The growing number of applications of Reinforcement Learning (RL) in real-world domains has led to the development of privacy-preserving techniques due to the inherently sensitive nature of data. Most existing works focus on differential privacy, in which information is revealed in the clear to an agent whose learned model should be robust against information leakage to malicious third parties. Motivated by use cases in which only encrypted data might be shared, such as information from sensitive sites, in this work we consider scenarios in which the inputs themselves are sensitive and cannot be revealed. We develop a simple extension to the MDP framework which provides for the encryption of states. We present a preliminary, experimental study of how a DQN agent trained on encrypted states performs in environments with discrete and continuous state spaces. Our results highlight that the agent is still capable of learning in small state spaces even in presence of non-deterministic encryption, but performance collapses in more complex environments.
Due to the proliferation of renewable energy and its intrinsic intermittency and stochasticity, current power systems face severe operational challenges. Data-driven decision-making algorithms from reinforcement learning (RL) offer a solution towards efficiently operating a clean energy system. Although RL algorithms achieve promising performance compared to model-based control models, there has been limited investigation of RL robustness in safety-critical physical systems. In this work, we first show that several competition-winning, state-of-the-art RL agents proposed for power system control are vulnerable to adversarial attacks. Specifically, we use an adversary Markov Decision Process to learn an attack policy, and demonstrate the potency of our attack by successfully attacking multiple winning agents from the Learning To Run a Power Network (L2RPN) challenge, under both white-box and black-box attack settings. We then propose to use adversarial training to increase the robustness of RL agent against attacks and avoid infeasible operational decisions. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first to highlight the fragility of grid control RL algorithms, and contribute an effective defense scheme towards improving their robustness and security.
Federated learning enables multiple parties to collaboratively train a machine learning model without communicating their local data. A key challenge in federated learning is to handle the heterogeneity of local data distribution across parties. Although many studies have been proposed to address this challenge, we find that they fail to achieve high performance in image datasets with deep learning models. In this paper, we propose MOON: model-contrastive federated learning. MOON is a simple and effective federated learning framework. The key idea of MOON is to utilize the similarity between model representations to correct the local training of individual parties, i.e., conducting contrastive learning in model-level. Our extensive experiments show that MOON significantly outperforms the other state-of-the-art federated learning algorithms on various image classification tasks.
Meta-reinforcement learning (meta-RL) aims to learn from multiple training tasks the ability to adapt efficiently to unseen test tasks. Despite the success, existing meta-RL algorithms are known to be sensitive to the task distribution shift. When the test task distribution is different from the training task distribution, the performance may degrade significantly. To address this issue, this paper proposes Model-based Adversarial Meta-Reinforcement Learning (AdMRL), where we aim to minimize the worst-case sub-optimality gap -- the difference between the optimal return and the return that the algorithm achieves after adaptation -- across all tasks in a family of tasks, with a model-based approach. We propose a minimax objective and optimize it by alternating between learning the dynamics model on a fixed task and finding the adversarial task for the current model -- the task for which the policy induced by the model is maximally suboptimal. Assuming the family of tasks is parameterized, we derive a formula for the gradient of the suboptimality with respect to the task parameters via the implicit function theorem, and show how the gradient estimator can be efficiently implemented by the conjugate gradient method and a novel use of the REINFORCE estimator. We evaluate our approach on several continuous control benchmarks and demonstrate its efficacy in the worst-case performance over all tasks, the generalization power to out-of-distribution tasks, and in training and test time sample efficiency, over existing state-of-the-art meta-RL algorithms.
In recent years, mobile devices have gained increasingly development with stronger computation capability and larger storage. Some of the computation-intensive machine learning and deep learning tasks can now be run on mobile devices. To take advantage of the resources available on mobile devices and preserve users' privacy, the idea of mobile distributed machine learning is proposed. It uses local hardware resources and local data to solve machine learning sub-problems on mobile devices, and only uploads computation results instead of original data to contribute to the optimization of the global model. This architecture can not only relieve computation and storage burden on servers, but also protect the users' sensitive information. Another benefit is the bandwidth reduction, as various kinds of local data can now participate in the training process without being uploaded to the server. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive survey on recent studies of mobile distributed machine learning. We survey a number of widely-used mobile distributed machine learning methods. We also present an in-depth discussion on the challenges and future directions in this area. We believe that this survey can demonstrate a clear overview of mobile distributed machine learning and provide guidelines on applying mobile distributed machine learning to real applications.
Graph neural networks (GNNs) are a popular class of machine learning models whose major advantage is their ability to incorporate a sparse and discrete dependency structure between data points. Unfortunately, GNNs can only be used when such a graph-structure is available. In practice, however, real-world graphs are often noisy and incomplete or might not be available at all. With this work, we propose to jointly learn the graph structure and the parameters of graph convolutional networks (GCNs) by approximately solving a bilevel program that learns a discrete probability distribution on the edges of the graph. This allows one to apply GCNs not only in scenarios where the given graph is incomplete or corrupted but also in those where a graph is not available. We conduct a series of experiments that analyze the behavior of the proposed method and demonstrate that it outperforms related methods by a significant margin.
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.
Efficient exploration remains a major challenge for reinforcement learning. One reason is that the variability of the returns often depends on the current state and action, and is therefore heteroscedastic. Classical exploration strategies such as upper confidence bound algorithms and Thompson sampling fail to appropriately account for heteroscedasticity, even in the bandit setting. Motivated by recent findings that address this issue in bandits, we propose to use Information-Directed Sampling (IDS) for exploration in reinforcement learning. As our main contribution, we build on recent advances in distributional reinforcement learning and propose a novel, tractable approximation of IDS for deep Q-learning. The resulting exploration strategy explicitly accounts for both parametric uncertainty and heteroscedastic observation noise. We evaluate our method on Atari games and demonstrate a significant improvement over alternative approaches.
To solve complex real-world problems with reinforcement learning, we cannot rely on manually specified reward functions. Instead, we can have humans communicate an objective to the agent directly. In this work, we combine two approaches to learning from human feedback: expert demonstrations and trajectory preferences. We train a deep neural network to model the reward function and use its predicted reward to train an DQN-based deep reinforcement learning agent on 9 Atari games. Our approach beats the imitation learning baseline in 7 games and achieves strictly superhuman performance on 2 games without using game rewards. Additionally, we investigate the goodness of fit of the reward model, present some reward hacking problems, and study the effects of noise in the human labels.
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.