David Silver

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Leads reinforcement learning research group at DeepMind

  • Bayesian Optimization in AlphaGo

    During the development of AlphaGo, its many hyper-parameters were tuned with Bayesian optimization multiple times. This automatic tuning process resulted in substantial improvements in playing strength. For example, prior to the match with Lee Sedol, we tuned the latest AlphaGo agent and this improved its win-rate from 50 in the final match. Of course, since we tuned AlphaGo many times during its development cycle, the compounded contribution was even higher than this percentage. It is our hope that this brief case study will be of interest to Go fans, and also provide Bayesian optimization practitioners with some insights and inspiration.

    12/17/2018 ∙ by Yutian Chen, et al. ∙ 128 share

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  • Transfer in Deep Reinforcement Learning Using Successor Features and Generalised Policy Improvement

    The ability to transfer skills across tasks has the potential to scale up reinforcement learning (RL) agents to environments currently out of reach. Recently, a framework based on two ideas, successor features (SFs) and generalised policy improvement (GPI), has been introduced as a principled way of transferring skills. In this paper we extend the SFs & GPI framework in two ways. One of the basic assumptions underlying the original formulation of SFs & GPI is that rewards for all tasks of interest can be computed as linear combinations of a fixed set of features. We relax this constraint and show that the theoretical guarantees supporting the framework can be extended to any set of tasks that only differ in the reward function. Our second contribution is to show that one can use the reward functions themselves as features for future tasks, without any loss of expressiveness, thus removing the need to specify a set of features beforehand. This makes it possible to combine SFs & GPI with deep learning in a more stable way. We empirically verify this claim on a complex 3D environment where observations are images from a first-person perspective. We show that the transfer promoted by SFs & GPI leads to very good policies on unseen tasks almost instantaneously. We also describe how to learn policies specialised to the new tasks in a way that allows them to be added to the agent's set of skills, and thus be reused in the future.

    01/30/2019 ∙ by Andre Barreto, et al. ∙ 12 share

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  • An investigation of model-free planning

    The field of reinforcement learning (RL) is facing increasingly challenging domains with combinatorial complexity. For an RL agent to address these challenges, it is essential that it can plan effectively. Prior work has typically utilized an explicit model of the environment, combined with a specific planning algorithm (such as tree search). More recently, a new family of methods have been proposed that learn how to plan, by providing the structure for planning via an inductive bias in the function approximator (such as a tree structured neural network), trained end-to-end by a model-free RL algorithm. In this paper, we go even further, and demonstrate empirically that an entirely model-free approach, without special structure beyond standard neural network components such as convolutional networks and LSTMs, can learn to exhibit many of the characteristics typically associated with a model-based planner. We measure our agent's effectiveness at planning in terms of its ability to generalize across a combinatorial and irreversible state space, its data efficiency, and its ability to utilize additional thinking time. We find that our agent has many of the characteristics that one might expect to find in a planning algorithm. Furthermore, it exceeds the state-of-the-art in challenging combinatorial domains such as Sokoban and outperforms other model-free approaches that utilize strong inductive biases toward planning.

    01/11/2019 ∙ by Arthur Guez, et al. ∙ 10 share

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  • Universal Successor Features Approximators

    The ability of a reinforcement learning (RL) agent to learn about many reward functions at the same time has many potential benefits, such as the decomposition of complex tasks into simpler ones, the exchange of information between tasks, and the reuse of skills. We focus on one aspect in particular, namely the ability to generalise to unseen tasks. Parametric generalisation relies on the interpolation power of a function approximator that is given the task description as input; one of its most common form are universal value function approximators (UVFAs). Another way to generalise to new tasks is to exploit structure in the RL problem itself. Generalised policy improvement (GPI) combines solutions of previous tasks into a policy for the unseen task; this relies on instantaneous policy evaluation of old policies under the new reward function, which is made possible through successor features (SFs). Our proposed universal successor features approximators (USFAs) combine the advantages of all of these, namely the scalability of UVFAs, the instant inference of SFs, and the strong generalisation of GPI. We discuss the challenges involved in training a USFA, its generalisation properties and demonstrate its practical benefits and transfer abilities on a large-scale domain in which the agent has to navigate in a first-person perspective three-dimensional environment.

    12/18/2018 ∙ by Diana Borsa, et al. ∙ 6 share

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  • Human-level performance in first-person multiplayer games with population-based deep reinforcement learning

    Recent progress in artificial intelligence through reinforcement learning (RL) has shown great success on increasingly complex single-agent environments and two-player turn-based games. However, the real-world contains multiple agents, each learning and acting independently to cooperate and compete with other agents, and environments reflecting this degree of complexity remain an open challenge. In this work, we demonstrate for the first time that an agent can achieve human-level in a popular 3D multiplayer first-person video game, Quake III Arena Capture the Flag, using only pixels and game points as input. These results were achieved by a novel two-tier optimisation process in which a population of independent RL agents are trained concurrently from thousands of parallel matches with agents playing in teams together and against each other on randomly generated environments. Each agent in the population learns its own internal reward signal to complement the sparse delayed reward from winning, and selects actions using a novel temporally hierarchical representation that enables the agent to reason at multiple timescales. During game-play, these agents display human-like behaviours such as navigating, following, and defending based on a rich learned representation that is shown to encode high-level game knowledge. In an extensive tournament-style evaluation the trained agents exceeded the win-rate of strong human players both as teammates and opponents, and proved far stronger than existing state-of-the-art agents. These results demonstrate a significant jump in the capabilities of artificial agents, bringing us closer to the goal of human-level intelligence.

    07/03/2018 ∙ by Max Jaderberg, et al. ∙ 2 share

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  • Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning

    We present the first deep learning model to successfully learn control policies directly from high-dimensional sensory input using reinforcement learning. The model is a convolutional neural network, trained with a variant of Q-learning, whose input is raw pixels and whose output is a value function estimating future rewards. We apply our method to seven Atari 2600 games from the Arcade Learning Environment, with no adjustment of the architecture or learning algorithm. We find that it outperforms all previous approaches on six of the games and surpasses a human expert on three of them.

    12/19/2013 ∙ by Volodymyr Mnih, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Asynchronous Methods for Deep Reinforcement Learning

    We propose a conceptually simple and lightweight framework for deep reinforcement learning that uses asynchronous gradient descent for optimization of deep neural network controllers. We present asynchronous variants of four standard reinforcement learning algorithms and show that parallel actor-learners have a stabilizing effect on training allowing all four methods to successfully train neural network controllers. The best performing method, an asynchronous variant of actor-critic, surpasses the current state-of-the-art on the Atari domain while training for half the time on a single multi-core CPU instead of a GPU. Furthermore, we show that asynchronous actor-critic succeeds on a wide variety of continuous motor control problems as well as on a new task of navigating random 3D mazes using a visual input.

    02/04/2016 ∙ by Volodymyr Mnih, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Decoupled Neural Interfaces using Synthetic Gradients

    Training directed neural networks typically requires forward-propagating data through a computation graph, followed by backpropagating error signal, to produce weight updates. All layers, or more generally, modules, of the network are therefore locked, in the sense that they must wait for the remainder of the network to execute forwards and propagate error backwards before they can be updated. In this work we break this constraint by decoupling modules by introducing a model of the future computation of the network graph. These models predict what the result of the modelled subgraph will produce using only local information. In particular we focus on modelling error gradients: by using the modelled synthetic gradient in place of true backpropagated error gradients we decouple subgraphs, and can update them independently and asynchronously i.e. we realise decoupled neural interfaces. We show results for feed-forward models, where every layer is trained asynchronously, recurrent neural networks (RNNs) where predicting one's future gradient extends the time over which the RNN can effectively model, and also a hierarchical RNN system with ticking at different timescales. Finally, we demonstrate that in addition to predicting gradients, the same framework can be used to predict inputs, resulting in models which are decoupled in both the forward and backwards pass -- amounting to independent networks which co-learn such that they can be composed into a single functioning corporation.

    08/18/2016 ∙ by Max Jaderberg, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Rainbow: Combining Improvements in Deep Reinforcement Learning

    The deep reinforcement learning community has made several independent improvements to the DQN algorithm. However, it is unclear which of these extensions are complementary and can be fruitfully combined. This paper examines six extensions to the DQN algorithm and empirically studies their combination. Our experiments show that the combination provides state-of-the-art performance on the Atari 2600 benchmark, both in terms of data efficiency and final performance. We also provide results from a detailed ablation study that shows the contribution of each component to overall performance.

    10/06/2017 ∙ by Matteo Hessel, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • StarCraft II: A New Challenge for Reinforcement Learning

    This paper introduces SC2LE (StarCraft II Learning Environment), a reinforcement learning environment based on the StarCraft II game. This domain poses a new grand challenge for reinforcement learning, representing a more difficult class of problems than considered in most prior work. It is a multi-agent problem with multiple players interacting; there is imperfect information due to a partially observed map; it has a large action space involving the selection and control of hundreds of units; it has a large state space that must be observed solely from raw input feature planes; and it has delayed credit assignment requiring long-term strategies over thousands of steps. We describe the observation, action, and reward specification for the StarCraft II domain and provide an open source Python-based interface for communicating with the game engine. In addition to the main game maps, we provide a suite of mini-games focusing on different elements of StarCraft II gameplay. For the main game maps, we also provide an accompanying dataset of game replay data from human expert players. We give initial baseline results for neural networks trained from this data to predict game outcomes and player actions. Finally, we present initial baseline results for canonical deep reinforcement learning agents applied to the StarCraft II domain. On the mini-games, these agents learn to achieve a level of play that is comparable to a novice player. However, when trained on the main game, these agents are unable to make significant progress. Thus, SC2LE offers a new and challenging environment for exploring deep reinforcement learning algorithms and architectures.

    08/16/2017 ∙ by Oriol Vinyals, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Reinforcement Learning with Unsupervised Auxiliary Tasks

    Deep reinforcement learning agents have achieved state-of-the-art results by directly maximising cumulative reward. However, environments contain a much wider variety of possible training signals. In this paper, we introduce an agent that also maximises many other pseudo-reward functions simultaneously by reinforcement learning. All of these tasks share a common representation that, like unsupervised learning, continues to develop in the absence of extrinsic rewards. We also introduce a novel mechanism for focusing this representation upon extrinsic rewards, so that learning can rapidly adapt to the most relevant aspects of the actual task. Our agent significantly outperforms the previous state-of-the-art on Atari, averaging 880% expert human performance, and a challenging suite of first-person, three-dimensional Labyrinth tasks leading to a mean speedup in learning of 10× and averaging 87% expert human performance on Labyrinth.

    11/16/2016 ∙ by Max Jaderberg, et al. ∙ 0 share

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