The reinforcement learning community has made great strides in designing algorithms capable of exceeding human performance on specific tasks. These algorithms are mostly trained one task at the time, each new task requiring to train a brand new agent instance. This means the learning algorithm is general, but each solution is not; each agent can only solve the one task it was trained on. In this work, we study the problem of learning to master not one but multiple sequential-decision tasks at once. A general issue in multi-task learning is that a balance must be found between the needs of multiple tasks competing for the limited resources of a single learning system. Many learning algorithms can get distracted by certain tasks in the set of tasks to solve. Such tasks appear more salient to the learning process, for instance because of the density or magnitude of the in-task rewards. This causes the algorithm to focus on those salient tasks at the expense of generality. We propose to automatically adapt the contribution of each task to the agent's updates, so that all tasks have a similar impact on the learning dynamics. This resulted in state of the art performance on learning to play all games in a set of 57 diverse Atari games. Excitingly, our method learned a single trained policy - with a single set of weights - that exceeds median human performance. To our knowledge, this was the first time a single agent surpassed human-level performance on this multi-task domain. The same approach also demonstrated state of the art performance on a set of 30 tasks in the 3D reinforcement learning platform DeepMind Lab.
Reinforcement learning (RL) is a popular paradigm for addressing sequential decision tasks in which the agent has only limited environmental feedback. Despite many advances over the past three decades, learning in many domains still requires a large amount of interaction with the environment, which can be prohibitively expensive in realistic scenarios. To address this problem, transfer learning has been applied to reinforcement learning such that experience gained in one task can be leveraged when starting to learn the next, harder task. More recently, several lines of research have explored how tasks, or data samples themselves, can be sequenced into a curriculum for the purpose of learning a problem that may otherwise be too difficult to learn from scratch. In this article, we present a framework for curriculum learning (CL) in reinforcement learning, and use it to survey and classify existing CL methods in terms of their assumptions, capabilities, and goals. Finally, we use our framework to find open problems and suggest directions for future RL curriculum learning research.
Few-shot Learning aims to learn classifiers for new classes with only a few training examples per class. Existing meta-learning or metric-learning based few-shot learning approaches are limited in handling diverse domains with various number of labels. The meta-learning approaches train a meta learner to predict weights of homogeneous-structured task-specific networks, requiring a uniform number of classes across tasks. The metric-learning approaches learn one task-invariant metric for all the tasks, and they fail if the tasks diverge. We propose to deal with these limitations with meta metric learning. Our meta metric learning approach consists of task-specific learners, that exploit metric learning to handle flexible labels, and a meta learner, that discovers good parameters and gradient decent to specify the metrics in task-specific learners. Thus the proposed model is able to handle unbalanced classes as well as to generate task-specific metrics. We test our approach in the `$k$-shot $N$-way' few-shot learning setting used in previous work and new realistic few-shot setting with diverse multi-domain tasks and flexible label numbers. Experiments show that our approach attains superior performances in both settings.
Active learning from demonstration allows a robot to query a human for specific types of input to achieve efficient learning. Existing work has explored a variety of active query strategies; however, to our knowledge, none of these strategies directly minimize the performance risk of the policy the robot is learning. Utilizing recent advances in performance bounds for inverse reinforcement learning, we propose a risk-aware active inverse reinforcement learning algorithm that focuses active queries on areas of the state space with the potential for large generalization error. We show that risk-aware active learning outperforms standard active IRL approaches on gridworld, simulated driving, and table setting tasks, while also providing a performance-based stopping criterion that allows a robot to know when it has received enough demonstrations to safely perform a task.
Deep reinforcement learning suggests the promise of fully automated learning of robotic control policies that directly map sensory inputs to low-level actions. However, applying deep reinforcement learning methods on real-world robots is exceptionally difficult, due both to the sample complexity and, just as importantly, the sensitivity of such methods to hyperparameters. While hyperparameter tuning can be performed in parallel in simulated domains, it is usually impractical to tune hyperparameters directly on real-world robotic platforms, especially legged platforms like quadrupedal robots that can be damaged through extensive trial-and-error learning. In this paper, we develop a stable variant of the soft actor-critic deep reinforcement learning algorithm that requires minimal hyperparameter tuning, while also requiring only a modest number of trials to learn multilayer neural network policies. This algorithm is based on the framework of maximum entropy reinforcement learning, and automatically trades off exploration against exploitation by dynamically and automatically tuning a temperature parameter that determines the stochasticity of the policy. We show that this method achieves state-of-the-art performance on four standard benchmark environments. We then demonstrate that it can be used to learn quadrupedal locomotion gaits on a real-world Minitaur robot, learning to walk from scratch directly in the real world in two hours of training.
Person re-identification (PReID) has received increasing attention due to it is an important part in intelligent surveillance. Recently, many state-of-the-art methods on PReID are part-based deep models. Most of them focus on learning the part feature representation of person body in horizontal direction. However, the feature representation of body in vertical direction is usually ignored. Besides, the spatial information between these part features and the different feature channels is not considered. In this study, we introduce a multi-branches deep model for PReID. Specifically, the model consists of five branches. Among the five branches, two of them learn the local feature with spatial information from horizontal or vertical orientations, respectively. The other one aims to learn interdependencies knowledge between different feature channels generated by the last convolution layer. The remains of two other branches are identification and triplet sub-networks, in which the discriminative global feature and a corresponding measurement can be learned simultaneously. All the five branches can improve the representation learning. We conduct extensive comparative experiments on three PReID benchmarks including CUHK03, Market-1501 and DukeMTMC-reID. The proposed deep framework outperforms many state-of-the-art in most cases.
We introduce an approach for deep reinforcement learning (RL) that improves upon the efficiency, generalization capacity, and interpretability of conventional approaches through structured perception and relational reasoning. It uses self-attention to iteratively reason about the relations between entities in a scene and to guide a model-free policy. Our results show that in a novel navigation and planning task called Box-World, our agent finds interpretable solutions that improve upon baselines in terms of sample complexity, ability to generalize to more complex scenes than experienced during training, and overall performance. In the StarCraft II Learning Environment, our agent achieves state-of-the-art performance on six mini-games -- surpassing human grandmaster performance on four. By considering architectural inductive biases, our work opens new directions for overcoming important, but stubborn, challenges in deep RL.
Meta-learning is a powerful tool that builds on multi-task learning to learn how to quickly adapt a model to new tasks. In the context of reinforcement learning, meta-learning algorithms can acquire reinforcement learning procedures to solve new problems more efficiently by meta-learning prior tasks. The performance of meta-learning algorithms critically depends on the tasks available for meta-training: in the same way that supervised learning algorithms generalize best to test points drawn from the same distribution as the training points, meta-learning methods generalize best to tasks from the same distribution as the meta-training tasks. In effect, meta-reinforcement learning offloads the design burden from algorithm design to task design. If we can automate the process of task design as well, we can devise a meta-learning algorithm that is truly automated. In this work, we take a step in this direction, proposing a family of unsupervised meta-learning algorithms for reinforcement learning. We describe a general recipe for unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning, and describe an effective instantiation of this approach based on a recently proposed unsupervised exploration technique and model-agnostic meta-learning. We also discuss practical and conceptual considerations for developing unsupervised meta-learning methods. Our experimental results demonstrate that unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning effectively acquires accelerated reinforcement learning procedures without the need for manual task design, significantly exceeds the performance of learning from scratch, and even matches performance of meta-learning methods that use hand-specified task distributions.
In this paper, we propose a novel multi-task learning architecture, which incorporates recent advances in attention mechanisms. Our approach, the Multi-Task Attention Network (MTAN), consists of a single shared network containing a global feature pool, together with task-specific soft-attention modules, which are trainable in an end-to-end manner. These attention modules allow for learning of task-specific features from the global pool, whilst simultaneously allowing for features to be shared across different tasks. The architecture can be built upon any feed-forward neural network, is simple to implement, and is parameter efficient. Experiments on the CityScapes dataset show that our method outperforms several baselines in both single-task and multi-task learning, and is also more robust to the various weighting schemes in the multi-task loss function. We further explore the effectiveness of our method through experiments over a range of task complexities, and show how our method scales well with task complexity compared to baselines.
Although end-to-end (E2E) learning has led to promising performance on a variety of tasks, it is often impeded by hardware constraints (e.g., GPU memories) and is prone to overfitting. When it comes to video captioning, one of the most challenging benchmark tasks in computer vision and machine learning, those limitations of E2E learning are especially amplified by the fact that both the input videos and output captions are lengthy sequences. Indeed, state-of-the-art methods of video captioning process video frames by convolutional neural networks and generate captions by unrolling recurrent neural networks. If we connect them in an E2E manner, the resulting model is both memory-consuming and data-hungry, making it extremely hard to train. In this paper, we propose a multitask reinforcement learning approach to training an E2E video captioning model. The main idea is to mine and construct as many effective tasks (e.g., attributes, rewards, and the captions) as possible from the human captioned videos such that they can jointly regulate the search space of the E2E neural network, from which an E2E video captioning model can be found and generalized to the testing phase. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first video captioning model that is trained end-to-end from the raw video input to the caption output. Experimental results show that such a model outperforms existing ones to a large margin on two benchmark video captioning datasets.
In multi-task learning, a learner is given a collection of prediction tasks and needs to solve all of them. In contrast to previous work, which required that annotated training data is available for all tasks, we consider a new setting, in which for some tasks, potentially most of them, only unlabeled training data is provided. Consequently, to solve all tasks, information must be transferred between tasks with labels and tasks without labels. Focusing on an instance-based transfer method we analyze two variants of this setting: when the set of labeled tasks is fixed, and when it can be actively selected by the learner. We state and prove a generalization bound that covers both scenarios and derive from it an algorithm for making the choice of labeled tasks (in the active case) and for transferring information between the tasks in a principled way. We also illustrate the effectiveness of the algorithm by experiments on synthetic and real data.