Two papers accepted in ICLR 2024 (one as spotlight)

  • Robustifying State-space Models for Long Sequences via Approximate Diagonalization ( preprint)

    • Abstract: State-space models (SSMs) have recently emerged as a framework for learning long-range sequence tasks. An example is the structured state-space sequence (S4) layer, which uses the diagonal-plus-low-rank structure of the HiPPO initialization framework. However, the complicated structure of the S4 layer poses challenges; and, in an effort to address these challenges, models such as S4D and S5 have considered a purely diagonal structure. This choice simplifies the implementation, improves computational efficiency, and allows channel communication. However, diagonalizing the HiPPO framework is itself an ill-posed problem. In this paper, we propose a general solution for this and related ill-posed diagonalization problems in machine learning. We introduce a generic, backward-stable ``perturb-then-diagonalize’’ (PTD) methodology, which is based on the pseudospectral theory of non-normal operators, and which may be interpreted as the approximate diagonalization of the non-normal matrices defining SSMs. Based on this, we introduce the S4-PTD and S5-PTD models. Through theoretical analysis of the transfer functions of different initialization schemes, we demonstrate that the S4-PTD/S5-PTD initialization strongly converges to the HiPPO framework, while the S4D/S5 initialization only achieves weak convergences. As a result, our new models show resilience to Fourier-mode noise-perturbed inputs, a crucial property not achieved by the S4D/S5 models. In addition to improved robustness, our S5-PTD model averages 87.6% accuracy on the Long-Range Arena benchmark, demonstrating that the PTD methodology helps to improve the accuracy of deep learning models.
  • Generative Modeling of Regular and Irregular Time Series Data via Koopman VAEs ( preprint)

    • Abstract: Generating realistic time series data is important for many engineering and scientific applications. Existing work tackles this problem using generative adversarial networks (GANs). However, GANs are often unstable during training, and they can suffer from mode collapse. While variational autoencoders (VAEs) are known to be more robust to these issues, they are (surprisingly) less often considered for time series generation. In this work, we introduce Koopman VAE (KVAE), a new generative framework that is based on a novel design for the model prior, and that can be optimized for either regular and irregular training data. Inspired by Koopman theory, we represent the latent conditional prior dynamics using a linear map. Our approach enhances generative modeling with two desired features: (i) incorporating domain knowledge can be achieved by leverageing spectral tools that prescribe constraints on the eigenvalues of the linear map; and (ii) studying the qualitative behavior and stablity of the system can be performed using tools from dynamical systems theory. Our results show that KVAE outperforms state-of-the-art GAN and VAE methods across several challenging synthetic and real-world time series generation benchmarks. Whether trained on regular or irregular data, KVAE generates time series that improve both discriminative and predictive metrics. We also present visual evidence suggesting that KVAE learns probability density functions that better approximate empirical ground truth distributions.
N. Benjamin Erichson
N. Benjamin Erichson
Research Scientist