ROB313: Introduction to Learning from Data Assignment 3 


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Q1) 6pts Use gradient descent to learn the weights of a logistic regression model. Logistic
regression is used for classification problems (i.e. y
(i) ∈ {0, 1} in the binary case
which we will consider) and uses the Bernoulli likelihood
Pr(y|w, x) =
fb(x; w)

1 − fb(x; w)
where fb(x; w) = Pr(y=1|w, x) gives the class conditional probability of class 1 by
mapping R
D → [0, 1].

To ensure that the model gives a valid probability in the range
[0,1], we write fb as a logistic sigmoid acting on a linear model as follows
fb(x; w) = sigmoid
w0 +

where sigmoid(z) = 1
, and w = {w0, w1, . . . , wD} ∈ R

Making the assumption that all training examples are i.i.d., the log-likelihood function can be written as follows for the logistic regression model
log Pr(y|w, X) = X
; w)


1 − y

1 − fb(x
; w)


a) 1pts What will be the value of the log-likelihood if fb(x
; w) = 1, but the correct
label is y
(i) = 0 for some i? Is this reasonable behaviour?

b) 2pts Consider maximum a posteriori (MAP) estimation using the prior
Pr(w) = N


0, σ2


Write the steepest descent update rule for the parameters w at each iteration
of both full-batch gradient descent (GD) and stochastic gradient descent (SGD)
with a mini-batch size of 1. Assume a constant learning rate η > 0. The exact
gradient of the log-likelihood function with respect to the parameters can be
written as follows
∇w log Pr(y|w, X) = X

(i) − fb(x
; w)


where we used the convenient form of the derivative of the sigmoid function

∂z sigmoid(z) = sigmoid(z)

1 − sigmoid(z)


c) 3pts Initializing w = 0, find the MAP estimate of the parameters using both full-batch
gradient descent (GD), as well as stochastic gradient descent (SGD) with a minibatch size of 1. Consider the prior variance σ
2 = 1. Analyze the convergence
trends of both optimization methods by plotting the loss versus epoch and report
the learning rates used in each case.

Train the logistic regression model on the iris dataset, considering only the
second response to determine whether the flower is an iris versicolour, or not1

Use both the training and validation sets to predict on the test set, and present
test accuracy as well as the test log-likelihood. Why might the test log-likelihood
be a preferable performance metric?

Q2) 7pts In the previous question we computed gradients manually for a linear logistic regression problem. This question will consider training a more complicated model, a deep
neural network, and to help us compute gradients we will use the automatic differentiation package autograd.

To install autograd, run the following in a terminal (mac
or linux), or Anaconda prompt (windows)
conda install -c conda-forge autograd

The ipython notebook used for the in-class autograd tutorial can be found on portal.
In this assignment you will train a fully connected neural network with two hidden
layers on the MNIST small dataset using a categorical (generalized Bernoulli) likelihood.

Using a mini-batch2
size of 250, train the weights and bias parameters of the neural
network using stochastic gradient descent. Initialize the biases of the model to zero
and initialize the weights randomly.

You are provided the python module a3 which can be found on portal. A
brief description of each function is provided here but more details can be found by
reviewing the docstrings and inline comments.

• a3 mod.forward pass computes the forward pass of a two layer neural network. The
output layer activation function will need to be modified in this assignment.

• a3 mod.negative log likelihood computes the negative log-likelihood of the neural
network defined in a3 mod.forward pass. This function will need to be modified in
this assignment.

• a3 mod.nll gradients returns the negative log-likelihood computed by
a3 mod.negative log likelihood, as well as the gradients of this value with respect
to all weights and biases in the neural network. You should not need to modify
this function.

• a3 example this function demonstrates the computation of the negative
log-likelihood and its gradients. It is intended as an example to get you familiar
with the code and you may modify this function any way you wish.

Before beginning this question, you are encouraged to review the python code for
these functions which is short and well documented. Running (and modifying) the
a3 example function can also be helpful to understand the provided code.

1Use, y train, y valid, y test = y train[:,1,None], y valid[:,1,None], y test[:,1,None]
2At no point in the assignment should you need to perform an operation (e.g. a forward pass) with the
full training batch. If you do this then you are doing something wrong and should re-read carefully.

a) 2pts Since we plan to maximize the log-likelihood using a categorical likelihood, we
would like our neural network to have 10 outputs, each a class-conditional log
probability for each of the 10 classes for the mnist small dataset.

The two hidden
layer neural network defined in a3 mod.forward pass initially has a linear activation
function on the output layer, however, these outputs do not define valid classconditional log probabilities. Modify a3 mod.forward pass so that a log-softmax
activation function is used on the output layer.

For your implementation, use
only (autograd wrapped) numpy functions, do not use any loops, and ensure that
your implementation is numerically stable. Briefly describe your implementation
and why it is numerically stable. Hint: consider the LogSumExp trick we covered
in class.

b) 2pts The function a3 mod.negative log likelihood currently assumes a Gaussian likelihood, however, we would like to use a categorical likelihood. Modify this function
such that the negative log-likelihood is returned for a mini-batch of inputs assuming that the outputs of a3 mod.forward pass are class conditional log probabilities.

For your implementation, use only (autograd wrapped) numpy functions, and do
not use any loops.

c) 2pts Considering 100 neurons per hidden layer, plot the stochastic estimate of the
training set negative log-likelihood (using a mini-batch size of 250) versus iteration number during training. In the same plot, also draw the validation set
negative log-likelihood versus iteration number.

How does the network’s performance differ on the training set versus the validation set during learning? Also,
report the test set negative log-likelihood and test set accuracy for the final

d) 1pts Plot a few test set digits where the neural network is not confident of the classification output (i.e. the top class conditional probability is below some threshold),
and comment on them. You may find data utils.plot digit helpful.

Submission guidelines: Submit an electronic copy of your report in pdf format, and
documented python scripts. You should include a file named “README” outlining how
the scripts should be run. Upload a single tar or zip file containing all files to Quercus. You
are expected to verify the integrity of your tar/zip file before uploading. Do not include (or
modify) the supplied *.npz data files or the data module in your submission.

report must contain
• Objectives of the assignment
• A brief description of the structure of your code, and strategies employed
• Relevant figures, tables, and discussion
Do not use scikit-learn for this assignment, the intention is that you implement the simple
algorithms required from scratch. Also, for reproducibility, always set a seed for any random
number generator used in your code. For example, you can set the seed in numpy using