfully overcomes the non-stationarity problem and improves stability. Our experimental results show CLUTR outperforms PAIRED, a principled and popular UED method, in the challenging CarRacing and navigation environments: achieving 10.6X and 45% improvement in zero-shot generalization, respectively. CLUTR also performs comparably to the non-UED state-of-the-art for CarRacing, while requiring 500X fewer environment interactions. We open source our code at https://github.com/clutr/clutr. 
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