Although reinforcement learning methods can achieve impressive results in simulation, the real world presents two major challenges: generating samples is exceedingly expensive, and unexpected perturbations can cause proficient but narrowly-learned policies to fail at test time. In this work, we propose to learn how to quickly and effectively adapt online to new situations as well as to perturbations. To enable sample-efficient meta-learning, we consider learning online adaptation in the context of model-based reinforcement learning. Our approach trains a global model such that, when combined with recent data, the model can be be rapidly adapted to the local context. Our experiments demonstrate that our approach can enable simulated agents to adapt their behavior online to novel terrains, to a crippled leg, and in highly-dynamic environments.
Face recognition systems are usually faced with unseen domains in real-world applications and show unsatisfactory performance due to their poor generalization. For example, a well-trained model on webface data cannot deal with the ID vs. Spot task in surveillance scenario. In this paper, we aim to learn a generalized model that can directly handle new unseen domains without any model updating. To this end, we propose a novel face recognition method via meta-learning named Meta Face Recognition (MFR). MFR synthesizes the source/target domain shift with a meta-optimization objective, which requires the model to learn effective representations not only on synthesized source domains but also on synthesized target domains. Specifically, we build domain-shift batches through a domain-level sampling strategy and get back-propagated gradients/meta-gradients on synthesized source/target domains by optimizing multi-domain distributions. The gradients and meta-gradients are further combined to update the model to improve generalization. Besides, we propose two benchmarks for generalized face recognition evaluation. Experiments on our benchmarks validate the generalization of our method compared to several baselines and other state-of-the-arts. The proposed benchmarks will be available at https://github.com/cleardusk/MFR.
We present an approach to learn an object-centric forward model, and show that this allows us to plan for sequences of actions to achieve distant desired goals. We propose to model a scene as a collection of objects, each with an explicit spatial location and implicit visual feature, and learn to model the effects of actions using random interaction data. Our model allows capturing the robot-object and object-object interactions, and leads to more sample-efficient and accurate predictions. We show that this learned model can be leveraged to search for action sequences that lead to desired goal configurations, and that in conjunction with a learned correction module, this allows for robust closed loop execution. We present experiments both in simulation and the real world, and show that our approach improves over alternate implicit or pixel-space forward models. Please see our project page (https://judyye.github.io/ocmpc/) for result videos.
Meta-learning extracts the common knowledge acquired from learning different tasks and uses it for unseen tasks. It demonstrates a clear advantage on tasks that have insufficient training data, e.g., few-shot learning. In most meta-learning methods, tasks are implicitly related via the shared model or optimizer. In this paper, we show that a meta-learner that explicitly relates tasks on a graph describing the relations of their output dimensions (e.g., classes) can significantly improve the performance of few-shot learning. This type of graph is usually free or cheap to obtain but has rarely been explored in previous works. We study the prototype based few-shot classification, in which a prototype is generated for each class, such that the nearest neighbor search between the prototypes produces an accurate classification. We introduce "Gated Propagation Network (GPN)", which learns to propagate messages between prototypes of different classes on the graph, so that learning the prototype of each class benefits from the data of other related classes. In GPN, an attention mechanism is used for the aggregation of messages from neighboring classes, and a gate is deployed to choose between the aggregated messages and the message from the class itself. GPN is trained on a sequence of tasks from many-shot to few-shot generated by subgraph sampling. During training, it is able to reuse and update previously achieved prototypes from the memory in a life-long learning cycle. In experiments, we change the training-test discrepancy and test task generation settings for thorough evaluations. GPN outperforms recent meta-learning methods on two benchmark datasets in all studied cases.
Meta learning is a promising solution to few-shot learning problems. However, existing meta learning methods are restricted to the scenarios where training and application tasks share the same out-put structure. To obtain a meta model applicable to the tasks with new structures, it is required to collect new training data and repeat the time-consuming meta training procedure. This makes them inefficient or even inapplicable in learning to solve heterogeneous few-shot learning tasks. We thus develop a novel and principled HierarchicalMeta Learning (HML) method. Different from existing methods that only focus on optimizing the adaptability of a meta model to similar tasks, HML also explicitly optimizes its generalizability across heterogeneous tasks. To this end, HML first factorizes a set of similar training tasks into heterogeneous ones and trains the meta model over them at two levels to maximize adaptation and generalization performance respectively. The resultant model can then directly generalize to new tasks. Extensive experiments on few-shot classification and regression problems clearly demonstrate the superiority of HML over fine-tuning and state-of-the-art meta learning approaches in terms of generalization across heterogeneous tasks.
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.
There is a recent large and growing interest in generative adversarial networks (GANs), which offer powerful features for generative modeling, density estimation, and energy function learning. GANs are difficult to train and evaluate but are capable of creating amazingly realistic, though synthetic, image data. Ideas stemming from GANs such as adversarial losses are creating research opportunities for other challenges such as domain adaptation. In this paper, we look at the field of GANs with emphasis on these areas of emerging research. To provide background for adversarial techniques, we survey the field of GANs, looking at the original formulation, training variants, evaluation methods, and extensions. Then we survey recent work on transfer learning, focusing on comparing different adversarial domain adaptation methods. Finally, we take a look forward to identify open research directions for GANs and domain adaptation, including some promising applications such as sensor-based human behavior modeling.
Meta-learning has been proposed as a framework to address the challenging few-shot learning setting. The key idea is to leverage a large number of similar few-shot tasks in order to learn how to adapt a base-learner to a new task for which only a few labeled samples are available. As deep neural networks (DNNs) tend to overfit using a few samples only, meta-learning typically uses shallow neural networks (SNNs), thus limiting its effectiveness. In this paper we propose a novel few-shot learning method called meta-transfer learning (MTL) which learns to adapt a deep NN for few shot learning tasks. Specifically, "meta" refers to training multiple tasks, and "transfer" is achieved by learning scaling and shifting functions of DNN weights for each task. In addition, we introduce the hard task (HT) meta-batch scheme as an effective learning curriculum for MTL. We conduct experiments using (5-class, 1-shot) and (5-class, 5-shot) recognition tasks on two challenging few-shot learning benchmarks: miniImageNet and Fewshot-CIFAR100. Extensive comparisons to related works validate that our meta-transfer learning approach trained with the proposed HT meta-batch scheme achieves top performance. An ablation study also shows that both components contribute to fast convergence and high accuracy.
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.
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.
Model-based methods for recommender systems have been studied extensively in recent years. In systems with large corpus, however, the calculation cost for the learnt model to predict all user-item preferences is tremendous, which makes full corpus retrieval extremely difficult. To overcome the calculation barriers, models such as matrix factorization resort to inner product form (i.e., model user-item preference as the inner product of user, item latent factors) and indexes to facilitate efficient approximate k-nearest neighbor searches. However, it still remains challenging to incorporate more expressive interaction forms between user and item features, e.g., interactions through deep neural networks, because of the calculation cost. In this paper, we focus on the problem of introducing arbitrary advanced models to recommender systems with large corpus. We propose a novel tree-based method which can provide logarithmic complexity w.r.t. corpus size even with more expressive models such as deep neural networks. Our main idea is to predict user interests from coarse to fine by traversing tree nodes in a top-down fashion and making decisions for each user-node pair. We also show that the tree structure can be jointly learnt towards better compatibility with users' interest distribution and hence facilitate both training and prediction. Experimental evaluations with two large-scale real-world datasets show that the proposed method significantly outperforms traditional methods. Online A/B test results in Taobao display advertising platform also demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in production environments.