Understanding and Enriching the Algorithmic Reasoning Capabilities of Deep Learning Models

dc.contributor.advisorDickerson, Johnen_US
dc.contributor.authorLi, Jinglingen_US
dc.contributor.departmentComputer Scienceen_US
dc.contributor.publisherDigital Repository at the University of Marylanden_US
dc.contributor.publisherUniversity of Maryland (College Park, Md.)en_US
dc.description.abstractLearning to reason is an essential step to achieving general intelligence. My research has been focusing on empowering deep learning models with the abilities to generalize efficiently, extrapolate to out-of-distribution data, learn under noisy labels, and make better sequential decisions --- all of these require the models to have varying levels of reasoning capabilities. As the reasoning process can be described as a step-by-step algorithmic procedure, understanding and enriching the algorithmic reasoning capabilities has drawn increasing attention in deep learning communities. To bridge algorithms and neural networks, we propose a framework, algorithmic alignment, which connects neural networks with algorithms in a novel manner and advances our understanding of how these two fields can work together to solve complex reasoning tasks. Intuitively, the algorithmic alignment framework evaluates how well a neural network's computation structure aligns with the algorithmic structure in a reasoning process. Utilizing algorithmic alignment, we are able to understand the limitations of machine learning models in the context of reasoning (e.g., generalization, extrapolation, and robustness) and know where to make improvements. Beyond this framework, we also investigate how to make better sequential decisions, during which we introduce a class of efficient approaches, hindsight learning, which allows us to leverage the knowledge inside existing human-designed algorithms to make better sequential decisions under uncertainty. First, why and when does a network structure generalize better than others, despite having equal expressive power? In studying this, we unify seemingly different reasoning tasks, such as intuitive physics, visual question answering, and shortest paths, via the lens of a powerful algorithmic paradigm, dynamic programming (DP). We then show that Graph Neural Network (GNNs)---a popular reasoning model---algorithmically align well with DP, which explains their empirical success on many reasoning tasks. At the same time, using this framework, we also suggest the limitations of GNNs and demonstrate how we can use algorithmic alignment to design a structured network given a particular task. Second, what does a neural network learn outside the support of the training distribution? To answer this, we identify conditions under which MLPs and GNNs extrapolate well.We first quantify the observation that ReLU MLPs quickly converge to linear functions along any direction from the origin, implying that ReLU MLPs do not extrapolate most nonlinear functions. Yet, we prove that MLPs can successfully extrapolate a linear target function given sufficient training support. These results suggest a hypothesis on GNNs for which we provide theoretical and empirical evidence: the success of GNNs in extrapolating algorithmic tasks to new data (e.g., larger graphs or edge weights) relies on encoding task-specific non-linearities in the architecture or features. Third, how does a neural network’s architecture impact its robustness to noisy labels? To figure this out, we use the proposed framework connecting a network's robustness to its architectural alignments with the target/noise functions. We hypothesize that a network is more robust to noisy labels if its architecture is more aligned with the target function than the noise, and we provide both theoretical and empirical evidence across various neural network architectures and different domains. Last but not least, how can we design sample-efficient approaches for sequential decision-making problems? Many decision-making problems especially the ones in resource management have a bunch of human-designed heuristics that work well in practice. These heuristics could provide more guidance to RL agents than just the environmental reward. At the same time, we observe that in many resource management problems requiring sequential decision-making under uncertainty, the only uncertainty affecting the decision outcomes are exogenous variables outside the control of the decision-maker in the system, and we can use machine learning to learn from historical patterns of compute demands to help deal with these uncertainties. Therefore, we design a class of data-efficient algorithms termed Hindsight Learning (HL), where we utilize existing human-designed algorithms with historical data to better guide the RL agents.en_US
dc.subject.pqcontrolledComputer scienceen_US
dc.titleUnderstanding and Enriching the Algorithmic Reasoning Capabilities of Deep Learning Modelsen_US


Original bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
No Thumbnail Available
6.88 MB
Adobe Portable Document Format