Three Facets of Understanding Pre-training: Loss, Inductive Bias, and Implicit Bias (Tengyu Ma)


AI is undergoing a paradigm shift with the rise of models pre-trained with self-supervisions and then adapted to a wide range of downstream tasks. However, their working largely remains a mystery; classical learning theory cannot explain why pre-training on an unsupervised task can help many different downstream tasks. This talk will first investigate the role of pre-training losses in extracting meaningful structural information from unlabeled data, especially in the infinite data regime.

Concretely, I will show that the contrastive loss can give rise to embeddings whose Euclidean distance captures the manifold distance between raw data (or, more generally, the graph distance of a so-called positive-pair graph). Moreover, directions in the embedding space correspond to relationships between clusters in the positive-pair graph. Then, I will discuss two other elements that seem necessary for a sharp explanation of the behavior of practical pre-trained models:  inductive bias of architectures and implicit bias of optimizers. I will introduce two recent, ongoing projects, where we (1) strengthen the previous theoretical framework by incorporating the inductive bias of architectures and (2) demonstrate the implicit bias of optimizers in pre-training, even with infinite pre-training data, empirically and theoretically.


2022-09-01  10:00 - 11:00   


Tengyu Ma,  Stanford University


Tencent meeting ID: 169-655-418; PW: 123456