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Using Natural Language for Reward Shaping in Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Recent reinforcement learning (RL) approaches have shown strong performance in complex domains such as Atari games, but are often highly sample inefficient. A common approach to reduce interaction time with the environment is to use reward shaping, which involves carefully designing reward functions that provide the agent intermediate rewards for progress towards the goal. However, designing appropriate shaping rewards is known to be difficult as well as time-consuming. In this work, we address this problem by using natural language instructions to perform reward shaping. We propose the LanguagE-Action Reward Network (LEARN), a framework that maps free-form natural language instructions to intermediate rewards based on actions taken by the agent. These intermediate language-based rewards can seamlessly be integrated into any standard reinforcement learning algorithm. We experiment with Montezuma's Revenge from the Atari Learning Environment, a popular benchmark in RL. Our experiments on a diverse set of 15 tasks demonstrate that, for the same number of interactions with the environment, language-based rewards lead to successful completion of the task 60% more often on average, compared to learning without language.


Co-attentional Transformers for Story-Based Video Understanding

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Inspired by recent trends in vision and language learning, we explore applications of attention mechanisms for visio-lingual fusion within an application to story-based video understanding. Like other video-based QA tasks, video story understanding requires agents to grasp complex temporal dependencies. However, as it focuses on the narrative aspect of video it also requires understanding of the interactions between different characters, as well as their actions and their motivations. We propose a novel co-attentional transformer model to better capture long-term dependencies seen in visual stories such as dramas and measure its performance on the video question answering task. We evaluate our approach on the recently introduced DramaQA dataset which features character-centered video story understanding questions. Our model outperforms the baseline model by 8 percentage points overall, at least 4.95 and up to 12.8 percentage points on all difficulty levels and manages to beat the winner of the DramaQA challenge.


Data Augmentation Methods for Anaphoric Zero Pronouns

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In pro-drop language like Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and many others, unrealized (null) arguments in certain syntactic positions can refer to a previously introduced entity, and are thus called anaphoric zero pronouns. The existing resources for studying anaphoric zero pronoun interpretation are however still limited. In this paper, we use five data augmentation methods to generate and detect anaphoric zero pronouns automatically. We use the augmented data as additional training materials for two anaphoric zero pronoun systems for Arabic. Our experimental results show that data augmentation improves the performance of the two systems, surpassing the state-of-the-art results.


Reminding the Incremental Language Model via Data-Free Self-Distillation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Incremental language learning with pseudo-data can alleviate catastrophic forgetting in neural networks. However, to obtain better performance, former methods have higher demands for pseudo-data of the previous tasks. The performance dramatically decreases when fewer pseudo-data are employed. In addition, the distribution of pseudo-data gradually deviates from the real data with the sequential learning of different tasks. The deviation will be greater with more tasks learned, which results in more serious catastrophic forgetting. To address these issues, we propose reminding incremental language model via data-free self-distillation (DFSD), which includes self-distillation based on the Earth Mover's Distance and hidden data augmentation. By estimating the knowledge distribution in all layers of GPT-2 and transforming it from teacher model to student model, the Self-distillation based on the Earth Mover's Distance can significantly reduce the demand for pseudo-data. Hidden data augmentation can greatly alleviate the catastrophic forgetting caused by deviations via modeling the generation of pseudo-data as a hidden data augmentation process, where each sample is a mixture of all trained task data. The experimental results demonstrate that our DFSD can exceed the previous state-of-the-art methods even if the maximum decrease in pseudo-data is 90%.


Learning a Reversible Embedding Mapping using Bi-Directional Manifold Alignment

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We propose a Bi-Directional Manifold Alignment (BDMA) that learns a non-linear mapping between two manifolds by explicitly training it to be bijective. We demonstrate BDMA by training a model for a pair of languages rather than individual, directed source and target combinations, reducing the number of models by 50%. We show that models trained with BDMA in the "forward" (source to target) direction can successfully map words in the "reverse" (target to source) direction, yielding equivalent (or better) performance to standard unidirectional translation models where the source and target language is flipped. We also show how BDMA reduces the overall size of the model.