Panella, Alessandro (University of Illinois at Chicago)

When operating in stochastic, partially observable, multiagent settings, it is crucial to accurately predict the actions of other agents. In my thesis work, I propose methodologies for learning the policy of external agents from their observed behavior, in the form of finite state controllers. To perform this task, I adopt Bayesian learning algorithms based on nonparametric prior distributions, that provide the flexibility required to infer models of unknown complexity. These methods are to be embedded in decision making frameworks for autonomous planning in partially observable multiagent systems.

We analyze the asymptotic behavior of agents engaged in an infinite horizon partially observable stochastic game as formalized by the interactive POMDP framework. We show that when agents' initial beliefs satisfy a truth compatibility condition, their behavior converges to a subjective ɛ-equilibrium in a finite time, and subjective equilibrium in the limit. This result is a generalization of a similar result in repeated games, to partially observable stochastic games. However, it turns out that the equilibrating process is difficult to demonstrate computationally because of the difficulty in coming up with initial beliefs that are both natural and satisfy the truth compatibility condition. Our results, therefore, shed some negative light on using equilibria as a solution concept for decision making in partially observable stochastic games.

Wang, Nan, Melchior, Jan, Wiskott, Laurenz

We present a theoretical analysis of Gaussian-binary restricted Boltzmann machines (GRBMs) from the perspective of density models. The key aspect of this analysis is to show that GRBMs can be formulated as a constrained mixture of Gaussians, which gives a much better insight into the model's capabilities and limitations. We show that GRBMs are capable of learning meaningful features both in a two-dimensional blind source separation task and in modeling natural images. Further, we show that reported difficulties in training GRBMs are due to the failure of the training algorithm rather than the model itself. Based on our analysis we are able to propose several training recipes, which allowed successful and fast training in our experiments. Finally, we discuss the relationship of GRBMs to several modifications that have been proposed to improve the model.

The goal of machine learning is to program computers to use example data or past experience to solve a given problem. Many successful applications of machine learning exist already, including systems that analyze past sales data to predict customer behavior, optimize robot behavior so that a task can be completed using minimum resources, and extract knowledge from bioinformatics data. Introduction to Machine Learning is a comprehensive textbook on the subject, covering a broad array of topics not usually included in introductory machine learning texts. Subjects include supervised learning; Bayesian decision theory; parametric, semi-parametric, and nonparametric methods; multivariate analysis; hidden Markov models; reinforcement learning; kernel machines; graphical models; Bayesian estimation; and statistical testing. Machine learning is rapidly becoming a skill that computer science students must master before graduation.

The marginal likelihood, or model evidence, is a key quantity in Bayesian parameter estimation and model comparison. For many probabilistic models, computation of the marginal likelihood is challenging, because it involves a sum or integral over an enormous parameter space. Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) is a powerful approach to compute marginal likelihoods. Various MCMC algorithms and evidence estimators have been proposed in the literature. Here we discuss the use of nonequilibrium techniques for estimating the marginal likelihood. Nonequilibrium estimators build on recent developments in statistical physics and are known as annealed importance sampling (AIS) and reverse AIS in probabilistic machine learning. We introduce estimators for the model evidence that combine forward and backward simulations and show for various challenging models that the evidence estimators outperform forward and reverse AIS.