Compact representations of objects is a common concept in computer science. Automated planning can be viewed as a case of this concept: a planning instance is a compact implicit representation of a graph and the problem is to find a path (a plan) in this graph. While the graphs themselves are represented compactly as planning instances, the paths are usually represented explicitly as sequences of actions. Some cases are known where the plans always have compact representations, for example, using macros. We show that these results do not extend to the general case, by proving a number of bounds for compact representations of plans under various criteria, like efficient sequential or random access of actions. In addition to this, we show that our results have consequences for what can be gained from reformulating planning into some other problem. As a contrast to this we also prove a number of positive results, demonstrating restricted cases where plans do have useful compact representations, as well as proving that macro plans have favourable access properties. Our results are finally discussed in relation to other relevant contexts.
Learning useful representations without supervision remains a key challenge in machine learning. In this paper, we propose a simple yet powerful generative model that learns such discrete representations. Our model, the Vector Quantised-Variational AutoEncoder (VQ-VAE), differs from VAEs in two key ways: the encoder network outputs discrete, rather than continuous, codes; and the prior is learnt rather than static. In order to learn a discrete latent representation, we incorporate ideas from vector quantisation (VQ). Using the VQ method allows the model to circumvent issues of posterior collapse'' --- where the latents are ignored when they are paired with a powerful autoregressive decoder --- typically observed in the VAE framework.
Abstract: Replacing static word embeddings with contextualized word representations has yielded significant improvements on many NLP tasks. However, just how contextual are the contextualized representations produced by models such as ELMo and BERT? Are there infinitely many context-specific representations for each word, or are words essentially assigned one of a finite number of word-sense representations? For one, we find that the contextualized representations of all words are not isotropic in any layer of the contextualizing model. While representations of the same word in different contexts still have a greater cosine similarity than those of two different words, this self-similarity is much lower in upper layers.
Although it is often argued that this representational format is useful in learning to solve many real-world down-stream tasks, there is little empirical evidence that supports this claim. In this paper, we conduct a large-scale study that investigates whether disentangled representations are more suitable for abstract reasoning tasks. Using two new tasks similar to Raven's Progressive Matrices, we evaluate the usefulness of the representations learned by 360 state-of-the-art unsupervised disentanglement models. Based on these representations, we train 3600 abstract reasoning models and observe that disentangled representations do in fact lead to better down-stream performance. In particular, they enable quicker learning using fewer samples.
State representation learning, or the ability to capture latent generative factors of an environment is crucial for building intelligent agents that can perform a wide variety of tasks. Learning such representations in an unsupervised manner without supervision from rewards is an open problem. We introduce a method that tries to learn better state representations by maximizing mutual information across spatially and temporally distinct features of a neural encoder of the observations. We also introduce a new benchmark based on Atari 2600 games where we evaluate representations based on how well they capture the ground truth state. We believe this new framework for evaluating representation learning models will be crucial for future representation learning research.