Collaborating Authors

Learning to Optimize Variational Quantum Circuits to Solve Combinatorial Problems Machine Learning

Quantum computing is a computational paradigm with the potential to outperform classical methods for a variety of problems. Proposed recently, the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA) is considered as one of the leading candidates for demonstrating quantum advantage in the near term. QAOA is a variational hybrid quantum-classical algorithm for approximately solving combinatorial optimization problems. The quality of the solution obtained by QAOA for a given problem instance depends on the performance of the classical optimizer used to optimize the variational parameters. In this paper, we formulate the problem of finding optimal QAOA parameters as a learning task in which the knowledge gained from solving training instances can be leveraged to find high-quality solutions for unseen test instances. To this end, we develop two machine-learning-based approaches. Our first approach adopts a reinforcement learning (RL) framework to learn a policy network to optimize QAOA circuits. Our second approach adopts a kernel density estimation (KDE) technique to learn a generative model of optimal QAOA parameters. In both approaches, the training procedure is performed on small-sized problem instances that can be simulated on a classical computer; yet the learned RL policy and the generative model can be used to efficiently solve larger problems. Extensive simulations using the IBM Qiskit Aer quantum circuit simulator demonstrate that our proposed RL- and KDE-based approaches reduce the optimality gap by factors up to 30.15 when compared with other commonly used off-the-shelf optimizers.

ROS2Learn: a reinforcement learning framework for ROS 2 Artificial Intelligence

We propose a novel framework for Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) in modular robotics to train a robot directly from joint states, using traditional robotic tools. We use an state-of-the-art implementation of the Proximal Policy Optimization, Trust Region Policy Optimization and Actor-Critic Kronecker-Factored Trust Region algorithms to learn policies in four different Modular Articulated Robotic Arm (MARA) environments. We support this process using a framework that communicates with typical tools used in robotics, such as Gazebo and Robot Operating System 2 (ROS 2). We evaluate several algorithms in modular robots with an empirical study in simulation.

Variational Model-based Policy Optimization Artificial Intelligence

Model-based reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms allow us to combine model-generated data with those collected from interaction with the real system in order to alleviate the data efficiency problem in RL. However, designing such algorithms is often challenging because the bias in simulated data may overshadow the ease of data generation. A potential solution to this challenge is to jointly learn and improve model and policy using a universal objective function. In this paper, we leverage the connection between RL and probabilistic inference, and formulate such an objective function as a variational lower-bound of a log-likelihood. This allows us to use expectation maximization (EM) and iteratively fix a baseline policy and learn a variational distribution, consisting of a model and a policy (E-step), followed by improving the baseline policy given the learned variational distribution (M-step). We propose model-based and model-free policy iteration (actor-critic) style algorithms for the E-step and show how the variational distribution learned by them can be used to optimize the M-step in a fully model-based fashion. Our experiments on a number of continuous control tasks show that despite being more complex, our model-based (E-step) algorithm, called {\em variational model-based policy optimization} (VMBPO), is more sample-efficient and robust to hyper-parameter tuning than its model-free (E-step) counterpart. Using the same control tasks, we also compare VMBPO with several state-of-the-art model-based and model-free RL algorithms and show its sample efficiency and performance.

A Latent Variational Framework for Stochastic Optimization Machine Learning

This paper provides a unifying theoretical framework for stochastic optimization algorithms by means of a latent stochastic variational problem. Using techniques from stochastic control, the solution to the variational problem is shown to be equivalent to that of a Forward Backward Stochastic Differential Equation (FBSDE). By solving these equations, we recover a variety of existing adaptive stochastic gradient descent methods. This framework establishes a direct connection between stochastic optimization algorithms and a secondary Bayesian inference problem on gradients, where a prior measure on noisy gradient observations determine the resulting algorithm.

Learning to Optimize Machine Learning

Algorithm design is a laborious process and often requires many iterations of ideation and validation. In this paper, we explore automating algorithm design and present a method to learn an optimization algorithm, which we believe to be the first method that can automatically discover a better algorithm. We approach this problem from a reinforcement learning perspective and represent any particular optimization algorithm as a policy. We learn an optimization algorithm using guided policy search and demonstrate that the resulting algorithm outperforms existing hand-engineered algorithms in terms of convergence speed and/or the final objective value.