Collaborating Authors

Adaptive Correlated Monte Carlo for Contextual Categorical Sequence Generation Machine Learning

Sequence generation models are commonly refined with reinforcement learning over user-defined metrics. However, high gradient variance hinders the practical use of this method. To stabilize this method, we adapt to contextual generation of categorical sequences a policy gradient estimator, which evaluates a set of correlated Monte Carlo (MC) rollouts for variance control. Due to the correlation, the number of unique rollouts is random and adaptive to model uncertainty; those rollouts naturally become baselines for each other, and hence are combined to effectively reduce gradient variance. We also demonstrate the use of correlated MC rollouts for binary-tree softmax models, which reduce the high generation cost in large vocabulary scenarios by decomposing each categorical action into a sequence of binary actions. We evaluate our methods on both neural program synthesis and image captioning. The proposed methods yield lower gradient variance and consistent improvement over related baselines.

Multi-task Learning for Continuous Control Machine Learning

Reliable and effective multi-task learning is a prerequisite for the development of robotic agents that can quickly learn to accomplish related, everyday tasks. However, in the reinforcement learning domain, multi-task learning has not exhibited the same level of success as in other domains, such as computer vision. In addition, most reinforcement learning research on multi-task learning has been focused on discrete action spaces, which are not used for robotic control in the real-world. In this work, we apply multi-task learning methods to continuous action spaces and benchmark their performance on a series of simulated continuous control tasks. Most notably, we show that multi-task learning outperforms our baselines and alternative knowledge sharing methods.

A Tale of 2 Trump Rollouts

U.S. News

"The rollout of this executive order was terrible. The right people were not involved or consulted. There was confusion in the enforcement that went on here. You had people who had gone through the extreme vetting that you have to go through to get a green card to be a permanent resident here who were being detained," Christie said. "The president deserves much better than the rollout that he got of this plan, and I think that's what caused a lot of the mistakes that were made and those mistakes aren't acceptable.

Using World Models for Pseudo-Rehearsal in Continual Learning Machine Learning

The utility of learning a dynamics/world model of the environment in reinforcement learning has been shown in a many ways. When using neural networks, however, these models suffer catastrophic forgetting when learned in a lifelong or continual fashion. Current solutions to the continual learning problem require experience to be segmented and labeled as discrete tasks, however, in continuous experience it is generally unclear what a sufficient segmentation of tasks would be. Here we propose a method to continually learn these internal world models through the interleaving of internally generated rollouts from past experiences (i.e., pseudo-rehearsal). We show this method can sequentially learn unsupervised temporal prediction, without task labels, in a disparate set of Atari games. Empirically, this interleaving of the internally generated rollouts with the external environment's observations leads to an average 4.5x reduction in temporal prediction loss compared to non-interleaved learning. Similarly, we show that the representations of this internal model remain stable across learned environments. Here, an agent trained using an initial version of the internal model can perform equally well when using a subsequent version that has successfully incorporated experience from multiple new environments.

The streaming rollout of deep networks - towards fully model-parallel execution

Neural Information Processing Systems

Deep neural networks, and in particular recurrent networks, are promising candidates to control autonomous agents that interact in real-time with the physical world. However, this requires a seamless integration of temporal features into the network’s architecture. For the training of and inference with recurrent neural networks, they are usually rolled out over time, and different rollouts exist. Conventionally during inference, the layers of a network are computed in a sequential manner resulting in sparse temporal integration of information and long response times. In this study, we present a theoretical framework to describe rollouts, the level of model-parallelization they induce, and demonstrate differences in solving specific tasks. We prove that certain rollouts, also for networks with only skip and no recurrent connections, enable earlier and more frequent responses, and show empirically that these early responses have better performance. The streaming rollout maximizes these properties and enables a fully parallel execution of the network reducing runtime on massively parallel devices. Finally, we provide an open-source toolbox to design, train, evaluate, and interact with streaming rollouts.