Self-Attention Between Datapoints: Going Beyond Individual Input-Output Pairs in Deep Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Authors

Jannik Kossen, Neil Band, Clare Lyle, Aidan N. Gomez, Thomas Rainforth, Yarin Gal

Abstract

We challenge a common assumption underlying most supervised deep learning: that a model makes a prediction depending only on its parameters and the features of a single input. To this end, we introduce a general-purpose deep learning architecture that takes as input the entire dataset instead of processing one datapoint at a time. Our approach uses self-attention to reason about relationships between datapoints explicitly, which can be seen as realizing non-parametric models using parametric attention mechanisms. However, unlike conventional non-parametric models, we let the model learn end-to-end from the data how to make use of other datapoints for prediction. Empirically, our models solve cross-datapoint lookup and complex reasoning tasks unsolvable by traditional deep learning models. We show highly competitive results on tabular data, early results on CIFAR-10, and give insight into how the model makes use of the interactions between points.