Collaborating Authors

Machine Learning: A gentle introduction


Looking at the last Google and Apple conventions it was clear to all: if in the past years the main buzzwords in the information technology field were IoT and Big Data, the catch'em all word of this year is without any doubts Machine Learning. What does this word exactly means? Are we talking about artificial intelligence? Somebody is trying to build a Skynet to ruin the world? Machines will steal my job in the future?

Reinforcement Learning by Probability Matching

Neural Information Processing Systems

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 02139 Abstract We present a new algorithm for associative reinforcement learning. Thealgorithm is based upon the idea of matching a network's output probability with a probability distribution derived from the environment's reward signal. This Probability Matching algorithm is shown to perform faster and be less susceptible to local minima than previously existing algorithms. We use Probability Matching totrain mixture of experts networks, an architecture for which other reinforcement learning rules fail to converge reliably on even simple problems. This architecture is particularly well suited for our algorithm as it can compute arbitrarily complex functions yet calculation of the output probability is simple. 1 INTRODUCTION The problem of learning associative networks from scalar reinforcement signals is notoriously difficult.

Deep Learning for Sampling from Arbitrary Probability Distributions Machine Learning

This paper proposes a fully connected neural network model to map samples from a uniform distribution to samples of any explicitly known probability density function. During the training, the Jensen-Shannon divergence between the distribution of the model's output and the target distribution is minimized. We experimentally demonstrate that our model converges towards the desired state. It provides an alternative to existing sampling methods such as inversion sampling, rejection sampling, Gaussian mixture models and Markov-Chain-Monte-Carlo. Our model has high sampling efficiency and is easily applied to any probability distribution, without the need of further analytical or numerical calculations. It can produce correlated samples, such that the output distribution converges faster towards the target than for independent samples. But it is also able to produce independent samples, if single values are fed into the network and the input values are independent as well. We focus on one-dimensional sampling, but additionally illustrate a two-dimensional example with a target distribution of dependent variables.

Tutorial #5: variational autoencoders


The goal of the variational autoencoder (VAE) is to learn a probability distribution $Pr(\mathbf{x})$ over a multi-dimensional variable $\mathbf{x}$. There are two main reasons for modelling distributions. First, we might want to draw samples (generate) from the distribution to create new plausible values of $\mathbf{x}$. Second, we might want to measure the likelihood that a new vector $\mathbf{x} {*}$ was created by this probability distribution. In fact, it turns out that the variational autoencoder is well-suited to the former task but not for the latter. It is common to talk about the variational autoencoder as if it is the model of $Pr(\mathbf{x})$. However, this is misleading; the variational autoencoder is a neural architecture that is designed to help learn the model for $Pr(\mathbf{x})$.

How a Kalman filter works, in pictures


I have to tell you about the Kalman filter, because what it does is pretty damn amazing. Surprisingly few software engineers and scientists seem to know about it, and that makes me sad because it is such a general and powerful tool for combining information in the presence of uncertainty. At times its ability to extract accurate information seems almost magical-- and if it sounds like I'm talking this up too much, then take a look at this previously posted video where I demonstrate a Kalman filter figuring out the orientation of a free-floating body by looking at its velocity. You can use a Kalman filter in any place where you have uncertain information about some dynamic system, and you can make an educated guess about what the system is going to do next. Even if messy reality comes along and interferes with the clean motion you guessed about, the Kalman filter will often do a very good job of figuring out what actually happened.