Poster
Softstar: Heuristic-Guided Probabilistic Inference
Mathew Monfort · Brenden M Lake · Brenden Lake · Brian Ziebart · Patrick Lucey · Josh Tenenbaum

Wed Dec 9th 07:00 -- 11:59 PM @ 210 C #45 #None

Recent machine learning methods for sequential behavior prediction estimate the motives of behavior rather than the behavior itself. This higher-level abstraction improves generalization in different prediction settings, but computing predictions often becomes intractable in large decision spaces. We propose the Softstar algorithm, a softened heuristic-guided search technique for the maximum entropy inverse optimal control model of sequential behavior. This approach supports probabilistic search with bounded approximation error at a significantly reduced computational cost when compared to sampling based methods. We present the algorithm, analyze approximation guarantees, and compare performance with simulation-based inference on two distinct complex decision tasks.

Author Information

Mathew Monfort (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Brenden M Lake (MIT)
Brenden Lake (New York University)
Brian Ziebart (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Patrick Lucey (Disney Research Pittsburgh)
Josh Tenenbaum (MIT)

Josh Tenenbaum is an Associate Professor of Computational Cognitive Science at MIT in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received his PhD from MIT in 1999, and was an Assistant Professor at Stanford University from 1999 to 2002. He studies learning and inference in humans and machines, with the twin goals of understanding human intelligence in computational terms and bringing computers closer to human capacities. He focuses on problems of inductive generalization from limited data -- learning concepts and word meanings, inferring causal relations or goals -- and learning abstract knowledge that supports these inductive leaps in the form of probabilistic generative models or 'intuitive theories'. He has also developed several novel machine learning methods inspired by human learning and perception, most notably Isomap, an approach to unsupervised learning of nonlinear manifolds in high-dimensional data. He has been Associate Editor for the journal Cognitive Science, has been active on program committees for the CogSci and NIPS conferences, and has co-organized a number of workshops, tutorials and summer schools in human and machine learning. Several of his papers have received outstanding paper awards or best student paper awards at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), NIPS, and Cognitive Science conferences. He is the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Society for Mathematical Psychology (2005), the Early Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists (2007), and the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (in the area of cognition and human learning) from the American Psychological Association (2008).

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