Models, code, and papers for "Alvaro Sanchez-Gonzalez":
We introduce an approach for imposing physically informed inductive biases in learned simulation models. We combine graph networks with a differentiable ordinary differential equation integrator as a mechanism for predicting future states, and a Hamiltonian as an internal representation. We find that our approach outperforms baselines without these biases in terms of predictive accuracy, energy accuracy, and zero-shot generalization to time-step sizes and integrator orders not experienced during training. This advances the state-of-the-art of learned simulation, and in principle is applicable beyond physical domains.
Here we present a general framework for learning simulation, and provide a single model implementation that yields state-of-the-art performance across a variety of challenging physical domains, involving fluids, rigid solids, and deformable materials interacting with one another. Our framework---which we term "Graph Network-based Simulators" (GNS)---represents the state of a physical system with particles, expressed as nodes in a graph, and computes dynamics via learned message-passing. Our results show that our model can generalize from single-timestep predictions with thousands of particles during training, to different initial conditions, thousands of timesteps, and at least an order of magnitude more particles at test time. Our model was robust to hyperparameter choices across various evaluation metrics: the main determinants of long-term performance were the number of message-passing steps, and mitigating the accumulation of error by corrupting the training data with noise. Our GNS framework is the most accurate general-purpose learned physics simulator to date, and holds promise for solving a wide range of complex forward and inverse problems.
Understanding and interacting with everyday physical scenes requires rich knowledge about the structure of the world, represented either implicitly in a value or policy function, or explicitly in a transition model. Here we introduce a new class of learnable models--based on graph networks--which implement an inductive bias for object- and relation-centric representations of complex, dynamical systems. Our results show that as a forward model, our approach supports accurate predictions from real and simulated data, and surprisingly strong and efficient generalization, across eight distinct physical systems which we varied parametrically and structurally. We also found that our inference model can perform system identification. Our models are also differentiable, and support online planning via gradient-based trajectory optimization, as well as offline policy optimization. Our framework offers new opportunities for harnessing and exploiting rich knowledge about the world, and takes a key step toward building machines with more human-like representations of the world.
We introduce "Search with Amortized Value Estimates" (SAVE), an approach for combining model-free Q-learning with model-based Monte-Carlo Tree Search (MCTS). In SAVE, a learned prior over state-action values is used to guide MCTS, which estimates an improved set of state-action values. The new Q-estimates are then used in combination with real experience to update the prior. This effectively amortizes the value computation performed by MCTS, resulting in a cooperative relationship between model-free learning and model-based search. SAVE can be implemented on top of any Q-learning agent with access to a model, which we demonstrate by incorporating it into agents that perform challenging physical reasoning tasks and Atari. SAVE consistently achieves higher rewards with fewer training steps, and---in contrast to typical model-based search approaches---yields strong performance with very small search budgets. By combining real experience with information computed during search, SAVE demonstrates that it is possible to improve on both the performance of model-free learning and the computational cost of planning.
We introduce agents that use object-oriented reasoning to consider alternate states of the world in order to more quickly find solutions to problems. Specifically, a hierarchical controller directs a low-level agent to behave as if objects in the scene were added, deleted, or modified. The actions taken by the controller are defined over a graph-based representation of the scene, with actions corresponding to adding, deleting, or editing the nodes of a graph. We present preliminary results on three environments, demonstrating that our approach can achieve similar levels of reward as non-hierarchical agents, but with better data efficiency.
Physical construction---the ability to compose objects, subject to physical dynamics, to serve some function---is fundamental to human intelligence. We introduce a suite of challenging physical construction tasks inspired by how children play with blocks, such as matching a target configuration, stacking blocks to connect objects together, and creating shelter-like structures over target objects. We examine how a range of deep reinforcement learning agents fare on these challenges, and introduce several new approaches which provide superior performance. Our results show that agents which use structured representations (e.g., objects and scene graphs) and structured policies (e.g., object-centric actions) outperform those which use less structured representations, and generalize better beyond their training when asked to reason about larger scenes. Model-based agents which use Monte-Carlo Tree Search also outperform strictly model-free agents in our most challenging construction problems. We conclude that approaches which combine structured representations and reasoning with powerful learning are a key path toward agents that possess rich intuitive physics, scene understanding, and planning.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has undergone a renaissance recently, making major progress in key domains such as vision, language, control, and decision-making. This has been due, in part, to cheap data and cheap compute resources, which have fit the natural strengths of deep learning. However, many defining characteristics of human intelligence, which developed under much different pressures, remain out of reach for current approaches. In particular, generalizing beyond one's experiences--a hallmark of human intelligence from infancy--remains a formidable challenge for modern AI. The following is part position paper, part review, and part unification. We argue that combinatorial generalization must be a top priority for AI to achieve human-like abilities, and that structured representations and computations are key to realizing this objective. Just as biology uses nature and nurture cooperatively, we reject the false choice between "hand-engineering" and "end-to-end" learning, and instead advocate for an approach which benefits from their complementary strengths. We explore how using relational inductive biases within deep learning architectures can facilitate learning about entities, relations, and rules for composing them. We present a new building block for the AI toolkit with a strong relational inductive bias--the graph network--which generalizes and extends various approaches for neural networks that operate on graphs, and provides a straightforward interface for manipulating structured knowledge and producing structured behaviors. We discuss how graph networks can support relational reasoning and combinatorial generalization, laying the foundation for more sophisticated, interpretable, and flexible patterns of reasoning. As a companion to this paper, we have released an open-source software library for building graph networks, with demonstrations of how to use them in practice.