Publications

BatchBALD: Efficient and Diverse Batch Acquisition for Deep Bayesian Active Learning

We develop BatchBALD, a tractable approximation to the mutual information between a batch of points and model parameters, which we use as an acquisition function to select multiple informative points jointly for the task of deep Bayesian active learning. BatchBALD is a greedy linear-time 1−1/e-approximate algorithm amenable to dynamic programming and efficient caching. We compare BatchBALD to the commonly used approach for batch data acquisition and find that the current approach acquires similar and redundant points, sometimes performing worse than randomly acquiring data. We finish by showing that, using BatchBALD to consider dependencies within an acquisition batch, we achieve new state of the art performance on standard benchmarks, providing substantial data efficiency improvements in batch acquisition.


Andreas Kirsch, Joost van Amersfoort, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS, 2019
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

VIREL: A Variational Inference Framework for Reinforcement Learning

Applying probabilistic models to reinforcement learning (RL) enables the application of powerful optimisation tools such as variational inference to RL. However, existing inference frameworks and their algorithms pose significant challenges for learning optimal policies, e.g., the absence of mode capturing behaviour in pseudo-likelihood methods and difficulties learning deterministic policies in maximum entropy RL based approaches. We propose VIREL, a novel, theoretically grounded probabilistic inference framework for RL that utilises a parametrised action-value function to summarise future dynamics of the underlying MDP. This gives VIREL a mode-seeking form of KL divergence, the ability to learn deterministic optimal polices naturally from inference and the ability to optimise value functions and policies in separate, iterative steps. In applying variational expectation-maximisation to VIREL we thus show that the actor-critic algorithm can be reduced to expectation-maximisation, with policy improvement equivalent to an E-step and policy evaluation to an M-step. We then derive a family of actor-critic methods from VIREL, including a scheme for adaptive exploration. Finally, we demonstrate that actor-critic algorithms from this family outperform state-of-the-art methods based on soft value functions in several domains.


Matthew Fellows, Anuj Mahajan, Tim G. J. Rudner, Shimon Whiteson
NeurIPS, 2019
NeurIPS 2018 Workshop on Probabilistic Reinforcement Learning and Structured Control
[arXiv] [BibTex]
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A Geometric Perspective on Optimal Representations for Reinforcement Learning

We propose a new perspective on representation learning in reinforcement learning based on geometric properties of the space of value functions. We leverage this perspective to provide formal evidence regarding the usefulness of value functions as auxiliary tasks. Our formulation considers adapting the representation to minimize the (linear) approximation of the value function of all stationary policies for a given environment. We show that this optimization reduces to making accurate predictions regarding a special class of value functions which we call adversarial value functions (AVFs). We demonstrate that using value functions as auxiliary tasks corresponds to an expected-error relaxation of our formulation, with AVFs a natural candidate, and identify a close relationship with proto-value functions (Mahadevan, 2005). We highlight characteristics of AVFs and their usefulness as auxiliary tasks in a series of experiments on the four-room domain.


Marc G. Bellemare, Will Dabney, Robert Dadashi, Adrien Ali Taiga, Pablo Samuel Castro, Nicolas Le Roux, Dale Schuurmans, Tor Lattimore, Clare Lyle
NeurIPS, 2019
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

On the Benefits of Disentangled Representations

Recently there has been a significant interest in learning disentangled representations, as they promise increased interpretability, generalization to unseen scenarios and faster learning on downstream tasks. In this paper, we investigate the usefulness of different notions of disentanglement for improving the fairness of downstream prediction tasks based on representations. We consider the setting where the goal is to predict a target variable based on the learned representation of high-dimensional observations (such as images) that depend on both the target variable and an unobserved sensitive variable. We show that in this setting both the optimal and empirical predictions can be unfair, even if the target variable and the sensitive variable are independent. Analyzing more than 12600 trained representations of state-of-the-art disentangled models, we observe that various disentanglement scores are consistently correlated with increased fairness, suggesting that disentanglement may be a useful property to encourage fairness when sensitive variables are not observed.


Francesco Locatello, Gabriele Abbati, Tom Rainforth, Stefan Bauer, Bernhard Schölkopf, Olivier Bachem
NeurIPS, 2019
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

Variational Bayesian Optimal Experimental Design

Bayesian optimal experimental design (BOED) is a principled framework for making efficient use of limited experimental resources. Unfortunately, its applicability is hampered by the difficulty of obtaining accurate estimates of the expected information gain (EIG) of an experiment. To address this, we introduce several classes of fast EIG estimators by building on ideas from amortized variational inference. We show theoretically and empirically that these estimators can provide significant gains in speed and accuracy over previous approaches. We further demonstrate the practicality of our approach on a number of end-to-end experiments.


Adam Foster, Martin Jankowiak, Eli Bingham, Paul Horsfall, Yee Whye Teh, Tom Rainforth, Noah Goodman
NeurIPS, 2019
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

Benchmarking Bayesian Deep Learning with Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis

We propose a new Bayesian deep learning (BDL) benchmark, inspired by a realworld medical imaging application on diabetic retinopathy diagnosis. In contrast to popular toy regression experiments on the UCI datasets, our benchmark can be used to assess both the scalability and the effectiveness of different techniques for uncertainty estimation, going beyond RMSE and NLL. A binary classification task on visual inputs (512 × 512 RGB images of retinas) is considered, where model uncertainty is used for medical pre-screening—i.e. to refer patients to an expert when model diagnosis is uncertain. We provide a comprehensive comparison of well-tuned BDL techniques on the benchmark, including Monte Carlo dropout, mean-field variational inference, an ensemble of deep models, an ensemble of dropout models, as well as a deterministic (deep) model. Baselines are ranked according to metrics derived from expert-domain to reflect real-world use of model uncertainty in automated diagnosis. We show that some current techniques which solve benchmarks such as UCI ‘overfit’ their uncertainty to UCI—when evaluated on our benchmark these underperform in comparison to simpler baselines—while other techniques that solve UCI do not scale or fail on the new benchmark. The code for the benchmark, its baselines, and a simple API for evaluating new models are made available at https://github.com/oatml/bdl-benchmarks.


Angelos Filos, Sebastian Farquhar, Aidan Gomez, Tim G. J. Rudner, Zac Kenton, Lewis Smith, Milad Alizadeh, Arnoud de Kroon, Yarin Gal
Preprint, 2019
[Preprint] [BibTex] [Code]
Link to this publication

An Analysis of the Effect of Invariance on Generalization in Neural Networks

Invariance is often cited as a desirable property of machine learning systems, claimed to improve model accuracy and reduce overfitting. Empirically, invariant models often generalize better than their non-invariant counterparts. But is it possible to show that invariant models provably do so? In this paper we explore the effect of invariance on model generalization. We find strong Bayesian and frequentist motivations for enforcing invariance which leverage recent results connecting PAC-Bayes generalization bounds and the marginal likelihood. We make use of these results to perform model selection on neural networks.


Clare Lyle, Marta Kwiatkowska, Mark van der Wilk, Yarin Gal
Understanding and Improving Generalization in Deep Learning workshop, ICML, 2019
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Galaxy Zoo: Probabilistic Morphology through Bayesian CNNs and Active Learning

We use Bayesian CNNs and a novel generative model of Galaxy Zoo volunteer responses to infer posteriors for the visual morphology of galaxies. Bayesian CNN can learn from galaxy images with uncertain labels and then, for previously unlabelled galaxies, predict the probability of each possible label. Using our posteriors, we apply the active learning strategy BALD to request volunteer responses for the subset of galaxies which, if labelled, would be most informative for training our network. By combining human and machine intelligence, Galaxy Zoo will be able to classify surveys of any conceivable scale on a timescale of weeks, providing massive and detailed morphology catalogues to support research into galaxy evolution.


Mike Walmsley, Lewis Smith, Chris Lintott, Yarin Gal, Steven Bamford, Hugh Dickinson, Lucy Fortson, Sandor Kruk, Karen Masters, Claudia Scarlata, Brooke Simmons, Rebecca Smethurst, Darryl Wright
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2019
[Paper] [arXiv]
Link to this publication

An Ensemble of Bayesian Neural Networks for Exoplanetary Atmospheric Retrieval

Recent work demonstrated the potential of using machine learning algorithms for atmospheric retrieval by implementing a random forest to perform retrievals in seconds that are consistent with the traditional, computationally-expensive nested-sampling retrieval method. We expand upon their approach by presenting a new machine learning model, exttt{plan-net}, based on an ensemble of Bayesian neural networks that yields more accurate inferences than the random forest for the same data set of synthetic transmission spectra.


Adam D. Cobb, Michael D. Himes, Frank Soboczenski, Simone Zorzan, Molly D. O'Beirne, Atılım Güneş Baydin, Yarin Gal, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, Giada N. Arney, Daniel Angerhausen
The Astronomical Journal, 2019
[Paper] [arXiv] [Code]
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Towards Inverse Reinforcement Learning for Limit Order Book Dynamics

We investigate whether Inverse Reinforcement Learning (IRL) can infer rewards from agents within real financial stochastic environments: limit order books (LOB). Our results illustrate that complex behaviours, induced by non-linear reward functions amid agent-based stochastic scenarios, can be deduced through inference, encouraging the use of inverse reinforcement learning for opponent-modelling in multi-agent systems.


Jacobo Roa-Vicens, Cyrine Chtourou, Angelos Filos, Francisco Rullan, Yarin Gal, Ricardo Silva
Oral Presentation, Multi-Agent Learning Workshop at the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning, 2019
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Generalizing from a few environments in safety-critical reinforcement learning

Before deploying autonomous agents in the real world, we need to be confident they will perform safely in novel situations. Ideally, we would expose agents to a very wide range of situations during training (e.g. many simulated environments), allowing them to learn about every possible danger. But this is often impractical: simulations may fail to capture the full range of situations and may differ subtly from reality. This paper investigates generalizing from a limited number of training environments in deep reinforcement learning. Our experiments test whether agents can perform safely in novel environments, given varying numbers of environments at train time. Using a gridworld setting, we find that standard deep RL agents do not reliably avoid catastrophes on unseen environments – even after performing near optimally on 1000 training environments. However, we show that catastrophes can be significantly reduced (but not eliminated) with simple modifications, including Q-network ensembling to represent uncertainty and the use of a classifier trained to recognize dangerous actions.


Zac Kenton, Angelos Filos, Owain Evans, Yarin Gal
ICLR 2019 Workshop on Safe Machine Learning
[paper]
Link to this publication

The StarCraft Multi-Agent Challenge

In the last few years, deep multi-agent reinforcement learning (RL) has become a highly active area of research. A particularly challenging class of problems in this area is partially observable, cooperative, multi-agent learning, in which teams of agents must learn to coordinate their behaviour while conditioning only on their private observations. This is an attractive research area since such problems are relevant to a large number of real-world systems and are also more amenable to evaluation than general-sum problems. Standardised environments such as the ALE and MuJoCo have allowed single-agent RL to move beyond toy domains, such as grid worlds. However, there is no comparable benchmark for cooperative multi-agent RL. As a result, most papers in this field use one-off toy problems, making it difficult to measure real progress. In this paper, we propose the StarCraft Multi-Agent Challenge (SMAC) as a benchmark problem to fill this gap. SMAC is based on the popular real-time strategy game StarCraft II and focuses on micromanagement challenges where each unit is controlled by an independent agent that must act based on local observations. We offer a diverse set of challenge maps and recommendations for best practices in benchmarking and evaluations. We also open-source a deep multi-agent RL learning framework including state-of-the-art algorithms. We believe that SMAC can provide a standard benchmark environment for years to come. Videos of our best agents for several SMAC scenarios are available here.


Mikayel Samvelyan, Tabish Rashid, Christian Schroeder de Witt, Gregory Farquhar, Nantas Nardelli, Tim G. J. Rudner, Chia-Man Hung, Philip H. S. Torr, Jakob Foerster, Shimon Whiteson
AAMAS 2019
[arXiv] [Code] [BibTex] [Media]
Link to this publication

Multi³Net: Segmenting Flooded Buildings via Fusion of Multiresolution, Multisensor, and Multitemporal Satellite Imagery

We propose a novel approach for rapid segmentation of flooded buildings by fusing multiresolution, multisensor, and multitemporal satellite imagery in a convolutional neural network. Our model significantly expedites the generation of satellite imagery-based flood maps, crucial for first responders and local authorities in the early stages of flood events. By incorporating multitemporal satellite imagery, our model allows for rapid and accurate post-disaster damage assessment and can be used by governments to better coordinate medium- and long-term financial assistance programs for affected areas. The network consists of multiple streams of encoder-decoder architectures that extract spatiotemporal information from medium-resolution images and spatial information from high-resolution images before fusing the resulting representations into a single medium-resolution segmentation map of flooded buildings. We compare our model to state-of-the-art methods for building footprint segmentation as well as to alternative fusion approaches for the segmentation of flooded buildings and find that our model performs best on both tasks. We also demonstrate that our model produces highly accurate segmentation maps of flooded buildings using only publicly available medium-resolution data instead of significantly more detailed but sparsely available very high-resolution data. We release the first open-source dataset of fully preprocessed and labeled multiresolution, multispectral, and multitemporal satellite images of disaster sites along with our source code.


Tim G. J. Rudner, Marc Rußwurm, Jakub Fil, Ramona Pelich, Benjamin Bischke, Veronika Kopackova, Piotr Bilinski
AAAI 2019
NeurIPS 2018 Workshop AI for Social Good
[arXiv] [Code] [BibTex] [Media]
Link to this publication

A Comparative Analysis of Distributional and Expected Reinforcement Learning

Since their introduction a year ago, distributional approaches to reinforcement learning (distributional RL) have produced strong results relative to the standard approach which models expected values (expected RL). However, aside from convergence guarantees, there have been few theoretical results investigating the reasons behind the improvements distributional RL provides. In this paper we begin the investigation into this fundamental question by analyzing the differences in the tabular, linear approximation, and non-linear approximation settings. We prove that in many realizations of the tabular and linear approximation settings, distributional RL behaves exactly the same as expected RL. In cases where the two methods behave differently, distributional RL can in fact hurt performance when it does not induce identical behaviour. We then continue with an empirical analysis comparing distributional and expected RL methods in control settings with non-linear approximators to tease apart where the improvements from distributional RL methods are coming from.


Clare Lyle, Pablo Samuel Castro, Marc G Bellemare
AAAI 2019
[Paper]
Link to this publication

Bayesian Deep Learning for Exoplanet Atmospheric Retrieval

An ML-based retrieval framework called Intelligent exoplaNet Atmospheric RetrievAl (INARA) that consists of a Bayesian deep learning model for retrieval and a data set of 3,000,000 synthetic rocky exoplanetary spectra generated using the NASA Planetary Spectrum Generator.


Frank Soboczenski, Michael D. Himes, Molly D. O'Beirne, Simone Zorzan, Atilim Gunes Baydin, Adam D. Cobb, Yarin Gal, Daniel Angerhausen, Massimo Mascaro, Giada N. Arney, Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2018
[arXiv]
Link to this publication

On the Connection between Neural Processes and Gaussian Processes with Deep Kernels

Neural Processes (NPs) are a class of neural latent variable models that combine desirable properties of Gaussian Processes (GPs) and neural networks. Like GPs, NPs define distributions over functions and are able to estimate the uncertainty in their predictions. Like neural networks, NPs are computationally efficient during training and prediction time. We establish a simple and explicit connection between NPs and GPs. In particular, we show that, under certain conditions, NPs are mathematically equivalent to GPs with deep kernels. This result further elucidates the relationship between GPs and NPs and makes previously derived theoretical insights about GPs applicable to NPs. Furthermore, it suggests a novel approach to learning expressive GP covariance functions applicable across different prediction tasks by training a deep kernel GP on a set of datasets


Tim G. J. Rudner, Vincent Fortuin, Yee Whye Teh, Yarin Gal
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2018
[Paper] [BibTex]
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On the Importance of Strong Baselines in Bayesian Deep Learning

Like all sub-fields of machine learning, Bayesian Deep Learning is driven by empirical validation of its theoretical proposals. Given the many aspects of an experiment, it is always possible that minor or even major experimental flaws can slip by both authors and reviewers. One of the most popular experiments used to evaluate approximate inference techniques is the regression experiment on UCI datasets. However, in this experiment, models which have been trained to convergence have often been compared with baselines trained only for a fixed number of iterations. What we find is that if we take a well-established baseline and evaluate it under the same experimental settings, it shows significant improvements in performance. In fact, it outperforms or performs competitively with numerous to several methods that when they were introduced claimed to be superior to the very same baseline method. Hence, by exposing this flaw in experimental procedure, we highlight the importance of using identical experimental setups to evaluate, compare and benchmark methods in Bayesian Deep Learning.


Jishnu Mukhoti, Pontus Stenetorp, Yarin Gal
Workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning, NeurIPS 2018
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]
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Evaluating Bayesian Deep Learning Methods for Semantic Segmentation

Deep learning has been revolutionary for computer vision and semantic segmentation in particular, with Bayesian Deep Learning (BDL) used to obtain uncertainty maps from deep models when predicting semantic classes. This information is critical when using semantic segmentation for autonomous driving for example. Standard semantic segmentation systems have well-established evaluation metrics. However, with BDL’s rising popularity in computer vision we require new metrics to evaluate whether a BDL method produces better uncertainty estimates than another method. In this work we propose three such metrics to evaluate BDL models designed specifically for the task of semantic segmentation. We modify DeepLab-v3+, one of the state-of-the-art deep neural networks, and create its Bayesian counterpart using MC dropout and Concrete dropout as inference techniques. We then compare and test these two inference techniques on the well-known Cityscapes dataset using our suggested metrics. Our results provide new benchmarks for researchers to compare and evaluate their improved uncertainty quantification in pursuit of safer semantic segmentation.


Jishnu Mukhoti, Yarin Gal
arXiv
[arXiv] [BibTex]
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Evaluating Uncertainty Quantification in End-to-End Autonomous Driving Control

Self-driving has benefited from significant performance improvements with the rise of deep learning, with millions of miles having been driven with no human intervention. Despite this, crashes and erroneous behaviours still occur, in part due to the complexity of verifying the correctness of DNNs and a lack of safety guarantees. In this paper, we demonstrate how quantitative measures of uncertainty can be extracted in real-time, and their quality evaluated in end-to-end controllers for self-driving cars. We propose evaluation techniques for the uncertainty on two separate architectures which use the uncertainty to predict crashes up to five seconds in advance. We find that mutual information, a measure of uncertainty in classification networks, is a promising indicator of forthcoming crashes.


Rhiannon Michelmore, Marta Kwiatkowska, Yarin Gal
In submission
[arXiv] [BibTex]
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Targeted Dropout

Neural networks are extremely flexible models due to their large number of parameters, which is beneficial for learning, but also highly redundant. This makes it possible to compress neural networks without having a drastic effect on performance. We introduce targeted dropout, a strategy for post hoc pruning of neural network weights and units that builds the pruning mechanism directly into learning. At each weight update, targeted dropout selects a candidate set for pruning using a simple selection criterion, and then stochastically prunes the network via dropout applied to this set. The resulting network learns to be explicitly robust to pruning, comparing favourably to more complicated regularization schemes while at the same time being extremely simple to implement, and easy to tune.


Aidan Gomez, Ivan Zhang, Kevin Swersky, Yarin Gal, Geoffrey E. Hinton
Workshop on Compact Deep Neural Networks with industrial applications, NeurIPS 2018
[Paper] [BibTex]
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A Unifying Bayesian View of Continual Learning

Some machine learning applications require continual learning—where data comes in a sequence of datasets, each is used for training and then permanently discarded. From a Bayesian perspective, continual learning seems straightforward: Given the model posterior one would simply use this as the prior for the next task. However, exact posterior evaluation is intractable with many models, especially with Bayesian neural networks (BNNs). Instead, posterior approximations are often sought. Unfortunately, when posterior approximations are used, prior-focused approaches do not succeed in evaluations designed to capture properties of realistic continual learning use cases. As an alternative to prior-focused methods, we introduce a new approximate Bayesian derivation of the continual learning loss. Our loss does not rely on the posterior from earlier tasks, and instead adapts the model itself by changing the likelihood term. We call these approaches likelihood-focused. We then combine prior- and likelihood-focused methods into one objective, tying the two views together under a single unifying framework of approximate Bayesian continual learning.


Sebastian Farquhar, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS 2018 workshop on Bayesian Deep Learning
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Using Bayesian Optimization to Find Asteroids' Pole Directions

Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) are being discovered much faster than their shapes and other physical properties can be characterized in detail. One of the best ways to spatially resolve NEAs from the ground is with planetary radar observations. Radar echoes can be decoded in round-trip travel time and frequency to produce two-dimensional delay-Doppler images of the asteroid. Given a series of such images acquired over the course of the asteroid’s rotation, one can search for the shape and other physical properties that best match the observations. However, reconstructing asteroid shapes from radar data is, like many inverse problems, a computationally intensive task. Shape modeling also requires extensive human oversight to ensure that the fitting process is finding physically reasonable results. In this paper we use Bayesian optimisation for this difficult task.


Marshall, Sean, Cobb, Adam, Raïssi, Chedy, Yarin Gal, Rozek, Agata, Busch, Michael W., Young, Grace, McGlasson, Riley
American Astronomical Society (AAS), 2018
[Citation] [BibTex]
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An Empirical study of Binary Neural Networks' Optimisation

Binary neural networks using the Straight-Through-Estimator (STE) have been shown to achieve state-of-the-art results, but their training process is not well-founded. This is due to the discrepancy between the evaluated function in the forward path, and the weight updates in the back-propagation, updates which do not correspond to gradients of the forward path. Efficient convergence and accuracy of binary models often rely on careful fine-tuning and various ad-hoc techniques. In this work, we empirically identify and study the effectiveness of the various ad-hoc techniques commonly used in the literature, providing best-practices for efficient training of binary models. We show that adapting learning rates using second moment methods is crucial for the successful use of the STE, and that other optimisers can easily get stuck in local minima. We also find that many of the commonly employed tricks are only effective towards the end of the training, with these methods making early stages of the training considerably slower. Our analysis disambiguates necessary from unnecessary ad-hoc techniques for training of binary neural networks, paving the way for future development of solid theoretical foundations for these. Our newly-found insights further lead to new procedures which make training of existing binary neural networks notably faster.


Milad Alizadeh, Javier Fernández-Marqués, Nicholas D. Lane, Yarin Gal
International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), 2019
[Paper] [Code]
Link to this publication

BRUNO: A Deep Recurrent Model for Exchangeable Data

We present a novel model architecture which leverages deep learning tools to perform exact Bayesian inference on sets of high dimensional, complex observations. Our model is provably exchangeable, meaning that the joint distribution over observations is invariant under permutation: this property lies at the heart of Bayesian inference. The model does not require variational approximations to train, and new samples can be generated conditional on previous samples, with cost linear in the size of the conditioning set. The advantages of our architecture are demonstrated on learning tasks that require generalisation from short observed sequences while modelling sequence variability, such as conditional image generation, few-shot learning, and anomaly detection.


Iryna Korshunova, Jonas Degrave, Ferenc Huszár, Yarin Gal, Arthur Gretton, Joni Dambre
arXiv, 2018
[arXiv] [BibTex]
NIPS, 2018
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Sufficient Conditions for Idealised Models to Have No Adversarial Examples: a Theoretical and Empirical Study with Bayesian Neural Networks

We prove, under two sufficient conditions, that idealised models can have no adversarial examples. We discuss which idealised models satisfy our conditions, and show that idealised Bayesian neural networks (BNNs) satisfy these. We continue by studying near-idealised BNNs using HMC inference, demonstrating the theoretical ideas in practice. We experiment with HMC on synthetic data derived from MNIST for which we know the ground-truth image density, showing that near-perfect epistemic uncertainty correlates to density under image manifold, and that adversarial images lie off the manifold in our setting. This suggests why MC dropout, which can be seen as performing approximate inference, has been observed to be an effective defence against adversarial examples in practice; We highlight failure-cases of non-idealised BNNs relying on dropout, suggesting a new attack for dropout models and a new defence as well. Lastly, we demonstrate the defence on a cats-vs-dogs image classification task with a VGG13 variant.


Lewis Smith, Yarin Gal
arXiv, 2018
[arXiv] [BibTex]
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Automating Asteroid Shape Modeling From Radar Images

Characterizing the shapes and spin states of near-Earth asteroids is essential both for trajectory predictions to rule out potential future Earth impacts and for planning spacecraft missions. But reconstructing objects’ shapes and spins from delay-Doppler data is a computationally intensive inversion problem. We implement a Bayesian optimization routine that uses SHAPE to autonomously search the space of spin-state parameters, yielding spin state constraints within a factor of 3 less computer runtime and minimal human supervision. These routines are now being incorporated into radar data processing pipelines at Arecibo.


Michael W. Busch, Agata Rozek, Sean Marshall, Grace Young, Adam Cobb, Chedy Raissi, Yarin Gal, Lance Benner, Shantanu Naidu, Marina Brozovic, Patrick Taylor
COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) Assembly, 2018
[Program] [Blog Post (Adam Cobb)] [BibTex]
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Fast and Scalable Bayesian Deep Learning by Weight-Perturbation in Adam

Uncertainty computation in deep learning is essential to design robust and reliable systems. Variational inference (VI) is a promising approach for such computation, but requires more effort to implement and execute compared to maximum-likelihood methods. In this paper, we propose new natural-gradient algorithms to reduce such efforts for Gaussian mean-field VI. Our algorithms can be implemented within the Adam optimizer by perturbing the network weights during gradient evaluations, and uncertainty estimates can be cheaply obtained by using the vector that adapts the learning rate. This requires lower memory, computation, and implementation effort than existing VI methods, while obtaining uncertainty estimates of comparable quality. Our empirical results confirm this and further suggest that the weight-perturbation in our algorithm could be useful for exploration in reinforcement learning and stochastic optimization.


Mohammad Emtiyaz Khan, Didrik Nielsen, Voot Tangkaratt, Wu Lin, Yarin Gal, Akash Srivastava
ICML, 2018
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Differentially private continual learning

Catastrophic forgetting can be a significant problem for institutions that must delete historic data for privacy reasons. For example, hospitals might not be able to retain patient data permanently. But neural networks trained on recent data alone will tend to forget lessons learned on old data. We present a differentially private continual learning framework based on variational inference. We estimate the likelihood of past data given the current model using differentially private generative models of old datasets. The differentially private training has no detrimental impact on our architecture’s continual learning performance, and still outperforms the current state-of-the-art non-private continual learning.


Sebastian Farquhar, Yarin Gal
Privacy in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence workshop, ICML, 2018
[Paper] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Loss-Calibrated Approximate Inference in Bayesian Neural Networks

Current approaches in approximate inference for Bayesian neural networks minimise the Kullback-Leibler divergence to approximate the true posterior over the weights. However, this approximation is without knowledge of the final application, and therefore cannot guarantee optimal predictions for a given task. To make more suitable task-specific approximations, we introduce a new loss-calibrated evidence lower bound for Bayesian neural networks in the context of supervised learning, informed by Bayesian decision theory. By introducing a lower bound that depends on a utility function, we ensure that our approximation achieves higher utility than traditional methods for applications that have asymmetric utility functions. Furthermore, in using dropout inference, we highlight that our new objective is identical to that of standard dropout neural networks, with an additional utility-dependent penalty term. We demonstrate our new loss-calibrated model with an illustrative medical example and a restricted model capacity experiment, and highlight failure modes of the comparable weighted cross entropy approach. Lastly, we demonstrate the scalability of our method to real world applications with per-pixel semantic segmentation on an autonomous driving data set.


Adam D. Cobb, Stephen J. Roberts, Yarin Gal
Theory of deep learning workshop, ICML, 2018
[arXiv] [Code] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Using Pre-trained Full-Precision Models to Speed Up Training Binary Networks For Mobile Devices

Binary Neural Networks (BNNs) are well-suited for deploying Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) to small embedded devices but state-of-the-art BNNs need to be trained from scratch. We show how weights from a trained full-precision model can be used to speed-up training binary networks. We show that for CIFAR-10, accuracies within 1% of the full-precision model can be achieved in just 5 epochs.


Milad Alizadeh, Nicholas D. Lane, Yarin Gal
16th ACM International Conference on Mobile Systems (MobiSys), 2018
[Abstract] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Towards Robust Evaluations of Continual Learning

Continual learning experiments used in current deep learning papers do not faithfully assess fundamental challenges of learning continually, masking weak-points of the suggested approaches instead. We study gaps in such existing evaluations, proposing essential experimental evaluations that are more representative of continual learning’s challenges, and suggest a re-prioritization of research efforts in the field. We show that current approaches fail with our new evaluations and, to analyse these failures, we propose a variational loss which unifies many existing solutions to continual learning under a Bayesian framing, as either ‘prior-focused’ or ‘likelihood-focused’. We show that while prior-focused approaches such as EWC and VCL perform well on existing evaluations, they perform dramatically worse when compared to likelihood-focused approaches on other simple tasks.


Sebastian Farquhar, Yarin Gal
Lifelong Learning: A Reinforcement Learning Approach workshop, ICML, 2018
[arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Understanding Measures of Uncertainty for Adversarial Example Detection

Measuring uncertainty is a promising technique for detecting adversarial examples, crafted inputs on which the model predicts an incorrect class with high confidence. But many measures of uncertainty exist, including predictive entropy and mutual information, each capturing different types of uncertainty. We study these measures, and shed light on why mutual information seems to be effective at the task of adversarial example detection. We highlight failure modes for MC dropout, a widely used approach for estimating uncertainty in deep models. This leads to an improved understanding of the drawbacks of current methods, and a proposal to improve the quality of uncertainty estimates using probabilistic model ensembles. We give illustrative experiments using MNIST to demonstrate the intuition underlying the different measures of uncertainty, as well as experiments on a real world Kaggle dogs vs cats classification dataset.


Lewis Smith, Yarin Gal
UAI, 2018
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]
Link to this publication

Vprop: Variational Inference using RMSprop

Many computationally-efficient methods for Bayesian deep learning rely on continuous optimization algorithms, but the implementation of these methods requires significant changes to existing code-bases. In this paper, we propose Vprop, a method for variational inference that can be implemented with two minor changes to the off-the-shelf RMSprop optimizer. Vprop also reduces the memory requirements of Black-Box Variational Inference by half. We derive Vprop using the conjugate-computation variational inference method, and establish its connections to Newton’s method, natural-gradient methods, and extended Kalman filters. Overall, this paper presents Vprop as a principled, computationally-efficient, and easy-to-implement method for Bayesian deep learning.


Mohammad Emtiyaz Khan, Zuozhu Liu, Voot Tangkaratt, Yarin Gal
Bayesian Deep Learning workshop, NIPS, 2017
[Paper] [arXiv] [BibTex]
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