EECS Department Colloquium Series

Deep Learning: Progress in Theory and Attention Mechanisms Yoshua Bengio video

Yoshua Bengio

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Yoshua Bengio
Professor of Computer Science and Operations Research
University of Montreal

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Although neural networks have long been considered lacking in theory and much remains to be done, theoretical evidence is mounting and will be discussed, to support distributed representations, depth of representation, the non-convexity of the training objective, and the probabilistic interpretation of learning algorithms (especially of the auto-encoder type, which were lacking one). Beyond theory, this talk will report about an exciting new development in deep learning research regarding the role of attention. Could some form of attention mechanism be useful in machine learning systems? We introduced a few months ago an attention mechanism in recurrent neural networks for neural machine translation in order to cope with the difficulty of handling long sequences of words in encoder-decoder neural machine translation architectures. Attention allows the network a kind of bypass to just the pieces of evidence that it needs to focus on in order to compute its next state or output. With early successes of this attention mechanism for machine translation, we decided to try the same idea (and almost the same code) on speech recognition, and later on caption generation, with surprising and quick success. In the long term, we conjecture that such mechanisms, applied to a very large set of memorized elements (and not just the words or the pixels in the current input), could be a key for bypassing the difficulty of learning very long term dependencies.

Yoshua Bengio received a PhD in Computer Science from McGill University, Canada in 1991. After two post-doctoral years, one at M.I.T. with Michael Jordan and one at AT&T Bell Laboratories with Yann LeCun and Vladimir Vapnik, he became professor at the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at Université de Montréal. He is the author of two books and more than 200 publications, the most cited being in the areas of deep learning, recurrent neural networks, probabilistic learning algorithms, natural language processing and manifold learning.

He is among the most cited Canadian computer scientists and is or has been associate editor of the top journals in machine learning and neural networks. Since '2000 he holds a Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, since '2006 an NSERC Industrial Chair, since '2005 his is a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and since 2014 he co-directs its program focused on deep learning. He is on the board of the NIPS foundation and has been program chair and general chair for NIPS. He has co-organized the Learning Workshop for 14 years and co-created the new International Conference on Learning Representations.

His current interests are centered around a quest for AI through machine learning, and include fundamental questions on deep learning and representation learning, the geometry of generalization in high-dimensional spaces, manifold learning, biologically inspired learning algorithms, and challenging applications of statistical machine learning.

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