This paper presents an upgraded, real world application oriented version of gym-gazebo, the Robot Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo based Reinforcement Learning (RL) toolkit, which complies with OpenAI Gym. The content discusses the new ROS 2 based software architecture and summarizes the results obtained using Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO). Ultimately, the output of this work presents a benchmarking system for robotics that allows different techniques and algorithms to be compared using the same virtual conditions. We have evaluated environments with different levels of complexity of the Modular Articulated Robotic Arm (MARA), reaching accuracies in the millimeter scale. The converged results show the feasibility and usefulness of the gym-gazebo 2 toolkit, its potential and applicability in industrial use cases, using modular robots.

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We present CURL: Contrastive Unsupervised Representations for Reinforcement Learning. CURL extracts high-level features from raw pixels using contrastive learning and performs off-policy control on top of the extracted features. CURL outperforms prior pixel-based methods, both model-based and model-free, on complex tasks in the DeepMind Control Suite and Atari Games showing 1.9x and 1.6x performance gains at the 100K environment and interaction steps benchmarks respectively. On the DeepMind Control Suite, CURL is the first image-based algorithm to nearly match the sample-efficiency and performance of methods that use state-based features.

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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.

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Natural Language Processing (NLP) and especially natural language text analysis have seen great advances in recent times. Usage of deep learning in text processing has revolutionized the techniques for text processing and achieved remarkable results. Different deep learning architectures like CNN, LSTM, and very recent Transformer have been used to achieve state of the art results variety on NLP tasks. In this work, we survey a host of deep learning architectures for text classification tasks. The work is specifically concerned with the classification of Hindi text. The research in the classification of morphologically rich and low resource Hindi language written in Devanagari script has been limited due to the absence of large labeled corpus. In this work, we used translated versions of English data-sets to evaluate models based on CNN, LSTM and Attention. Multilingual pre-trained sentence embeddings based on BERT and LASER are also compared to evaluate their effectiveness for the Hindi language. The paper also serves as a tutorial for popular text classification techniques.

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Many reinforcement-learning researchers treat the reward function as a part of the environment, meaning that the agent can only know the reward of a state if it encounters that state in a trial run. However, we argue that this is an unnecessary limitation and instead, the reward function should be provided to the learning algorithm. The advantage is that the algorithm can then use the reward function to check the reward for states that the agent hasn't even encountered yet. In addition, the algorithm can simultaneously learn policies for multiple reward functions. For each state, the algorithm would calculate the reward using each of the reward functions and add the rewards to its experience replay dataset. The Hindsight Experience Replay algorithm developed by Andrychowicz et al. (2017) does just this, and learns to generalize across a distribution of sparse, goal-based rewards. We extend this algorithm to linearly-weighted, multi-objective rewards and learn a single policy that can generalize across all linear combinations of the multi-objective reward. Whereas other multi-objective algorithms teach the Q-function to generalize across the reward weights, our algorithm enables the policy to generalize, and can thus be used with continuous actions.

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Autonomous urban driving navigation with complex multi-agent dynamics is under-explored due to the difficulty of learning an optimal driving policy. The traditional modular pipeline heavily relies on hand-designed rules and the pre-processing perception system while the supervised learning-based models are limited by the accessibility of extensive human experience. We present a general and principled Controllable Imitative Reinforcement Learning (CIRL) approach which successfully makes the driving agent achieve higher success rates based on only vision inputs in a high-fidelity car simulator. To alleviate the low exploration efficiency for large continuous action space that often prohibits the use of classical RL on challenging real tasks, our CIRL explores over a reasonably constrained action space guided by encoded experiences that imitate human demonstrations, building upon Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG). Moreover, we propose to specialize adaptive policies and steering-angle reward designs for different control signals (i.e. follow, straight, turn right, turn left) based on the shared representations to improve the model capability in tackling with diverse cases. Extensive experiments on CARLA driving benchmark demonstrate that CIRL substantially outperforms all previous methods in terms of the percentage of successfully completed episodes on a variety of goal-directed driving tasks. We also show its superior generalization capability in unseen environments. To our knowledge, this is the first successful case of the learned driving policy through reinforcement learning in the high-fidelity simulator, which performs better-than supervised imitation learning.

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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.

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This paper presents a new multi-objective deep reinforcement learning (MODRL) framework based on deep Q-networks. We propose the use of linear and non-linear methods to develop the MODRL framework that includes both single-policy and multi-policy strategies. The experimental results on two benchmark problems including the two-objective deep sea treasure environment and the three-objective mountain car problem indicate that the proposed framework is able to converge to the optimal Pareto solutions effectively. The proposed framework is generic, which allows implementation of different deep reinforcement learning algorithms in different complex environments. This therefore overcomes many difficulties involved with standard multi-objective reinforcement learning (MORL) methods existing in the current literature. The framework creates a platform as a testbed environment to develop methods for solving various problems associated with the current MORL. Details of the framework implementation can be referred to http://www.deakin.edu.au/~thanhthi/drl.htm.

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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.

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A major goal of unsupervised learning is to discover data representations that are useful for subsequent tasks, without access to supervised labels during training. Typically, this goal is approached by minimizing a surrogate objective, such as the negative log likelihood of a generative model, with the hope that representations useful for subsequent tasks will arise incidentally. In this work, we propose instead to directly target a later desired task by meta-learning an unsupervised learning rule, which leads to representations useful for that task. Here, our desired task (meta-objective) is the performance of the representation on semi-supervised classification, and we meta-learn an algorithm -- an unsupervised weight update rule -- that produces representations that perform well under this meta-objective. Additionally, we constrain our unsupervised update rule to a be a biologically-motivated, neuron-local function, which enables it to generalize to novel neural network architectures. We show that the meta-learned update rule produces useful features and sometimes outperforms existing unsupervised learning techniques. We further show that the meta-learned unsupervised update rule generalizes to train networks with different widths, depths, and nonlinearities. It also generalizes to train on data with randomly permuted input dimensions and even generalizes from image datasets to a text task.

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With the spreading prevalence of Big Data, many advances have recently been made in this field. Frameworks such as Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark have gained a lot of traction over the past decades and have become massively popular, especially in industries. It is becoming increasingly evident that effective big data analysis is key to solving artificial intelligence problems. Thus, a multi-algorithm library was implemented in the Spark framework, called MLlib. While this library supports multiple machine learning algorithms, there is still scope to use the Spark setup efficiently for highly time-intensive and computationally expensive procedures like deep learning. In this paper, we propose a novel framework that combines the distributive computational abilities of Apache Spark and the advanced machine learning architecture of a deep multi-layer perceptron (MLP), using the popular concept of Cascade Learning. We conduct empirical analysis of our framework on two real world datasets. The results are encouraging and corroborate our proposed framework, in turn proving that it is an improvement over traditional big data analysis methods that use either Spark or Deep learning as individual elements.

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