Ecole d'ingénieur et centre de recherche en Sciences du numérique

Seminar: Meta-learning to communicate

Prof. Osvaldo Simeone (King's College, London, UK)

Date: 28 novembre 2019

Lieu: Eurecom - EURECOM

Abstract: The application of supervised learning techniques for the design of the physical layer of a communication link is often impaired by the limited amount of pilot data available for each device; while the use of unsupervised learning is typically limited by the need to carry out a large number of training iterations. In this talk, meta-learning, or learning-to-learn, is proposed as a tool to alleviate these problems. First, the talk will consider an Internet-of-Things (IoT) scenario in which devices transmit sporadically using short packets with few pilot symbols over a fading channel. The number of pilots is generally insufficient to obtain an accurate estimate of the end-to-end channel, which includes the effects of fading and of the transmission-side distortion. To tackle this problem, pilots from previous IoT transmissions are used as meta-training data in order to train a demodulator that is able to quickly adapt to new end-to-end channel conditions from few pilots. Various state-of-the-art meta-learning schemes are adapted to the problem at hand and evaluated, including MAML, FOMAML, REPTILE, and CAVIA. Both offline and online solutions are developed. Then, the unsupervised training of an autoencoder consisting of the cascade of encoder, channel, and decoder is studied. An important limitation of the conventional approach is that training should be generally carried out from scratch for each new channel. To cope with this problem, prior works considered joint training over multiple channels with the aim of finding a single pair of encoder and decoder that works well on a class of channels. In this talk, the limitations of joint training are obviated via meta-learning: Rather than training a common model for all channels, meta-learning finds a common initialization vector that enables fast training on any channel. The approach is validated via numerical results, demonstrating significant training speed-ups, with effective encoders and decoders obtained with as little as one iteration of Stochastic Gradient Descent. Biography: Osvaldo Simeone is a Professor of Information Engineering with the Centre for Telecommunications Research at the Department of Engineering of King's College London, where he directs the King's Centre for Learning & Information Processing (KCLIP). He received an M.Sc. degree (with honors) and a Ph.D. degree in information engineering from Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, in 2001 and 2005, respectively. From 2006 to 2017, he was a faculty member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), where he was affiliated with the Center for Wireless Information Processing (CWiP). His research interests include wireless communications, information theory, optimization and machine learning. Dr Simeone is a co-recipient of the 2019 IEEE Communication Society Best Tutorial Paper Award, the 2018 IEEE Signal Processing Best Paper Award, the 2017 JCN Best Paper Award, the 2015 IEEE Communication Society Best Tutorial Paper Award and of the Best Paper Awards of IEEE SPAWC 2007 and IEEE WRECOM 2007. He was awarded a Consolidator grant by the European Research Council (ERC) in 2016. His research has been supported by the U.S. NSF, the ERC, the Vienna Science and Technology Fund, as well as by a number of industrial collaborations. He currently serves in the editorial board of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, and he is a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society. Dr Simeone is a co-author of two monographs, an edited book published by Cambridge University Press, and more than one hundred research journal papers. He is a Fellow of the IET and of the IEEE.

Meta-learning to communicate

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