Research papers and code for "Xiao Zhang":
Boltzmann machine, as a fundamental construction block of deep belief network and deep Boltzmann machines, is widely used in deep learning community and great success has been achieved. However, theoretical understanding of many aspects of it is still far from clear. In this paper, we studied the Rademacher complexity of both the asymptotic restricted Boltzmann machine and the practical implementation with single-step contrastive divergence (CD-1) procedure. Our results disclose the fact that practical implementation training procedure indeed increased the Rademacher complexity of restricted Boltzmann machines. A further research direction might be the investigation of the VC dimension of a compositional function used in the CD-1 procedure.

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Multilayer bootstrap network builds a gradually narrowed multilayer nonlinear network from bottom up for unsupervised nonlinear dimensionality reduction. Each layer of the network is a nonparametric density estimator. It consists of a group of k-centroids clusterings. Each clustering randomly selects data points with randomly selected features as its centroids, and learns a one-hot encoder by one-nearest-neighbor optimization. Geometrically, the nonparametric density estimator at each layer projects the input data space to a uniformly-distributed discrete feature space, where the similarity of two data points in the discrete feature space is measured by the number of the nearest centroids they share in common. The multilayer network gradually reduces the nonlinear variations of data from bottom up by building a vast number of hierarchical trees implicitly on the original data space. Theoretically, the estimation error caused by the nonparametric density estimator is proportional to the correlation between the clusterings, both of which are reduced by the randomization steps.

* accepted for publication by Neural Networks
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In this abstract paper, we introduce a new kernel learning method by a nonparametric density estimator. The estimator consists of a group of k-centroids clusterings. Each clustering randomly selects data points with randomly selected features as its centroids, and learns a one-hot encoder by one-nearest-neighbor optimization. The estimator generates a sparse representation for each data point. Then, we construct a nonlinear kernel matrix from the sparse representation of data. One major advantage of the proposed kernel method is that it is relatively insensitive to its free parameters, and therefore, it can produce reasonable results without parameter tuning. Another advantage is that it is simple. We conjecture that the proposed method can find its applications in many learning tasks or methods where sparse representation or kernel matrix is explored. In this preliminary study, we have applied the kernel matrix to spectral clustering. Our experimental results demonstrate that the kernel generated by the proposed method outperforms the well-tuned Gaussian RBF kernel. This abstract paper is used to protect the idea, full versions will be updated later.

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We apply multilayer bootstrap network (MBN), a recent proposed unsupervised learning method, to unsupervised speaker recognition. The proposed method first extracts supervectors from an unsupervised universal background model, then reduces the dimension of the high-dimensional supervectors by multilayer bootstrap network, and finally conducts unsupervised speaker recognition by clustering the low-dimensional data. The comparison results with 2 unsupervised and 1 supervised speaker recognition techniques demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed method.

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Recently, multilayer bootstrap network (MBN) has demonstrated promising performance in unsupervised dimensionality reduction. It can learn compact representations in standard data sets, i.e. MNIST and RCV1. However, as a bootstrap method, the prediction complexity of MBN is high. In this paper, we propose an unsupervised model compression framework for this general problem of unsupervised bootstrap methods. The framework compresses a large unsupervised bootstrap model into a small model by taking the bootstrap model and its application together as a black box and learning a mapping function from the input of the bootstrap model to the output of the application by a supervised learner. To specialize the framework, we propose a new technique, named compressive MBN. It takes MBN as the unsupervised bootstrap model and deep neural network (DNN) as the supervised learner. Our initial result on MNIST showed that compressive MBN not only maintains the high prediction accuracy of MBN but also is over thousands of times faster than MBN at the prediction stage. Our result suggests that the new technique integrates the effectiveness of MBN on unsupervised learning and the effectiveness and efficiency of DNN on supervised learning together for the effectiveness and efficiency of compressive MBN on unsupervised learning.

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In (\cite{zhang2014nonlinear,zhang2014nonlinear2}), we have viewed machine learning as a coding and dimensionality reduction problem, and further proposed a simple unsupervised dimensionality reduction method, entitled deep distributed random samplings (DDRS). In this paper, we further extend it to supervised learning incrementally. The key idea here is to incorporate label information into the coding process by reformulating that each center in DDRS has multiple output units indicating which class the center belongs to. The supervised learning method seems somewhat similar with random forests (\cite{breiman2001random}), here we emphasize their differences as follows. (i) Each layer of our method considers the relationship between part of the data points in training data with all training data points, while random forests focus on building each decision tree on only part of training data points independently. (ii) Our method builds gradually-narrowed network by sampling less and less data points, while random forests builds gradually-narrowed network by merging subclasses. (iii) Our method is trained more straightforward from bottom layer to top layer, while random forests build each tree from top layer to bottom layer by splitting. (iv) Our method encodes output targets implicitly in sparse codes, while random forests encode output targets by remembering the class attributes of the activated nodes. Therefore, our method is a simpler, more straightforward, and maybe a better alternative choice, though both methods use two very basic elements---randomization and nearest neighbor optimization---as the core. This preprint is used to protect the incremental idea from (\cite{zhang2014nonlinear,zhang2014nonlinear2}). Full empirical evaluation will be announced carefully later.

* This paper has been withdrawn by the author. The idea is wrong and is no longer to be posed on site. The paper will no longer be updated
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One important classifier ensemble for multiclass classification problems is Error-Correcting Output Codes (ECOCs). It bridges multiclass problems and binary-class classifiers by decomposing multiclass problems to a serial binary-class problems. In this paper, we present a heuristic ternary code, named Weight Optimization and Layered Clustering-based ECOC (WOLC-ECOC). It starts with an arbitrary valid ECOC and iterates the following two steps until the training risk converges. The first step, named Layered Clustering based ECOC (LC-ECOC), constructs multiple strong classifiers on the most confusing binary-class problem. The second step adds the new classifiers to ECOC by a novel Optimized Weighted (OW) decoding algorithm, where the optimization problem of the decoding is solved by the cutting plane algorithm. Technically, LC-ECOC makes the heuristic training process not blocked by some difficult binary-class problem. OW decoding guarantees the non-increase of the training risk for ensuring a small code length. Results on 14 UCI datasets and a music genre classification problem demonstrate the effectiveness of WOLC-ECOC.

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Unsupervised deep learning is one of the most powerful representation learning techniques. Restricted Boltzman machine, sparse coding, regularized auto-encoders, and convolutional neural networks are pioneering building blocks of deep learning. In this paper, we propose a new building block -- distributed random models. The proposed method is a special full implementation of the product of experts: (i) each expert owns multiple hidden units and different experts have different numbers of hidden units; (ii) the model of each expert is a k-center clustering, whose k-centers are only uniformly sampled examples, and whose output (i.e. the hidden units) is a sparse code that only the similarity values from a few nearest neighbors are reserved. The relationship between the pioneering building blocks, several notable research branches and the proposed method is analyzed. Experimental results show that the proposed deep model can learn better representations than deep belief networks and meanwhile can train a much larger network with much less time than deep belief networks.

* This paper has been withdrawn by the author due to a lack of full empirical evaluation
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In this paper, we propose an extremely simple deep model for the unsupervised nonlinear dimensionality reduction -- deep distributed random samplings, which performs like a stack of unsupervised bootstrap aggregating. First, its network structure is novel: each layer of the network is a group of mutually independent $k$-centers clusterings. Second, its learning method is extremely simple: the $k$ centers of each clustering are only $k$ randomly selected examples from the training data; for small-scale data sets, the $k$ centers are further randomly reconstructed by a simple cyclic-shift operation. Experimental results on nonlinear dimensionality reduction show that the proposed method can learn abstract representations on both large-scale and small-scale problems, and meanwhile is much faster than deep neural networks on large-scale problems.

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Multitask clustering tries to improve the clustering performance of multiple tasks simultaneously by taking their relationship into account. Most existing multitask clustering algorithms fall into the type of generative clustering, and none are formulated as convex optimization problems. In this paper, we propose two convex Discriminative Multitask Clustering (DMTC) algorithms to address the problems. Specifically, we first propose a Bayesian DMTC framework. Then, we propose two convex DMTC objectives within the framework. The first one, which can be seen as a technical combination of the convex multitask feature learning and the convex Multiclass Maximum Margin Clustering (M3C), aims to learn a shared feature representation. The second one, which can be seen as a combination of the convex multitask relationship learning and M3C, aims to learn the task relationship. The two objectives are solved in a uniform procedure by the efficient cutting-plane algorithm. Experimental results on a toy problem and two benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithms.

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We consider the problem of minimizing the composition of a smooth (nonconvex) function and a smooth vector mapping, where the inner mapping is in the form of an expectation over some random variable or a finite sum. We propose a stochastic composite gradient method that employs an incremental variance-reduced estimator for both the inner vector mapping and its Jacobian. We show that this method achieves the same orders of complexity as the best known first-order methods for minimizing expected-value and finite-sum nonconvex functions, despite the additional outer composition which renders the composite gradient estimator biased. This finding enables a much broader range of applications in machine learning to benefit from the low complexity of incremental variance-reduction methods.

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Many NLP learning tasks can be decomposed into several distinct sub-tasks, each associated with a partial label. In this paper we focus on a popular class of learning problems, sequence prediction applied to several sentiment analysis tasks, and suggest a modular learning approach in which different sub-tasks are learned using separate functional modules, combined to perform the final task while sharing information. Our experiments show this approach helps constrain the learning process and can alleviate some of the supervision efforts.

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Point cloud based retrieval for place recognition is an emerging problem in vision field. The main challenge is how to find an efficient way to encode the local features into a discriminative global descriptor. In this paper, we propose a Point Contextual Attention Network (PCAN), which can predict the significance of each local point feature based on point context. Our network makes it possible to pay more attention to the task-relevent features when aggregating local features. Experiments on various benchmark datasets show that the proposed network can provide outperformance than current state-of-the-art approaches.

* Accepted to CVPR 2019
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Deep learning has been successfully used in numerous applications because of its outstanding performance and the ability to avoid manual feature engineering. One such application is electroencephalogram (EEG) based brain-computer interface (BCI), where multiple convolutional neural network (CNN) models have been proposed for EEG classification. However, it has been found that deep learning models can be easily fooled with adversarial examples, which are normal examples with small deliberate perturbations. This paper proposes an unsupervised fast gradient sign method (UFGSM) to attack three popular CNN classifiers in BCIs, and demonstrates its effectiveness. We also verify the transferability of adversarial examples in BCIs, which means we can perform attacks even without knowing the architecture and parameters of the target models, or the datasets they were trained on. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the vulnerability of CNN classifiers in EEG-based BCIs, and hopefully will trigger more attention on the security of BCI systems.

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Learning from corpus and learning from supervised NLP tasks both give useful semantics that can be incorporated into a good word representation. We propose an embedding learning method called Delta Embedding Learning, to learn semantic information from high-level supervised tasks like reading comprehension, and combine it with an unsupervised word embedding. The simple technique not only improved the performance of various supervised NLP tasks, but also simultaneously learns improved universal word embeddings out of these tasks.

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Several recent works have developed methods for training classifiers that are certifiably robust against norm-bounded adversarial perturbations. However, these methods assume that all the adversarial transformations provide equal value for adversaries, which is seldom the case in real-world applications. We advocate for cost-sensitive robustness as the criteria for measuring the classifier's performance for specific tasks. We encode the potential harm of different adversarial transformations in a cost matrix, and propose a general objective function to adapt the robust training method of Wong & Kolter (2018) to optimize for cost-sensitive robustness. Our experiments on simple MNIST and CIFAR10 models and a variety of cost matrices show that the proposed approach can produce models with substantially reduced cost-sensitive robust error, while maintaining classification accuracy.

* 16 pages, 5 figures, 3 tables
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We consider a generic convex optimization problem associated with regularized empirical risk minimization of linear predictors. The problem structure allows us to reformulate it as a convex-concave saddle point problem. We propose a stochastic primal-dual coordinate (SPDC) method, which alternates between maximizing over a randomly chosen dual variable and minimizing over the primal variable. An extrapolation step on the primal variable is performed to obtain accelerated convergence rate. We also develop a mini-batch version of the SPDC method which facilitates parallel computing, and an extension with weighted sampling probabilities on the dual variables, which has a better complexity than uniform sampling on unnormalized data. Both theoretically and empirically, we show that the SPDC method has comparable or better performance than several state-of-the-art optimization methods.

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We consider distributed convex optimization problems originated from sample average approximation of stochastic optimization, or empirical risk minimization in machine learning. We assume that each machine in the distributed computing system has access to a local empirical loss function, constructed with i.i.d. data sampled from a common distribution. We propose a communication-efficient distributed algorithm to minimize the overall empirical loss, which is the average of the local empirical losses. The algorithm is based on an inexact damped Newton method, where the inexact Newton steps are computed by a distributed preconditioned conjugate gradient method. We analyze its iteration complexity and communication efficiency for minimizing self-concordant empirical loss functions, and discuss the results for distributed ridge regression, logistic regression and binary classification with a smoothed hinge loss. In a standard setting for supervised learning, the required number of communication rounds of the algorithm does not increase with the sample size, and only grows slowly with the number of machines.

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We consider the problem of minimizing the sum of two convex functions: one is the average of a large number of smooth component functions, and the other is a general convex function that admits a simple proximal mapping. We assume the whole objective function is strongly convex. Such problems often arise in machine learning, known as regularized empirical risk minimization. We propose and analyze a new proximal stochastic gradient method, which uses a multi-stage scheme to progressively reduce the variance of the stochastic gradient. While each iteration of this algorithm has similar cost as the classical stochastic gradient method (or incremental gradient method), we show that the expected objective value converges to the optimum at a geometric rate. The overall complexity of this method is much lower than both the proximal full gradient method and the standard proximal stochastic gradient method.

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We consider solving the $\ell_1$-regularized least-squares ($\ell_1$-LS) problem in the context of sparse recovery, for applications such as compressed sensing. The standard proximal gradient method, also known as iterative soft-thresholding when applied to this problem, has low computational cost per iteration but a rather slow convergence rate. Nevertheless, when the solution is sparse, it often exhibits fast linear convergence in the final stage. We exploit the local linear convergence using a homotopy continuation strategy, i.e., we solve the $\ell_1$-LS problem for a sequence of decreasing values of the regularization parameter, and use an approximate solution at the end of each stage to warm start the next stage. Although similar strategies have been studied in the literature, there have been no theoretical analysis of their global iteration complexity. This paper shows that under suitable assumptions for sparse recovery, the proposed homotopy strategy ensures that all iterates along the homotopy solution path are sparse. Therefore the objective function is effectively strongly convex along the solution path, and geometric convergence at each stage can be established. As a result, the overall iteration complexity of our method is $O(\log(1/\epsilon))$ for finding an $\epsilon$-optimal solution, which can be interpreted as global geometric rate of convergence. We also present empirical results to support our theoretical analysis.

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