# Group-equivariant neural networks with escnn

Right this moment, we resume our exploration of group equivariance. That is the third put up within the collection. The first was a high-level introduction: what that is all about; how equivariance is operationalized; and why it’s of relevance to many deep-learning purposes. The second sought to concretize the important thing concepts by growing a group-equivariant CNN from scratch. That being instructive, however too tedious for sensible use, as we speak we take a look at a rigorously designed, highly-performant library that hides the technicalities and allows a handy workflow.

First although, let me once more set the context. In physics, an all-important idea is that of symmetry, a symmetry being current at any time when some amount is being conserved. However we don’t even have to look to science. Examples come up in every day life, and – in any other case why write about it – within the duties we apply deep studying to.

In every day life: Take into consideration speech – me stating “it’s chilly,” for instance. Formally, or denotation-wise, the sentence could have the identical that means now as in 5 hours. (Connotations, then again, can and can in all probability be completely different!). This can be a type of translation symmetry, translation in time.

In deep studying: Take picture classification. For the same old convolutional neural community, a cat within the heart of the picture is simply that, a cat; a cat on the underside is, too. However one sleeping, comfortably curled like a half-moon “open to the suitable,” is not going to be “the identical” as one in a mirrored place. After all, we will practice the community to deal with each as equal by offering coaching photos of cats in each positions, however that isn’t a scaleable method. As a substitute, we’d wish to make the community conscious of those symmetries, so they’re mechanically preserved all through the community structure.

## Goal and scope of this put up

Right here, I introduce `escnn`

, a PyTorch extension that implements types of group equivariance for CNNs working on the airplane or in (3d) house. The library is utilized in varied, amply illustrated analysis papers; it’s appropriately documented; and it comes with introductory notebooks each relating the maths and exercising the code. Why, then, not simply check with the first notebook, and instantly begin utilizing it for some experiment?

In reality, this put up ought to – as fairly a couple of texts I’ve written – be thought to be an introduction to an introduction. To me, this matter appears something however simple, for varied causes. After all, there’s the maths. However as so typically in machine studying, you don’t have to go to nice depths to have the ability to apply an algorithm accurately. So if not the maths itself, what generates the issue? For me, it’s two issues.

First, to map my understanding of the mathematical ideas to the terminology used within the library, and from there, to appropriate use and utility. Expressed schematically: We’ve got an idea A, which figures (amongst different ideas) in technical time period (or object class) B. What does my understanding of A inform me about how object class B is for use accurately? Extra importantly: How do I take advantage of it to greatest attain my aim C? This primary problem I’ll deal with in a really pragmatic manner. I’ll neither dwell on mathematical particulars, nor attempt to set up the hyperlinks between A, B, and C intimately. As a substitute, I’ll current the characters on this story by asking what they’re good for.

Second – and this can be of relevance to only a subset of readers – the subject of group equivariance, notably as utilized to picture processing, is one the place visualizations might be of great assist. The quaternity of conceptual clarification, math, code, and visualization can, collectively, produce an understanding of emergent-seeming high quality… if, and provided that, all of those clarification modes “work” for you. (Or if, in an space, a mode that doesn’t wouldn’t contribute that a lot anyway.) Right here, it so occurs that from what I noticed, a number of papers have glorious visualizations, and the identical holds for some lecture slides and accompanying notebooks. However for these amongst us with restricted spatial-imagination capabilities – e.g., individuals with Aphantasia – these illustrations, supposed to assist, might be very arduous to make sense of themselves. Should you’re not considered one of these, I completely suggest testing the assets linked within the above footnotes. This textual content, although, will attempt to make the very best use of verbal clarification to introduce the ideas concerned, the library, and methods to use it.

That stated, let’s begin with the software program.

## Utilizing *escnn*

`Escnn`

is dependent upon PyTorch. Sure, PyTorch, not `torch`

; sadly, the library hasn’t been ported to R but. For now, thus, we’ll make use of `reticulate`

to entry the Python objects straight.

The way in which I’m doing that is set up `escnn`

in a digital atmosphere, with PyTorch model 1.13.1. As of this writing, Python 3.11 shouldn’t be but supported by considered one of `escnn`

’s dependencies; the digital atmosphere thus builds on Python 3.10. As to the library itself, I’m utilizing the event model from GitHub, operating `pip set up git+https://github.com/QUVA-Lab/escnn`

.

When you’re prepared, difficulty

```
library(reticulate)
# Confirm appropriate atmosphere is used.
# Alternative ways exist to make sure this; I've discovered most handy to configure this on
# a per-project foundation in RStudio's mission file (<myproj>.Rproj)
py_config()
# bind to required libraries and get handles to their namespaces
torch <- import("torch")
escnn <- import("escnn")
```

`Escnn`

loaded, let me introduce its foremost objects and their roles within the play.

## Areas, teams, and representations: `escnn$gspaces`

We begin by peeking into `gspaces`

, one of many two sub-modules we’re going to make direct use of.

```
[1] "conicalOnR3" "cylindricalOnR3" "dihedralOnR3" "flip2dOnR2" "flipRot2dOnR2" "flipRot3dOnR3"
[7] "fullCylindricalOnR3" "fullIcoOnR3" "fullOctaOnR3" "icoOnR3" "invOnR3" "mirOnR3 "octaOnR3"
[14] "rot2dOnR2" "rot2dOnR3" "rot3dOnR3" "trivialOnR2" "trivialOnR3"
```

The strategies I’ve listed instantiate a `gspace`

. Should you look carefully, you see that they’re all composed of two strings, joined by “On.” In all situations, the second half is both `R2`

or `R3`

. These two are the out there base areas – (mathbb{R}^2) and (mathbb{R}^3) – an enter sign can dwell in. Alerts can, thus, be photos, made up of pixels, or three-dimensional volumes, composed of voxels. The primary half refers back to the group you’d like to make use of. Selecting a bunch means selecting the symmetries to be revered. For instance, `rot2dOnR2()`

implies equivariance as to rotations, `flip2dOnR2()`

ensures the identical for mirroring actions, and `flipRot2dOnR2()`

subsumes each.

Let’s outline such a `gspace`

. Right here we ask for rotation equivariance on the Euclidean airplane, making use of the identical cyclic group – (C_4) – we developed in our from-scratch implementation:

```
r2_act <- gspaces$rot2dOnR2(N = 4L)
r2_act$fibergroup
```

On this put up, I’ll stick with that setup, however we might as nicely decide one other rotation angle – `N = 8`

, say, leading to eight equivariant positions separated by forty-five levels. Alternatively, we’d need *any* rotated place to be accounted for. The group to request then could be SO(2), known as the *particular orthogonal group,* of steady, distance- and orientation-preserving transformations on the Euclidean airplane:

`(gspaces$rot2dOnR2(N = -1L))$fibergroup`

`SO(2)`

Going again to (C_4), let’s examine its *representations*:

```
$irrep_0
C4|[irrep_0]:1
$irrep_1
C4|[irrep_1]:2
$irrep_2
C4|[irrep_2]:1
$common
C4|[regular]:4
```

A illustration, in our present context *and* very roughly talking, is a solution to encode a bunch motion as a matrix, assembly sure circumstances. In `escnn`

, representations are central, and we’ll see how within the subsequent part.

First, let’s examine the above output. 4 representations can be found, three of which share an vital property: they’re all irreducible. On (C_4), any non-irreducible illustration can be decomposed into into irreducible ones. These irreducible representations are what `escnn`

works with internally. Of these three, essentially the most attention-grabbing one is the second. To see its motion, we have to select a bunch component. How about counterclockwise rotation by ninety levels:

```
elem_1 <- r2_act$fibergroup$component(1L)
elem_1
```

`1[2pi/4]`

Related to this group component is the next matrix:

`r2_act$representations[[2]](elem_1)`

```
[,1] [,2]
[1,] 6.123234e-17 -1.000000e+00
[2,] 1.000000e+00 6.123234e-17
```

That is the so-called normal illustration,

[

begin{bmatrix} cos(theta) & -sin(theta) sin(theta) & cos(theta) end{bmatrix}

]

, evaluated at (theta = pi/2). (It’s known as the usual illustration as a result of it straight comes from how the group is outlined (particularly, a rotation by (theta) within the airplane).

The opposite attention-grabbing illustration to level out is the fourth: the one one which’s not irreducible.

`r2_act$representations[[4]](elem_1)`

```
[1,] 5.551115e-17 -5.551115e-17 -8.326673e-17 1.000000e+00
[2,] 1.000000e+00 5.551115e-17 -5.551115e-17 -8.326673e-17
[3,] 5.551115e-17 1.000000e+00 5.551115e-17 -5.551115e-17
[4,] -5.551115e-17 5.551115e-17 1.000000e+00 5.551115e-17
```

That is the so-called *common* illustration. The common illustration acts through permutation of group components, or, to be extra exact, of the premise vectors that make up the matrix. Clearly, that is solely doable for finite teams like (C_n), since in any other case there’d be an infinite quantity of foundation vectors to permute.

To raised see the motion encoded within the above matrix, we clear up a bit:

`round(r2_act$representations[[4]](elem_1))`

```
[,1] [,2] [,3] [,4]
[1,] 0 0 0 1
[2,] 1 0 0 0
[3,] 0 1 0 0
[4,] 0 0 1 0
```

This can be a step-one shift to the suitable of the identification matrix. The identification matrix, mapped to component 0, is the non-action; this matrix as an alternative maps the zeroth motion to the primary, the primary to the second, the second to the third, and the third to the primary.

We’ll see the common illustration utilized in a neural community quickly. Internally – however that needn’t concern the person – *escnn* works with its decomposition into irreducible matrices. Right here, that’s simply the bunch of irreducible representations we noticed above, numbered from one to a few.

Having checked out how teams and representations determine in `escnn`

, it’s time we method the duty of constructing a community.

## Representations, for actual: `escnn$nn$FieldType`

To this point, we’ve characterised the enter house ((mathbb{R}^2)), and specified the group motion. However as soon as we enter the community, we’re not within the airplane anymore, however in an area that has been prolonged by the group motion. Rephrasing, the group motion produces *function vector fields* that assign a function vector to every spatial place within the picture.

Now we now have these function vectors, we have to specify how they remodel underneath the group motion. That is encoded in an `escnn$nn$FieldType`

. Informally, lets say {that a} discipline sort is the *knowledge sort* of a function house. In defining it, we point out two issues: the bottom house, a `gspace`

, and the illustration sort(s) for use.

In an equivariant neural community, discipline sorts play a task just like that of channels in a convnet. Every layer has an enter and an output discipline sort. Assuming we’re working with grey-scale photos, we will specify the enter sort for the primary layer like this:

```
nn <- escnn$nn
feat_type_in <- nn$FieldType(r2_act, list(r2_act$trivial_repr))
```

The *trivial* illustration is used to point that, whereas the picture as a complete can be rotated, the pixel values themselves needs to be left alone. If this had been an RGB picture, as an alternative of `r2_act$trivial_repr`

we’d move a listing of three such objects.

So we’ve characterised the enter. At any later stage, although, the state of affairs could have modified. We could have carried out convolution as soon as for each group component. Transferring on to the subsequent layer, these function fields must remodel equivariantly, as nicely. This may be achieved by requesting the *common* illustration for an output discipline sort:

`feat_type_out <- nn$FieldType(r2_act, list(r2_act$regular_repr))`

Then, a convolutional layer could also be outlined like so:

`conv <- nn$R2Conv(feat_type_in, feat_type_out, kernel_size = 3L)`

## Group-equivariant convolution

What does such a convolution do to its enter? Similar to, in a typical convnet, capability might be elevated by having extra channels, an equivariant convolution can move on a number of function vector fields, presumably of various sort (assuming that is smart). Within the code snippet beneath, we request a listing of three, all behaving based on the common illustration.

We then carry out convolution on a batch of photos, made conscious of their “knowledge sort” by wrapping them in `feat_type_in`

:

```
x <- torch$rand(2L, 1L, 32L, 32L)
x <- feat_type_in(x)
y <- conv(x)
y$form |> unlist()
```

`[1] 2 12 30 30`

The output has twelve “channels,” this being the product of group cardinality – 4 distinguished positions – and variety of function vector fields (three).

If we select the only doable, roughly, check case, we will confirm that such a convolution is equivariant by direct inspection. Right here’s my setup:

```
feat_type_in <- nn$FieldType(r2_act, list(r2_act$trivial_repr))
feat_type_out <- nn$FieldType(r2_act, list(r2_act$regular_repr))
conv <- nn$R2Conv(feat_type_in, feat_type_out, kernel_size = 3L)
torch$nn$init$constant_(conv$weights, 1.)
x <- torch$vander(torch$arange(0,4))$view(tuple(1L, 1L, 4L, 4L)) |> feat_type_in()
x
```

```
g_tensor([[[[ 0., 0., 0., 1.],
[ 1., 1., 1., 1.],
[ 8., 4., 2., 1.],
[27., 9., 3., 1.]]]], [C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]: {irrep_0 (x1)}(1)])
```

Inspection could possibly be carried out utilizing any group component. I’ll decide rotation by (pi/2):

```
all <- iterate(r2_act$testing_elements)
g1 <- all[[2]]
g1
```

Only for enjoyable, let’s see how we will – actually – come complete circle by letting this component act on the enter tensor 4 occasions:

```
all <- iterate(r2_act$testing_elements)
g1 <- all[[2]]
x1 <- x$remodel(g1)
x1$tensor
x2 <- x1$remodel(g1)
x2$tensor
x3 <- x2$remodel(g1)
x3$tensor
x4 <- x3$remodel(g1)
x4$tensor
```

```
tensor([[[[ 1., 1., 1., 1.],
[ 0., 1., 2., 3.],
[ 0., 1., 4., 9.],
[ 0., 1., 8., 27.]]]])
tensor([[[[ 1., 3., 9., 27.],
[ 1., 2., 4., 8.],
[ 1., 1., 1., 1.],
[ 1., 0., 0., 0.]]]])
tensor([[[[27., 8., 1., 0.],
[ 9., 4., 1., 0.],
[ 3., 2., 1., 0.],
[ 1., 1., 1., 1.]]]])
tensor([[[[ 0., 0., 0., 1.],
[ 1., 1., 1., 1.],
[ 8., 4., 2., 1.],
[27., 9., 3., 1.]]]])
```

You see that on the finish, we’re again on the authentic “picture.”

Now, for equivariance. We might first apply a rotation, then convolve.

Rotate:

```
x_rot <- x$remodel(g1)
x_rot$tensor
```

That is the primary within the above checklist of 4 tensors.

Convolve:

```
y <- conv(x_rot)
y$tensor
```

```
tensor([[[[ 1.1955, 1.7110],
[-0.5166, 1.0665]],
[[-0.0905, 2.6568],
[-0.3743, 2.8144]],
[[ 5.0640, 11.7395],
[ 8.6488, 31.7169]],
[[ 2.3499, 1.7937],
[ 4.5065, 5.9689]]]], grad_fn=<ConvolutionBackward0>)
```

Alternatively, we will do the convolution first, then rotate its output.

Convolve:

```
y_conv <- conv(x)
y_conv$tensor
```

```
tensor([[[[-0.3743, -0.0905],
[ 2.8144, 2.6568]],
[[ 8.6488, 5.0640],
[31.7169, 11.7395]],
[[ 4.5065, 2.3499],
[ 5.9689, 1.7937]],
[[-0.5166, 1.1955],
[ 1.0665, 1.7110]]]], grad_fn=<ConvolutionBackward0>)
```

Rotate:

```
y <- y_conv$remodel(g1)
y$tensor
```

```
tensor([[[[ 1.1955, 1.7110],
[-0.5166, 1.0665]],
[[-0.0905, 2.6568],
[-0.3743, 2.8144]],
[[ 5.0640, 11.7395],
[ 8.6488, 31.7169]],
[[ 2.3499, 1.7937],
[ 4.5065, 5.9689]]]])
```

Certainly, remaining outcomes are the identical.

At this level, we all know methods to make use of group-equivariant convolutions. The ultimate step is to compose the community.

## A gaggle-equivariant neural community

Principally, we now have two inquiries to reply. The primary considerations the non-linearities; the second is methods to get from prolonged house to the information sort of the goal.

First, concerning the non-linearities. This can be a probably intricate matter, however so long as we stick with point-wise operations (akin to that carried out by ReLU) equivariance is given intrinsically.

In consequence, we will already assemble a mannequin:

```
feat_type_in <- nn$FieldType(r2_act, list(r2_act$trivial_repr))
feat_type_hid <- nn$FieldType(
r2_act,
list(r2_act$regular_repr, r2_act$regular_repr, r2_act$regular_repr, r2_act$regular_repr)
)
feat_type_out <- nn$FieldType(r2_act, list(r2_act$regular_repr))
mannequin <- nn$SequentialModule(
nn$R2Conv(feat_type_in, feat_type_hid, kernel_size = 3L),
nn$InnerBatchNorm(feat_type_hid),
nn$ReLU(feat_type_hid),
nn$R2Conv(feat_type_hid, feat_type_hid, kernel_size = 3L),
nn$InnerBatchNorm(feat_type_hid),
nn$ReLU(feat_type_hid),
nn$R2Conv(feat_type_hid, feat_type_out, kernel_size = 3L)
)$eval()
mannequin
```

```
SequentialModule(
(0): R2Conv([C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]:
{irrep_0 (x1)}(1)], [C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]: {common (x4)}(16)], kernel_size=3, stride=1)
(1): InnerBatchNorm([C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]:
{common (x4)}(16)], eps=1e-05, momentum=0.1, affine=True, track_running_stats=True)
(2): ReLU(inplace=False, sort=[C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]: {common (x4)}(16)])
(3): R2Conv([C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]:
{common (x4)}(16)], [C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]: {common (x4)}(16)], kernel_size=3, stride=1)
(4): InnerBatchNorm([C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]:
{common (x4)}(16)], eps=1e-05, momentum=0.1, affine=True, track_running_stats=True)
(5): ReLU(inplace=False, sort=[C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]: {common (x4)}(16)])
(6): R2Conv([C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]:
{common (x4)}(16)], [C4_on_R2[(None, 4)]: {common (x1)}(4)], kernel_size=3, stride=1)
)
```

Calling this mannequin on some enter picture, we get:

```
x <- torch$randn(1L, 1L, 17L, 17L)
x <- feat_type_in(x)
mannequin(x)$form |> unlist()
```

`[1] 1 4 11 11`

What we do now is dependent upon the duty. Since we didn’t protect the unique decision anyway – as would have been required for, say, segmentation – we in all probability need one function vector per picture. That we will obtain by spatial pooling:

```
avgpool <- nn$PointwiseAvgPool(feat_type_out, 11L)
y <- avgpool(mannequin(x))
y$form |> unlist()
```

`[1] 1 4 1 1`

We nonetheless have 4 “channels,” equivalent to 4 group components. This function vector is (roughly) translation-*in*variant, however rotation-*equi*variant, within the sense expressed by the selection of group. Usually, the ultimate output can be anticipated to be group-invariant in addition to translation-invariant (as in picture classification). If that’s the case, we pool over group components, as nicely:

```
invariant_map <- nn$GroupPooling(feat_type_out)
y <- invariant_map(avgpool(mannequin(x)))
y$tensor
```

`tensor([[[[-0.0293]]]], grad_fn=<CopySlices>)`

We find yourself with an structure that, from the surface, will appear to be a normal convnet, whereas on the within, all convolutions have been carried out in a rotation-equivariant manner. Coaching and analysis then are not any completely different from the same old process.

## The place to from right here

This “introduction to an introduction” has been the try to attract a high-level map of the terrain, so you’ll be able to resolve if that is helpful to you. If it’s not simply helpful, however attention-grabbing theory-wise as nicely, you’ll discover plenty of glorious supplies linked from the README. The way in which I see it, although, this put up already ought to allow you to truly experiment with completely different setups.

One such experiment, that might be of excessive curiosity to me, would possibly examine how nicely differing kinds and levels of equivariance truly work for a given job and dataset. Total, an inexpensive assumption is that, the upper “up” we go within the function hierarchy, the much less equivariance we require. For edges and corners, taken by themselves, full rotation equivariance appears fascinating, as does equivariance to reflection; for higher-level options, we’d wish to successively limit allowed operations, perhaps ending up with equivariance to mirroring merely. Experiments could possibly be designed to match other ways, and ranges, of restriction.

Thanks for studying!

Photograph by Volodymyr Tokar on Unsplash

*CoRR*abs/2106.06020. https://arxiv.org/abs/2106.06020.