Models, code, and papers for "Nan Li":

Transductive Optimization of Top k Precision

Oct 20, 2015
Li-Ping Liu, Thomas G. Dietterich, Nan Li, Zhi-Hua Zhou

Consider a binary classification problem in which the learner is given a labeled training set, an unlabeled test set, and is restricted to choosing exactly $k$ test points to output as positive predictions. Problems of this kind---{\it transductive precision@$k$}---arise in information retrieval, digital advertising, and reserve design for endangered species. Previous methods separate the training of the model from its use in scoring the test points. This paper introduces a new approach, Transductive Top K (TTK), that seeks to minimize the hinge loss over all training instances under the constraint that exactly $k$ test instances are predicted as positive. The paper presents two optimization methods for this challenging problem. Experiments and analysis confirm the importance of incorporating the knowledge of $k$ into the learning process. Experimental evaluations of the TTK approach show that the performance of TTK matches or exceeds existing state-of-the-art methods on 7 UCI datasets and 3 reserve design problem instances.


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Single-Perspective Warps in Natural Image Stitching

Mar 07, 2018
Tianli Liao, Nan Li

Results of image stitching can be perceptually divided into single-perspective and multiple-perspective. Compared to the multiple-perspective result, the single-perspective result excels in perspective consistency but suffers from projective distortion. In this paper, we propose two single-perspective warps for natural image stitching. The first one is a parametric warp, which is a combination of the as-projective-as-possible warp and the quasi-homography warp via dual-feature. The second one is a mesh-based warp, which is determined by optimizing a total energy function that simultaneously emphasizes different characteristics of the single-perspective warp, including alignment, naturalness, distortion and saliency. A comprehensive evaluation demonstrates that the proposed warp outperforms some state-of-the-art warps, including homography, APAP, AutoStitch, SPHP and GSP.

* 10 pages, 10 figures 

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Doubly Robust Off-policy Value Evaluation for Reinforcement Learning

May 26, 2016
Nan Jiang, Lihong Li

We study the problem of off-policy value evaluation in reinforcement learning (RL), where one aims to estimate the value of a new policy based on data collected by a different policy. This problem is often a critical step when applying RL in real-world problems. Despite its importance, existing general methods either have uncontrolled bias or suffer high variance. In this work, we extend the doubly robust estimator for bandits to sequential decision-making problems, which gets the best of both worlds: it is guaranteed to be unbiased and can have a much lower variance than the popular importance sampling estimators. We demonstrate the estimator's accuracy in several benchmark problems, and illustrate its use as a subroutine in safe policy improvement. We also provide theoretical results on the hardness of the problem, and show that our estimator can match the lower bound in certain scenarios.

* 14 pages; 4 figures; ICML 2016 

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Time-Dependent Representation for Neural Event Sequence Prediction

Jul 20, 2018
Yang Li, Nan Du, Samy Bengio

Existing sequence prediction methods are mostly concerned with time-independent sequences, in which the actual time span between events is irrelevant and the distance between events is simply the difference between their order positions in the sequence. While this time-independent view of sequences is applicable for data such as natural languages, e.g., dealing with words in a sentence, it is inappropriate and inefficient for many real world events that are observed and collected at unequally spaced points of time as they naturally arise, e.g., when a person goes to a grocery store or makes a phone call. The time span between events can carry important information about the sequence dependence of human behaviors. In this work, we propose a set of methods for using time in sequence prediction. Because neural sequence models such as RNN are more amenable for handling token-like input, we propose two methods for time-dependent event representation, based on the intuition on how time is tokenized in everyday life and previous work on embedding contextualization. We also introduce two methods for using next event duration as regularization for training a sequence prediction model. We discuss these methods based on recurrent neural nets. We evaluate these methods as well as baseline models on five datasets that resemble a variety of sequence prediction tasks. The experiments revealed that the proposed methods offer accuracy gain over baseline models in a range of settings.

* 9 pages and 2 pages of references 

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Graph-based Hypothesis Generation for Parallax-tolerant Image Stitching

Apr 20, 2018
Jing Chen, Nan Li, Tianli Liao

The seam-driven approach has been proven fairly effective for parallax-tolerant image stitching, whose strategy is to search for an invisible seam from finite representative hypotheses of local alignment. In this paper, we propose a graph-based hypothesis generation and a seam-guided local alignment for improving the effectiveness and the efficiency of the seam-driven approach. The experiment demonstrates the significant reduction of number of hypotheses and the improved quality of naturalness of final stitching results, comparing to the state-of-the-art method SEAGULL.

* 3 pages, 3 figures, 2 tables 

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Quasi-homography warps in image stitching

Mar 18, 2018
Nan Li, Yifang Xu, Chao Wang

The naturalness of warps is gaining extensive attentions in image stitching. Recent warps such as SPHP and AANAP, use global similarity warps to mitigate projective distortion (which enlarges regions), however, they necessarily bring in perspective distortion (which generates inconsistencies). In this paper, we propose a novel quasi-homography warp, which effectively balances the perspective distortion against the projective distortion in the non-overlapping region to create a more natural-looking panorama. Our approach formulates the warp as the solution of a bivariate system, where perspective distortion and projective distortion are characterized as slope preservation and scale linearization respectively. Because our proposed warp only relies on a global homography, thus it is totally parameter-free. A comprehensive experiment shows that a quasi-homography warp outperforms some state-of-the-art warps in urban scenes, including homography, AutoStitch and SPHP. A user study demonstrates that it wins most users' favor, comparing to homography and SPHP.

* 10 pages, 9 figures 

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Learning Image Conditioned Label Space for Multilabel Classification

Feb 21, 2018
Yi-Nan Li, Mei-Chen Yeh

This work addresses the task of multilabel image classification. Inspired by the great success from deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for single-label visual-semantic embedding, we exploit extending these models for multilabel images. Specifically, we propose an image-dependent ranking model, which returns a ranked list of labels according to its relevance to the input image. In contrast to conventional CNN models that learn an image representation (i.e. the image embedding vector), the developed model learns a mapping (i.e. a transformation matrix) from an image in an attempt to differentiate between its relevant and irrelevant labels. Despite the conceptual simplicity of our approach, experimental results on a public benchmark dataset demonstrate that the proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance while using fewer training images than other multilabel classification methods.


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Perception-based energy functions in seam-cutting

Jan 22, 2017
Nan Li, Tianli Liao, Chao Wang

Image stitching is challenging in consumer-level photography, due to alignment difficulties in unconstrained shooting environment. Recent studies show that seam-cutting approaches can effectively relieve artifacts generated by local misalignment. Normally, seam-cutting is described in terms of energy minimization, however, few of existing methods consider human perception in their energy functions, which sometimes causes that a seam with minimum energy is not most invisible in the overlapping region. In this paper, we propose a novel perception-based energy function in the seam-cutting framework, which considers the nonlinearity and the nonuniformity of human perception in energy minimization. Our perception-based approach adopts a sigmoid metric to characterize the perception of color discrimination, and a saliency weight to simulate that human eyes incline to pay more attention to salient objects. In addition, our seam-cutting composition can be easily implemented into other stitching pipelines. Experiments show that our method outperforms the seam-cutting method of the normal energy function, and a user study demonstrates that our composed results are more consistent with human perception.

* 5 pages, 6 figures 

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Decision making in dynamic and interactive environments based on cognitive hierarchy theory, Bayesian inference, and predictive control

Sep 14, 2019
Sisi Li, Nan Li, Anouck Girard, Ilya Kolmanovsky

n this paper, we describe an integrated framework for autonomous decision making in a dynamic and interactive environment. We model the interactions between the ego agent and its operating environment as a two-player dynamic game, and integrate cognitive behavioral models, Bayesian inference, and receding-horizon optimal control to define a dynamically-evolving decision strategy for the ego agent. Simulation examples representing autonomous vehicle control in three traffic scenarios where the autonomous ego vehicle interacts with a human-driven vehicle are reported.

* 2019 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control 

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BPnP: Further Empowering End-to-End Learning with Back-Propagatable Geometric Optimization

Sep 13, 2019
Bo Chen, Tat-Jun Chin, Nan Li

In this paper we present BPnP, a novel method to do back-propagation through a PnP solver. We show that the gradients of such geometric optimization process can be computed using the Implicit Function Theorem as if it is differentiable. Furthermore, we develop a residual-conformity trick to make end-to-end pose regression using BPnP smooth and stable. We also propose a "march in formation" algorithm which successfully uses BPnP for keypoint regression. Our invention opens a door to vast possibilities. The ability to incorporate geometric optimization in end-to-end learning will greatly boost its power and promote innovations in various computer vision tasks.


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Decision making in dynamic and interactive environments based on cognitive hierarchy theory: Formulation, solution, and application to autonomous driving

Aug 12, 2019
Sisi Li, Nan Li, Anouck Girard, Ilya Kolmanovsky

In this paper, we describe a framework for autonomous decision making in a dynamic and interactive environment based on cognitive hierarchy theory. We model the interactions between the ego agent and its operating environment as a two-player dynamic game, and integrate cognitive behavioral models, Bayesian inference, and receding-horizon optimal control to define a dynamically-evolving decision strategy for the ego agent. Simulation examples representing autonomous vehicle control in three traffic scenarios where the autonomous ego vehicle interacts with a human-driven vehicle are reported.

* 2019 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control 

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Algorithmic Collusion in Cournot Duopoly Market: Evidence from Experimental Economics

Feb 21, 2018
Nan Zhou, Li Zhang, Shijian Li, Zhijian Wang

Algorithmic collusion is an emerging concept in current artificial intelligence age. Whether algorithmic collusion is a creditable threat remains as an argument. In this paper, we propose an algorithm which can extort its human rival to collude in a Cournot duopoly competing market. In experiments, we show that, the algorithm can successfully extorted its human rival and gets higher profit in long run, meanwhile the human rival will fully collude with the algorithm. As a result, the social welfare declines rapidly and stably. Both in theory and in experiment, our work confirms that, algorithmic collusion can be a creditable threat. In application, we hope, the frameworks, the algorithm design as well as the experiment environment illustrated in this work, can be an incubator or a test bed for researchers and policymakers to handle the emerging algorithmic collusion.

* 22 pages, 7 figures; algorithmic collusion; Cournot duopoly model; experimental economics; game theory; collusion algorithm design; iterated prisoner's dilemma; antitrust; mechanism design 

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Top Rank Optimization in Linear Time

Oct 06, 2014
Nan Li, Rong Jin, Zhi-Hua Zhou

Bipartite ranking aims to learn a real-valued ranking function that orders positive instances before negative instances. Recent efforts of bipartite ranking are focused on optimizing ranking accuracy at the top of the ranked list. Most existing approaches are either to optimize task specific metrics or to extend the ranking loss by emphasizing more on the error associated with the top ranked instances, leading to a high computational cost that is super-linear in the number of training instances. We propose a highly efficient approach, titled TopPush, for optimizing accuracy at the top that has computational complexity linear in the number of training instances. We present a novel analysis that bounds the generalization error for the top ranked instances for the proposed approach. Empirical study shows that the proposed approach is highly competitive to the state-of-the-art approaches and is 10-100 times faster.


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Beating humans in a penny-matching game by leveraging cognitive hierarchy theory and Bayesian learning

Oct 22, 2019
Ran Tian, Nan Li, Ilya Kolmanovsky, Anouck Girard

It is a long-standing goal of artificial intelligence (AI) to be superior to human beings in decision making. Games are suitable for testing AI capabilities of making good decisions in non-numerical tasks. In this paper, we develop a new AI algorithm to play the penny-matching game considered in Shannon's "mind-reading machine" (1953) against human players. In particular, we exploit cognitive hierarchy theory and Bayesian learning techniques to continually evolve a model for predicting human player decisions, and let the AI player make decisions according to the model predictions to pursue the best chance of winning. Experimental results show that our AI algorithm beats 27 out of 30 volunteer human players.

* IEEE 2020 American Control Conference 

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Random Directional Attack for Fooling Deep Neural Networks

Aug 06, 2019
Wenjian Luo, Chenwang Wu, Nan Zhou, Li Ni

Deep neural networks (DNNs) have been widely used in many fields such as images processing, speech recognition; however, they are vulnerable to adversarial examples, and this is a security issue worthy of attention. Because the training process of DNNs converge the loss by updating the weights along the gradient descent direction, many gradient-based methods attempt to destroy the DNN model by adding perturbations in the gradient direction. Unfortunately, as the model is nonlinear in most cases, the addition of perturbations in the gradient direction does not necessarily increase loss. Thus, we propose a random directed attack (RDA) for generating adversarial examples in this paper. Rather than limiting the gradient direction to generate an attack, RDA searches the attack direction based on hill climbing and uses multiple strategies to avoid local optima that cause attack failure. Compared with state-of-the-art gradient-based methods, the attack performance of RDA is very competitive. Moreover, RDA can attack without any internal knowledge of the model, and its performance under black-box attack is similar to that of the white-box attack in most cases, which is difficult to achieve using existing gradient-based attack methods.

* 13pages 

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Multinomial Logit Bandit with Linear Utility Functions

May 08, 2018
Mingdong Ou, Nan Li, Shenghuo Zhu, Rong Jin

Multinomial logit bandit is a sequential subset selection problem which arises in many applications. In each round, the player selects a $K$-cardinality subset from $N$ candidate items, and receives a reward which is governed by a {\it multinomial logit} (MNL) choice model considering both item utility and substitution property among items. The player's objective is to dynamically learn the parameters of MNL model and maximize cumulative reward over a finite horizon $T$. This problem faces the exploration-exploitation dilemma, and the involved combinatorial nature makes it non-trivial. In recent years, there have developed some algorithms by exploiting specific characteristics of the MNL model, but all of them estimate the parameters of MNL model separately and incur a regret no better than $\tilde{O}\big(\sqrt{NT}\big)$ which is not preferred for large candidate set size $N$. In this paper, we consider the {\it linear utility} MNL choice model whose item utilities are represented as linear functions of $d$-dimension item features, and propose an algorithm, titled {\bf LUMB}, to exploit the underlying structure. It is proven that the proposed algorithm achieves $\tilde{O}\big(dK\sqrt{T}\big)$ regret which is free of candidate set size. Experiments show the superiority of the proposed algorithm.


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Capturing "attrition intensifying" structural traits from didactic interaction sequences of MOOC learners

Sep 20, 2014
Tanmay Sinha, Nan Li, Patrick Jermann, Pierre Dillenbourg

This work is an attempt to discover hidden structural configurations in learning activity sequences of students in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Leveraging combined representations of video clickstream interactions and forum activities, we seek to fundamentally understand traits that are predictive of decreasing engagement over time. Grounded in the interdisciplinary field of network science, we follow a graph based approach to successfully extract indicators of active and passive MOOC participation that reflect persistence and regularity in the overall interaction footprint. Using these rich educational semantics, we focus on the problem of predicting student attrition, one of the major highlights of MOOC literature in the recent years. Our results indicate an improvement over a baseline ngram based approach in capturing "attrition intensifying" features from the learning activities that MOOC learners engage in. Implications for some compelling future research are discussed.

* "Shared Task" submission for EMNLP 2014 Workshop on Modeling Large Scale Social Interaction in Massively Open Online Courses 

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Your click decides your fate: Inferring Information Processing and Attrition Behavior from MOOC Video Clickstream Interactions

Sep 16, 2014
Tanmay Sinha, Patrick Jermann, Nan Li, Pierre Dillenbourg

In this work, we explore video lecture interaction in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which is central to student learning experience on these educational platforms. As a research contribution, we operationalize video lecture clickstreams of students into cognitively plausible higher level behaviors, and construct a quantitative information processing index, which can aid instructors to better understand MOOC hurdles and reason about unsatisfactory learning outcomes. Our results illustrate how such a metric inspired by cognitive psychology can help answer critical questions regarding students' engagement, their future click interactions and participation trajectories that lead to in-video & course dropouts. Implications for research and practice are discussed


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Efficient Optimization of Performance Measures by Classifier Adaptation

Aug 02, 2012
Nan Li, Ivor W. Tsang, Zhi-Hua Zhou

In practical applications, machine learning algorithms are often needed to learn classifiers that optimize domain specific performance measures. Previously, the research has focused on learning the needed classifier in isolation, yet learning nonlinear classifier for nonlinear and nonsmooth performance measures is still hard. In this paper, rather than learning the needed classifier by optimizing specific performance measure directly, we circumvent this problem by proposing a novel two-step approach called as CAPO, namely to first train nonlinear auxiliary classifiers with existing learning methods, and then to adapt auxiliary classifiers for specific performance measures. In the first step, auxiliary classifiers can be obtained efficiently by taking off-the-shelf learning algorithms. For the second step, we show that the classifier adaptation problem can be reduced to a quadratic program problem, which is similar to linear SVMperf and can be efficiently solved. By exploiting nonlinear auxiliary classifiers, CAPO can generate nonlinear classifier which optimizes a large variety of performance measures including all the performance measure based on the contingency table and AUC, whilst keeping high computational efficiency. Empirical studies show that CAPO is effective and of high computational efficiency, and even it is more efficient than linear SVMperf.

* IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 2013, 35(6): 1370-1382 
* 30 pages, 5 figures, to appear in IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 2012 

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