A Block Coordinate Descent Proximal Method for Simultaneous Filtering and Parameter Estimation We propose and analyze a block coordinate descent proximal algorithm (BCD-prox) for simultaneous filtering and parameter estimation of ODE models. As we show on ODE systems with up to d=40 dimensions, as compared to state-of-the-art methods, BCD-prox exhibits increased robustness (to noise, parameter initialization, and hyperparameters), decreased training times, and improved accuracy of both filtered states and estimated parameters. We show how BCD-prox can be used with multistep numerical discretizations, and we establish convergence of BCD-prox under hypotheses that include real systems of interest. Learning Hawkes Processes Under Synchronization Noise Multivariate Hawkes processes (MHP) are widely used in a variety of fields to model the occurrence of discrete events. Prior work on learning MHPs has only focused on inference in the presence of perfect traces without noise. We address the problem of learning the causal structure of MHPs when observations are subject to an unknown delay. In particular, we introduce the so-called synchronization noise, where the stream of events generated by each dimension is subject to a random and unknown time shift. We characterize the robustness of the classic maximum likelihood estimator to synchronization noise, and we introduce a new approach for learning the causal structure in the presence of noise. Our experimental results show that our approach accurately recovers the causal structure of MHPs for a wide range of noise levels, and significantly outperforms classic estimation methods. Generative Adversarial User Model for Reinforcement Learning Based Recommendation System We proposed a novel model-based reinforcement learning framework for recommendation systems, where we developed a GAN formulation to model user behavior dynamics and her associated reward function. Using this user model as the simulation environment, we develop a novel cascading Q-network for combinatorial recommendation policy which can handle a large number of candidate items efficiently. Although the experiments show clear benefits of our method in an offline and realistic simulation setting, even stronger results could be obtained via future online A/B testing. A Statistical Investigation of Long Memory in Language and Music Representation and learning of long-range dependencies is a central challenge confronted in modern applications of machine learning to sequence data. Yet despite the prominence of this issue, the basic problem of measuring long-range dependence, either in a given data source or as represented in a trained deep model, remains largely limited to heuristic tools. We contribute a statistical framework for investigating long-range dependence in current applications of deep sequence modeling, drawing on the well-developed theory of long memory stochastic processes. This framework yields testable implications concerning the relationship between long memory in real-world data and its learned representation in a deep learning architecture, which are explored through a semiparametric framework adapted to the high-dimensional setting. Deep Factors for Forecasting Producing probabilistic forecasts for large collections of similar and/or dependent time series is a practically highly relevant, yet challenging task. Classical time series models fail to capture complex patterns in the data and multivariate techniques struggle to scale to large problem sizes, but their reliance on strong structural assumptions makes them data-efficient and allows them to provide estimates of uncertainty. The converse is true for models based on deep neural networks, which can learn complex patterns and dependencies given enough data. In this paper, we propose a hybrid model that incorporates the benefits of both approaches. Our new method is data-driven and scalable via a latent, global, deep component. It also handles uncertainty through a local classical model. We provide both theoretical and empirical evidence for the soundness of our approach through a necessary and sufficient decomposition of exchangeable time series into a global and a local part and extensive experiments. Our experiments demonstrate the advantages of our model both in term of data efficiency and computational complexity. Weakly-Supervised Temporal Localization via Occurrence Count Learning We propose a novel model for temporal detection and localization which allows the training of deep neural networks using only counts of event occurrences as training labels. This powerful weakly-supervised framework alleviates the burden of the imprecise and time consuming process of annotating event locations in temporal data. Unlike existing methods, in which localization is explicitly achieved by design, our model learns localization implicitly as a byproduct of learning to count instances. This unique feature is a direct consequence of the model's theoretical properties. We validate the effectiveness of our approach in a number of experiments (drum hit and piano onset detection in audio, digit detection in images) and demonstrate performance comparable to that of fully-supervised state-of-the-art methods, despite much weaker training requirements. Switching Linear Dynamics for Variational Bayes Filtering System identification of complex and nonlinear systems is a central problem for model predictive control and model-based reinforcement learning. Despite their complexity, such systems can often be approximated well by a set of linear dynamical systems if broken into appropriate subsequences. This mechanism not only helps us find good approximations of dynamics, but also gives us deeper insight into the underlying system. Leveraging Bayesian inference and Variational Autoencoders, we show how to learn a richer and more meaningful state space, e.g. encoding joint constraints and collisions with walls in a maze, from partial and high-dimensional observations. This representation translates into a gain of accuracy of the learned dynamics which we showcase on various simulated tasks. Imputing Missing Events in Continuous-Time Event Streams Events that we observe in the world may be caused by other, unobserved events. We consider sequences of discrete events in continuous time. Given a probability model of complete sequences, we propose particle smoothing---a form of sequential importance sampling---to impute the missing events in an incomplete sequence. We develop a trainable family of proposal distributions based on a type of continuous-time bidirectional LSTM. Thus, unlike in particle filtering, our proposed events are conditioned on the future and not just on the past. Our method can sample an ensemble of possible complete sequences (particles), from which we form a single consensus prediction that has low Bayes risk under our chosen loss metric. We experiment in multiple synthetic and real domains, using different missingness mechanisms, and modeling the complete sequences in each domain with a neural Hawkes process (Mei & Eisner 2017). On held-out incomplete sequences, our method is effective at inferring the ground truth unobserved events. In particular, particle smoothing consistently improves upon particle filtering, showing the benefit of training a bidirectional proposal distribution. We further use multinomial resampling to mitigate the particle skewness problem, which further improves results. Understanding and Controlling Memory in Recurrent Neural Networks To be effective in sequential data processing, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) are required to keep track of past events by creating memories. While the relation between memories and the network’s hidden state dynamics was established over the last decade, previous works in this direction were of a predominantly descriptive nature focusing mainly on locating the dynamical objects of interest. In particular, it remained unclear how dynamical observables affect the performance, how they form and whether they can be manipulated. Here, we utilize different training protocols, datasets and architectures to obtain a range of networks solving a delayed classification task with similar performance, alongside substantial differences in their ability to extrapolate for longer delays. We analyze the dynamics of the network’s hidden state, and uncover the reasons for this difference. Each memory is found to be associated with a nearly steady state of the dynamics which we refer to as a ’slow point’. Slow point speeds predict extrapolation performance across all datasets, protocols and architectures tested. Furthermore, by tracking the formation of the slow points we are able to understand the origin of differences between training protocols. Finally, we propose a novel regularization technique that is based on the relation be-tween hidden state speeds and memory longevity. Our technique manipulates these speeds, thereby leading to a dramatic improvement in memory robustness over time, and could pave the way for a new class of regularization methods. Recurrent Kalman Networks: Factorized Inference in High-Dimensional Deep Feature Spaces In order to integrate uncertainty estimates into deep time-series modelling, Kalman Filters (KFs) (Kalman, 1960) have been integrated with deep learning models. Yet, such approaches typically rely on approximate inference techniques such as variational inference which makes learning more complex and often less scalable due to approximation errors. We propose a new deep approach to Kalman filtering which can be learned directly in an end-to-end manner using backpropagation without additional approximations. Our approach uses a high-dimensional factorized latent state representation for which the Kalman updates simplify to scalar operations and thus avoids hard to backpropagate, computationally heavy and potentially unstable matrix inversions. Moreover, we use locally linear dynamic models to efficiently propagate the latent state to the next time step. The resulting network architecture, which we call Recurrent Kalman Network (RKN), can be used for any time-series data, similar to a LSTM (Hochreiter & Schmidhuber, 1997) but uses an explicit representation of uncertainty. As shown by our experiments, the RKN obtains much more accurate uncertainty estimates than an LSTM or Gated Recurrent Units (GRUs) (Cho et al., 2014) while also showing a slightly improved prediction performance and outperforms various recent generative models on an image imputation task.

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