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In this talk, I will go over what deep learning can and cannot do for you, both now and in the near future. I will also describe how different approaches will continue to be needed, and why their demand will likely grow despite the rise of deep learning. I will support my claims not only by looking at recent publications, but also by using practical examples drawn from my experience at companies at the forefront of machine learning applications, such as Quora.

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- 1. Staying Shallow & Lean in a Deep Learning World Xavier Amatriain (@xamat) 07/13/2016
- 2. Our Mission “To share and grow the world’s knowledge” • Millions of questions • Millions of answers • Millions of users • Thousands of topics • ...
- 3. Lots of high-quality textual information
- 4. Text + all those other things
- 5. Demand What we care about Quality Relevance
- 6. ML Applications ● Homepage feed ranking ● Email digest ● Answer quality & ranking ● Spam & harassment classification ● Topic/User recommendation ● Trending Topics ● Automated Topic Labelling ● Related & Duplicate Question ● User trustworthiness ● ... click upvote downvote expand share
- 7. Models ● Deep Neural Networks ● Logistic Regression ● Elastic Nets ● Gradient Boosted Decision Trees ● Random Forests ● LambdaMART ● Matrix Factorization ● LDA ● ... ●
- 8. Deep Learning Works
- 9. Image Recognition
- 10. Speech Recognition
- 11. Natural Language Processing
- 12. Game Playing
- 13. Recommender Systems
- 14. But...
- 15. Deep Learning is not Magic
- 16. Deep Learning is not always that “accurate”
- 17. … or that “deep”
- 18. Other ML Advances ● Factorization Machines ● Tensor Methods ● Non-parametric Bayesian models ● XGBoost ● Online Learning ● Reinforcement Learning ● Learning to rank ● ...
- 19. Other very successful approaches
- 20. Is it bad to obsess over Deep Learning?
- 21. Some examples
- 22. Football or Futbol?
- 23. A real-life example Label
- 24. A real-life example: improved solution Label Other feature extraction algorithms E n s e m b l e Accuracy ++
- 25. ● Goal: Supervised Classification ○ 40 features ○ 10k examples ● What did the ML Engineer choose? ○ Multi-layer ANN trained with Tensor Flow ● What was his proposed next step? ○ Try ConvNets ● Where is the problem? ○ Hours to train, already looking into distributing ○ There are much simpler approaches Another real example
- 26. Why DL is not the only/main solution
- 27. Occam’s Razor
- 28. ● Given two models that perform more or less equally, you should always prefer the less complex ● Deep Learning might not be preferred, even if it squeezes a +1% in accuracy Occam’s razor
- 29. Occam’s razor: reasons to prefer a simpler model
- 30. ● There are many others ○ System complexity ○ Maintenance ○ Explainability ○ …. Occam’s razor: reasons to prefer a simpler model
- 31. No Free Lunch
- 32. “ (...) any two optimization algorithms are equivalent when their performance is averaged across all possible problems". “if an algorithm performs well on a certain class of problems then it necessarily pays for that with degraded performance on the set of all remaining problems.” No Free Lunch Theorem
- 33. Feature Engineering
- 34. Need for feature engineering In many cases an understanding of the domain will lead to optimal results. Feature Engineering
- 35. Feature Engineering Example - Quora Answer Ranking What is a good Quora answer? • truthful • reusable • provides explanation • well formatted • ...
- 36. Feature Engineering Example - Quora Answer Ranking How are those dimensions translated into features? • Features that relate to the answer quality itself • Interaction features (upvotes/downvotes, clicks, comments…) • User features (e.g. expertise in topic)
- 37. Feature Engineering ● Properties of a well-behaved ML feature: ○ Reusable ○ Transformable ○ Interpretable ○ Reliable
- 38. Deep Learning and Feature Engineering
- 39. Unsupervised Learning
- 40. ● Unsupervised learning is a very important paradigm in theory and in practice ● So far, unsupervised learning has helped deep learning, but deep learning has not helped unsupervised learning Unsupervised Learning
- 41. Supervised/Unsupervised Learning ● Unsupervised learning as dimensionality reduction ● Unsupervised learning as feature engineering ● The “magic” behind combining unsupervised/supervised learning ○ E.g.1 clustering + knn ○ E.g.2 Matrix Factorization ■ MF can be interpreted as ● Unsupervised: ○ Dimensionality Reduction a la PCA ○ Clustering (e.g. NMF) ● Supervised ○ Labeled targets ~ regression
- 42. Ensembles
- 43. Even if all problems end up being suited for Deep Learning, there will always be a place for ensembles. ● Given the output of a Deep Learning prediction, you will be able to combine it with some other model or feature to improve the results. Ensembles
- 44. Ensembles ● Netflix Prize was won by an ensemble ○ Initially Bellkor was using GDBTs ○ BigChaos introduced ANN-based ensemble ● Most practical applications of ML run an ensemble ○ Why wouldn’t you? ○ At least as good as the best of your methods ○ Can add completely different approaches
- 45. Ensembles & Feature Engineering ● Ensembles are the way to turn any model into a feature! ● E.g. Don’t know if the way to go is to use Factorization Machines, Tensor Factorization, or RNNs? ○ Treat each model as a “feature” ○ Feed them into an ensemble
- 46. Distributing Algorithms
- 47. Distributing ML ● Most of what people do in practice can fit into a multi-core machine ○ Smart data sampling ○ Offline schemes ○ Efficient parallel code ● … but not Deep ANNs ● Do you care about costs? How about latencies or system complexity/debuggability?
- 48. Distributing ML ● That said… ● Deep Learning has managed to get away by promoting a “new paradigm” of parallel computing: GPU’s
- 49. Conclusions
- 50. Conclusions ● Deep Learning has had some impressive results lately ● However, Deep Learning is not the only solution ○ It is dangerous to oversell Deep Learning ● Important to take other things into account ○ Other approaches/models ○ Feature Engineering ○ Unsupervised Learning ○ Ensembles ○ Need to distribute, costs, system complexity...
- 51. Questions?

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