NIPS Proceedingsβ

A simple neural network module for relational reasoning

Part of: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 30 (NIPS 2017)

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Authors

Conference Event Type: Poster

Abstract

Relational reasoning is a central component of generally intelligent behavior, but has proven difficult for neural networks to learn. In this paper we describe how to use Relation Networks (RNs) as a simple plug-and-play module to solve problems that fundamentally hinge on relational reasoning. We tested RN-augmented networks on three tasks: visual question answering using a challenging dataset called CLEVR, on which we achieve state-of-the-art, super-human performance; text-based question answering using the bAbI suite of tasks; and complex reasoning about dynamical physical systems. Then, using a curated dataset called Sort-of-CLEVR we show that powerful convolutional networks do not have a general capacity to solve relational questions, but can gain this capacity when augmented with RNs. Thus, by simply augmenting convolutions, LSTMs, and MLPs with RNs, we can remove computational burden from network components that are not well-suited to handle relational reasoning, reduce overall network complexity, and gain a general ability to reason about the relations between entities and their properties.