Asymmetry Learning for Counterfactually-invariant Classification in OOD TasksDownload PDF

29 Sept 2021, 00:34 (modified: 09 May 2022, 15:33)ICLR 2022 OralReaders: Everyone
Keywords: out-of-distribution classification, symmetries, counterfactual invariances, geometric deep learning
Abstract: Generalizing from observed to new related environments (out-of-distribution) is central to the reliability of classifiers. However, most classifiers fail to predict label $Y$ from input $X$ when the change in environment is due a (stochastic) input transformation $T^\text{te} \circ X'$ not observed in training, as in training we observe $T^\text{tr} \circ X'$, where $X'$ is a hidden variable. This work argues that when the transformations in train $T^\text{tr}$ and test $T^\text{te}$ are (arbitrary) symmetry transformations induced by a collection of known $m$ equivalence relations, the task of finding a robust OOD classifier can be defined as finding the simplest causal model that defines a causal connection between the target labels and the symmetry transformations that are associated with label changes. We then propose a new learning paradigm, asymmetry learning, that identifies which symmetries the classifier must break in order to correctly predict $Y$ in both train and test. Asymmetry learning performs a causal model search that, under certain identifiability conditions, finds classifiers that perform equally well in-distribution and out-of-distribution. Finally, we show how to learn counterfactually-invariant representations with asymmetry learning in two physics tasks.
One-sentence Summary: Counterfactual-invariant representations for symmetry transformations
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