Timezone: »

AppBuddy: Learning to Accomplish Tasks in Mobile Apps via Reinforcement Learning
Maayan Shvo · Zhiming Hu · Rodrigo A Toro Icarte · Iqbal Mohomed · Allan Jepson · Sheila McIlraith

Human beings, even small children, quickly become adept at figuring out how to use applications on their mobile devices. Learning to use a new app is often achieved via trial-and-error, accelerated by transfer of knowledge from past experiences with like apps. The prospect of building a smarter smartphone — one that can learn how to achieve tasks using mobile apps — is tantalizing. In this paper we explore the use of Reinforcement Learning (RL) with the goal of advancing this aspiration. We introduce an RL-based framework for learning to accomplish tasks in mobile apps. RL agents are provided with states derived from the underlying representation of on-screen elements, and rewards that are based on progress made in the task. Agents can interact with screen elements by tapping or typing. Our experimental results, over a number of mobile apps, show that RL agents can learn to accomplish multi-step tasks, as well as achieve modest generalization across different apps. More generally, we develop a platform which addresses several engineering challenges to enable an effective RL training environment. Our AppBuddy platform is compatible with OpenAI Gym and includes a suite of mobile apps and benchmark tasks that supports a diversity of RL research in the mobile app setting.

Author Information

Maayan Shvo (University of Toronto)
Zhiming Hu (Samsung AI Center, Toronto)
Rodrigo A Toro Icarte (University of Toronto and Vector Institute)

I am a PhD student in the knowledge representation group at the University of Toronto. I am also a member of the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association and the Vector Institute. My supervisor is Sheila McIlraith. I did my undergrad in Computer Engineering and MSc in Computer Science at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC). My master's degree was co-supervised by Alvaro Soto and Jorge Baier. While I was at PUC, I instructed the undergraduate course "Introduction to Programming Languages."

Iqbal Mohomed (Samsung Research America)
Allan Jepson (Samsung Toronto AIC)
Sheila McIlraith (University of Toronto and Vector Institute)

Sheila McIlraith is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, a Canada CIFAR AI Chair (Vector Institute), and a Research Lead at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society. McIlraith's research is in the area of AI sequential decision making broadly construed, with a focus on human-compatible AI. McIlraith is a Fellow of the ACM and AAAI.

More from the Same Authors