Tag Archives: Publications

The Google Brain Team’s Approach to Research

About a year ago, the Google Brain team first shared our mission “Make machines intelligent. Improve people’s lives.” In that time, we’ve shared updates on our work to infuse machine learning across Google products that hundreds of millions of users access everyday, including Translate, Maps, and more. Today, I’d like to share more about how we approach this mission both through advancement in the fundamental theory and understanding of machine learning, and through research in the service of product.

Five years ago, our colleagues Alfred Spector, Peter Norvig, and Slav Petrov published a blog post and paper explaining Google’s hybrid approach to research, an approach that always allowed for varied balances between curiosity-driven and application-driven research. The biggest challenges in machine learning that the Brain team is focused on require the broadest exploration of new ideas, which is why our researchers set their own agendas with much of our team focusing specifically on advancing the state-of-the-art in machine learning. In doing so, we have published hundreds of papers over the last several years in conferences such as NIPS, ICML and ICLR, with acceptance rates significantly above conference averages.

Critical to achieving our mission is contributing new and fundamental research in machine learning. To that end, we’ve built a thriving team that conducts long-term, open research to advance science. In pursuing research across fields such as visual and auditory perception, natural language understanding, art and music generation, and systems architecture and algorithms, we regularly collaborate with researchers at external institutions, with fully 1/3rd of our papers in 2017 having one or more cross-institutional authors. Additionally, we host collaborators from academic institutions to enhance our own work and strengthen our connection to the external scientific community.

We also believe in the importance of clear and understandable explanations of the concepts in modern machine learning. Distill.pub is an online technical journal providing a forum for this purpose, launched by Brain team members Chris Olah and Shan Carter. TensorFlow Playground is an in-browser experimental venue created by the Google Brain team’s visualization experts to give people insight into how neural networks behave on simple problems, and PAIR’s deeplearn.js is an open source WebGL-accelerated JavaScript library for machine learning that runs entirely in your browser, with no installations and no backend.

In addition to working with the best minds in academia and industry, the Brain team, like many other teams at Google, believes in fostering the development of the next generation of scientists. Our team hosts more than 50 interns every year, with the goal of publishing their work in top machine learning venues (roughly 25% of our group’s publications so far in 2017 have intern co-authors, usually as primary authors). Additionally, in 2016, we welcomed the first cohort of the Google Brain Residency Program, a one-year program for people who want to learn to do machine learning research. In its inaugural year, 27 residents conducted research alongside and under the mentorship of Brain team members, and authored more than 40 papers that were accepted in top research conferences. Our second group of 36 residents started their one-year residency in our group in July, and are already involved in a wide variety of projects.

Along with other teams within Google Research, we enjoy the freedom to both contribute fundamental advances in machine learning, and separately conduct product-focused research. Both paths are important in ensuring that advances in machine learning have a significant impact on the world.

Announcing the NYC Algorithms and Optimization Site

New York City is home to several Google algorithms research groups. We collaborate closely with the teams behind many Google products and work on a wide variety of algorithmic challenges, like optimizing infrastructure, protecting privacy, improving friend suggestions and much more.

Today, we’re excited to provide more insights into the research done in the Big Apple with the launch of the NYC Algorithms and Optimization Team page. The NYC Algorithms and Optimization Team comprises multiple overlapping research groups working on large-scale graph mining, large-scale optimization and market algorithms.

Large-scale Graph Mining
The Large-scale Graph Mining Group is tasked with building the most scalable library for graph algorithms and analysis and applying it to a multitude of Google products. We formalize data mining and machine learning challenges as graph algorithms problems and perform fundamental research in those fields leading to publications in top venues.

Our projects include:
  • Large-scale Similarity Ranking: Our research in pairwise similarity ranking has produced a number of innovative methods, which we have published in top venues such as WWW, ICML, and VLDB, e.g., improving friend suggestion using ego-networks and computing similarity rankings in large-scale multi-categorical bipartite graphs.
  • Balanced Partitioning: Balanced partitioning is often a crucial first step in solving large-scale graph optimization problems. As our paper shows, we are able to achieve a 15-25% reduction in cut size compared to state-of-the-art algorithms in the literature.
  • Clustering and Connected Components: We have state-of-the-art implementations of many different algorithms including hierarchical clustering, overlapping clustering, local clustering, spectral clustering, and connected components. Our methods are 10-30x faster than the best previously studied algorithms and can scale to graphs with trillions of edges.
  • Public-private Graph Computation: Our research on novel models of graph computation based on a personal view of private data preserves the privacy of each user.
Large-scale Optimization
The Large-scale Optimization Group’s mission is to develop large-scale optimization techniques and use them to improve the efficiency and robustness of infrastructure at Google. We apply techniques from areas such as combinatorial optimization, online algorithms, and control theory to make Google’s massive computational infrastructure do more with less. We combine online and offline optimizations to achieve such goals as increasing throughput, decreasing latency, minimizing resource contention, maximizing the efficacy of caches, and eliminating unnecessary work in distributed systems.

Our research is used in critical infrastructure that supports core products:
  • Consistent Hashing: We designed memoryless balanced allocation algorithms to assign a dynamic set of clients to a dynamic set of servers such that the load on each server is bounded, and the allocation does not change by much for every update operation. This technique is currently implemented in Google Cloud Pub/Sub and externally in the open-source haproxy.
  • Distributed Optimization Based on Core-sets: Composable core-sets provide an effective method for solving optimization problems on massive datasets. This technique can be used for several problems including distributed balanced clustering and distributed submodular maximization.
  • Google Search Infrastructure Optimization: We partnered with the Google Search infrastructure team to build a distributed feedback control loop to govern the way queries are fanned out to machines. We also improved the efficacy of caching by increasing the homogeneity of the stream of queries seen by any single machine.
Market Algorithms
The Market Algorithms Group analyzes, designs, and delivers economically and computationally efficient marketplaces across Google. Our research serves to optimize display ads for DoubleClick’s reservation ads and exchange, as well as sponsored search and mobile ads.

In the past few years, we have explored a number of areas, including:
For a summary of our research activities, you can take a look at talks at our recent market algorithms workshop.

It is our hope that with the help of this new Google NYC Algorithms and Optimization Team page that we can more effectively share our work and broaden our dialogue with the research and engineering community. Please visit the site to learn about our latest projects, publications, seminars, and research areas!

Google at ICML 2017

Machine learning (ML) is a key strategic focus at Google, with highly active groups pursuing research in virtually all aspects of the field, including deep learning and more classical algorithms, exploring theory as well as application. We utilize scalable tools and architectures to build machine learning systems that enable us to solve deep scientific and engineering challenges in areas of language, speech, translation, music, visual processing and more.

As a leader in ML research, Google is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the thirty-fourth International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2017), a premier annual event supported by the International Machine Learning Society taking place this week in Sydney, Australia. With over 130 Googlers attending the conference to present publications and host workshops, we look forward to our continued colalboration with the larger ML research community.

If you're attending ICML 2017, we hope you'll visit the Google booth and talk with our researchers to learn more about the exciting work, creativity and fun that goes into solving some of the field's most interesting challenges. Our researchers will also be available to talk about and demo several recent efforts, including the technology behind Facets, neural audio synthesis with Nsynth, a Q&A session on the Google Brain Residency program and much more. You can also learn more about our research being presented at ICML 2017 in the list below (Googlers highlighted in blue).

ICML 2017 Committees
Senior Program Committee includes: Alex Kulesza, Amr Ahmed, Andrew Dai, Corinna Cortes, George Dahl, Hugo Larochelle, Matthew Hoffman, Maya Gupta, Moritz Hardt, Quoc Le

Sponsorship Co-Chair: Ryan Adams

Robust Adversarial Reinforcement Learning
Lerrel Pinto, James Davidson, Rahul Sukthankar, Abhinav Gupta

Tight Bounds for Approximate Carathéodory and Beyond
Vahab Mirrokni, Renato Leme, Adrian Vladu, Sam Wong

Sharp Minima Can Generalize For Deep Nets
Laurent Dinh, Razvan Pascanu, Samy Bengio, Yoshua Bengio

Geometry of Neural Network Loss Surfaces via Random Matrix Theory
Jeffrey Pennington, Yasaman Bahri

Conditional Image Synthesis with Auxiliary Classifier GANs
Augustus Odena, Christopher Olah, Jon Shlens

Learning Deep Latent Gaussian Models with Markov Chain Monte Carlo
Maithra Raghu, Ben Poole, Surya Ganguli, Jon Kleinberg, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

On the Expressive Power of Deep Neural Networks
Maithra Raghu, Ben Poole, Surya Ganguli, Jon Kleinberg, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

AdaNet: Adaptive Structural Learning of Artificial Neural Networks
Corinna Cortes, Xavi Gonzalvo, Vitaly Kuznetsov, Mehryar Mohri, Scott Yang

Learned Optimizers that Scale and Generalize
Olga Wichrowska, Niru Maheswaranathan, Matthew Hoffman, Sergio Gomez, Misha Denil, Nando de Freitas, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Adaptive Feature Selection: Computationally Efficient Online Sparse Linear Regression under RIP
Satyen Kale, Zohar Karnin, Tengyuan Liang, David Pal

Algorithms for ℓp Low-Rank Approximation
Flavio Chierichetti, Sreenivas Gollapudi, Ravi Kumar, Silvio Lattanzi, Rina Panigrahy, David Woodruff

Consistent k-Clustering
Silvio Lattanzi, Sergei Vassilvitskii

Input Switched Affine Networks: An RNN Architecture Designed for Interpretability
Jakob Foerster, Justin Gilmer, Jan Chorowski, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein, David Sussillo

Online and Linear-Time Attention by Enforcing Monotonic Alignments
Colin RaffelThang Luong, Peter Liu, Ron Weiss, Douglas Eck

Gradient Boosted Decision Trees for High Dimensional Sparse Output
Si Si, Huan Zhang, Sathiya Keerthi, Dhruv Mahajan, Inderjit Dhillon, Cho-Jui Hsieh

Sequence Tutor: Conservative fine-tuning of sequence generation models with KL-control
Natasha Jaques, Shixiang Gu, Dzmitry Bahdanau, Jose Hernandez-Lobato, Richard E Turner, Douglas Eck

Uniform Convergence Rates for Kernel Density Estimation
Heinrich Jiang

Density Level Set Estimation on Manifolds with DBSCAN
Heinrich Jiang

Maximum Selection and Ranking under Noisy Comparisons
Moein Falahatgar, Alon Orlitsky, Venkatadheeraj Pichapati, Ananda Suresh

Neural Audio Synthesis of Musical Notes with WaveNet Autoencoders
Cinjon Resnick, Adam Roberts, Jesse Engel, Douglas Eck, Sander Dieleman, Karen Simonyan, Mohammad Norouzi

Distributed Mean Estimation with Limited Communication
Ananda Suresh, Felix Yu, Sanjiv Kumar, Brendan McMahan

Learning to Generate Long-term Future via Hierarchical Prediction
Ruben Villegas, Jimei Yang, Yuliang Zou, Sungryull Sohn, Xunyu Lin, Honglak Lee

Variational Boosting: Iteratively Refining Posterior Approximations
Andrew Miller, Nicholas J Foti, Ryan Adams

RobustFill: Neural Program Learning under Noisy I/O
Jacob Devlin, Jonathan Uesato, Surya Bhupatiraju, Rishabh Singh, Abdel-rahman Mohamed, Pushmeet Kohli

A Unified Maximum Likelihood Approach for Estimating Symmetric Properties of Discrete Distributions
Jayadev Acharya, Hirakendu Das, Alon Orlitsky, Ananda Suresh

Axiomatic Attribution for Deep Networks
Ankur Taly, Qiqi Yan,,Mukund Sundararajan

Differentiable Programs with Neural Libraries
Alex L Gaunt, Marc Brockschmidt, Nate Kushman, Daniel Tarlow

Latent LSTM Allocation: Joint Clustering and Non-Linear Dynamic Modeling of Sequence Data
Manzil Zaheer, Amr Ahmed, Alex Smola

Device Placement Optimization with Reinforcement Learning
Azalia Mirhoseini, Hieu Pham, Quoc Le, Benoit Steiner, Mohammad Norouzi, Rasmus Larsen, Yuefeng Zhou, Naveen Kumar, Samy Bengio, Jeff Dean

Canopy — Fast Sampling with Cover Trees
Manzil Zaheer, Satwik Kottur, Amr Ahmed, Jose Moura, Alex Smola

Zero-Shot Task Generalization with Multi-Task Deep Reinforcement Learning
Junhyuk Oh, Satinder Singh, Honglak Lee, Pushmeet Kohli

Probabilistic Submodular Maximization in Sub-Linear Time
Serban Stan, Morteza Zadimoghaddam, Andreas Krause, Amin Karbasi

Deep Value Networks Learn to Evaluate and Iteratively Refine Structured Outputs
Michael Gygli, Mohammad Norouzi, Anelia Angelova

Stochastic Generative Hashing
Bo Dai, Ruiqi Guo, Sanjiv Kumar, Niao He, Le Song

Accelerating Eulerian Fluid Simulation With Convolutional Networks
Jonathan Tompson, Kristofer D Schlachter, Pablo Sprechmann, Ken Perlin

Large-Scale Evolution of Image Classifiers
Esteban Real, Sherry Moore, Andrew Selle, Saurabh Saxena, Yutaka Leon Suematsu, Jie Tan, Quoc Le, Alexey Kurakin

Neural Message Passing for Quantum Chemistry
Justin Gilmer, Samuel Schoenholz, Patrick Riley, Oriol Vinyals, George Dahl

Neural Optimizer Search with Reinforcement Learning
Irwan BelloBarret Zoph, Vijay Vasudevan, Quoc Le

Implicit Generative Models
Organizers include: Ian Goodfellow

Learning to Generate Natural Language
Accepted Papers include:
Generating High-Quality and Informative Conversation Responses with Sequence-to-Sequence Models
Louis Shao, Stephan Gouws, Denny Britz, Anna Goldie, Brian Strope, Ray Kurzweil

Lifelong Learning: A Reinforcement Learning Approach
Accepted Papers include:
Bridging the Gap Between Value and Policy Based Reinforcement Learning
Ofir Nachum, Mohammad Norouzi, Kelvin Xu, Dale Schuurmans

Principled Approaches to Deep Learning
Organizers include: Robert Gens
Program Committee includes: Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Workshop on Human Interpretability in Machine Learning (WHI)
Organizers include: Been Kim

ICML Workshop on TinyML: ML on a Test-time Budget for IoT, Mobiles, and Other Applications
Invited speakers include: Sujith Ravi

Deep Structured Prediction
Organizers include: Gal Chechik, Ofer Meshi
Program Committee includes: Vitaly Kuznetsov, Kevin Murphy
Invited Speakers include: Ryan Adams
Accepted Papers include:
Filtering Variational Objectives
Chris J Maddison, Dieterich Lawson, George Tucker, Mohammad Norouzi, Nicolas Heess, Arnaud Doucet, Andriy Mnih, Yee Whye Teh
REBAR: Low-variance, unbiased gradient estimates for discrete latent variable models
George Tucker, Andriy Mnih, Chris J Maddison, Dieterich Lawson, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Machine Learning in Speech and Language Processing
Organizers include: Tara Sainath
Invited speakers include: Ron Weiss

Picky Learners: Choosing Alternative Ways to Process Data
Invited speakers include: Tomer Koren
Organizers include: Corinna Cortes, Mehryar Mohri

Private and Secure Machine Learning
Keynote Speakers include: Ilya Mironov

Reproducibility in Machine Learning Research
Invited Speakers include: Hugo Larochelle, Francois Chollet
Organizers include: Samy Bengio

Time Series Workshop
Organizers include: Vitaly Kuznetsov

Interpretable Machine Learning
Presenters include: Been Kim

Google at ACL 2017

This week, Vancouver, Canada hosts the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2017), the premier conference in the field of natural language understanding, covering a broad spectrum of diverse research areas that are concerned with computational approaches to natural language.

As a leader in natural language processing & understanding and a Platinum sponsor of ACL 2017, Google will be on hand to showcase research interests that include syntax, semantics, discourse, conversation, multilingual modeling, sentiment analysis, question answering, summarization, and generally building better systems using labeled and unlabeled data, state-of-the-art modeling and learning from indirect supervision.

If you’re attending ACL 2017, we hope that you’ll stop by the Google booth to check out some demos, meet our researchers and discuss projects and opportunities at Google that go into solving interesting problems for billions of people. Learn more about the Google research being presented at ACL 2017 below (Googlers highlighted in blue).

Organizing Committee
Area Chairs include: Sujith Ravi (Machine Learning), Thang Luong (Machine Translation)
Publication Chairs include: Margaret Mitchell (Advisory)

Accepted Papers
A Polynomial-Time Dynamic Programming Algorithm for Phrase-Based Decoding with a Fixed Distortion Limit
Yin-Wen Chang, Michael Collins
(Oral Session)

Cross-Sentence N-ary Relation Extraction with Graph LSTMs
Nanyun Peng, Hoifung Poon, Chris Quirk, Kristina Toutanova, Wen-Tau Yih
(Oral Session)

Neural Symbolic Machines: Learning Semantic Parsers on Freebase with Weak Supervision
Chen Liang, Jonathan Berant, Quoc Le, Kenneth D. Forbus, Ni Lao

Coarse-to-Fine Question Answering for Long Documents
Eunsol Choi, Daniel Hewlett, Jakob Uszkoreit, Illia Polosukhin, Alexandre Lacoste, Jonathan Berant

Automatic Compositor Attribution in the First Folio of Shakespeare
Maria Ryskina, Hannah Alpert-Abrams, Dan Garrette, Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick

A Nested Attention Neural Hybrid Model for Grammatical Error Correction
Jianshu Ji, Qinlong Wang, Kristina Toutanova, Yongen Gong, Steven Truong, Jianfeng Gao

Get To The Point: Summarization with Pointer-Generator Networks
Abigail See, Peter J. Liu, Christopher D. Manning

Identifying 1950s American Jazz Composers: Fine-Grained IsA Extraction via Modifier Composition
Ellie Pavlick*, Marius Pasca

Learning to Skim Text
Adams Wei Yu, Hongrae Lee, Quoc Le

2017 ACL Student Research Workshop
Program Committee includes: Emily Pitler, Brian Roark, Richard Sproat

WiNLP: Women and Underrepresented Minorities in Natural Language Processing
Organizers include: Margaret Mitchell
Gold Sponsor

BUCC: 10th Workshop on Building and Using Comparable Corpora
Scientific Committee includes: Richard Sproat

CLPsych: Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology – From Linguistic Signal to Clinical
Program Committee includes: Brian Roark, Richard Sproat

Repl4NLP: 2nd Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP
Program Committee includes: Ankur Parikh, John Platt

RoboNLP: Language Grounding for Robotics
Program Committee includes: Ankur Parikh, Tom Kwiatkowski

CoNLL 2017 Shared Task: Multilingual Parsing from Raw Text to Universal Dependencies
Management Group includes: Slav Petrov

CoNLL-SIGMORPHON-2017 Shared Task: Universal Morphological Reinflection
Organizing Committee includes: Manaal Faruqui
Invited Speaker: Chris Dyer

SemEval: 11th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation
Organizers include: Daniel Cer

ALW1: 1st Workshop on Abusive Language Online
Panelists include: Margaret Mitchell

EventStory: Events and Stories in the News
Program Committee includes: Silvia Pareti

NMT: 1st Workshop on Neural Machine Translation
Organizing Committee includes: Thang Luong
Program Committee includes: Hieu Pham, Taro Watanabe
Invited Speaker: Quoc Le

Natural Language Processing for Precision Medicine
Hoifung Poon, Chris Quirk, Kristina Toutanova, Wen-tau Yih

Deep Learning for Dialogue Systems
Yun-Nung Chen, Asli Celikyilmaz, Dilek Hakkani-Tur

* Contributed during an internship at Google.

Google at CVPR 2017

From July 21-26, Honolulu, Hawaii hosts the 2017 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2017), the premier annual computer vision event comprising the main conference and several co-located workshops and tutorials. As a leader in computer vision research and a Platinum Sponsor, Google will have a strong presence at CVPR 2017 — over 250 Googlers will be in attendance to present papers and invited talks at the conference, and to organize and participate in multiple workshops.

If you are attending CVPR this year, please stop by our booth and chat with our researchers who are actively pursuing the next generation of intelligent systems that utilize the latest machine learning techniques applied to various areas of machine perception. Our researchers will also be available to talk about and demo several recent efforts, including the technology behind Headset Removal for Virtual and Mixed Reality, Image Compression with Neural Networks, Jump, TensorFlow Object Detection API and much more.

You can learn more about our research being presented at CVPR 2017 in the list below (Googlers highlighted in blue).

Organizing Committee
Corporate Relations Chair - Mei Han
Area Chairs include - Alexander Toshev, Ce Liu, Vittorio Ferrari, David Lowe

Training object class detectors with click supervision
Dim Papadopoulos, Jasper Uijlings, Frank Keller, Vittorio Ferrari

Unsupervised Pixel-Level Domain Adaptation With Generative Adversarial Networks
Konstantinos Bousmalis, Nathan Silberman, David Dohan, Dumitru Erhan, Dilip Krishnan

BranchOut: Regularization for Online Ensemble Tracking With Convolutional Neural Networks Bohyung Han, Jack Sim, Hartwig Adam

Enhancing Video Summarization via Vision-Language Embedding
Bryan A. Plummer, Matthew Brown, Svetlana Lazebnik

Learning by Association — A Versatile Semi-Supervised Training Method for Neural Networks Philip Haeusser, Alexander Mordvintsev, Daniel Cremers

Context-Aware Captions From Context-Agnostic Supervision
Ramakrishna Vedantam, Samy Bengio, Kevin Murphy, Devi Parikh, Gal Chechik

Spatially Adaptive Computation Time for Residual Networks
Michael Figurnov, Maxwell D. Collins, Yukun Zhu, Li Zhang, Jonathan HuangDmitry Vetrov, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Xception: Deep Learning With Depthwise Separable Convolutions
François Chollet

Deep Metric Learning via Facility Location
Hyun Oh Song, Stefanie Jegelka, Vivek Rathod, Kevin Murphy

Speed/Accuracy Trade-Offs for Modern Convolutional Object Detectors
Jonathan Huang, Vivek Rathod, Chen Sun, Menglong Zhu, Anoop Korattikara, Alireza Fathi, Ian Fischer, Zbigniew Wojna, Yang Song, Sergio Guadarrama, Kevin Murphy

Synthesizing Normalized Faces From Facial Identity Features
Forrester Cole, David Belanger, Dilip Krishnan, Aaron Sarna, Inbar Mosseri, William T. Freeman

Towards Accurate Multi-Person Pose Estimation in the Wild
George Papandreou, Tyler Zhu, Nori Kanazawa, Alexander Toshev, Jonathan Tompson, Chris Bregler, Kevin Murphy

GuessWhat?! Visual Object Discovery Through Multi-Modal Dialogue
Harm de Vries, Florian Strub, Sarath Chandar, Olivier Pietquin, Hugo Larochelle, Aaron Courville

Learning discriminative and transformation covariant local feature detectors
Xu Zhang, Felix X. Yu, Svebor Karaman, Shih-Fu Chang

Full Resolution Image Compression With Recurrent Neural Networks
George Toderici, Damien Vincent, Nick Johnston, Sung Jin Hwang, David Minnen, Joel Shor, Michele Covell

Learning From Noisy Large-Scale Datasets With Minimal Supervision
Andreas Veit, Neil Alldrin, Gal Chechik, Ivan Krasin, Abhinav Gupta, Serge Belongie

Unsupervised Learning of Depth and Ego-Motion From Video
Tinghui Zhou, Matthew Brown, Noah Snavely, David G. Lowe

Cognitive Mapping and Planning for Visual Navigation
Saurabh Gupta, James Davidson, Sergey Levine, Rahul Sukthankar, Jitendra Malik

Fast Fourier Color Constancy
Jonathan T. Barron, Yun-Ta Tsai

On the Effectiveness of Visible Watermarks
Tali Dekel, Michael Rubinstein, Ce Liu, William T. Freeman

YouTube-BoundingBoxes: A Large High-Precision Human-Annotated Data Set for Object Detection in Video
Esteban Real, Jonathon Shlens, Stefano Mazzocchi, Xin Pan, Vincent Vanhoucke

Deep Learning for Robotic Vision
Organizers include: Anelia Angelova, Kevin Murphy
Program Committee includes: George Papandreou, Nathan Silberman, Pierre Sermanet

The Fourth Workshop on Fine-Grained Visual Categorization
Organizers include: Yang Song
Advisory Panel includes: Hartwig Adam
Program Committee includes: Anelia Angelova, Yuning Chai, Nathan Frey, Jonathan Krause, Catherine Wah, Weijun Wang

Language and Vision Workshop
Organizers include: R. Sukthankar

The First Workshop on Negative Results in Computer Vision
Organizers include: R. Sukthankar, W. Freeman, J. Malik

Visual Understanding by Learning from Web Data
General Chairs include: Jesse Berent, Abhinav Gupta, Rahul Sukthankar
Program Chairs include: Wei Li

YouTube-8M Large-Scale Video Understanding Challenge
General Chairs: Paul Natsev, Rahul Sukthankar
Program Chairs: Joonseok Lee, George Toderici
Challenge Organizers: Sami Abu-El-Haija, Anja Hauth, Nisarg Kothari, Hanhan Li, Sobhan Naderi Parizi, Balakrishnan Varadarajan, Sudheendra Vijayanarasimhan, Jian Wang

The Google Brain Residency Program — One Year Later

“Coming from a background in statistics, physics, and chemistry, the Google Brain Residency was my first exposure to both deep learning and serious programming. I enjoyed the autonomy that I was given to research diverse topics of my choosing: deep learning for computer vision and language, reinforcement learning, and theory. I originally intended to pursue a statistics PhD but my experience here spurred me to enroll in the Stanford CS program starting this fall!”
- Melody Guan, 2016 Google Brain Residency Alumna

This month marks the end of an incredibly successful year for our first class of the Google Brain Residency Program. This one-year program was created as an opportunity for individuals from diverse educational backgrounds and experiences to dive into research in machine learning and deep learning. Over the past year, the Residents familiarized themselves with the literature, designed and implemented experiments at Google scale, and engaged in cutting edge research in a wide variety of subjects ranging from theory to robotics to music generation.

To date, the inaugural class of Residents have published over 30 papers at leading machine learning publication venues such as ICLR (15), ICML (11), CVPR (3), EMNLP (2), RSS, GECCO, ISMIR, ISMB and Cosyne. An additional 18 papers are currently under review at NIPS, ICCV, BMVC and Nature Methods. Two of the above papers were published in Distill, exploring how deconvolution causes checkerboard artifacts and presenting ways of visualizing a generative model of handwriting.
A Distill article by residents interactively explores how a neural network generates handwriting.
A system that explores how robots can learn to imitate human motion from observation. For more details, see “Time-Contrastive Networks: Self-Supervised Learning from Multi-View Observation” (Co-authored by Resident Corey Lynch, along with P. Sermanet, , J. Hsu, S. Levine, accepted to CVPR Workshop 2017)
A model that uses reinforcement learning to train distributed deep learning networks at large scale by optimizing computations to hardware devices assignment. For more details, see “Device Placement Optimization with Reinforcement Learning” (Co-authored by Residents Azalia Mirhoseini and Hieu Pham, along with Q. Le, B. Steiner, R. Larsen, Y. Zhou, N. Kumar, M. Norouzi, S. Bengio, J. Dean, submitted to ICML 2017).
An approach to automate the process of discovering optimization methods, with a focus on deep learning architectures. Final version of the paper “Neural Optimizer Search with Reinforcement Learning” (Co-authored by Residents Irwan Bello and Barret Zoph, along with V. Vasudevan, Q. Le, submitted to ICML 2017) coming soon.
Residents have also made significant contributions to the open source community with general-purpose sequence-to-sequence models (used for example in translation), music synthesis, mimicking human sketching, subsampling a sequence for model training, an efficient “attention” mechanism for models, and time series analysis (particularly for neuroscience).

The end of the program year marks our Residents embarking on the next stages in their careers. Many are continuing their research careers on the Google Brain team as full time employees. Others have chosen to enter top machine learning Ph.D. programs at schools such as Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Cornell University, Oxford University and NYU, University of Toronto and CMU. We could not be more proud to see where their hard work and experiences will take them next!

As we “graduate” our first class, this week we welcome our next class of 35 incredibly talented Residents who have joined us from a wide range of experience and education backgrounds. We can’t wait to see how they will build on the successes of our first class and continue to push the team in new and exciting directions. We look forward to another exciting year of research and innovation ahead of us!

Applications to the 2018 Residency program will open in September 2017. To learn more about the program, visit g.co/brainresidency.

Coarse Discourse: A Dataset for Understanding Online Discussions

Every day, participants of online communities form and share their opinions, experiences, advice and social support, most of which is expressed freely and without much constraint. These online discussions are often a key resource of information for many important topics, such as parenting, fitness, travel and more. However, these discussions also are intermixed with a clutter of disagreements, humor, flame wars and trolling, requiring readers to filter the content before getting the information they are looking for. And while the field of Information Retrieval actively explores ways to allow users to more efficiently find, navigate and consume this content, there is a lack of shared datasets on forum discussions to aid in understanding these discussions a bit better.

To aid researchers in this space, we are releasing the Coarse Discourse dataset, the largest dataset of annotated online discussions to date. The Coarse Discourse contains over half a million human annotations of publicly available online discussions on a random sample of over 9,000 threads from 130 communities from reddit.com.

To create this dataset, we developed the Coarse Discourse taxonomy of forum comments by going through a small set of forum threads, reading every comment, and deciding what role the comments played in the discussion. We then repeated and revised this exercise with crowdsourced human editors to validate the reproducibility of the taxonomy's discourse types, which include: announcement, question, answer, agreement, disagreement, appreciation, negative reaction, elaboration, and humor. From this data, over 100,000 comments were independently annotated by the crowdsourced editors for discourse type and relation. Along with the raw annotations from crowdsourced editors, we also provide the Coarse Discourse annotation task guidelines used by the editors to help with collecting data for other forums and refining the task further.
An example thread annotated with discourse types and relations. Early findings suggest that question answering is a prominent use case in most communities, while some communities are more converationally focused, with back-and-forth interactions.
For machine learning and natural language processing researchers trying to characterize the nature of online discussions, we hope that this dataset is a useful resource. Visit our GitHub repository to download the data. For more details, check out our ICWSM paper, “Characterizing Online Discussion Using Coarse Discourse Sequences.”

This work was done by Amy Zhang during her internship at Google. We would also like to thank Bryan Culbertson, Olivia Rhinehart, Eric Altendorf, David Huynh, Nancy Chang, Chris Welty and our crowdsourced editors.

Research at Google and ICLR 2017

This week, Toulon, France hosts the 5th International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR 2017), a conference focused on how one can learn meaningful and useful representations of data for Machine Learning. ICLR includes conference and workshop tracks, with invited talks along with oral and poster presentations of some of the latest research on deep learning, metric learning, kernel learning, compositional models, non-linear structured prediction, and issues regarding non-convex optimization.

At the forefront of innovation in cutting-edge technology in Neural Networks and Deep Learning, Google focuses on both theory and application, developing learning approaches to understand and generalize. As Platinum Sponsor of ICLR 2017, Google will have a strong presence with over 50 researchers attending (many from the Google Brain team and Google Research Europe), contributing to and learning from the broader academic research community by presenting papers and posters, in addition to participating on organizing committees and in workshops.

If you are attending ICLR 2017, we hope you'll stop by our booth and chat with our researchers about the projects and opportunities at Google that go into solving interesting problems for billions of people. You can also learn more about our research being presented at ICLR 2017 in the list below (Googlers highlighted in blue).

Area Chairs include:
George Dahl, Slav Petrov, Vikas Sindhwani

Program Chairs include:
Hugo Larochelle, Tara Sainath

Contributed Talks
Understanding Deep Learning Requires Rethinking Generalization (Best Paper Award)
Chiyuan Zhang*, Samy Bengio, Moritz Hardt, Benjamin Recht*, Oriol Vinyals

Semi-Supervised Knowledge Transfer for Deep Learning from Private Training Data (Best Paper Award)
Nicolas Papernot*, Martín Abadi, Úlfar Erlingsson, Ian Goodfellow, Kunal

Q-Prop: Sample-Efficient Policy Gradient with An Off-Policy Critic
Shixiang (Shane) Gu*, Timothy Lillicrap, Zoubin Ghahramani, Richard E.
Turner, Sergey Levine

Neural Architecture Search with Reinforcement Learning
Barret Zoph, Quoc Le

Adversarial Machine Learning at Scale
Alexey Kurakin, Ian J. Goodfellow, Samy Bengio

Capacity and Trainability in Recurrent Neural Networks
Jasmine Collins, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein, David Sussillo

Improving Policy Gradient by Exploring Under-Appreciated Rewards
Ofir Nachum, Mohammad Norouzi, Dale Schuurmans

Outrageously Large Neural Networks: The Sparsely-Gated Mixture-of-Experts Layer
Noam Shazeer, Azalia Mirhoseini, Krzysztof Maziarz, Andy Davis, Quoc LeGeoffrey Hinton, Jeff Dean

Unrolled Generative Adversarial Networks
Luke Metz, Ben Poole*, David Pfau, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Categorical Reparameterization with Gumbel-Softmax
Eric Jang, Shixiang (Shane) Gu*, Ben Poole*

Decomposing Motion and Content for Natural Video Sequence Prediction
Ruben Villegas, Jimei Yang, Seunghoon Hong, Xunyu Lin, Honglak Lee

Density Estimation Using Real NVP
Laurent Dinh*, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein, Samy Bengio

Latent Sequence Decompositions
William Chan*, Yu Zhang*, Quoc Le, Navdeep Jaitly*

Learning a Natural Language Interface with Neural Programmer
Arvind Neelakantan*, Quoc V. Le, Martín Abadi, Andrew McCallum*, Dario

Deep Information Propagation
Samuel Schoenholz, Justin Gilmer, Surya Ganguli, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Identity Matters in Deep Learning
Moritz Hardt, Tengyu Ma

A Learned Representation For Artistic Style
Vincent Dumoulin*, Jonathon Shlens, Manjunath Kudlur

Adversarial Training Methods for Semi-Supervised Text Classification
Takeru Miyato, Andrew M. Dai, Ian Goodfellow

David Ha, Andrew Dai, Quoc V. Le

Learning to Remember Rare Events
Lukasz Kaiser, Ofir Nachum, Aurko Roy*, Samy Bengio

Workshop Track Abstracts
Particle Value Functions
Chris J. Maddison, Dieterich Lawson, George Tucker, Nicolas Heess, Arnaud Doucet, Andriy Mnih, Yee Whye Teh

Neural Combinatorial Optimization with Reinforcement Learning
Irwan Bello, Hieu Pham, Quoc V. Le, Mohammad Norouzi, Samy Bengio

Short and Deep: Sketching and Neural Networks
Amit Daniely, Nevena Lazic, Yoram Singer, Kunal Talwar

Explaining the Learning Dynamics of Direct Feedback Alignment
Justin Gilmer, Colin Raffel, Samuel S. Schoenholz, Maithra Raghu, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Training a Subsampling Mechanism in Expectation
Colin Raffel, Dieterich Lawson

Tuning Recurrent Neural Networks with Reinforcement Learning
Natasha Jaques*, Shixiang (Shane) Gu*, Richard E. Turner, Douglas Eck

REBAR: Low-Variance, Unbiased Gradient Estimates for Discrete Latent Variable Models
George Tucker, Andriy Mnih, Chris J. Maddison, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Adversarial Examples in the Physical World
Alexey Kurakin, Ian Goodfellow, Samy Bengio

Regularizing Neural Networks by Penalizing Confident Output Distributions
Gabriel Pereyra, George Tucker, Jan Chorowski, Lukasz Kaiser, Geoffrey Hinton

Unsupervised Perceptual Rewards for Imitation Learning
Pierre Sermanet, Kelvin Xu, Sergey Levine

Changing Model Behavior at Test-time Using Reinforcement Learning
Augustus Odena, Dieterich Lawson, Christopher Olah

* Work performed while at Google
† Work performed while at OpenAI

Keeping fake listings off Google Maps

(Crossposted on the Google Security blog)

Google My Business enables millions of business owners to create listings and share information about their business on Google Maps and Search, making sure everything is up-to-date and accurate for their customers. Unfortunately, some actors attempt to abuse this service to register fake listings in order to defraud legitimate business owners, or to charge exorbitant service fees for services.

Over a year ago, we teamed up with the University of California, San Diego to research the actors behind fake listings, in order to improve our products and keep our users safe. The full report, “Pinning Down Abuse on Google Maps”, will be presented tomorrow at the 2017 International World Wide Web Conference.

Our study shows that fewer than 0.5% of local searches lead to fake listings. We’ve also improved how we verify new businesses, which has reduced the number of fake listings by 70% from its all-time peak back in June 2015.

What is a fake listing?
For over a year, we tracked the bad actors behind fake listings. Unlike email-based scams selling knock-off products online, local listing scams require physical proximity to potential victims. This fundamentally changes both the scale and types of abuse possible.

Bad actors posing as locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, and other contractors were the most common source of abuse—roughly 2 out of 5 fake listings. The actors operating these fake listings would cycle through non-existent postal addresses and disposable VoIP phone numbers even as their listings were discovered and disabled. The purported addresses for these businesses were irrelevant as the contractors would travel directly to potential victims.

Another 1 in 10 fake listings belonged to real businesses that bad actors had improperly claimed ownership over, such as hotels and restaurants. While making a reservation or ordering a meal was indistinguishable from the real thing, behind the scenes, the bad actors would deceive the actual business into paying referral fees for organic interest.

How does Google My Business verify information?
Google My Business currently verifies the information provided by business owners before making it available to users. For freshly created listings, we physically mail a postcard to the new listings’ address to ensure the location really exists. For businesses changing owners, we make an automated call to the listing’s phone number to verify the change.
Unfortunately, our research showed that these processes can be abused to get fake listings on Google Maps. Fake contractors would request hundreds of postcard verifications to non-existent suites at a single address, such as 123 Main St #456 and 123 Main St #789, or to stores that provided PO boxes. Alternatively, a phishing attack could maliciously repurpose freshly verified business listings by tricking the legitimate owner into sharing verification information sent either by phone or postcard.

Keeping deceptive businesses out — by the numbers
Leveraging our study’s findings, we’ve made significant changes to how we verify addresses and are even piloting an advanced verification process for locksmiths and plumbers. Improvements we’ve made include prohibiting bulk registrations at most addresses, preventing businesses from relocating impossibly far from their original address without additional verification, and detecting and ignoring intentionally mangled text in address fields designed to confuse our algorithms. We have also adapted our anti-spam machine learning systems to detect data discrepancies common to fake or deceptive listings.

Combined, here’s how these defenses stack up:

  • We detect and disable 85% of fake listings before they even appear on Google Maps.
  • We’ve reduced the number of abusive listings by 70% from its peak back in June 2015.
  • We’ve also reduced the number of impressions to abusive listings by 70%.

As we’ve shown, verifying local information comes with a number of unique anti-abuse challenges. While fake listings may slip through our defenses from time to time, we are constantly improving our systems to better serve both users and business owners.

And the award goes to…

Today, Google's Andrei Broder, Ravi Kumar, Prabhakar Raghavan, Sridhar Rajagopalan, and Andrew Tomkins, along with their coauthors, Farzin Maghoul, Raymie Stata, and Janet Wiener, have received the prestigious 2017 Seoul Test of Time Award for their classic paper “Graph Structure in the Web”. This award is given to the authors of a previous World Wide Web conference paper that has demonstrated significant scientific, technical, or social impact over the years. The first award, introduced in 2015, was given to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Originally presented in 2000 at the 9th WWW conference in Amsterdam, “Graph Structure in the Web” represents the seminal study of the structure of the World Wide Web. At the time of publication, it received the Best Paper Award from the WWW conference, and in the following 17 years proved to be highly influential, accumulating over 3,500 citations.

The paper made two major contributions to the study of the structure of the Internet. First, it reported the results of a very large scale experiment to confirm that the indegree of Web nodes is distributed according to a power law. To wit, the probability that a node of the Web graph has i incoming links is roughly proportional to 1/i2.1. Second, in contrast to previous research that assumed the Web to be almost fully connected, “Graph Structure in the Web” described a much more elaborate structure of the Web, which since then has been depicted with the iconic “bowtie” shape:
Original “bowtie” schematic from “Graph Structure in the Web”
The authors presented a refined model of the Web graph, and described several characteristic classes of Web pages:
  • the strongly connected core component, where each page is reachable from any other page,
  • the so-called IN and OUT clusters, which only have unidirectional paths to or from the core,
  • tendrils dangling from the two clusters, and tubes connecting the clusters while bypassing the core, and finally
  • disconnected components, which are isolated from the rest of the graph.
Whereas the core component is fully connected and each node can be reached from any other node, Broder et al. discovered that as a whole the Web is much more loosely connected than previously believed, while the probability that any two given pages can be reached from one another is just under 1/4.
Ravi Kumar, presenting the original paper in Amsterdam at WWW 2000
Curiously, the original study was done back in 1999 on two Altavista crawls having 200 million pages and 1.5 billion links. Today, Google indexes over 100 billion links merely within apps, and overall processes over 130 trillion web addresses in its web crawls.

Over the years, the power law was found to be characteristic of many other Web-related phenomena, including the structure of social networks and the distribution of search query frequencies. The description of the macroscopic structure of the Web graph proposed by Broder et al. provided a solid mathematical foundation for numerous subsequent studies on crawling and searching the Web, which profoundly influenced the architecture of modern search engines.

Hearty congratulations to all the authors on the well-deserved award!