【ICLR 2020】A Theory of Usable Information under Computational Constraints

written by Yilun Xu, Shengjia Zhao, Jiaming Song, Russell Stewart, Stefano Ermon

We propose a new framework for reasoning about information in complex systems. Our foundation is based on a variational extension of Shannon’s information theory that takes into account the modeling power and computational constraints of the observer. The resulting predictive V-information encompasses mutual information and other notions of informativeness such as the coefficient of determination. Unlike Shannon’s mutual information and in violation of the data processing inequality, V-information can be created through computation. This is consistent with deep neural networks extracting hierarchies of progressively more informative features in representation learning. Additionally, we show that by incorporating computational constraints, V-information can be reliably estimated from data even in high dimensions with PAC-style guarantees. Empirically, we demonstrate predictive V-information is more effective than mutual information for structure learning and fair representation learning.

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More information

Arxiv Link: https://arxiv.org/abs/2002.10689
Openreview Link: https://openreview.net/forum?id=r1eBeyHFDH

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The International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence called representation learning, but generally referred to as deep learning. ICLR is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of deep learning used in the fields of artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, text understanding, gaming, and robotics.

ICLR is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICLR span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

Due to concerns about COVID-19, ICLR 2020 cancelled its physical conference at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and instead hosted a fully virtual conference from April 26th to May 1st, 2020.

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