IAIFI Papers

Why is AI hard and Physics simple?
Daniel A. Roberts
[ arXiv:2104.00008 ]

Abstract We discuss why AI is hard and why physics is simple. We discuss how physical intuition and the approach of theoretical physics can be brought to bear on the field of artificial intelligence and specifically machine learning. We suggest that the underlying project of machine learning and the underlying project of physics are strongly coupled through the principle of sparsity, and we call upon theoretical physicists to work on AI as physicists. As a first step in that direction, we discuss an upcoming book on the principles of deep learning theory that attempts to realize this approach.

Machine Learning the 6th Dimension: Stellar Radial Velocities from 5D Phase-Space Correlations
Adriana Dropulic, Bryan Ostdiek, Laura J. Chang, Hongwan Liu, Timothy Cohen, and Mariangela Lisanti
[ arXiv:2103.14039 ]

Abstract The Gaia satellite will observe the positions and velocities of over a billion Milky Way stars. In the early data releases, the majority of observed stars do not have complete 6D phase-space information. In this Letter, we demonstrate the ability to infer the missing line-of-sight velocities until more spectroscopic observations become available. We utilize a novel neural network architecture that, after being trained on a subset of data with complete phase-space information, takes in a star's 5D astrometry (angular coordinates, proper motions, and parallax) and outputs a predicted line-of-sight velocity with an associated uncertainty. Working with a mock Gaia catalog, we show that the network can successfully recover the distributions and correlations of each velocity component for stars that fall within ∼5 kpc of the Sun. We also demonstrate that the network can accurately reconstruct the velocity distribution of a kinematic substructure in the stellar halo that is spatially uniform, even when it comprises a small fraction of the total star count.

Modern Machine Learning and Particle Physics
Matthew D. Schwartz
[ arXiv:2103.12226 ]

Abstract Over the past five years, modern machine learning has been quietly revolutionizing particle physics. Old methodology is being outdated and entirely new ways of thinking about data are becoming commonplace. This article will review some aspects of the natural synergy between modern machine learning and particle physics, focusing on applications at the Large Hadron Collider. A sampling of examples is given, from signal/background discrimination tasks using supervised learning to direct data-driven approaches. Some comments on persistent challenges and possible future directions for the field are included at the end.

Deep learning: a statistical viewpoint
Peter L. Bartlett, Andrea Montanari, and Alexander Rakhlin
[ arXiv:2103.09177 ]

Abstract The remarkable practical success of deep learning has revealed some major surprises from a theoretical perspective. In particular, simple gradient methods easily find near-optimal solutions to non-convex optimization problems, and despite giving a near-perfect fit to training data without any explicit effort to control model complexity, these methods exhibit excellent predictive accuracy. We conjecture that specific principles underlie these phenomena: that overparametrization allows gradient methods to find interpolating solutions, that these methods implicitly impose regularization, and that overparametrization leads to benign overfitting. We survey recent theoretical progress that provides examples illustrating these principles in simpler settings. We first review classical uniform convergence results and why they fall short of explaining aspects of the behavior of deep learning methods. We give examples of implicit regularization in simple settings, where gradient methods lead to minimal norm functions that perfectly fit the training data. Then we review prediction methods that exhibit benign overfitting, focusing on regression problems with quadratic loss. For these methods, we can decompose the prediction rule into a simple component that is useful for prediction and a spiky component that is useful for overfitting but, in a favorable setting, does not harm prediction accuracy. We focus specifically on the linear regime for neural networks, where the network can be approximated by a linear model. In this regime, we demonstrate the success of gradient flow, and we consider benign overfitting with two-layer networks, giving an exact asymptotic analysis that precisely demonstrates the impact of overparametrization. We conclude by highlighting the key challenges that arise in extending these insights to realistic deep learning settings.

Topological obstructions to autoencoding
Joshua Batson, C. Grace Haaf, Yonatan Kahn, Daniel A. Roberts
Journal of High Energy Physics, 2021, Issue 4, Article 280 [ arXiv:2102.08380 ]

Abstract Autoencoders have been proposed as a powerful tool for model-independent anomaly detection in high-energy physics. The operating principle is that events which do not belong to the space of training data will be reconstructed poorly, thus flagging them as anomalies. We point out that in a variety of examples of interest, the connection between large reconstruction error and anomalies is not so clear. In particular, for data sets with nontrivial topology, there will always be points that erroneously seem anomalous due to global issues. Conversely, neural networks typically have an inductive bias or prior to locally interpolate such that undersampled or rare events may be reconstructed with small error, despite actually being the desired anomalies. Taken together, these facts are in tension with the simple picture of the autoencoder as an anomaly detector. Using a series of illustrative low-dimensional examples, we show explicitly how the intrinsic and extrinsic topology of the dataset affects the behavior of an autoencoder and how this topology is manifested in the latent space representation during training. We ground this analysis in the discussion of a mock "bump hunt" in which the autoencoder fails to identify an anomalous "signal" for reasons tied to the intrinsic topology of n-particle phase space.

Introduction to Normalizing Flows for Lattice Field Theory
Michael S. Albergo, Denis Boyda, Daniel C. Hackett, Gurtej Kanwar, Kyle Cranmer, Sébastien Racanière, Danilo Jimenez Rezende, and Phiala E. Shanahan
[ arXiv:2101.08176 ]

Abstract This notebook tutorial demonstrates a method for sampling Boltzmann distributions of lattice field theories using a class of machine learning models known as normalizing flows. The ideas and approaches proposed in arXiv:1904.12072, arXiv:2002.02428, and arXiv:2003.06413 are reviewed and a concrete implementation of the framework is presented. We apply this framework to a lattice scalar field theory and to U(1) gauge theory, explicitly encoding gauge symmetries in the flow-based approach to the latter. This presentation is intended to be interactive and working with the attached Jupyter notebook is recommended.

E Pluribus Unum Ex Machina: Learning from Many Collider Events at Once
Benjamin Nachman and Jesse Thaler
[ arXiv:2101.07263 | code ]

Abstract There have been a number of recent proposals to enhance the performance of machine learning strategies for collider physics by combining many distinct events into a single ensemble feature. To evaluate the efficacy of these proposals, we study the connection between single-event classifiers and multi-event classifiers under the assumption that collider events are independent and identically distributed (IID). We show how one can build optimal multi-event classifiers from single-event classifiers, and we also show how to construct multi-event classifiers such that they produce optimal single-event classifiers. This is illustrated for a Gaussian example as well as for classification tasks relevant for searches and measurements at the Large Hadron Collider. We extend our discussion to regression tasks by showing how they can be phrased in terms of parametrized classifiers. Empirically, we find that training a single-event (per-instance) classifier is more effective than training a multi-event (per-ensemble) classifier, as least for the cases we studied, and we relate this fact to properties of the loss function gradient in the two cases. While we did not identify a clear benefit from using multi-event classifiers in the collider context, we speculate on the potential value of these methods in cases involving only approximate independence, as relevant for jet substructure studies.

Parameter Inference from Event Ensembles and the Top-Quark Mass
Forrest Flesher, Katherine Fraser, Charles Hutchison, Bryan Ostdiek, Matthew D. Schwartz
[ arXiv:2011.04666 ]

Abstract One of the key tasks of any particle collider is measurement. In practice, this is often done by fitting data to a simulation, which depends on many parameters. Sometimes, when the effects of varying different parameters are highly correlated, a large ensemble of data may be needed to resolve parameter-space degeneracies. An important example is measuring the top-quark mass, where other physical and unphysical parameters in the simulation must be marginalized over when fitting the top-quark mass parameter. We compare three different methodologies for top-quark mass measurement: a classical histogram fitting procedure, similar to one commonly used in experiment optionally augmented with soft-drop jet grooming; a machine-learning method called DCTR; and a linear regression approach, either using a least-squares fit or with a dense linearly-activated neural network. Despite the fact that individual events are totally uncorrelated, we find that the linear regression methods work most effectively when we input an ensemble of events sorted by mass, rather than training them on individual events. Although all methods provide robust extraction of the top-quark mass parameter, the linear network does marginally best and is remarkably simple. For the top study, we conclude that the Monte-Carlo-based uncertainty on current extractions of the top-quark mass from LHC data can be reduced significantly (by perhaps a factor of 2) using networks trained on sorted event ensembles. More generally, machine learning from ensembles for parameter estimation has broad potential for collider physics measurements.

Quasi Anomalous Knowledge: Searching for new physics with embedded knowledge
Sang Eon Park, Dylan Rankin, Silviu-Marian Udrescu, Mikaeel Yunus, Philip Harris
[ arXiv:2011.03550 | code ]

Abstract Discoveries of new phenomena often involve a dedicated search for a hypothetical physics signature. Recently, novel deep learning techniques have emerged for anomaly detection in the absence of a signal prior. However, by ignoring signal priors, the sensitivity of these approaches is significantly reduced. We present a new strategy dubbed Quasi Anomalous Knowledge (QUAK), whereby we introduce alternative signal priors that capture some of the salient features of new physics signatures, allowing for the recovery of sensitivity even when the alternative signal is incorrect. This approach can be applied to a broad range of physics models and neural network architectures. In this paper, we apply QUAK to anomaly detection of new physics events at the CERN Large Hadron Collider utilizing variational autoencoders with normalizing flow.

Learning to Unknot
Sergei Gukov, James Halverson, Fabian Ruehle, and Piotr Sułkowski
[ arXiv:2010.16263 ]

Abstract We introduce natural language processing into the study of knot theory, as made natural by the braid word representation of knots. We study the UNKNOT problem of determining whether or not a given knot is the unknot. After describing an algorithm to randomly generate $N$-crossing braids and their knot closures and discussing the induced prior on the distribution of knots, we apply binary classification to the UNKNOT decision problem. We find that the Reformer and shared-QK Transformer network architectures outperform fully-connected networks, though all perform well. Perhaps surprisingly, we find that accuracy increases with the length of the braid word, and that the networks learn a direct correlation between the confidence of their predictions and the degree of the Jones polynomial. Finally, we utilize reinforcement learning (RL) to find sequences of Markov moves and braid relations that simplify knots and can identify unknots by explicitly giving the sequence of unknotting actions. Trust region policy optimization (TRPO) performs consistently well for a wide range of crossing numbers and thoroughly outperformed other RL algorithms and random walkers. Studying these actions, we find that braid relations are more useful in simplifying to the unknot than one of the Markov moves.

Enhancing searches for resonances with machine learning and moment decomposition
Ouail Kitouni, Benjamin Nachman, Constantin Weisser, and Mike Williams
[ arXiv:2010.09745 | code ]

Abstract A key challenge in searches for resonant new physics is that classifiers trained to enhance potential signals must not induce localized structures. Such structures could result in a false signal when the background is estimated from data using sideband methods. A variety of techniques have been developed to construct classifiers which are independent from the resonant feature (often a mass). Such strategies are sufficient to avoid localized structures, but are not necessary. We develop a new set of tools using a novel moment loss function (Moment Decomposition or MoDe) which relax the assumption of independence without creating structures in the background. By allowing classifiers to be more flexible, we enhance the sensitivity to new physics without compromising the fidelity of the background estimation.