Past computerized differentiation – Google AI Weblog


Derivatives play a central position in optimization and machine studying. By regionally approximating a training loss, derivatives information an optimizer towards decrease values of the loss. Computerized differentiation frameworks equivalent to TensorFlow, PyTorch, and JAX are a vital a part of trendy machine studying, making it possible to make use of gradient-based optimizers to coach very complicated fashions.

However are derivatives all we’d like? By themselves, derivatives solely inform us how a perform behaves on an infinitesimal scale. To make use of derivatives successfully, we frequently have to know greater than that. For instance, to decide on a learning rate for gradient descent, we have to know one thing about how the loss perform behaves over a small however finite window. A finite-scale analogue of computerized differentiation, if it existed, may assist us make such selections extra successfully and thereby pace up coaching.

In our new paper “Automatically Bounding The Taylor Remainder Series: Tighter Bounds and New Applications“, we current an algorithm referred to as AutoBound that computes polynomial higher and decrease bounds on a given perform, that are legitimate over a user-specified interval. We then start to discover AutoBound’s functions. Notably, we current a meta-optimizer referred to as SafeRate that makes use of the higher bounds computed by AutoBound to derive studying charges which can be assured to monotonically scale back a given loss perform, with out the necessity for time-consuming hyperparameter tuning. We’re additionally making AutoBound accessible as an open-source library.

The AutoBound algorithm

Given a perform f and a reference level x0, AutoBound computes polynomial higher and decrease bounds on f that maintain over a user-specified interval referred to as a belief area. Like Taylor polynomials, the bounding polynomials are equal to f at x0. The bounds turn out to be tighter because the belief area shrinks, and method the corresponding Taylor polynomial because the belief area width approaches zero.

Mechanically-derived quadratic higher and decrease bounds on a one-dimensional perform f, centered at x0=0.5. The higher and decrease bounds are legitimate over a user-specified belief area, and turn out to be tighter because the belief area shrinks.

Like computerized differentiation, AutoBound could be utilized to any perform that may be applied utilizing commonplace mathematical operations. Actually, AutoBound is a generalization of Taylor mode automatic differentiation, and is equal to it within the particular case the place the belief area has a width of zero.

To derive the AutoBound algorithm, there have been two important challenges we needed to deal with:

  1. We needed to derive polynomial higher and decrease bounds for numerous elementary capabilities, given an arbitrary reference level and arbitrary belief area.
  2. We needed to provide you with an analogue of the chain rule for combining these bounds.

Bounds for elementary capabilities

For a wide range of commonly-used capabilities, we derive optimum polynomial higher and decrease bounds in closed type. On this context, “optimum” means the bounds are as tight as potential, amongst all polynomials the place solely the maximum-degree coefficient differs from the Taylor collection. Our idea applies to elementary capabilities, equivalent to exp and log, and customary neural community activation capabilities, equivalent to ReLU and Swish. It builds upon and generalizes earlier work that utilized solely to quadratic bounds, and just for an unbounded belief area.

Optimum quadratic higher and decrease bounds on the exponential perform, centered at x0=0.5 and legitimate over the interval [0, 2].

A brand new chain rule

To compute higher and decrease bounds for arbitrary capabilities, we derived a generalization of the chain rule that operates on polynomial bounds. For instance the thought, suppose we have now a perform that may be written as

and suppose we have already got polynomial higher and decrease bounds on g and h. How can we compute bounds on f?

The important thing seems to be representing the higher and decrease bounds for a given perform as a single polynomial whose highest-degree coefficient is an interval relatively than a scalar. We are able to then plug the certain for h into the certain for g, and convert the outcome again to a polynomial of the identical type utilizing interval arithmetic. Beneath appropriate assumptions in regards to the belief area over which the certain on g holds, it may be proven that this process yields the specified certain on f.

The interval polynomial chain rule utilized to the capabilities h(x) = sqrt(x) and g(y) = exp(y), with x0=0.25 and belief area [0, 0.5].

Our chain rule applies to one-dimensional capabilities, but additionally to multivariate capabilities, equivalent to matrix multiplications and convolutions.

Propagating bounds

Utilizing our new chain rule, AutoBound propagates interval polynomial bounds by way of a computation graph from the inputs to the outputs, analogous to forward-mode automatic differentiation.

Ahead propagation of interval polynomial bounds for the perform f(x) = exp(sqrt(x)). We first compute (trivial) bounds on x, then use the chain rule to compute bounds on sqrt(x) and exp(sqrt(x)).

To compute bounds on a perform f(x), AutoBound requires reminiscence proportional to the dimension of x. Because of this, sensible functions apply AutoBound to capabilities with a small variety of inputs. Nevertheless, as we’ll see, this doesn’t stop us from utilizing AutoBound for neural community optimization.

Mechanically deriving optimizers, and different functions

What can we do with AutoBound that we could not do with computerized differentiation alone?

Amongst different issues, AutoBound can be utilized to robotically derive problem-specific, hyperparameter-free optimizers that converge from any start line. These optimizers iteratively scale back a loss by first utilizing AutoBound to compute an higher certain on the loss that’s tight on the present level, after which minimizing the higher certain to acquire the subsequent level.

Minimizing a one-dimensional logistic regression loss utilizing quadratic higher bounds derived robotically by AutoBound.

Optimizers that use higher bounds on this method are referred to as majorization-minimization (MM) optimizers. Utilized to one-dimensional logistic regression, AutoBound rederives an MM optimizer first published in 2009. Utilized to extra complicated issues, AutoBound derives novel MM optimizers that will be tough to derive by hand.

We are able to use an analogous thought to take an current optimizer equivalent to Adam and convert it to a hyperparameter-free optimizer that’s assured to monotonically scale back the loss (within the full-batch setting). The ensuing optimizer makes use of the identical replace course as the unique optimizer, however modifies the training fee by minimizing a one-dimensional quadratic higher certain derived by AutoBound. We consult with the ensuing meta-optimizer as SafeRate.

Efficiency of SafeRate when used to coach a single-hidden-layer neural community on a subset of the MNIST dataset, within the full-batch setting.

Utilizing SafeRate, we will create extra strong variants of current optimizers, at the price of a single further ahead go that will increase the wall time for every step by a small issue (about 2x within the instance above).

Along with the functions simply mentioned, AutoBound can be utilized for verified numerical integration and to robotically show sharper variations of Jensen’s inequality, a basic mathematical inequality used continuously in statistics and different fields.

Enchancment over classical bounds

Bounding the Taylor remainder term robotically will not be a brand new thought. A classical approach produces diploma okay polynomial bounds on a perform f which can be legitimate over a belief area [a, b] by first computing an expression for the okayth by-product of f (utilizing computerized differentiation), then evaluating this expression over [a,b] utilizing interval arithmetic.

Whereas elegant, this method has some inherent limitations that may result in very free bounds, as illustrated by the dotted blue traces within the determine beneath.

Quadratic higher and decrease bounds on the lack of a multi-layer perceptron with two hidden layers, as a perform of the preliminary studying fee. The bounds derived by AutoBound are a lot tighter than these obtained utilizing interval arithmetic analysis of the second by-product.

Wanting ahead

Taylor polynomials have been in use for over 300 years, and are omnipresent in numerical optimization and scientific computing. Nonetheless, Taylor polynomials have important limitations, which may restrict the capabilities of algorithms constructed on high of them. Our work is a part of a rising literature that acknowledges these limitations and seeks to develop a brand new basis upon which extra strong algorithms could be constructed.

Our experiments thus far have solely scratched the floor of what’s potential utilizing AutoBound, and we consider it has many functions we have now not found. To encourage the analysis group to discover such potentialities, we have now made AutoBound accessible as an open-source library constructed on high of JAX. To get began, go to our GitHub repo.


This submit relies on joint work with Josh Dillon. We thank Alex Alemi and Sergey Ioffe for precious suggestions on an earlier draft of the submit.


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