Research papers and code for "Yuxin Wu":
Batch Normalization (BN) is a milestone technique in the development of deep learning, enabling various networks to train. However, normalizing along the batch dimension introduces problems --- BN's error increases rapidly when the batch size becomes smaller, caused by inaccurate batch statistics estimation. This limits BN's usage for training larger models and transferring features to computer vision tasks including detection, segmentation, and video, which require small batches constrained by memory consumption. In this paper, we present Group Normalization (GN) as a simple alternative to BN. GN divides the channels into groups and computes within each group the mean and variance for normalization. GN's computation is independent of batch sizes, and its accuracy is stable in a wide range of batch sizes. On ResNet-50 trained in ImageNet, GN has 10.6% lower error than its BN counterpart when using a batch size of 2; when using typical batch sizes, GN is comparably good with BN and outperforms other normalization variants. Moreover, GN can be naturally transferred from pre-training to fine-tuning. GN can outperform its BN-based counterparts for object detection and segmentation in COCO, and for video classification in Kinetics, showing that GN can effectively replace the powerful BN in a variety of tasks. GN can be easily implemented by a few lines of code in modern libraries.

* v3: Update trained-from-scratch results in COCO to 41.0AP. Code and models at https://github.com/facebookresearch/Detectron/blob/master/projects/GN
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In this paper we propose and study a technique to impose structural constraints on the output of a neural network, which can reduce amount of computation and number of parameters besides improving prediction accuracy when the output is known to approximately conform to the low-rankness prior. The technique proceeds by replacing the output layer of neural network with the so-called MLM layers, which forces the output to be the result of some Multilinear Map, like a hybrid-Kronecker-dot product or Kronecker Tensor Product. In particular, given an "autoencoder" model trained on SVHN dataset, we can construct a new model with MLM layer achieving 62\% reduction in total number of parameters and reduction of $\ell_2$ reconstruction error from 0.088 to 0.004. Further experiments on other autoencoder model variants trained on SVHN datasets also demonstrate the efficacy of MLM layers.

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While current benchmark reinforcement learning (RL) tasks have been useful to drive progress in the field, they are in many ways poor substitutes for learning with real-world data. By testing increasingly complex RL algorithms on low-complexity simulation environments, we often end up with brittle RL policies that generalize poorly beyond the very specific domain. To combat this, we propose three new families of benchmark RL domains that contain some of the complexity of the natural world, while still supporting fast and extensive data acquisition. The proposed domains also permit a characterization of generalization through fair train/test separation, and easy comparison and replication of results. Through this work, we challenge the RL research community to develop more robust algorithms that meet high standards of evaluation.

* 12 figures
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Teaching an agent to navigate in an unseen 3D environment is a challenging task, even in the event of simulated environments. To generalize to unseen environments, an agent needs to be robust to low-level variations (e.g. color, texture, object changes), and also high-level variations (e.g. layout changes of the environment). To improve overall generalization, all types of variations in the environment have to be taken under consideration via different level of data augmentation steps. To this end, we propose House3D, a rich, extensible and efficient environment that contains 45,622 human-designed 3D scenes of visually realistic houses, ranging from single-room studios to multi-storied houses, equipped with a diverse set of fully labeled 3D objects, textures and scene layouts, based on the SUNCG dataset (Song et.al.). The diversity in House3D opens the door towards scene-level augmentation, while the label-rich nature of House3D enables us to inject pixel- & task-level augmentations such as domain randomization (Toubin et. al.) and multi-task training. Using a subset of houses in House3D, we show that reinforcement learning agents trained with an enhancement of different levels of augmentations perform much better in unseen environments than our baselines with raw RGB input by over 8% in terms of navigation success rate. House3D is publicly available at http://github.com/facebookresearch/House3D.

* updated with improved content and more experinemnts
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In this paper, we propose and study a technique to reduce the number of parameters and computation time in convolutional neural networks. We use Kronecker product to exploit the local structures within convolution and fully-connected layers, by replacing the large weight matrices by combinations of multiple Kronecker products of smaller matrices. Just as the Kronecker product is a generalization of the outer product from vectors to matrices, our method is a generalization of the low rank approximation method for convolution neural networks. We also introduce combinations of different shapes of Kronecker product to increase modeling capacity. Experiments on SVHN, scene text recognition and ImageNet dataset demonstrate that we can achieve $3.3 \times$ speedup or $3.6 \times$ parameter reduction with less than 1\% drop in accuracy, showing the effectiveness and efficiency of our method. Moreover, the computation efficiency of Kronecker layer makes using larger feature map possible, which in turn enables us to outperform the previous state-of-the-art on both SVHN(digit recognition) and CASIA-HWDB (handwritten Chinese character recognition) datasets.

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We propose DoReFa-Net, a method to train convolutional neural networks that have low bitwidth weights and activations using low bitwidth parameter gradients. In particular, during backward pass, parameter gradients are stochastically quantized to low bitwidth numbers before being propagated to convolutional layers. As convolutions during forward/backward passes can now operate on low bitwidth weights and activations/gradients respectively, DoReFa-Net can use bit convolution kernels to accelerate both training and inference. Moreover, as bit convolutions can be efficiently implemented on CPU, FPGA, ASIC and GPU, DoReFa-Net opens the way to accelerate training of low bitwidth neural network on these hardware. Our experiments on SVHN and ImageNet datasets prove that DoReFa-Net can achieve comparable prediction accuracy as 32-bit counterparts. For example, a DoReFa-Net derived from AlexNet that has 1-bit weights, 2-bit activations, can be trained from scratch using 6-bit gradients to get 46.1\% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet validation set. The DoReFa-Net AlexNet model is released publicly.

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Adversarial attacks to image classification systems present challenges to convolutional networks and opportunities for understanding them. This study suggests that adversarial perturbations on images lead to noise in the features constructed by these networks. Motivated by this observation, we develop new network architectures that increase adversarial robustness by performing feature denoising. Specifically, our networks contain blocks that denoise the features using non-local means or other filters; the entire networks are trained end-to-end. When combined with adversarial training, our feature denoising networks substantially improve the state-of-the-art in adversarial robustness in both white-box and black-box attack settings. On ImageNet, under 10-iteration PGD white-box attacks where prior art has 27.9% accuracy, our method achieves 55.7%; even under extreme 2000-iteration PGD white-box attacks, our method secures 42.6% accuracy. A network based on our method was ranked first in Competition on Adversarial Attacks and Defenses (CAAD) 2018 --- it achieved 50.6% classification accuracy on a secret, ImageNet-like test dataset against 48 unknown attackers, surpassing the runner-up approach by ~10%. Code and models will be made publicly available.

* tech report
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Building deep reinforcement learning agents that can generalize and adapt to unseen environments remains a fundamental challenge for AI. This paper describes progresses on this challenge in the context of man-made environments, which are visually diverse but contain intrinsic semantic regularities. We propose a hybrid model-based and model-free approach, LEArning and Planning with Semantics (LEAPS), consisting of a multi-target sub-policy that acts on visual inputs, and a Bayesian model over semantic structures. When placed in an unseen environment, the agent plans with the semantic model to make high-level decisions, proposes the next sub-target for the sub-policy to execute, and updates the semantic model based on new observations. We perform experiments in visual navigation tasks using House3D, a 3D environment that contains diverse human-designed indoor scenes with real-world objects. LEAPS outperforms strong baselines that do not explicitly plan using the semantic content.

* submitted to ICLR 2019
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In this paper, we propose ELF, an Extensive, Lightweight and Flexible platform for fundamental reinforcement learning research. Using ELF, we implement a highly customizable real-time strategy (RTS) engine with three game environments (Mini-RTS, Capture the Flag and Tower Defense). Mini-RTS, as a miniature version of StarCraft, captures key game dynamics and runs at 40K frame-per-second (FPS) per core on a Macbook Pro notebook. When coupled with modern reinforcement learning methods, the system can train a full-game bot against built-in AIs end-to-end in one day with 6 CPUs and 1 GPU. In addition, our platform is flexible in terms of environment-agent communication topologies, choices of RL methods, changes in game parameters, and can host existing C/C++-based game environments like Arcade Learning Environment. Using ELF, we thoroughly explore training parameters and show that a network with Leaky ReLU and Batch Normalization coupled with long-horizon training and progressive curriculum beats the rule-based built-in AI more than $70\%$ of the time in the full game of Mini-RTS. Strong performance is also achieved on the other two games. In game replays, we show our agents learn interesting strategies. ELF, along with its RL platform, is open-sourced at https://github.com/facebookresearch/ELF.

* NIPS 2017 oral
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Reducing bit-widths of weights, activations, and gradients of a Neural Network can shrink its storage size and memory usage, and also allow for faster training and inference by exploiting bitwise operations. However, previous attempts for quantization of RNNs show considerable performance degradation when using low bit-width weights and activations. In this paper, we propose methods to quantize the structure of gates and interlinks in LSTM and GRU cells. In addition, we propose balanced quantization methods for weights to further reduce performance degradation. Experiments on PTB and IMDB datasets confirm effectiveness of our methods as performances of our models match or surpass the previous state-of-the-art of quantized RNN.

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In the past decade, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been widely used in various civilian applications, most of which only require a single UAV. In the near future, it is expected that more and more applications will be enabled by the cooperation of multiple UAVs. To facilitate such applications, it is desirable to utilize a general control platform for cooperative UAVs. However, existing open-source control platforms cannot fulfill such a demand because (1) they only support the leader-follower mode, which limits the design options for fleet control, (2) existing platforms can support only certain UAVs and thus lack of compatibility, and (3) these platforms cannot accurately simulate a flight mission, which may cause a big gap between simulation and real flight. To address these issues, we propose a general control and monitoring platform for cooperative UAV fleet, namely, CoUAV, which provides a set of core cooperation services of UAVs, including synchronization, connectivity management, path planning, energy simulation, etc. To verify the applicability of CoUAV, we design and develop a prototype and we use the new system to perform an emergency search application that aims to complete a task with the minimum flying time. To achieve this goal, we design and implement a path planning service that takes both the UAV network connectivity and coverage into consideration so as to maximize the efficiency of a fleet. Experimental results by both simulation and field test demonstrate that the proposed system is viable.

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This paper presents a novel L1-norm semi-supervised learning algorithm for robust image analysis by giving new L1-norm formulation of Laplacian regularization which is the key step of graph-based semi-supervised learning. Since our L1-norm Laplacian regularization is defined directly over the eigenvectors of the normalized Laplacian matrix, we successfully formulate semi-supervised learning as an L1-norm linear reconstruction problem which can be effectively solved with sparse coding. By working with only a small subset of eigenvectors, we further develop a fast sparse coding algorithm for our L1-norm semi-supervised learning. Due to the sparsity induced by sparse coding, the proposed algorithm can deal with the noise in the data to some extent and thus has important applications to robust image analysis, such as noise-robust image classification and noise reduction for visual and textual bag-of-words (BOW) models. In particular, this paper is the first attempt to obtain robust image representation by sparse co-refinement of visual and textual BOW models. The experimental results have shown the promising performance of the proposed algorithm.

* IEEE Trans. Image Processing 24(1): 176-188 (2015)
* This is an extension of our long paper in ACM MM 2012
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This paper proposes a novel latent semantic learning method for extracting high-level features (i.e. latent semantics) from a large vocabulary of abundant mid-level features (i.e. visual keywords) with structured sparse representation, which can help to bridge the semantic gap in the challenging task of human action recognition. To discover the manifold structure of midlevel features, we develop a spectral embedding approach to latent semantic learning based on L1-graph, without the need to tune any parameter for graph construction as a key step of manifold learning. More importantly, we construct the L1-graph with structured sparse representation, which can be obtained by structured sparse coding with its structured sparsity ensured by novel L1-norm hypergraph regularization over mid-level features. In the new embedding space, we learn latent semantics automatically from abundant mid-level features through spectral clustering. The learnt latent semantics can be readily used for human action recognition with SVM by defining a histogram intersection kernel. Different from the traditional latent semantic analysis based on topic models, our latent semantic learning method can explore the manifold structure of mid-level features in both L1-graph construction and spectral embedding, which results in compact but discriminative high-level features. The experimental results on the commonly used KTH action dataset and unconstrained YouTube action dataset show the superior performance of our method.

* The short version of this paper appears in ICCV 2011
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This paper presents a novel pairwise constraint propagation approach by decomposing the challenging constraint propagation problem into a set of independent semi-supervised learning subproblems which can be solved in quadratic time using label propagation based on k-nearest neighbor graphs. Considering that this time cost is proportional to the number of all possible pairwise constraints, our approach actually provides an efficient solution for exhaustively propagating pairwise constraints throughout the entire dataset. The resulting exhaustive set of propagated pairwise constraints are further used to adjust the similarity matrix for constrained spectral clustering. Other than the traditional constraint propagation on single-source data, our approach is also extended to more challenging constraint propagation on multi-source data where each pairwise constraint is defined over a pair of data points from different sources. This multi-source constraint propagation has an important application to cross-modal multimedia retrieval. Extensive results have shown the superior performance of our approach.

* International Journal of Computer Vision (IJCV), 2012
* The short version of this paper appears as oral paper in ECCV 2010
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