Poster
Hierarchical Deep Reinforcement Learning: Integrating Temporal Abstraction and Intrinsic Motivation
Tejas Kulkarni · Karthik Narasimhan · Ardavan Saeedi · Josh Tenenbaum

Wed Dec 7th 06:00 -- 09:30 PM @ Area 5+6+7+8 #38 #None

Learning goal-directed behavior in environments with sparse feedback is a major challenge for reinforcement learning algorithms. One of the key difficulties is insufficient exploration, resulting in an agent being unable to learn robust policies. Intrinsically motivated agents can explore new behavior for their own sake rather than to directly solve external goals. Such intrinsic behaviors could eventually help the agent solve tasks posed by the environment. We present hierarchical-DQN (h-DQN), a framework to integrate hierarchical action-value functions, operating at different temporal scales, with goal-driven intrinsically motivated deep reinforcement learning. A top-level q-value function learns a policy over intrinsic goals, while a lower-level function learns a policy over atomic actions to satisfy the given goals. h-DQN allows for flexible goal specifications, such as functions over entities and relations. This provides an efficient space for exploration in complicated environments. We demonstrate the strength of our approach on two problems with very sparse and delayed feedback: (1) a complex discrete stochastic decision process with stochastic transitions, and (2) the classic ATARI game -- `Montezuma's Revenge'.

Author Information

Tejas Kulkarni (MIT)
Karthik Narasimhan (MIT)

I am a PhD candidate at CSAIL, MIT, working with Prof. Regina Barzilay. My research interests are in deep reinforcement learning and language grounding. My goal is to build intelligent agents that learn to handle the dynamics of the world through experience and existing human knowledge (ex. text). I have also worked on machine comprehension and computational morphology. I obtained a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Madras in 2012.

Ardavan Saeedi (MIT)
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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