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    Neural Math

    A neural programmer for modeling mathematical equations

    We introduce a flexible and a scalable neural programming framework that combines the knowledge of symbolic expressions with black-box function evaluations. We demonstrate that this approach outperforms existing methods by a significant margin, using only a small amount of training data. Our main contributions are (1) We design a neural architecture to incorporate both symbolic expressions and black-box function evaluation data. (2) We eval- uate it on tasks such as equation verification and completion in the domain of mathematical equation modeling. (3) We propose a data generation strategy for both symbolic expressions and black-box function evaluations that results in good balance and coverage.

    We employ tree LSTMs to incorporate the symbolic expression tree, with one LSTM cell for each mathematical function. The parameters of the LSTM cells are shared across different expressions, wherever the same function is used. This weight sharing allows us to learn a large number of mathematical functions simultaneously, whereas most previous works aim at learning only one or few mathematical functions. We then extend tree LSTMs to not only accept symbolic expression input, but also numerical data from black-box function evaluations. We employ tree encoding for numbers that appear in function evaluations, based on their decimal representation. This allows our model to generalize to unseen numbers, which has been a struggle for neural programing researchers so far. We show that such a recursive neural architecture is able to generalize to unseen numbers as well as to unseen symbolic expressions.

    The figure below shows examples of the equations in our mathematic dataset. From left to right: a symbolic equation, a function evaluation expression and a demical encoding for numbers.


    Our model is used for verifyinh the correctness of an input equation, filling a blank in an input equation and solving ordinary differential equations. Below is an example of the performance of out model on the equation filling task.


    Our code and data is publicly available here

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    Correlated Topic Models

    A spectral algorithm for correlated topic models

    Topic models are a popular class of exchangeable latent variable models for document catego- rization. Their goal is to uncover hidden topics based on the distribution of word occurrences in a document corpus. Topic models are admixture models, which go beyond the usual mix- ture models that allow for only one hidden topic to be present in each document. In contrast, topic models incorporate multiple topics in each document. It is assumed that each doc- ument has a latent proportion of different topics, and the observed words are drawn in a conditionally independent manner, given the set of topics.

    Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) is the most popular topic model, in which the topic proportions are drawn from the Dirichlet distribution. While LDA has widespread applications, it is limited by the choice of the Dirichlet distribution. Notably, Dirichlet distribution cannot model correlation in the topic domain. This is important since a document about sports is most likely also about health than finance. Or a scientific article about genetics is more likely to be also about health and disease rather than astronomy. This limitation of LDA results in its incapability of accounting for such correlations in the documents

    In this work, we introduce a flexible class of topic models, and propose guaranteed and efficient algorithms for learning them. We employ the class of Normalized Infinitely Divisible (NID) distributions to model the topic proportions and capture arbitrary correlations in the data. These are a class of distributions on the simplex, formed by normalizing a set of independent draws from a family of positive Infinitely Divisible (ID) distributions. Our code is publicly available here .

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    Conditional Latent Tree Graphical Models

    Predicting high dimentional time series

    In this work we introduce a parametric model class, namely Conditional Latent Tree graphical Models (CLTMs), and propose an approach for learning them from data. CLTMs can be used for modeling and predicting high dimensional time-series with latent dependence and/or unobserved heterogeneity. Such time series arise in numerous important applications, including dynamic social networks with co-evolving nodes and edges, and dynamic student learning in MOOCs. Of particular interest in modeling such high dimensional series is the problem of predicting their evolution. Such predictions can in turn be used to provide useful feedback such as recommendations to network participants or students to improve their experience in the network and help them learn the course material (respectively). Modeling and tracking such high dimensional series jointly, however, is a greatly challenging task since each sequence can interact with others in unknown and complex ways.

    Our model accounts for three main factors that affect the evolution of these high dimentional time series. First and foremost, individual-level behavioral variables in a multivariate time series are strongly influenced by group dynamics. For example, the nodes in a social network tend to participate in communities, and the evolution of node behavior can be captured in part by the dynamics of those communities. We introduce latent variables in our model to account for the effect of these hidden groupings. The second factor is that the dynamic behavior of each random variable affects the dynamics of other random variables, making the individual sequences dependent on one another. In order to account for these dependencies we assume that the nodes construct a tree dependece. The third factor is the need to account for the impact of relevant external factors also known as covariates, that are predictive of dynamics. Seasonal or period effects are examples of covariates whose states can be predictive of the evolution of the series. Below is a toy example of our model for a series with four variables.


    One of the datasets we applied CLTM to is that of students in a psychology course on coursera. Please take a look at this interactive demo to see the steps that the algorithm takes to learn a latent tree over the concepts taught in the course a.k.a knowledge components. The blue nodes are the concepts and the yellow nodes are the hidden variables that group them. You can zoom into the tree and scroll over it to see if relevant concepts have been grouped together. You can also view the final tree here (Note: it might take a few seconds before the tree loads completely). You can again zoom in and scroll over this tree.

    We perform a graph partitioning over the above concept tree and cluster the concepts into 10 cluster. We use these concept clusters as covartiates for learning a dependency latent tree over the students. This interactive demo shows the learned hidden grouping of students and their dependency tree for each cluster of concepts. You can zoom into the student graphs and see the student clusters. The average performance of the students in each student cluster for different concept clusters is shown at the bottom of the page. (Note: it might take a few seconds before the tree loads completely)

    Our code is publicly available here.