**Causal Inference Benchmarking Framework**

Causality-Benchmark is a library developed by IBM Research Haifa for benchmarking algorithms that estimate the causal effect of a treatment on some outcome. The framework includes unlabeled data, labeled data, code for scoring algorithm predictions based on both novel and established metrics. It can benchmark predictions of both population effect size and individual effect size. … **Fortified Network**

Deep networks have achieved impressive results across a variety of important tasks. However a known weakness is a failure to perform well when evaluated on data which differ from the training distribution, even if these differences are very small, as is the case with adversarial examples. We propose Fortified Networks, a simple transformation of existing networks, which fortifies the hidden layers in a deep network by identifying when the hidden states are off of the data manifold, and maps these hidden states back to parts of the data manifold where the network performs well. Our principal contribution is to show that fortifying these hidden states improves the robustness of deep networks and our experiments (i) demonstrate improved robustness to standard adversarial attacks in both black-box and white-box threat models; (ii) suggest that our improvements are not primarily due to the gradient masking problem and (iii) show the advantage of doing this fortification in the hidden layers instead of the input space. … **Distance to Measure (DTM)**

Data often comes in the form of a point cloud sampled from an unknown compact subset of Euclidean space. The general goal of geometric inference is then to recover geometric and topological features (e.g., Betti numbers, normals) of this subset from the approximating point cloud data. It appears that the study of distance functions allows one to address many of these questions successfully. However, one of the main limitations of this framework is that it does not cope well with outliers or with background noise. In this paper, we show how to extend the framework of distance functions to overcome this problem. Replacing compact subsets by measures, we introduce a notion of distance function to a probability distribution in R d . These functions share many properties with classical distance functions, which make them suitable for inference purposes. In particular, by considering appropriate level sets of these distance functions, we show that it is possible to reconstruct offsets of sampled shapes with topological guarantees even in the presence of outliers. Moreover, in settings where empirical measures are considered, these functions can be easily evaluated, making them of particular practical interest. … **Confidence Bound Minimization**

Bayesian optimization has demonstrated impressive success in finding the optimum location $x^{*}$ and value $f^{*}=f(x^{*})=\max_{x\in\mathcal{X}}f(x)$ of the black-box function $f$. In some applications, however, the optimum value is known in advance and the goal is to find the corresponding optimum location. Existing work in Bayesian optimization (BO) has not effectively exploited the knowledge of $f^{*}$ for optimization. In this paper, we consider a new setting in BO in which the knowledge of the optimum value is available. Our goal is to exploit the knowledge about $f^{*}$ to search for the location $x^{*}$ efficiently. To achieve this goal, we first transform the Gaussian process surrogate using the information about the optimum value. Then, we propose two acquisition functions, called confidence bound minimization and expected regret minimization, which exploit the knowledge about the optimum value to identify the optimum location efficiently. We show that our approaches work both intuitively and quantitatively achieve better performance against standard BO methods. We demonstrate real applications in tuning a deep reinforcement learning algorithm on the CartPole problem and XGBoost on Skin Segmentation dataset in which the optimum values are publicly available. …

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