Collaborating Authors


Situated Language Learning via Interactive Narratives Artificial Intelligence

This paper provides a roadmap that explores the question of how to imbue learning agents with the ability to understand and generate contextually relevant natural language in service of achieving a goal. We hypothesize that two key components in creating such agents are interactivity and environment grounding, shown to be vital parts of language learning in humans, and posit that interactive narratives should be the environments of choice for such training these agents. These games are simulations in which an agent interacts with the world through natural language -- "perceiving", "acting upon", and "talking to" the world using textual descriptions, commands, and dialogue -- and as such exist at the intersection of natural language processing, storytelling, and sequential decision making. We discuss the unique challenges a text games' puzzle-like structure combined with natural language state-and-action spaces provides: knowledge representation, commonsense reasoning, and exploration. Beyond the challenges described so far, progress in the realm of interactive narratives can be applied in adjacent problem domains. These applications provide interesting challenges of their own as well as extensions to those discussed so far. We describe three of them in detail: (1) evaluating AI system's commonsense understanding by automatically creating interactive narratives; (2) adapting abstract text-based policies to include other modalities such as vision; and (3) enabling multi-agent and human-AI collaboration in shared, situated worlds.

Image Recognition A.I. Has a Weakness. This Could Fix It


You're probably familiar with deepfakes, the digitally altered "synthetic media" that's capable of fooling people into seeing or hearing things that never actually happened. Adversarial examples are like deepfakes for image-recognition A.I. systems -- and while they don't look even slightly strange to us, they're capable of befuddling the heck out of machines. Several years ago, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) found that they could fool even sophisticated image recognition algorithms into confusing objects simply by slightly altering their surface texture. In the researchers' demonstration, they showed that it was possible to get a cutting-edge neural network to look at a 3D-printed turtle and see a rifle instead. Or to gaze upon a baseball and come away with the conclusion that it is an espresso.

Generalizable Episodic Memory for Deep Reinforcement Learning Artificial Intelligence

Episodic memory-based methods can rapidly latch onto past successful strategies by a non-parametric memory and improve sample efficiency of traditional reinforcement learning. However, little effort is put into the continuous domain, where a state is never visited twice and previous episodic methods fail to efficiently aggregate experience across trajectories. To address this problem, we propose Generalizable Episodic Memory (GEM), which effectively organizes the state-action values of episodic memory in a generalizable manner and supports implicit planning on memorized trajectories. GEM utilizes a double estimator to reduce the overestimation bias induced by value propagation in the planning process. Empirical evaluation shows that our method significantly outperforms existing trajectory-based methods on various MuJoCo continuous control tasks. To further show the general applicability, we evaluate our method on Atari games with discrete action space, which also shows significant improvement over baseline algorithms.

Learning Human Rewards by Inferring Their Latent Intelligence Levels in Multi-Agent Games: A Theory-of-Mind Approach with Application to Driving Data Artificial Intelligence

Reward function, as an incentive representation that recognizes humans' agency and rationalizes humans' actions, is particularly appealing for modeling human behavior in human-robot interaction. Inverse Reinforcement Learning is an effective way to retrieve reward functions from demonstrations. However, it has always been challenging when applying it to multi-agent settings since the mutual influence between agents has to be appropriately modeled. To tackle this challenge, previous work either exploits equilibrium solution concepts by assuming humans as perfectly rational optimizers with unbounded intelligence or pre-assigns humans' interaction strategies a priori. In this work, we advocate that humans are bounded rational and have different intelligence levels when reasoning about others' decision-making process, and such an inherent and latent characteristic should be accounted for in reward learning algorithms. Hence, we exploit such insights from Theory-of-Mind and propose a new multi-agent Inverse Reinforcement Learning framework that reasons about humans' latent intelligence levels during learning. We validate our approach in both zero-sum and general-sum games with synthetic agents and illustrate a practical application to learning human drivers' reward functions from real driving data. We compare our approach with two baseline algorithms. The results show that by reasoning about humans' latent intelligence levels, the proposed approach has more flexibility and capability to retrieve reward functions that explain humans' driving behaviors better.

The Surprising Effectiveness of MAPPO in Cooperative, Multi-Agent Games Artificial Intelligence

Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) is a popular on-policy reinforcement learning algorithm but is significantly less utilized than off-policy learning algorithms in multi-agent problems. In this work, we investigate Multi-Agent PPO (MAPPO), a multi-agent PPO variant which adopts a centralized value function. Using a 1-GPU desktop, we show that MAPPO achieves performance comparable to the state-of-the-art in three popular multi-agent testbeds: the Particle World environments, Starcraft II Micromanagement Tasks, and the Hanabi Challenge, with minimal hyperparameter tuning and without any domain-specific algorithmic modifications or architectures. In the majority of environments, we find that compared to off-policy baselines, MAPPO achieves better or comparable sample complexity as well as substantially faster running time. Finally, we present 5 factors most influential to MAPPO's practical performance with ablation studies.

AI smashes video game high scores by remembering its past success

New Scientist

Montezuma's Revenge is one of the most challenging Atari games An artificial intelligence that can remember its previous successes and use them to create new strategies has achieved record high scores on some of the hardest video games on classic Atari consoles. Many AI systems use reinforcement learning, in which an algorithm is given positive or negative feedback on its progress towards a particular goal after each step it takes, encouraging it towards a particular solution. This technique was used by AI firm DeepMind to train AlphaGo, which beat a world champion Go player in 2016. Adrien Ecoffet at Uber AI Labs and OpenAI in California and his colleagues hypothesised that such algorithms often stumble upon encouraging avenues but then jump to another area in the hunt for something more promising, leaving better solutions overlooked. "What do you do when you don't know anything about your task?" says Ecoffet. "If you just wave your arms around, it's unlikely that you're ever going to make a coffee."

Provably Efficient Policy Gradient Methods for Two-Player Zero-Sum Markov Games Machine Learning

Policy gradient methods are widely used in solving two-player zero-sum games to achieve superhuman performance in practice. However, it remains elusive when they can provably find a near-optimal solution and how many samples and iterations are needed. The current paper studies natural extensions of Natural Policy Gradient algorithm for solving two-player zero-sum games where function approximation is used for generalization across states. We thoroughly characterize the algorithms' performance in terms of the number of samples, number of iterations, concentrability coefficients, and approximation error. To our knowledge, this is the first quantitative analysis of policy gradient methods with function approximation for two-player zero-sum Markov games.

Almost Optimal Algorithms for Two-player Markov Games with Linear Function Approximation Machine Learning

Multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) has achieved tremendous practical success across a wide range of machine learning tasks, including large-scale strategy games such as GO (Silver et al., 2016), TexasHold'em poker (Brown and Sandholm, 2019), real-time video games such as Starcraft (Vinyals et al., 2019), and autonomous driving (Shalev-Shwartz et al., 2016). Among these models used in MARL, two-player zero-sum Markov games (MG) (Shapley, 1953; Littman, 1994) is probably one of the most widely studied models and can be regarded as a generalization of the Markov Decision Processes (MDP) (Puterman, 2014). In two-player Markov games, the two players share states, play actions simultaneously and independently, and observe the same reward. One player (i.e., max-player) aims to maximize the return while the other (i.e., min-player) aims to minimize it. A special case of general Markov games (i.e., simultaneous-move games) is turn-based games, where only one player can take action in each step, i.e., the max and min players take turns to play the game. The players aim to find the Nash equilibrium for this game.

Derivative-Free Reinforcement Learning: A Review Artificial Intelligence

Reinforcement learning is about learning agent models that make the best sequential decisions in unknown environments. In an unknown environment, the agent needs to explore the environment while exploiting the collected information, which usually forms a sophisticated problem to solve. Derivative-free optimization, meanwhile, is capable of solving sophisticated problems. It commonly uses a sampling-and-updating framework to iteratively improve the solution, where exploration and exploitation are also needed to be well balanced. Therefore, derivative-free optimization deals with a similar core issue as reinforcement learning, and has been introduced in reinforcement learning approaches, under the names of learning classifier systems and neuroevolution/evolutionary reinforcement learning. Although such methods have been developed for decades, recently, derivative-free reinforcement learning exhibits attracting increasing attention. However, recent survey on this topic is still lacking. In this article, we summarize methods of derivative-free reinforcement learning to date, and organize the methods in aspects including parameter updating, model selection, exploration, and parallel/distributed methods. Moreover, we discuss some current limitations and possible future directions, hoping that this article could bring more attentions to this topic and serve as a catalyst for developing novel and efficient approaches.

Learning State Representations from Random Deep Action-conditional Predictions Artificial Intelligence

In this work, we study auxiliary prediction tasks defined by temporal-difference networks (TD networks); these networks are a language for expressing a rich space of general value function (GVF) prediction targets that may be learned efficiently with TD. Through analysis in an illustrative domain we show the benefits to learning state representations of exploiting the full richness of TD networks, including both action-conditional predictions and temporally deep predictions. Our main (and perhaps surprising) result is that deep action-conditional TD networks with random structures that create random prediction-questions about random features yield state representations that are competitive with state-of-the-art hand-crafted value prediction and pixel control auxiliary tasks in both Atari games and DeepMind Lab tasks. We also show through stop-gradient experiments that learning the state representations solely via these unsupervised random TD network prediction tasks yield agents that outperform the end-to-end-trained actor-critic baseline.