Volodymyr Mnih

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PhD in Machine Learning at the University of Toronto, Research Scientist at Google DeepMind

  • 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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  • 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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  • The Uncertainty Bellman Equation and Exploration

    We consider the exploration/exploitation problem in reinforcement learning. For exploitation, it is well known that the Bellman equation connects the value at any time-step to the expected value at subsequent time-steps. In this paper we consider a similar uncertainty Bellman equation (UBE), which connects the uncertainty at any time-step to the expected uncertainties at subsequent time-steps, thereby extending the potential exploratory benefit of a policy beyond individual time-steps. We prove that the unique fixed point of the UBE yields an upper bound on the variance of the estimated value of any fixed policy. This bound can be much tighter than traditional count-based bonuses that compound standard deviation rather than variance. Importantly, and unlike several existing approaches to optimism, this method scales naturally to large systems with complex generalization. Substituting our UBE-exploration strategy for ϵ-greedy improves DQN performance on 51 out of 57 games in the Atari suite.

    09/15/2017 ∙ by Brendan O'Donoghue, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Massively Parallel Methods for Deep Reinforcement Learning

    We present the first massively distributed architecture for deep reinforcement learning. This architecture uses four main components: parallel actors that generate new behaviour; parallel learners that are trained from stored experience; a distributed neural network to represent the value function or behaviour policy; and a distributed store of experience. We used our architecture to implement the Deep Q-Network algorithm (DQN). Our distributed algorithm was applied to 49 games from Atari 2600 games from the Arcade Learning Environment, using identical hyperparameters. Our performance surpassed non-distributed DQN in 41 of the 49 games and also reduced the wall-time required to achieve these results by an order of magnitude on most games.

    07/15/2015 ∙ by Arun Nair, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Strategic Attentive Writer for Learning Macro-Actions

    We present a novel deep recurrent neural network architecture that learns to build implicit plans in an end-to-end manner by purely interacting with an environment in reinforcement learning setting. The network builds an internal plan, which is continuously updated upon observation of the next input from the environment. It can also partition this internal representation into contiguous sub- sequences by learning for how long the plan can be committed to - i.e. followed without re-planing. Combining these properties, the proposed model, dubbed STRategic Attentive Writer (STRAW) can learn high-level, temporally abstracted macro- actions of varying lengths that are solely learnt from data without any prior information. These macro-actions enable both structured exploration and economic computation. We experimentally demonstrate that STRAW delivers strong improvements on several ATARI games by employing temporally extended planning strategies (e.g. Ms. Pacman and Frostbite). It is at the same time a general algorithm that can be applied on any sequence data. To that end, we also show that when trained on text prediction task, STRAW naturally predicts frequent n-grams (instead of macro-actions), demonstrating the generality of the approach.

    06/15/2016 ∙ by Alexander, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Combining policy gradient and Q-learning

    Policy gradient is an efficient technique for improving a policy in a reinforcement learning setting. However, vanilla online variants are on-policy only and not able to take advantage of off-policy data. In this paper we describe a new technique that combines policy gradient with off-policy Q-learning, drawing experience from a replay buffer. This is motivated by making a connection between the fixed points of the regularized policy gradient algorithm and the Q-values. This connection allows us to estimate the Q-values from the action preferences of the policy, to which we apply Q-learning updates. We refer to the new technique as 'PGQL', for policy gradient and Q-learning. We also establish an equivalency between action-value fitting techniques and actor-critic algorithms, showing that regularized policy gradient techniques can be interpreted as advantage function learning algorithms. We conclude with some numerical examples that demonstrate improved data efficiency and stability of PGQL. In particular, we tested PGQL on the full suite of Atari games and achieved performance exceeding that of both asynchronous advantage actor-critic (A3C) and Q-learning.

    11/05/2016 ∙ by Brendan O'Donoghue, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Using Fast Weights to Attend to the Recent Past

    Until recently, research on artificial neural networks was largely restricted to systems with only two types of variable: Neural activities that represent the current or recent input and weights that learn to capture regularities among inputs, outputs and payoffs. There is no good reason for this restriction. Synapses have dynamics at many different time-scales and this suggests that artificial neural networks might benefit from variables that change slower than activities but much faster than the standard weights. These "fast weights" can be used to store temporary memories of the recent past and they provide a neurally plausible way of implementing the type of attention to the past that has recently proved very helpful in sequence-to-sequence models. By using fast weights we can avoid the need to store copies of neural activity patterns.

    10/20/2016 ∙ by Jimmy Ba, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Learning values across many orders of magnitude

    Most learning algorithms are not invariant to the scale of the function that is being approximated. We propose to adaptively normalize the targets used in learning. This is useful in value-based reinforcement learning, where the magnitude of appropriate value approximations can change over time when we update the policy of behavior. Our main motivation is prior work on learning to play Atari games, where the rewards were all clipped to a predetermined range. This clipping facilitates learning across many different games with a single learning algorithm, but a clipped reward function can result in qualitatively different behavior. Using the adaptive normalization we can remove this domain-specific heuristic without diminishing overall performance.

    02/24/2016 ∙ by Hado van Hasselt, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Multiple Object Recognition with Visual Attention

    We present an attention-based model for recognizing multiple objects in images. The proposed model is a deep recurrent neural network trained with reinforcement learning to attend to the most relevant regions of the input image. We show that the model learns to both localize and recognize multiple objects despite being given only class labels during training. We evaluate the model on the challenging task of transcribing house number sequences from Google Street View images and show that it is both more accurate than the state-of-the-art convolutional networks and uses fewer parameters and less computation.

    12/24/2014 ∙ by Jimmy Ba, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Conditional Restricted Boltzmann Machines for Structured Output Prediction

    Conditional Restricted Boltzmann Machines (CRBMs) are rich probabilistic models that have recently been applied to a wide range of problems, including collaborative filtering, classification, and modeling motion capture data. While much progress has been made in training non-conditional RBMs, these algorithms are not applicable to conditional models and there has been almost no work on training and generating predictions from conditional RBMs for structured output problems. We first argue that standard Contrastive Divergence-based learning may not be suitable for training CRBMs. We then identify two distinct types of structured output prediction problems and propose an improved learning algorithm for each. The first problem type is one where the output space has arbitrary structure but the set of likely output configurations is relatively small, such as in multi-label classification. The second problem is one where the output space is arbitrarily structured but where the output space variability is much greater, such as in image denoising or pixel labeling. We show that the new learning algorithms can work much better than Contrastive Divergence on both types of problems.

    02/14/2012 ∙ by Volodymyr Mnih, et al. ∙ 0 share

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