Collaborating Authors

Reinforcement Learning

What is Machine Learning?


Machine Learning (ML) is a technique that uses algorithms to learn from the data without being programmed explicitly. Due to the data abundance and efficient data storage, ML rose to the limelight in recent times, but the foundational research in this field was done in seventy's and eighty's. Different ways for a computer to learn from data -- supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. A supervised learning algorithm takes labeled data while training the model, and then the model makes predictions in the presence of the new data. These problems could be divided into regression and classification problems.

Evaluating Soccer Player: from Live Camera to Deep Reinforcement Learning


Scientifically evaluating soccer players represents a challenging Machine Learning problem. Unfortunately, most existing answers have very opaque algorithm training procedures; relevant data are scarcely accessible and almost impossible to generate. In this paper, we will introduce a two-part solution: an open-source Player Tracking model and a new approach to evaluate these players based solely on Deep Reinforcement Learning, without human data training nor guidance. Our tracking model was trained in a supervised fashion on datasets we will also release, and our Evaluation Model relies only on simulations of virtual soccer games. Combining those two architectures allows one to evaluate Soccer Players directly from a live camera without large datasets constraints.

Learning in PyTorch Modern Reinforcement Learning: Deep Q


You will then learn how to implement these in pythonic and concise PyTorch code, that can be extended to include any future deep Q learning algorithms. These algorithms will be used to solve a variety of environments from the Open AI gym's Atari library, including Pong, Breakout, and Bankheist. You will learn the key to making these Deep Q Learning algorithms work, which is how to modify the Open AI Gym's Atari library to meet the specifications of the original Deep Q Learning papers. Also included is a mini course in deep learning using the PyTorch framework. This is geared for students who are familiar with the basic concepts of deep learning, but not the specifics, or those who are comfortable with deep learning in another framework, such as Tensorflow or Keras.

A learning perspective on the emergence of abstractions: the curious case of phonemes Machine Learning

In the present paper we use a range of modeling techniques to investigate whether an abstract phone could emerge from exposure to speech sounds. We test two opposing principles regarding the development of language knowledge in linguistically untrained language users: Memory-Based Learning (MBL) and Error-Correction Learning (ECL). A process of generalization underlies the abstractions linguists operate with, and we probed whether MBL and ECL could give rise to a type of language knowledge that resembles linguistic abstractions. Each model was presented with a significant amount of pre-processed speech produced by one speaker. We assessed the consistency or stability of what the models have learned and their ability to give rise to abstract categories. Both types of models fare differently with regard to these tests. We show that ECL learning models can learn abstractions and that at least part of the phone inventory can be reliably identified from the input.

Model-free and Bayesian Ensembling Model-based Deep Reinforcement Learning for Particle Accelerator Control Demonstrated on the FERMI FEL Artificial Intelligence

Reinforcement learning holds tremendous promise in accelerator controls. The primary goal of this paper is to show how this approach can be utilised on an operational level on accelerator physics problems. Despite the success of model-free reinforcement learning in several domains, sample-efficiency still is a bottle-neck, which might be encompassed by model-based methods. We compare well-suited purely model-based to model-free reinforcement learning applied to the intensity optimisation on the FERMI FEL system. We find that the model-based approach demonstrates higher representational power and sample-efficiency, while the asymptotic performance of the model-free method is slightly superior. The model-based algorithm is implemented in a DYNA-style using an uncertainty aware model, and the model-free algorithm is based on tailored deep Q-learning. In both cases, the algorithms were implemented in a way, which presents increased noise robustness as omnipresent in accelerator control problems. Code is released in

High-Throughput Synchronous Deep RL Artificial Intelligence

Deep reinforcement learning (RL) is computationally demanding and requires processing of many data points. Synchronous methods enjoy training stability while having lower data throughput. In contrast, asynchronous methods achieve high throughput but suffer from stability issues and lower sample efficiency due to `stale policies.' To combine the advantages of both methods we propose High-Throughput Synchronous Deep Reinforcement Learning (HTS-RL). In HTS-RL, we perform learning and rollouts concurrently, devise a system design which avoids `stale policies' and ensure that actors interact with environment replicas in an asynchronous manner while maintaining full determinism. We evaluate our approach on Atari games and the Google Research Football environment. Compared to synchronous baselines, HTS-RL is 2-6$\times$ faster. Compared to state-of-the-art asynchronous methods, HTS-RL has competitive throughput and consistently achieves higher average episode rewards.

Grounding Artificial Intelligence in the Origins of Human Behavior Artificial Intelligence

Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have revived the quest for agents able to acquire an open-ended repertoire of skills. However, although this ability is fundamentally related to the characteristics of human intelligence, research in this field rarely considers the processes that may have guided the emergence of complex cognitive capacities during the evolution of the species. Research in Human Behavioral Ecology (HBE) seeks to understand how the behaviors characterizing human nature can be conceived as adaptive responses to major changes in the structure of our ecological niche. In this paper, we propose a framework highlighting the role of environmental complexity in open-ended skill acquisition, grounded in major hypotheses from HBE and recent contributions in Reinforcement learning (RL). We use this framework to highlight fundamental links between the two disciplines, as well as to identify feedback loops that bootstrap ecological complexity and create promising research directions for AI researchers.

Towards Optimal District Heating Temperature Control in China with Deep Reinforcement Learning Artificial Intelligence

Achieving efficiency gains in Chinese district heating networks, thereby reducing their carbon footprint, requires new optimal control methods going beyond current industry tools. Focusing on the secondary network, we propose a data-driven deep reinforcement learning (DRL) approach to address this task. We build a recurrent neural network, trained on simulated data, to predict the indoor temperatures. This model is then used to train two DRL agents, with or without expert guidance, for the optimal control of the supply water temperature. Our tests in a multi-apartment setting show that both agents can ensure a higher thermal comfort and at the same time a smaller energy cost, compared to an optimized baseline strategy.

ViNG: Learning Open-World Navigation with Visual Goals Artificial Intelligence

We propose a learning-based navigation system for reaching visually indicated goals and demonstrate this system on a real mobile robot platform. Learning provides an appealing alternative to conventional methods for robotic navigation: instead of reasoning about environments in terms of geometry and maps, learning can enable a robot to learn about navigational affordances, understand what types of obstacles are traversable (e.g., tall grass) or not (e.g., walls), and generalize over patterns in the environment. However, unlike conventional planning algorithms, it is harder to change the goal for a learned policy during deployment. We propose a method for learning to navigate towards a goal image of the desired destination. By combining a learned policy with a topological graph constructed out of previously observed data, our system can determine how to reach this visually indicated goal even in the presence of variable appearance and lighting. Three key insights, waypoint proposal, graph pruning and negative mining, enable our method to learn to navigate in real-world environments using only offline data, a setting where prior methods struggle. We instantiate our method on a real outdoor ground robot and show that our system, which we call ViNG, outperforms previously-proposed methods for goal-conditioned reinforcement learning, including other methods that incorporate reinforcement learning and search. We also study how ViNG generalizes to unseen environments and evaluate its ability to adapt to such an environment with growing experience. Finally, we demonstrate ViNG on a number of real-world applications, such as last-mile delivery and warehouse inspection. We encourage the reader to check out the videos of our experiments and demonstrations at our project website

Intrinsically Motivated Goal-Conditioned Reinforcement Learning: a Short Survey Artificial Intelligence

Building autonomous machines that can explore open-ended environments, discover possible interactions and autonomously build repertoires of skills is a general objective of artificial intelligence. Developmental approaches argue that this can only be achieved by autonomous and intrinsically motivated learning agents that can generate, select and learn to solve their own problems. In recent years, we have seen a convergence of developmental approaches, and developmental robotics in particular, with deep reinforcement learning (RL) methods, forming the new domain of developmental machine learning. Within this new domain, we review here a set of methods where deep RL algorithms are trained to tackle the developmental robotics problem of the autonomous acquisition of open-ended repertoires of skills. Intrinsically motivated goal-conditioned RL algorithms train agents to learn to represent, generate and pursue their own goals. The self-generation of goals requires the learning of compact goal encodings as well as their associated goal-achievement functions, which results in new challenges compared to traditional RL algorithms designed to tackle pre-defined sets of goals using external reward signals. This paper proposes a typology of these methods at the intersection of deep RL and developmental approaches, surveys recent approaches and discusses future avenues.