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A Survey of Generalisation in Deep Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The study of generalisation in deep Reinforcement Learning (RL) aims to produce RL algorithms whose policies generalise well to novel unseen situations at deployment time, avoiding overfitting to their training environments. Tackling this is vital if we are to deploy reinforcement learning algorithms in real world scenarios, where the environment will be diverse, dynamic and unpredictable. This survey is an overview of this nascent field. We provide a unifying formalism and terminology for discussing different generalisation problems, building upon previous works. We go on to categorise existing benchmarks for generalisation, as well as current methods for tackling the generalisation problem. Finally, we provide a critical discussion of the current state of the field, including recommendations for future work. Among other conclusions, we argue that taking a purely procedural content generation approach to benchmark design is not conducive to progress in generalisation, we suggest fast online adaptation and tackling RL-specific problems as some areas for future work on methods for generalisation, and we recommend building benchmarks in underexplored problem settings such as offline RL generalisation and reward-function variation.


Challenges of Artificial Intelligence -- From Machine Learning and Computer Vision to Emotional Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a part of everyday conversation and our lives. It is considered as the new electricity that is revolutionizing the world. AI is heavily invested in both industry and academy. However, there is also a lot of hype in the current AI debate. AI based on so-called deep learning has achieved impressive results in many problems, but its limits are already visible. AI has been under research since the 1940s, and the industry has seen many ups and downs due to over-expectations and related disappointments that have followed. The purpose of this book is to give a realistic picture of AI, its history, its potential and limitations. We believe that AI is a helper, not a ruler of humans. We begin by describing what AI is and how it has evolved over the decades. After fundamentals, we explain the importance of massive data for the current mainstream of artificial intelligence. The most common representations for AI, methods, and machine learning are covered. In addition, the main application areas are introduced. Computer vision has been central to the development of AI. The book provides a general introduction to computer vision, and includes an exposure to the results and applications of our own research. Emotions are central to human intelligence, but little use has been made in AI. We present the basics of emotional intelligence and our own research on the topic. We discuss super-intelligence that transcends human understanding, explaining why such achievement seems impossible on the basis of present knowledge,and how AI could be improved. Finally, a summary is made of the current state of AI and what to do in the future. In the appendix, we look at the development of AI education, especially from the perspective of contents at our own university.


Deep Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Deep reinforcement learning has gathered much attention recently. Impressive results were achieved in activities as diverse as autonomous driving, game playing, molecular recombination, and robotics. In all these fields, computer programs have taught themselves to solve difficult problems. They have learned to fly model helicopters and perform aerobatic manoeuvers such as loops and rolls. In some applications they have even become better than the best humans, such as in Atari, Go, poker and StarCraft. The way in which deep reinforcement learning explores complex environments reminds us of how children learn, by playfully trying out things, getting feedback, and trying again. The computer seems to truly possess aspects of human learning; this goes to the heart of the dream of artificial intelligence. The successes in research have not gone unnoticed by educators, and universities have started to offer courses on the subject. The aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive overview of the field of deep reinforcement learning. The book is written for graduate students of artificial intelligence, and for researchers and practitioners who wish to better understand deep reinforcement learning methods and their challenges. We assume an undergraduate-level of understanding of computer science and artificial intelligence; the programming language of this book is Python. We describe the foundations, the algorithms and the applications of deep reinforcement learning. We cover the established model-free and model-based methods that form the basis of the field. Developments go quickly, and we also cover advanced topics: deep multi-agent reinforcement learning, deep hierarchical reinforcement learning, and deep meta learning.


Abstractions of General Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) is devoted to the creation of artificial decision-makers that can perform (at least) on par with the human counterparts on a domain of interest. Unlike the agents in traditional AI, the agents in artificial general intelligence (AGI) are required to replicate human intelligence in almost every domain of interest. Moreover, an AGI agent should be able to achieve this without (virtually any) further changes, retraining, or fine-tuning of the parameters. The real world is non-stationary, non-ergodic, and non-Markovian: we, humans, can neither revisit our past nor are the most recent observations sufficient statistics. Yet, we excel at a variety of complex tasks. Many of these tasks require longterm planning. We can associate this success to our natural faculty to abstract away task-irrelevant information from our overwhelming sensory experience. We make task-specific mental models of the world without much effort. Due to this ability to abstract, we can plan on a significantly compact representation of a task without much loss of performance. Not only this, we also abstract our actions to produce high-level plans: the level of action-abstraction can be anywhere between small muscle movements to a mental notion of "doing an action". It is natural to assume that any AGI agent competing with humans (at every plausible domain) should also have these abilities to abstract its experiences and actions. This thesis is an inquiry into the existence of such abstractions which aid efficient planing for a wide range of domains, and most importantly, these abstractions come with some optimality guarantees.


Deep Reinforcement Learning Versus Evolution Strategies: A Comparative Survey

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) and Evolution Strategies (ESs) have surpassed human-level control in many sequential decision-making problems, yet many open challenges still exist. To get insights into the strengths and weaknesses of DRL versus ESs, an analysis of their respective capabilities and limitations is provided. After presenting their fundamental concepts and algorithms, a comparison is provided on key aspects such as scalability, exploration, adaptation to dynamic environments, and multi-agent learning. Then, the benefits of hybrid algorithms that combine concepts from DRL and ESs are highlighted. Finally, to have an indication about how they compare in real-world applications, a survey of the literature for the set of applications they support is provided.


A Survey of Exploration Methods in Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Exploration is an essential component of reinforcement learning algorithms, where agents need to learn how to predict and control unknown and often stochastic environments. Reinforcement learning agents depend crucially on exploration to obtain informative data for the learning process as the lack of enough information could hinder effective learning. In this article, we provide a survey of modern exploration methods in (Sequential) reinforcement learning, as well as a taxonomy of exploration methods.


Explainable Reinforcement Learning for Broad-XAI: A Conceptual Framework and Survey

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Broad Explainable Artificial Intelligence moves away from interpreting individual decisions based on a single datum and aims to provide integrated explanations from multiple machine learning algorithms into a coherent explanation of an agent's behaviour that is aligned to the communication needs of the explainee. Reinforcement Learning (RL) methods, we propose, provide a potential backbone for the cognitive model required for the development of Broad-XAI. RL represents a suite of approaches that have had increasing success in solving a range of sequential decision-making problems. However, these algorithms all operate as black-box problem solvers, where they obfuscate their decision-making policy through a complex array of values and functions. EXplainable RL (XRL) is relatively recent field of research that aims to develop techniques to extract concepts from the agent's: perception of the environment; intrinsic/extrinsic motivations/beliefs; Q-values, goals and objectives. This paper aims to introduce a conceptual framework, called the Causal XRL Framework (CXF), that unifies the current XRL research and uses RL as a backbone to the development of Broad-XAI. Additionally, we recognise that RL methods have the ability to incorporate a range of technologies to allow agents to adapt to their environment. CXF is designed for the incorporation of many standard RL extensions and integrated with external ontologies and communication facilities so that the agent can answer questions that explain outcomes and justify its decisions.


On the Opportunities and Risks of Foundation Models

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

AI is undergoing a paradigm shift with the rise of models (e.g., BERT, DALL-E, GPT-3) that are trained on broad data at scale and are adaptable to a wide range of downstream tasks. We call these models foundation models to underscore their critically central yet incomplete character. This report provides a thorough account of the opportunities and risks of foundation models, ranging from their capabilities (e.g., language, vision, robotics, reasoning, human interaction) and technical principles(e.g., model architectures, training procedures, data, systems, security, evaluation, theory) to their applications (e.g., law, healthcare, education) and societal impact (e.g., inequity, misuse, economic and environmental impact, legal and ethical considerations). Though foundation models are based on standard deep learning and transfer learning, their scale results in new emergent capabilities,and their effectiveness across so many tasks incentivizes homogenization. Homogenization provides powerful leverage but demands caution, as the defects of the foundation model are inherited by all the adapted models downstream. Despite the impending widespread deployment of foundation models, we currently lack a clear understanding of how they work, when they fail, and what they are even capable of due to their emergent properties. To tackle these questions, we believe much of the critical research on foundation models will require deep interdisciplinary collaboration commensurate with their fundamentally sociotechnical nature.


Learning off-road maneuver plans for autonomous vehicles

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This thesis explores the benefits machine learning algorithms can bring to online planning and scheduling for autonomous vehicles in off-road situations. Mainly, we focus on typical problems of interest which include computing itineraries that meet certain objectives, as well as computing scheduling strategies to execute synchronized maneuvers with other vehicles. We present a range of learning-based heuristics to assist different itinerary planners. We show that these heuristics allow a significant increase in performance for optimal planners. Furthermore, in the case of approximate planning, we show that not only does the running time decrease, the quality of the itinerary found also becomes almost always better. Finally, in order to synthesize strategies to execute synchronized maneuvers, we propose a novel type of scheduling controllability and a learning-assisted algorithm. The proposed framework achieves significant improvement on known benchmarks in this controllability type over the performance of state-of-the-art works in a related controllability type. Moreover, it is able to find strategies on complex scheduling problems for which previous works fail to do so.


Core Challenges in Embodied Vision-Language Planning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Recent advances in the areas of multimodal machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have led to the development of challenging tasks at the intersection of Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and Embodied AI. Whereas many approaches and previous survey pursuits have characterised one or two of these dimensions, there has not been a holistic analysis at the center of all three. Moreover, even when combinations of these topics are considered, more focus is placed on describing, e.g., current architectural methods, as opposed to also illustrating high-level challenges and opportunities for the field. In this survey paper, we discuss Embodied Vision-Language Planning (EVLP) tasks, a family of prominent embodied navigation and manipulation problems that jointly use computer vision and natural language. We propose a taxonomy to unify these tasks and provide an in-depth analysis and comparison of the new and current algorithmic approaches, metrics, simulated environments, as well as the datasets used for EVLP tasks. Finally, we present the core challenges that we believe new EVLP works should seek to address, and we advocate for task construction that enables model generalizability and furthers real-world deployment.