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Provable Representation Learning for Imitation Learning via Bi-level Optimization
Sanjeev Arora · Simon Du · Sham Kakade · Yuping Luo · Nikunj Umesh Saunshi

Wed Jul 15 10:00 AM -- 10:45 AM & Wed Jul 15 09:00 PM -- 09:45 PM (PDT) @ None #None

A common strategy in modern learning systems is to learn a representation that is useful for many tasks, a.k.a. representation learning. We study this strategy in the imitation learning setting for Markov decision processes (MDPs) where multiple experts' trajectories are available. We formulate representation learning as a bi-level optimization problem where the outer" optimization tries to learn the joint representation and theinner" optimization encodes the imitation learning setup and tries to learn task-specific parameters. We instantiate this framework for the imitation learning settings of behavior cloning and observation-alone. Theoretically, we show using our framework that representation learning can provide sample complexity benefits for imitation learning in both settings. We also provide proof-of-concept experiments to verify our theory.

Author Information

Sanjeev Arora (Princeton University and Institute for Advanced Study)
Simon Du (Institute for Advanced Study)
Sham Kakade (University of Washington)

Sham Kakade is a Washington Research Foundation Data Science Chair, with a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington, and is a co-director for the Algorithmic Foundations of Data Science Institute. He works on the mathematical foundations of machine learning and AI. Sham's thesis helped in laying the foundations of the PAC-MDP framework for reinforcement learning. With his collaborators, his additional contributions include: one of the first provably efficient policy search methods, Conservative Policy Iteration, for reinforcement learning; developing the mathematical foundations for the widely used linear bandit models and the Gaussian process bandit models; the tensor and spectral methodologies for provable estimation of latent variable models (applicable to mixture of Gaussians, HMMs, and LDA); the first sharp analysis of the perturbed gradient descent algorithm, along with the design and analysis of numerous other convex and non-convex algorithms. He is the recipient of the IBM Goldberg best paper award (in 2007) for contributions to fast nearest neighbor search and the best paper, INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Prize (2014). He has been program chair for COLT 2011. Sham was an undergraduate at Caltech, where he studied physics and worked under the guidance of John Preskill in quantum computing. He then completed his Ph.D. in computational neuroscience at the Gatsby Unit at University College London, under the supervision of Peter Dayan. He was a postdoc at the Dept. of Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania , where he broadened his studies to include computational game theory and economics from the guidance of Michael Kearns. Sham has been a Principal Research Scientist at Microsoft Research, New England, an associate professor at the Department of Statistics, Wharton, UPenn, and an assistant professor at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago.

Yuping Luo (Princeton University)
Nikunj Saunshi (Princeton University)

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