Leveraging Grammar and Reinforcement Learning for Neural Program Synthesis

05/11/2018
by   Rudy Bunel, et al.
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Program synthesis is the task of automatically generating a program consistent with a specification. Recent years have seen proposal of a number of neural approaches for program synthesis, many of which adopt a sequence generation paradigm similar to neural machine translation, in which sequence-to-sequence models are trained to maximize the likelihood of known reference programs. While achieving impressive results, this strategy has two key limitations. First, it ignores Program Aliasing: the fact that many different programs may satisfy a given specification (especially with incomplete specifications such as a few input-output examples). By maximizing the likelihood of only a single reference program, it penalizes many semantically correct programs, which can adversely affect the synthesizer performance. Second, this strategy overlooks the fact that programs have a strict syntax that can be efficiently checked. To address the first limitation, we perform reinforcement learning on top of a supervised model with an objective that explicitly maximizes the likelihood of generating semantically correct programs. For addressing the second limitation, we introduce a training procedure that directly maximizes the probability of generating syntactically correct programs that fulfill the specification. We show that our contributions lead to improved accuracy of the models, especially in cases where the training data is limited.

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