Many problems can be solved by iteration by multiple participants (processors, servers, routers etc.). Previous mathematical models for such asynchronous iterations assume a single function being iterated by a fixed set of participants. We will call such iterations static since the system's configuration does not change. However in several real-world examples, such as inter-domain routing, both the function being iterated and the set of participants change frequently while the system continues to function. In this paper we extend Uresin & Dubois's work on static iterations to develop a model for this class of "dynamic" or "always on" asynchronous iterations. We explore what it means for such an iteration to be implemented correctly, and then prove two different conditions on the set of iterated functions that guarantee the full asynchronous iteration satisfies this new definition of correctness. These results have been formalised in Agda and the resulting library is publicly available.
Nowadays, malware campaigns have reached a high level of sophistication, thanks to the use of cryptography and covert communication channels over traditional protocols and services. In this regard, a typical approach to evade botnet identification and takedown mechanisms is the use of domain fluxing through the use of Domain Generation Algorithms (DGAs). These algorithms produce an overwhelming amount of domain names that the infected device tries to communicate with to find the Command and Control server, yet only a small fragment of them is actually registered. Due to the high number of domain names, the blacklisting approach is rendered useless. Therefore, the botmaster may pivot the control dynamically and hinder botnet detection mechanisms. To counter this problem, many security mechanisms result in solutions that try to identify domains from a DGA based on the randomness of their name. In this work, we explore hard to detect families of DGAs, as they are constructed to bypass these mechanisms. More precisely, they are based on the use of dictionaries so the domains seem to be user-generated. Therefore, the corresponding generated domains pass many filters that look for, e.g. high entropy strings. To address this challenge, we propose an accurate and efficient probabilistic approach to detect them. We test and validate the proposed solution through extensive experiments with a sound dataset containing all the wordlist-based DGA families that exhibit this behaviour and compare it with other state-of-the-art methods, practically showing the efficacy and prevalence of our proposal.
Distributed learning provides an attractive framework for scaling the learning task by sharing the computational load over multiple nodes in a network. Here, we investigate the performance of distributed learning for large-scale linear regression where the model parameters, i.e., the unknowns, are distributed over the network. We adopt a statistical learning approach. In contrast to works that focus on the performance on the training data, we focus on the generalization error, i.e., the performance on unseen data. We provide high-probability bounds on the generalization error for both isotropic and correlated Gaussian data as well as sub-gaussian data. These results reveal the dependence of the generalization performance on the partitioning of the model over the network. In particular, our results show that the generalization error of the distributed solution can be substantially higher than that of the centralized solution even when the error on the training data is at the same level for both the centralized and distributed approaches. Our numerical results illustrate the performance with both real-world image data as well as synthetic data.
The model of asynchronous programming arises in many contexts, from low-level systems software to high-level web programming. We take a language-theoretic perspective and show general decidability and undecidability results for asynchronous programs that capture all known results as well as show decidability of new and important classes. As a main consequence, we show decidability of safety, termination and boundedness verification for higher-order asynchronous programs -- such as OCaml programs using Lwt -- and undecidability of liveness verification already for order-2 asynchronous programs. We show that under mild assumptions, surprisingly, safety and termination verification of asynchronous programs with handlers from a language class are decidable iff emptiness is decidable for the underlying language class. Moreover, we show that configuration reachability and liveness (fair termination) verification are equivalent, and decidability of these problems implies decidability of the well-known "equal-letters" problem on languages. Our results close the decidability frontier for asynchronous programs.
Generative modeling using samples drawn from the probability distribution constitutes a powerful approach for unsupervised machine learning. Quantum mechanical systems can produce probability distributions that exhibit quantum correlations which are difficult to capture using classical models. We show theoretically that such quantum correlations provide a powerful resource for generative modeling. In particular, we provide an unconditional proof of separation in expressive power between a class of widely-used generative models, known as Bayesian networks, and its minimal quantum extension. We show that this expressivity advantage is associated with quantum nonlocality and quantum contextuality. Furthermore, we numerically test this separation on standard machine learning data sets and show that it holds for practical problems. The possibility of quantum advantage demonstrated in this work not only sheds light on the design of useful quantum machine learning protocols but also provides inspiration to draw on ideas from quantum foundations to improve purely classical algorithms.
We consider bounds on the generalization performance of the least-norm linear regressor, in the over-parameterized regime where it can interpolate the data. We describe a sense in which any generalization bound of a type that is commonly proved in statistical learning theory must sometimes be very loose when applied to analyze the least-norm interpolant. In particular, for a variety of natural joint distributions on training examples, any valid generalization bound that depends only on the output of the learning algorithm, the number of training examples, and the confidence parameter, and that satisfies a mild condition (substantially weaker than monotonicity in sample size), must sometimes be very loose -- it can be bounded below by a constant when the true excess risk goes to zero.
Session types are widely used as abstractions of asynchronous message passing systems. Refinement for such abstractions is crucial as it allows improvements of a given component without compromising its compatibility with the rest of the system. In the context of session types, the most general notion of refinement is the asynchronous session subtyping, which allows to anticipate message emissions but only under certain conditions. In particular, asynchronous session subtyping rules out candidates subtypes that occur naturally in communication protocols where, e.g., two parties simultaneously send each other a finite but unspecified amount of messages before removing them from their respective buffers. To address this shortcoming, we study fair compliance over asynchronous session types and fair refinement as the relation that preserves it. This allows us to propose a novel variant of session subtyping that leverages the notion of controllability from service contract theory and that is a sound characterisation of fair refinement. In addition, we show that both fair refinement and our novel subtyping are undecidable. We also present a sound algorithm, and its implementation, which deals with examples that feature potentially unbounded buffering.
Most modern operating systems have adopted the one-to-one thread model to support fast execution of threads in both multi-core and single-core systems. This thread model, which maps the kernel-space and user-space threads in a one-to-one manner, supports quick thread creation and termination in high-performance server environments. However, the performance of time-critical threads is degraded when multiple threads are being run in low-end CE devices with limited system resources. When a CE device runs many threads to support diverse application functionalities, low-level hardware specifications often lead to significant resource contention among the threads trying to obtain system resources. As a result, the operating system encounters challenges, such as excessive thread context switching overhead, execution delay of time-critical threads, and a lack of virtual memory for thread stacks. This paper proposes a state-of-the-art Thread Evolution Kit (TEK) that consists of three primary components: a CPU Mediator, Stack Tuner, and Enhanced Thread Identifier. From the experiment, we can see that the proposed scheme significantly improves user responsiveness (7x faster) under high CPU contention compared to the traditional thread model. Also, TEK solves the segmentation fault problem that frequently occurs when a CE application increases the number of threads during its execution.
Differential Dynamic Programming (DDP) is an indirect method for trajectory optimization. Its efficiency derives from the exploitation of temporal structure (inherent to optimal control problems) and explicit roll-out/integration of the system dynamics. However, it suffers from numerical instability and, when compared to direct methods, it has limited initialization options (allows initialization of controls, but not of states) and lacks proper handling of control constraints. These limitations are due to the fact that DDP is a single shooting algorithm. In this work, we tackle these issues with a direct-indirect hybridization approach that is primarily driven by the dynamic feasibility of the optimal control problem. Our feasibility search emulates the numerical resolution of a direct transcription problem with only dynamics constraints, namely a multiple shooting formulation. We show that our approach has better numerical convergence than BOX-DDP (a shooting method), and that its convergence rate and runtime performance are competitive with state-of-the-art direct transcription formulations solved using the interior point and active set algorithms available in KNITRO. We further show that our approach decreases the dynamic feasibility error monotonically -- as in state-of-the-art nonlinear programming algorithms. We demonstrate the benefits of our hybrid approach by generating complex and athletic motions for quadruped and humanoid robots.
Causal inference is a critical research topic across many domains, such as statistics, computer science, education, public policy and economics, for decades. Nowadays, estimating causal effect from observational data has become an appealing research direction owing to the large amount of available data and low budget requirement, compared with randomized controlled trials. Embraced with the rapidly developed machine learning area, various causal effect estimation methods for observational data have sprung up. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive review of causal inference methods under the potential outcome framework, one of the well known causal inference framework. The methods are divided into two categories depending on whether they require all three assumptions of the potential outcome framework or not. For each category, both the traditional statistical methods and the recent machine learning enhanced methods are discussed and compared. The plausible applications of these methods are also presented, including the applications in advertising, recommendation, medicine and so on. Moreover, the commonly used benchmark datasets as well as the open-source codes are also summarized, which facilitate researchers and practitioners to explore, evaluate and apply the causal inference methods.
We present a new clustering method in the form of a single clustering equation that is able to directly discover groupings in the data. The main proposition is that the first neighbor of each sample is all one needs to discover large chains and finding the groups in the data. In contrast to most existing clustering algorithms our method does not require any hyper-parameters, distance thresholds and/or the need to specify the number of clusters. The proposed algorithm belongs to the family of hierarchical agglomerative methods. The technique has a very low computational overhead, is easily scalable and applicable to large practical problems. Evaluation on well known datasets from different domains ranging between 1077 and 8.1 million samples shows substantial performance gains when compared to the existing clustering techniques.