N-Gram Machine (NGM) google
Deep neural networks (DNNs) had great success on NLP tasks such as language modeling, machine translation and certain question answering (QA) tasks. However, the success is limited at more knowledge intensive tasks such as QA from a big corpus. Existing end-to-end deep QA models (Miller et al., 2016; Weston et al., 2014) need to read the entire text after observing the question, and therefore their complexity in responding a question is linear in the text size. This is prohibitive for practical tasks such as QA from Wikipedia, a novel, or the Web. We propose to solve this scalability issue by using symbolic meaning representations, which can be indexed and retrieved efficiently with complexity that is independent of the text size. More specifically, we use sequence-to-sequence models to encode knowledge symbolically and generate programs to answer questions from the encoded knowledge. We apply our approach, called the N-Gram Machine (NGM), to the bAbI tasks (Weston et al., 2015) and a special version of them (‘life-long bAbI’) which has stories of up to 10 million sentences. Our experiments show that NGM can successfully solve both of these tasks accurately and efficiently. Unlike fully differentiable memory models, NGM’s time complexity and answering quality are not affected by the story length. The whole system of NGM is trained end-to-end with REINFORCE (Williams, 1992). To avoid high variance in gradient estimation, which is typical in discrete latent variable models, we use beam search instead of sampling. To tackle the exponentially large search space, we use a stabilized auto-encoding objective and a structure tweak procedure to iteratively reduce and refine the search space. …

SPARCML google
One of the main drivers behind the rapid recent advances in machine learning has been the availability of efficient system support. This comes both through hardware acceleration, but also in the form of efficient software frameworks and programming models. Despite significant progress, scaling compute-intensive machine learning workloads to a large number of compute nodes is still a challenging task, with significant latency and bandwidth demands. In this paper, we address this challenge, by proposing SPARCML, a general, scalable communication layer for machine learning applications. SPARCML is built on the observation that many distributed machine learning algorithms either have naturally sparse communication patters, or have updates which can be sparsified in a structured way for improved performance, without any convergence or accuracy loss. To exploit this insight, we design and implement a set of communication efficient protocols for sparse input data, in conjunction with efficient machine learning algorithms which can leverage these primitives. Our communication protocols generalize standard collective operations, by allowing processes to contribute sparse input data vectors, of heterogeneous sizes. We call these operations sparse-input collectives, and present efficient practical algorithms with strong theoretical bounds on their running time and communication cost. Our generic communication layer is enriched with additional features, such support for non-blocking (asynchronous) operations, and support for low-precision data representations. We validate our algorithmic results experimentally on a range of large-scale machine learning applications and target architectures, showing that we can leverage sparsity for order- of-magnitude runtime savings, compared to state-of-the art methods and frameworks. …

Factorial Hidden Markov Models (FHMM) google
We present a framework for learning in hidden Markov models with distributed state representations. Within this framework , we derive a learning algorithm based on the Expectation-Maximization (EM) procedure for maximum likelihood estimation. Analogous to the standard Baum-Welch update rules, the M-step of our algorithm is exact and can be solved analytically. However, due to the combinatorial nature of the hidden state representation, the exact E-step is intractable. A simple and tractable mean field approximation is derived. Empirical results on a set of problems suggest that both the mean field approximation and Gibbs sampling are viable alternatives to the computationally expensive exact algorithm. …

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