Yanchi Liu NEC Labs America

Yanchi Liu


Data Science and System Security


Dynamic Causal Discovery in Imitation Learning

Imitation learning, which learns agent policy by mimicking expert demonstration, has shown promising results in many applications such as medical treatment regimes and self-driving vehicles. However, it remains a difficult task to interpret control policies learned by the agent. Difficulties mainly come from two aspects: 1) agents in imitation learning are usually implemented as deep neural networks, which are black-box models and lack interpretability; 2) the latent causal mechanism behind agents’ decisions may vary along the trajectory, rather than staying static throughout time steps. To increase transparency and offer better interpretability of the neural agent, we propose to expose its captured knowledge in the form of a directed acyclic causal graph, with nodes being action and state variables and edges denoting the causal relations behind predictions. Furthermore, we design this causal discovery process to be state-dependent, enabling it to model the dynamics in latent causal graphs. Concretely, we conduct causal discovery from the perspective of Granger causality and propose a self-explainable imitation learning framework, CAIL. The proposed framework is composed of three parts: a dynamic causal discovery module, a causality encoding module, and a prediction module, and is trained in an end-to-end manner. After the model is learned, we can obtain causal relations among states and action variables behind its decisions, exposing policies learned by it. Experimental results on both synthetic and real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed CAIL in learning the dynamic causal graphs for understanding the decision-making of imitation learning meanwhilemaintaining high prediction accuracy.

Open-Ended Commonsense Reasoning with Unrestricted Answer Scope

Open-ended Commonsense Reasoning is defined as solving a commonsense question without providing 1) a short list of answer candidates and 2) a pre-defined answer scope. Conventional ways of formulating the commonsense question into a question-answering form or utilizing external knowledge to learn retrieval-based methods are less applicable in the open-ended setting due to an inherent challenge. Without pre-defining an answer scope or a few candidates, open-ended commonsense reasoning entails predicting answers by searching over an extremely large searching space. Moreover, most questions require implicit multi-hop reasoning, which presents even more challenges to our problem. In this work, we leverage pre-trained language models to iteratively retrieve reasoning paths on the external knowledge base, which does not require task-specific supervision. The reasoning paths can help to identify the most precise answer to the commonsense question. We conduct experiments on two commonsense benchmark datasets. Compared to other approaches, our proposed method achieves better performance both quantitatively and qualitatively.

GLAD: Content-Aware Dynamic Graphs for Log Anomaly Detection

Logs play a crucial role in system monitoring and debugging by recording valuable system information, including events and status. Although various methods have been proposed to detect anomalies in log sequences, they often overlook the significance of considering relationships among system components, such as services and users, which can be identified from log contents. Understanding these relationships is vital for identifying anomalies and their underlying causes. To address this issue, we introduce GLAD, a Graph-based Log Anomaly Detection framework designed to detect relational anomalies in system logs. GLAD incorporates log semantics, relationship patterns, and sequential patterns into a unified framework for anomaly detection. Specifically, GLAD first introduces a field extraction module that utilizes prompt-based few-shot learning to extract essential field information, such as services and users, from log contents. Then GLAD constructs dynamic log graphs for sliding windows by leveraging the log events and extracted fields. These graphs represent events and fields as nodes and their relationships as edges. Subsequently, we propose atemporal-attentive graph edge anomaly detection model for identifying anomalous relationships in the dynamic log graphs. This model employs a Graph Neural Network (GNN)-based encoder enhanced with transformers to capture structural, content, and temporal features. We evaluate our proposed method on three datasets, and the results demonstrate the effectiveness of GLAD in detecting anomalies indicated by varying relation patterns.

Skill Disentanglement for Imitation Learning from Suboptimal Demonstrations

Imitation learning has achieved great success in many sequential decision-making tasks, in which a neural agent is learned by imitating collected human demonstrations. However, existing algorithms typically require a large number of high-quality demonstrations that are difficult and expensive to collect. Usually, a trade-off between demonstration quality and quantity needs to be made. Targeting this problem, in this work we consider the imitation of sub-optimal demonstrations, with both a small clean demonstration set and a large noisy set. Some pioneering works have been proposed, but they suffer from many limitations, e.g., assuming a demonstration to be of the same optimality throughout time steps and failing to provide any interpretation w.r.t knowledge learned from the noisy set. Addressing these problems, we propose method by evaluating and imitating at the sub-demonstration level, encoding action primitives of varying quality into different skills. Concretely, SDIL consists of a high-level controller to discover skills and a skill-conditioned module to capture action-taking policies and is trained following a two-phase pipeline by first discovering skills with all demonstrations and then adapting the controller to only the clean set. A mutual-information-based regularization and a dynamic sub-demonstration optimality estimator are designed to promote disentanglement in the skill space. Extensive experiments are conducted over two gym environments and a real-world healthcare dataset to demonstrate the superiority of SDIL in learning from sub-optimal demonstrations and its improved interpretability by examining learned skills.

Incremental Causal Graph Learning for Online Root Cause Localization

The task of root cause analysis (RCA) is to identify the root causes of system faults/failures by analyzing system monitoring data. Efficient RCA can greatly accelerate system failure recovery and mitigate system damages or financial losses. However, previous research has mostly focused on developing offline RCA algorithms, which often require manually initiating the RCA process, a significant amount of time and data to train a robust model, and then being retrained from scratch for a new system fault.In this paper, we propose CORAL, a novel online RCA framework that can automatically trigger the RCA process and incrementally update the RCA model. CORAL consists of Trigger Point Detection, Incremental Disentangled Causal Graph Learning, and Network Propagation-based Root Cause Localization. The Trigger Point Detection component aims to detect system state transitions automatically and in near-real-time. To achieve this, we develop an online trigger point detection approach based on multivariate singular spectrum analysis and cumulative sum statistics. To efficiently update the RCA model, we propose an incremental disentangled causal graph learning approach to decouple the state-invariant and state-dependent information. After that, CORAL applies a random walk with restarts to the updated causal graph to accurately identify root causes. The online RCA process terminates when the causal graph and the generated root cause list converge. Extensive experiments on three real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed framework.

Personalized Federated Learning under Mixture Distributions

The recent trend towards Personalized Federated Learning (PFL) has garnered significant attention as it allows for the training of models that are tailored to each client while maintaining data privacy. However, current PFL techniques primarily focus on modeling the conditional distribution heterogeneity (i.e. concept shift), which can result in suboptimal performance when the distribution of input data across clients diverges (i.e. covariate shift). Additionally, these techniques often lack the ability to adapt to unseen data, further limiting their effectiveness in real-world scenarios. To address these limitations, we propose a novel approach, FedGMM, which utilizes Gaussian mixture models (GMM) to effectively fit the input data distributions across diverse clients. The model parameters are estimated by maximum likelihood estimation utilizing a federated Expectation-Maximization algorithm, which is solved in closed form and does not assume gradient similarity. Furthermore, FedGMM possesses an additional advantage of adapting to new clients with minimal overhead, and it also enables uncertainty quantification. Empirical evaluations on synthetic and benchmark datasets demonstrate the superior performance of our method in both PFL classification and novel sample detection.

Beyond One Model Fits All: A Survey of Domain Specialization for Large Language Models

Large language models (LLMs) have significantly advanced the field of natural language processing (NLP), providing a highly useful, task agnostic foundation for a wide range of applications. The great promise of LLMs as general task solvers motivated people to extend their functionality largely beyond just a “chatbot”, and use it as an assistant or even replacement for domain experts and tools in specific domains such as healthcare, finance, and education. However, directly applying LLMs to solve sophisticated problems in specific domains meets many hurdles, caused by the heterogeneity of domain data, the sophistication of domain knowledge, the uniqueness of domain objectives, and the diversity of the constraints (e.g., various social norms, cultural conformity, religious beliefs, and ethical standards in the domain applications). To fill such a gap, explosively increase research, and practices have been conducted in very recent years on the domain specialization of LLMs, which, however, calls for a comprehensive and systematic review to better summarizes and guide this promising domain. In this survey paper, first, we propose a systematic taxonomy that categorizes the LLM domain specialization techniques based on the accessibility to LLMs and summarizes the framework for all the subcategories as well as their relations and differences to each other. We also present a comprehensive taxonomy of critical application domains that can benefit from specialized LLMs, discussing their practical significance and open challenges. Furthermore, we offer insights into the current research status and future trends in this area.

Time Series Contrastive Learning with Information-Aware Augmentations

Various contrastive learning approaches have been proposed in recent years and have achieved significant empirical success. While effective and prevalent, contrastive learning has been less explored for time series data. A key component of contrastive learning is to select appropriate augmentations, imposing some priors to construct feasible positive samples, such that an encoder can be trained to learn robust and discriminative representations. Unlike image and language domains where “desired” augmented samples can be generated with the rule of thumb guided by prefabricated human priors, the ad-hoc manual selection of time series augmentations is hindered by their diverse and human-unrecognizable temporal structures. How to find the desired augmentations of time series data that are meaningful for given contrastive learning tasks and datasets remains an open question. In this work, we address the problem by encouraging both high fidelity and variety based on information theory. A theoretical analysis leads to the criteria for selecting feasible data augmentations. On top of that, we propose a new contrastive learning approach with information-aware augmentations, InfoTS, that adaptively selects optimal augmentations for time series representation learning. Experiments on various datasets show highly competitive performance with up to a 12.0% reduction in MSE on forecasting tasks and up to 3.7% relative improvement in accuracy on classification tasks over the leading baselines.

Multi-Faceted Knowledge-Driven Pre-training for Product Representation Learning

As a key component of e-commerce computing, product representation learning (PRL) provides benefits for a variety of applications, including product matching, search, and categorization. The existing PRL approaches have poor language understanding ability due to their inability to capture contextualized semantics. In addition, the learned representations by existing methods are not easily transferable to new products. Inspired by the recent advance of pre-trained language models (PLMs), we make the attempt to adapt PLMs for PRL to mitigate the above issues. In this article, we develop KINDLE, a Knowledge-drIven pre-trainiNg framework for proDuct representation LEarning, which can preserve the contextual semantics and multi-faceted product knowledge robustly and flexibly. Specifically, we first extend traditional one-stage pre-training to a two-stage pre-training framework and exploit a deliberate knowledge encoder to ensure a smooth knowledge fusion into PLM. In addition, we propose a multi-objective heterogeneous embedding method to represent thousands of knowledge elements. This helps KINDLE calibrate knowledge noise and sparsity automatically by replacing isolated classes as training targets in knowledge acquisition tasks. Furthermore, an input-aware gating network is proposed to select the most relevant knowledge for different downstream tasks. Finally, extensive experiments have demonstrated the advantages of KINDLE over the state-of-the-art baselines across three downstream tasks.

CAT: Beyond Efficient Transformer for Content-Aware Anomaly Detection in Event Sequences

It is critical and important to detect anomalies in event sequences, which becomes widely available in many application domains. Indeed, various efforts have been made to capture abnormal patterns from event sequences through sequential pattern analysis or event representation learning. However, existing approaches usually ignore the semantic information of event content. To this end, in this paper, we propose a self-attentive encoder-decoder transformer framework, Content-Aware Transformer CAT, for anomaly detection in event sequences. In CAT, the encoder learns preamble event sequence representations with content awareness, and the decoder embeds sequences under detection into a latent space, where anomalies are distinguishable. Specifically, the event content is first fed to a content-awareness layer, generating representations of each event. The encoder accepts preamble event representation sequence, generating feature maps. In the decoder, an additional token is added at the beginning of the sequence under detection, denoting the sequence status. A one-class objective together with sequence reconstruction loss is collectively applied to train our framework under the label efficiency scheme. Furthermore, CAT is optimized under a scalable and efficient setting. Finally, extensive experiments on three real-world datasets demonstrate the superiority of CAT.