Reinforcement Learning 15

Moderator: Deepak Pathak


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Thu 22 July 5:00 - 5:20 PDT

Modularity in Reinforcement Learning via Algorithmic Independence in Credit Assignment

Michael Chang · Sid Kaushik · Sergey Levine · Thomas Griffiths

Many transfer problems require re-using previously optimal decisions for solving new tasks, which suggests the need for learning algorithms that can modify the mechanisms for choosing certain actions independently of those for choosing others. However, there is currently no formalism nor theory for how to achieve this kind of modular credit assignment. To answer this question, we define modular credit assignment as a constraint on minimizing the algorithmic mutual information among feedback signals for different decisions. We introduce what we call the modularity criterion for testing whether a learning algorithm satisfies this constraint by performing causal analysis on the algorithm itself. We generalize the recently proposed societal decision-making framework as a more granular formalism than the Markov decision process to prove that for decision sequences that do not contain cycles, certain single-step temporal difference action-value methods meet this criterion while all policy-gradient methods do not. Empirical evidence suggests that such action-value methods are more sample efficient than policy-gradient methods on transfer problems that require only sparse changes to a sequence of previously optimal decisions.

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Thu 22 July 5:20 - 5:25 PDT

Dataset Condensation with Differentiable Siamese Augmentation

Bo Zhao · Hakan Bilen

In many machine learning problems, large-scale datasets have become the de-facto standard to train state-of-the-art deep networks at the price of heavy computation load. In this paper, we focus on condensing large training sets into significantly smaller synthetic sets which can be used to train deep neural networks from scratch with minimum drop in performance. Inspired from the recent training set synthesis methods, we propose Differentiable Siamese Augmentation that enables effective use of data augmentation to synthesize more informative synthetic images and thus achieves better performance when training networks with augmentations. Experiments on multiple image classification benchmarks demonstrate that the proposed method obtains substantial gains over the state-of-the-art, 7% improvements on CIFAR10 and CIFAR100 datasets. We show with only less than 1% data that our method achieves 99.6%, 94.9%, 88.5%, 71.5% relative performance on MNIST, FashionMNIST, SVHN, CIFAR10 respectively. We also explore the use of our method in continual learning and neural architecture search, and show promising results.

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Thu 22 July 5:25 - 5:30 PDT

PACOH: Bayes-Optimal Meta-Learning with PAC-Guarantees

Jonas Rothfuss · Vincent Fortuin · Martin Josifoski · Andreas Krause

Meta-learning can successfully acquire useful inductive biases from data. Yet, its generalization properties to unseen learning tasks are poorly understood. Particularly if the number of meta-training tasks is small, this raises concerns about overfitting. We provide a theoretical analysis using the PAC-Bayesian framework and derive novel generalization bounds for meta-learning. Using these bounds, we develop a class of PAC-optimal meta-learning algorithms with performance guarantees and a principled meta-level regularization. Unlike previous PAC-Bayesian meta-learners, our method results in a standard stochastic optimization problem which can be solved efficiently and scales well.When instantiating our PAC-optimal hyper-posterior (PACOH) with Gaussian processes and Bayesian Neural Networks as base learners, the resulting methods yield state-of-the-art performance, both in terms of predictive accuracy and the quality of uncertainty estimates. Thanks to their principled treatment of uncertainty, our meta-learners can also be successfully employed for sequential decision problems.

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Thu 22 July 5:30 - 5:35 PDT

Parameterless Transductive Feature Re-representation for Few-Shot Learning

Wentao Cui · Yuhong Guo

Recent literature in few-shot learning (FSL) has shown that transductive methods often outperform their inductive counterparts. However, most transductive solutions, particularly the meta-learning based ones, require inserting trainable parameters on top of some inductive baselines to facilitate transduction. In this paper, we propose a parameterless transductive feature re-representation framework that differs from all existing solutions from the following perspectives. (1) It is widely compatible with existing FSL methods, including meta-learning and fine tuning based models. (2) The framework is simple and introduces no extra training parameters when applied to any architecture. We conduct experiments on three benchmark datasets by applying the framework to both representative meta-learning baselines and state-of-the-art FSL methods. Our framework consistently improves performances in all experiments and refreshes the state-of-the-art FSL results.

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Thu 22 July 5:35 - 5:40 PDT

Sharing Less is More: Lifelong Learning in Deep Networks with Selective Layer Transfer

Seungwon Lee · Sima Behpour · Eric Eaton

Effective lifelong learning across diverse tasks requires the transfer of diverse knowledge, yet transferring irrelevant knowledge may lead to interference and catastrophic forgetting. In deep networks, transferring the appropriate granularity of knowledge is as important as the transfer mechanism, and must be driven by the relationships among tasks. We first show that the lifelong learning performance of several current deep learning architectures can be significantly improved by transfer at the appropriate layers. We then develop an expectation-maximization (EM) method to automatically select the appropriate transfer configuration and optimize the task network weights. This EM-based selective transfer is highly effective, balancing transfer performance on all tasks with avoiding catastrophic forgetting, as demonstrated on three algorithms in several lifelong object classification scenarios.

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Thu 22 July 5:40 - 5:45 PDT

Memory Efficient Online Meta Learning

Durmus Alp Emre Acar · Ruizhao Zhu · Venkatesh Saligrama

We propose a novel algorithm for online meta learning where task instances are sequentially revealed with limited supervision and a learner is expected to meta learn them in each round, so as to allow the learner to customize a task-specific model rapidly with little task-level supervision. A fundamental concern arising in online meta-learning is the scalability of memory as more tasks are viewed over time. Heretofore, prior works have allowed for perfect recall leading to linear increase in memory with time. Different from prior works, in our method, prior task instances are allowed to be deleted. We propose to leverage prior task instances by means of a fixed-size state-vector, which is updated sequentially. Our theoretical analysis demonstrates that our proposed memory efficient online learning (MOML) method suffers sub-linear regret with convex loss functions and sub-linear local regret for nonconvex losses. On benchmark datasets we show that our method can outperform prior works even though they allow for perfect recall.

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Thu 22 July 5:45 - 5:50 PDT

Detecting Rewards Deterioration in Episodic Reinforcement Learning

Ido Greenberg · Shie Mannor

In many RL applications, once training ends, it is vital to detect any deterioration in the agent performance as soon as possible. Furthermore, it often has to be done without modifying the policy and under minimal assumptions regarding the environment. In this paper, we address this problem by focusing directly on the rewards and testing for degradation. We consider an episodic framework, where the rewards within each episode are not independent, nor identically-distributed, nor Markov. We present this problem as a multivariate mean-shift detection problem with possibly partial observations. We define the mean-shift in a way corresponding to deterioration of a temporal signal (such as the rewards), and derive a test for this problem with optimal statistical power. Empirically, on deteriorated rewards in control problems (generated using various environment modifications), the test is demonstrated to be more powerful than standard tests - often by orders of magnitude. We also suggest a novel Bootstrap mechanism for False Alarm Rate control (BFAR), applicable to episodic (non-i.i.d) signal and allowing our test to run sequentially in an online manner. Our method does not rely on a learned model of the environment, is entirely external to the agent, and in fact can be applied to detect changes or drifts in any episodic signal.

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Thu 22 July 5:50 - 5:55 PDT