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  1. Deep learning models are prone to forgetting information learned in the past when trained on new data. This problem becomes even more pronounced in the context of federated learning (FL), where data is decentralized and subject to independent changes for each user. Continual Learning (CL) studies this so-called \textit{catastrophic forgetting} phenomenon primarily in centralized settings, where the learner has direct access to the complete training dataset. However, applying CL techniques to FL is not straightforward due to privacy concerns and resource limitations. This paper presents a framework for federated class incremental learning that utilizes a generative model to synthesize samples from past distributions instead of storing part of past data. Then, clients can leverage the generative model to mitigate catastrophic forgetting locally. The generative model is trained on the server using data-free methods at the end of each task without requesting data from clients. Therefore, it reduces the risk of data leakage as opposed to training it on the client's private data. We demonstrate significant improvements for the CIFAR-100 dataset compared to existing baselines. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 31, 2024
  2. Deep neural networks provide excellent performance for inverse problems such as denoising. However, neural networks can be sensitive to adversarial or worst-case perturbations. This raises the question of whether such networks can be trained efficiently to be worst-case robust. In this paper, we investigate whether jittering, a simple regularization technique that adds isotropic Gaussian noise during training, is effective for learning worst-case robust estimators for inverse problems. While well studied for prediction in classification tasks, the effectiveness of jittering for inverse problems has not been systematically investigated. In this paper, we present a novel analytical characterization of the optimal -worst-case robust estimator for linear denoising and show that jittering yields optimal robust denoisers. Furthermore, we examine jittering empirically via training deep neural networks (U-nets) for natural image denoising, deconvolution, and accelerated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results show that jittering significantly enhances the worst-case robustness, but can be suboptimal for inverse problems beyond denoising. Moreover, our results imply that training on real data which often contains slight noise is somewhat robustness enhancing. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 31, 2024
  3. Prompt-tuning is an emerging strategy to adapt large language models (LLM) to downstream tasks by learning a (soft-)prompt parameter from data. Despite its success in LLMs, there is limited theoretical understanding of the power of prompt-tuning and the role of the attention mechanism in prompting. In this work, we explore prompt-tuning for one-layer attention architectures and study contextual mixture-models where each input token belongs to a context-relevant or -irrelevant set. We isolate the role of prompttuning through a self-contained prompt-attention model. Our contributions are as follows: (1) We show that softmax-prompt-attention is provably more expressive than softmax-self-attention and linear-prompt-attention under our contextual data model. (2) We analyze the initial trajectory of gradient descent and show that it learns the prompt and prediction head with near-optimal sample complexity and demonstrate how the prompt can provably attend to sparse context-relevant tokens. (3) Assuming a known prompt but an unknown prediction head, we characterize the exact finite sample performance of prompt-attention which reveals the fundamental performance limits and the precise benefit of the context information. We also provide experiments that verify our theoretical insights on real datasets and demonstrate how prompt-tuning enables the model to attend to context-relevant information. 
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  4. Quasi-Newton methods still face significant challenges in training large-scale neural networks due to additional compute costs in the Hessian related computations and instability issues in stochastic training. A well-known method, L-BFGS that efficiently approximates the Hessian using history parameter and gradient changes, suffers convergence instability in stochastic training. So far, attempts that adapt L-BFGS to large-scale stochastic training incur considerable extra overhead, which offsets its convergence benefits in wall-clock time. In this paper, we propose mL-BFGS, a lightweight momentum-based L-BFGS algorithm that paves the way for quasi-Newton (QN) methods in large-scale distributed deep neural network (DNN) optimization. mL-BFGS introduces a nearly cost-free momentum scheme into L-BFGS update and greatly reduces stochastic noise in the Hessian, therefore stabilizing convergence during stochastic optimization. For model training at a large scale, mL-BFGS approximates a block-wise Hessian, thus enabling distributing compute and memory costs across all computing nodes. We provide a supporting convergence analysis for mL-BFGS in stochastic settings. To investigate mL-BFGS’s potential in large-scale DNN training, we train benchmark neural models using mL-BFGS and compare performance with baselines (SGD, Adam, and other quasi-Newton methods). Results show that mL-BFGS achieves both noticeable iteration-wise and wall-clock speedup. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 16, 2024
  5. Recently, there has been significant progress in understanding the convergence and generalization properties of gradient-based methods for training overparameterized learning models. However, many aspects including the role of small random initialization and how the various parameters of the model are coupled during gradient-based updates to facilitate good generalization, remain largely mysterious. A series of recent papers have begun to study this role for non-convex formulations of symmetric Positive Semi-Definite (PSD) matrix sensing problems which involve reconstructing a low-rank PSD matrix from a few linear measurements. The underlying symmetry/PSDness is crucial to existing convergence and generalization guarantees for this problem. In this paper, we study a general overparameterized low-rank matrix sensing problem where one wishes to reconstruct an asymmetric rectangular low-rank matrix from a few linear measurements. We prove that an overparameterized model trained via factorized gradient descent converges to the low-rank matrix generating the measurements. We show that in this setting, factorized gradient descent enjoys two implicit properties: (1) coupling of the trajectory of gradient descent where the factors are coupled in various ways throughout the gradient update trajectory and (2) an algorithmic regularization property where the iterates show a propensity towards low-rank models despite the overparameterized nature of the factorized model. These two implicit properties in turn allow us to show that the gradient descent trajectory from small random initialization moves towards solutions that are both globally optimal and generalize well. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  6. Large-scale training of modern deep learning models heavily relies on publicly available data on the web. This potentially unauthorized usage of online data leads to concerns regarding data privacy. Recent works aim to make unlearnable data for deep learning models by adding small, specially designed noises to tackle this issue. However, these methods are vulnerable to adversarial training (AT) and/or are computationally heavy. In this work, we propose a novel, model-free, Convolution-based Unlearnable DAtaset (CUDA) generation technique. CUDA is generated using controlled class-wise convolutions with filters that are randomly generated via a private key. CUDA encourages the network to learn the relation between filters and labels rather than informative features for classifying the clean data. We develop some theoretical analysis demonstrating that CUDA can successfully poison Gaussian mixture data by reducing the clean data performance of the optimal Bayes classifier. We also empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of CUDA with various datasets (CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, ImageNet-100, and Tiny-ImageNet), and architectures (ResNet-18, VGG-16, Wide ResNet-34-10, DenseNet-121, DeIT, EfficientNetV2-S, and MobileNetV2). Our experiments show that CUDA is robust to various data augmentations and training approaches such as smoothing, AT with different budgets, transfer learning, and fine-tuning. For instance, training a ResNet-18 on ImageNet-100 CUDA achieves only 8.96\%, 40.08\%, and 20.58\% clean test accuracies with empirical risk minimization (ERM), L_{\infty} AT, and L_{2} AT, respectively. Here, ERM on the clean training data achieves a clean test accuracy of 80.66\%. CUDA exhibits unlearnability effect with ERM even when only a fraction of the training dataset is perturbed. Furthermore, we also show that CUDA is robust to adaptive defenses designed specifically to break it. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  7. Modern machine learning models require a large amount of labeled data for training to perform well. A recently emerging paradigm for reducing the reliance of large model training on massive labeled data is to take advantage of abundantly available labeled data from a related source task to boost the performance of the model in a desired target task where there may not be a lot of data available. This approach, which is called transfer learning, has been applied successfully in many application domains. However, despite the fact that many transfer learning algorithms have been developed, the fundamental understanding of "when" and "to what extent" transfer learning can reduce sample complexity is still limited. In this work, we take a step towards foundational understanding of transfer learning by focusing on binary classification with linear models and Gaussian features and develop statistical minimax lower bounds in terms of the number of source and target samples and an appropriate notion of similarity between source and target tasks. To derive this bound, we reduce the transfer learning problem to hypothesis testing via constructing a packing set of source and target parameters by exploiting Gilbert-Varshamov bound, which in turn leads to a lower bound on sample complexity. We also evaluate our theoretical results by experiments on real data sets. 
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  8. Active learning aims to reduce the cost of labeling through selective sampling. Despite reported empirical success over passive learning, many popular active learning heuristics such as uncertainty sampling still lack satisfying theoretical guarantees. Towards closing the gap between practical use and theoretical understanding in active learning, we propose to characterize the exact behavior of uncertainty sampling for high-dimensional Gaussian mixture data, in a modern regime of big data where the numbers of samples and features are commensurately large. Through a sharp characterization of the learning results, our analysis sheds light on the important question of when uncertainty sampling works better than passive learning. Our results show that the effectiveness of uncertainty sampling is not always ensured. In fact it depends crucially on the choice of i) an adequate initial classifier used to start the active sampling process and ii) a proper loss function that allows an adaptive treatment of samples queried at various steps. 
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  9. In accelerated MRI reconstruction, the anatomy of a patient is recovered from a set of under-sampled and noisy measurements. Deep learning approaches have been proven to be successful in solving this ill-posed inverse problem and are capable of producing very high quality reconstructions. However, current architectures heavily rely on convolutions, that are content-independent and have difficulties modeling long-range dependencies in images. Recently, Transformers, the workhorse of contemporary natural language processing, have emerged as powerful building blocks for a multitude of vision tasks. These models split input images into nonoverlapping patches, embed the patches into lower-dimensional tokens and utilize a self-attention mechanism that does not suffer from the aforementioned weaknesses of convolutional architectures. However, Transformers incur extremely high compute and memory cost when 1) the input image resolution is high and 2) when the image needs to be split into a large number of patches to preserve fine detail information, both of which are typical in low-level vision problems such as MRI reconstruction, having a compounding effect. To tackle these challenges, we propose HUMUS-Net, a hybrid architecture that combines the beneficial implicit bias and efficiency of convolutions with the power of Transformer blocks in an unrolled and multi-scale network. HUMUS-Net extracts high-resolution features via convolutional blocks and refines low-resolution features via a novel Transformer-based multi-scale feature extractor. Features from both levels are then synthesized into a high-resolution output reconstruction. Our network establishes new state of the art on the largest publicly available MRI dataset, the fastMRI dataset. We further demonstrate the performance of HUMUS-Net on two other popular MRI datasets and perform fine-grained ablation studies to validate our design. 
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  10. Significant theoretical work has established that in specific regimes, neural networks trained by gradient descent behave like kernel methods. However, in practice, it is known that neural networks strongly outperform their associated kernels. In this work, we explain this gap by demonstrating that there is a large class of functions which cannot be efficiently learned by kernel methods but can be easily learned with gradient descent on a two layer neural network outside the kernel regime by learning representations that are relevant to the target task. We also demonstrate that these representations allow for efficient transfer learning, which is impossible in the kernel regime. Specifically, we consider the problem of learning polynomials which depend on only a few relevant directions, i.e. of the form $f(x)=g(Ux)$ where $U: \R^d \to \R^r$ with $d≫r$. When the degree of f⋆ is p, it is known that n≍dp samples are necessary to learn f⋆ in the kernel regime. Our primary result is that gradient descent learns a representation of the data which depends only on the directions relevant to f. This results in an improved sample complexity of n≍d2r+drp. Furthermore, in a transfer learning setup where the data distributions in the source and target domain share the same representation U but have different polynomial heads we show that a popular heuristic for transfer learning has a target sample complexity independent of d. 
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