Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Nikolaos Karalias, Joshua Robinson, Andreas Loukas, Stefanie Jegelka
Integrating functions on discrete domains into neural networks is key to developing their capability to reason about discrete objects. But, discrete domains are (1) not naturally amenable to gradient-based optimization, and (2) incompatible with deep learning architectures that rely on representations in high-dimensional vector spaces. In this work, we address both difficulties for set functions, which capture many important discrete problems. First, we develop a framework for extending set functions onto low-dimensional continuous domains, where many extensions are naturally defined. Our framework subsumes many well-known extensions as special cases. Second, to avoid undesirable low-dimensional neural network bottlenecks, we convert low-dimensional extensions into representations in high-dimensional spaces, taking inspiration from the success of semidefinite programs for combinatorial optimization. Empirically, we observe benefits of our extensions for unsupervised neural combinatorial optimization, in particular with high-dimensional representations.