Entries by NEC Labs America

Unearthing Nature’s Orchestra – How Fiber Optic Cables Can Hear Cicada Secrets

Our Sarper Ozharar, Yue Tian and Yangmin Ding and Jessica L. Ware from the American Museum of Natural History have discovered that fiber optic cables equipped with distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) can pick up the sounds of Brood X cicadas. DAS technology, typically used to monitor seismic activity, can detect the vibrations caused by the loud sounds of cicadas, which live underground for years until they come up to mate.

NEC Labs America Team Heading to NeurIPS23 in New Orleans

NEC Labs America is proud to be a Silver Sponsor for NeurIPS 2023 in New Orleans from December 10-16. Visit our booth to meet our team and learn about our intern opportunities in machine learning, data science, media analytics and integrated systems. Also, our Vijay Kumar.B.G, Samuel Schulter & Manmohan Chandraker, along with Zaid Khan, Northeastern University and Yun Fu, UC San Diego will present a paper, Exploring Question Decomposition for Zero-Shot VQA,

Deep Learning-Based Real-Time Quality Control of Standard Video Compression for Live Streaming

Ensuring high-quality video content for wireless users has become increasingly vital. Nevertheless, maintaining a consistent level of video quality faces challenges due to the fluctuating encoded bitrate, primarily caused by dynamic video content, especially in live streaming scenarios. Video compression is typically employed to eliminate unnecessary redundancies within and between video frames, thereby reducing the required bandwidth for video transmission. The encoded bitrate and the quality of the compressed video depend on encoder parameters, specifically, the quantization parameter (QP). Poor choices of encoder parameters can result in reduced bandwidth efficiency and high likelihood of non-conformance. Non-conformance refers to the violation of the peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR) constraint for an encoded video segment. To address these issues, a real-time deep learning-based H.264 controller is proposed. This controller dynamically estimates the optimal encoder parameters based on the content of a video chunk with minimal delay. The objective is to maintain video quality in terms of PSNR above a specified threshold while minimizing the average bitrate of the compressed video. Experimental results, conducted on both QCIF dataset and a diverse range of random videos from public datasets, validate the effectiveness of this approach. Notably, it achieves improvements of up to 2.5 times in average bandwidth usage compared to the state-of-the-art adaptive bitrate video streaming, with a negligible non-conformance probability below 10?2.

Calibrate Graph Neural Networks under Out-of-Distribution Nodes via Deep Q-learning

Graph neural networks (GNNs) have achieved great success in dealing with graph-structured data that are prevalent in the real world. The core of graph neural networks is the message passing mechanism that aims to generate the embeddings of nodes by aggregating the neighboring node information. However, recent work suggests that GNNs also suffer the trustworthiness issues. Our empirical study shows that the calibration error of the in-distribution (ID) nodes would be exacerbated if a graph is mixed with out-of-distribution (OOD) nodes, and we assume that the noisy information from OOD nodes is the root for the worsened calibration error. Both previous study and our empirical study suggest that adjusting the weights of edges could be a promising way to reduce the adverse impact from the OOD nodes. However, how to precisely select the desired edges and modify the corresponding weights is not trivial, since the distribution of OOD nodes is unknown to us. To tackle this problem, we propose a Graph Edge Re-weighting via Deep Q-learning (GERDQ) framework to calibrate the graph neural networks. Our framework aims to explore the potential influence of the change of the edge weights on target ID nodes by sampling and traversing the edges in the graph, and we formulate this process as a Markov Decision Process (MDP). Many existing GNNs could be seamlessly incorporated into our framework. Experimental results show that when wrapped with our method, the existing GNN models can yield lower calibration error under OOD nodes as well as comparable accuracy compared to the original ones and other strong baselines. The source code is available at:https://github.com/DamoSWL/Calibration-GNN-OOD.

Adaptation Speed Analysis for Fairness-Aware Causal Models

For example, in machine translation tasks, to achieve bidirectional translation between two languages, the source corpus is often used as the target corpus, which involves the training of two models with opposite directions. The question of which one can adapt most quickly to a domain shift is of significant importance in many fields. Specifically, consider an original distribution p that changes due to an unknown intervention, resulting in a modified distribution p*. In aligning p with p*, several factors can affect the adaptation rate, including the causal dependencies between variables in p. In real-life scenarios, however, we have to consider the fairness of the training process, and it is particularly crucial to involve a sensitive variable (bias) present between a cause and an effect variable. To explore this scenario, we examine a simple structural causal model (SCM) with a cause-bias-effect structure, where variable A acts as a sensitive variable between cause (X) and effect (Y). The two models respectively exhibit consistent and contrary cause-effect directions in the cause-bias-effect SCM. After conducting unknown interventions on variables within the SCM, we can simulate some kinds of domain shifts for analysis. We then compare the adaptation speeds of two models across four shift scenarios. Additionally, we prove the connection between the adaptation speeds of the two models across all interventions.