## The Transformer Family

[Updated on 2023-01-27: After almost three years, I did a big refactoring update of this post to incorporate a bunch of new Transformer models since 2020. The enhanced version of this post is here: The Transformer Family Version 2.0. Please refer to that post on this topic.] It has been almost two years since my last post on attention. Recent progress on new and enhanced versions of Transformer motivates me to write another post on this specific topic, focusing on how the vanilla Transformer can be improved for longer-term attention span, less memory and computation consumption, RL task solving and more....

Date: April 7, 2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 25 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Curriculum for Reinforcement Learning

[Updated on 2020-02-03: mentioning PCG in the “Task-Specific Curriculum” section. [Updated on 2020-02-04: Add a new “curriculum through distillation” section. It sounds like an impossible task if we want to teach integral or derivative to a 3-year-old who does not even know basic arithmetics. That’s why education is important, as it provides a systematic way to break down complex knowledge and a nice curriculum for teaching concepts from simple to hard....

Date: January 29, 2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 24 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Self-Supervised Representation Learning

[Updated on 2020-01-09: add a new section on Contrastive Predictive Coding]. [Updated on 2020-04-13: add a “Momentum Contrast” section on MoCo, SimCLR and CURL.] [Updated on 2020-07-08: add a “Bisimulation” section on DeepMDP and DBC.] [Updated on 2020-09-12: add MoCo V2 and BYOL in the “Momentum Contrast” section.] [Updated on 2021-05-31: remove section on “Momentum Contrast” and add a pointer to a full post on “Contrastive Representation Learning”] Given a task and enough labels, supervised learning can solve it really well....

Date: November 10, 2019 | Estimated Reading Time: 38 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Evolution Strategies

Stochastic gradient descent is a universal choice for optimizing deep learning models. However, it is not the only option. With black-box optimization algorithms, you can evaluate a target function $f(x): \mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}$, even when you don’t know the precise analytic form of $f(x)$ and thus cannot compute gradients or the Hessian matrix. Examples of black-box optimization methods include Simulated Annealing, Hill Climbing and Nelder-Mead method. Evolution Strategies (ES) is one type of black-box optimization algorithms, born in the family of Evolutionary Algorithms (EA)....

Date: September 5, 2019 | Estimated Reading Time: 22 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Meta Reinforcement Learning

In my earlier post on meta-learning, the problem is mainly defined in the context of few-shot classification. Here I would like to explore more into cases when we try to “meta-learn” Reinforcement Learning (RL) tasks by developing an agent that can solve unseen tasks fast and efficiently. To recap, a good meta-learning model is expected to generalize to new tasks or new environments that have never been encountered during training....

Date: June 23, 2019 | Estimated Reading Time: 22 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Domain Randomization for Sim2Real Transfer

In Robotics, one of the hardest problems is how to make your model transfer to the real world. Due to the sample inefficiency of deep RL algorithms and the cost of data collection on real robots, we often need to train models in a simulator which theoretically provides an infinite amount of data. However, the reality gap between the simulator and the physical world often leads to failure when working with physical robots....

Date: May 5, 2019 | Estimated Reading Time: 15 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Are Deep Neural Networks Dramatically Overfitted?

[Updated on 2019-05-27: add the section on Lottery Ticket Hypothesis.] If you are like me, entering into the field of deep learning with experience in traditional machine learning, you may often ponder over this question: Since a typical deep neural network has so many parameters and training error can easily be perfect, it should surely suffer from substantial overfitting. How could it be ever generalized to out-of-sample data points?...

Date: March 14, 2019 | Estimated Reading Time: 22 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Generalized Language Models

[Updated on 2019-02-14: add ULMFiT and GPT-2.] [Updated on 2020-02-29: add ALBERT.] [Updated on 2020-10-25: add RoBERTa.] [Updated on 2020-12-13: add T5.] [Updated on 2020-12-30: add GPT-3.] [Updated on 2021-11-13: add XLNet, BART and ELECTRA; Also updated the Summary section.] Fig. 0. I guess they are Elmo & Bert? (Image source: here) We have seen amazing progress in NLP in 2018. Large-scale pre-trained language modes like OpenAI GPT and BERT have achieved great performance on a variety of language tasks using generic model architectures....

Date: January 31, 2019 | Estimated Reading Time: 36 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Object Detection Part 4: Fast Detection Models

In Part 3, we have reviewed models in the R-CNN family. All of them are region-based object detection algorithms. They can achieve high accuracy but could be too slow for certain applications such as autonomous driving. In Part 4, we only focus on fast object detection models, including SSD, RetinaNet, and models in the YOLO family. Links to all the posts in the series: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]....

Date: December 27, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 19 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Meta-Learning: Learning to Learn Fast

[Updated on 2019-10-01: thanks to Tianhao, we have this post translated in Chinese!] A good machine learning model often requires training with a large number of samples. Humans, in contrast, learn new concepts and skills much faster and more efficiently. Kids who have seen cats and birds only a few times can quickly tell them apart. People who know how to ride a bike are likely to discover the way to ride a motorcycle fast with little or even no demonstration....

Date: November 30, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 30 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Flow-based Deep Generative Models

So far, I’ve written about two types of generative models, GAN and VAE. Neither of them explicitly learns the probability density function of real data, $p(\mathbf{x})$ (where $\mathbf{x} \in \mathcal{D}$) — because it is really hard! Taking the generative model with latent variables as an example, $p(\mathbf{x}) = \int p(\mathbf{x}\vert\mathbf{z})p(\mathbf{z})d\mathbf{z}$ can hardly be calculated as it is intractable to go through all possible values of the latent code $\mathbf{z}$....

Date: October 13, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 21 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## From Autoencoder to Beta-VAE

[Updated on 2019-07-18: add a section on VQ-VAE & VQ-VAE-2.] [Updated on 2019-07-26: add a section on TD-VAE.] Autocoder is invented to reconstruct high-dimensional data using a neural network model with a narrow bottleneck layer in the middle (oops, this is probably not true for Variational Autoencoder, and we will investigate it in details in later sections). A nice byproduct is dimension reduction: the bottleneck layer captures a compressed latent encoding....

Date: August 12, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 21 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Attention? Attention!

[Updated on 2018-10-28: Add Pointer Network and the link to my implementation of Transformer.] [Updated on 2018-11-06: Add a link to the implementation of Transformer model.] [Updated on 2018-11-18: Add Neural Turing Machines.] [Updated on 2019-07-18: Correct the mistake on using the term “self-attention” when introducing the show-attention-tell paper; moved it to Self-Attention section.] [Updated on 2020-04-07: A follow-up post on improved Transformer models is here.] Attention is, to some extent, motivated by how we pay visual attention to different regions of an image or correlate words in one sentence....

Date: June 24, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 21 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Implementing Deep Reinforcement Learning Models with Tensorflow + OpenAI Gym

The full implementation is available in lilianweng/deep-reinforcement-learning-gym In the previous two posts, I have introduced the algorithms of many deep reinforcement learning models. Now it is the time to get our hands dirty and practice how to implement the models in the wild. The implementation is gonna be built in Tensorflow and OpenAI gym environment. The full version of the code in this tutorial is available in [lilian/deep-reinforcement-learning-gym]. Environment Setup Make sure you have Homebrew installed: /usr/bin/ruby -e "\$(curl -fsSL https://raw....

Date: May 5, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 13 min | Author: Lilian Weng

Date: April 8, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 52 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## A (Long) Peek into Reinforcement Learning

[Updated on 2020-09-03: Updated the algorithm of SARSA and Q-learning so that the difference is more pronounced. [Updated on 2021-09-19: Thanks to 爱吃猫的鱼, we have this post in Chinese]. A couple of exciting news in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has just happened in recent years. AlphaGo defeated the best professional human player in the game of Go. Very soon the extended algorithm AlphaGo Zero beat AlphaGo by 100-0 without supervised learning on human knowledge....

Date: February 19, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 31 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## The Multi-Armed Bandit Problem and Its Solutions

The algorithms are implemented for Bernoulli bandit in lilianweng/multi-armed-bandit. Exploitation vs Exploration The exploration vs exploitation dilemma exists in many aspects of our life. Say, your favorite restaurant is right around the corner. If you go there every day, you would be confident of what you will get, but miss the chances of discovering an even better option. If you try new places all the time, very likely you are gonna have to eat unpleasant food from time to time....

Date: January 23, 2018 | Estimated Reading Time: 10 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Object Detection for Dummies Part 3: R-CNN Family

[Updated on 2018-12-20: Remove YOLO here. Part 4 will cover multiple fast object detection algorithms, including YOLO.] [Updated on 2018-12-27: Add bbox regression and tricks sections for R-CNN.] In the series of “Object Detection for Dummies”, we started with basic concepts in image processing, such as gradient vectors and HOG, in Part 1. Then we introduced classic convolutional neural network architecture designs for classification and pioneer models for object recognition, Overfeat and DPM, in Part 2....

Date: December 31, 2017 | Estimated Reading Time: 13 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Object Detection for Dummies Part 2: CNN, DPM and Overfeat

Part 1 of the “Object Detection for Dummies” series introduced: (1) the concept of image gradient vector and how HOG algorithm summarizes the information across all the gradient vectors in one image; (2) how the image segmentation algorithm works to detect regions that potentially contain objects; (3) how the Selective Search algorithm refines the outcomes of image segmentation for better region proposal. In Part 2, we are about to find out more on the classic convolution neural network architectures for image classification....

Date: December 15, 2017 | Estimated Reading Time: 7 min | Author: Lilian Weng

## Object Detection for Dummies Part 1: Gradient Vector, HOG, and SS

I’ve never worked in the field of computer vision and has no idea how the magic could work when an autonomous car is configured to tell apart a stop sign from a pedestrian in a red hat. To motivate myself to look into the maths behind object recognition and detection algorithms, I’m writing a few posts on this topic “Object Detection for Dummies”. This post, part 1, starts with super rudimentary concepts in image processing and a few methods for image segmentation....

Date: October 29, 2017 | Estimated Reading Time: 15 min | Author: Lilian Weng