Models, code, and papers for "Tom Erez":

A Scalable Method for Solving High-Dimensional Continuous POMDPs Using Local Approximation

Mar 15, 2012
Tom Erez, William D. Smart

Partially-Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs) are typically solved by finding an approximate global solution to a corresponding belief-MDP. In this paper, we offer a new planning algorithm for POMDPs with continuous state, action and observation spaces. Since such domains have an inherent notion of locality, we can find an approximate solution using local optimization methods. We parameterize the belief distribution as a Gaussian mixture, and use the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) to approximate the belief update. Since the EKF is a first-order filter, we can marginalize over the observations analytically. By using feedback control and state estimation during policy execution, we recover a behavior that is effectively conditioned on incoming observations despite the unconditioned planning. Local optimization provides no guarantees of global optimality, but it allows us to tackle domains that are at least an order of magnitude larger than the current state-of-the-art. We demonstrate the scalability of our algorithm by considering a simulated hand-eye coordination domain with 16 continuous state dimensions and 6 continuous action dimensions.

* Appears in Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI2010) 

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Learning Continuous Control Policies by Stochastic Value Gradients

Oct 30, 2015
Nicolas Heess, Greg Wayne, David Silver, Timothy Lillicrap, Yuval Tassa, Tom Erez

We present a unified framework for learning continuous control policies using backpropagation. It supports stochastic control by treating stochasticity in the Bellman equation as a deterministic function of exogenous noise. The product is a spectrum of general policy gradient algorithms that range from model-free methods with value functions to model-based methods without value functions. We use learned models but only require observations from the environment in- stead of observations from model-predicted trajectories, minimizing the impact of compounded model errors. We apply these algorithms first to a toy stochastic control problem and then to several physics-based control problems in simulation. One of these variants, SVG(1), shows the effectiveness of learning models, value functions, and policies simultaneously in continuous domains.

* 13 pages, NIPS 2015 

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Learning to Perform Physics Experiments via Deep Reinforcement Learning

Aug 17, 2017
Misha Denil, Pulkit Agrawal, Tejas D Kulkarni, Tom Erez, Peter Battaglia, Nando de Freitas

When encountering novel objects, humans are able to infer a wide range of physical properties such as mass, friction and deformability by interacting with them in a goal driven way. This process of active interaction is in the same spirit as a scientist performing experiments to discover hidden facts. Recent advances in artificial intelligence have yielded machines that can achieve superhuman performance in Go, Atari, natural language processing, and complex control problems; however, it is not clear that these systems can rival the scientific intuition of even a young child. In this work we introduce a basic set of tasks that require agents to estimate properties such as mass and cohesion of objects in an interactive simulated environment where they can manipulate the objects and observe the consequences. We found that state of art deep reinforcement learning methods can learn to perform the experiments necessary to discover such hidden properties. By systematically manipulating the problem difficulty and the cost incurred by the agent for performing experiments, we found that agents learn different strategies that balance the cost of gathering information against the cost of making mistakes in different situations.

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Rigorous Agent Evaluation: An Adversarial Approach to Uncover Catastrophic Failures

Dec 04, 2018
Jonathan Uesato, Ananya Kumar, Csaba Szepesvari, Tom Erez, Avraham Ruderman, Keith Anderson, Krishmamurthy, Dvijotham, Nicolas Heess, Pushmeet Kohli

This paper addresses the problem of evaluating learning systems in safety critical domains such as autonomous driving, where failures can have catastrophic consequences. We focus on two problems: searching for scenarios when learned agents fail and assessing their probability of failure. The standard method for agent evaluation in reinforcement learning, Vanilla Monte Carlo, can miss failures entirely, leading to the deployment of unsafe agents. We demonstrate this is an issue for current agents, where even matching the compute used for training is sometimes insufficient for evaluation. To address this shortcoming, we draw upon the rare event probability estimation literature and propose an adversarial evaluation approach. Our approach focuses evaluation on adversarially chosen situations, while still providing unbiased estimates of failure probabilities. The key difficulty is in identifying these adversarial situations -- since failures are rare there is little signal to drive optimization. To solve this we propose a continuation approach that learns failure modes in related but less robust agents. Our approach also allows reuse of data already collected for training the agent. We demonstrate the efficacy of adversarial evaluation on two standard domains: humanoid control and simulated driving. Experimental results show that our methods can find catastrophic failures and estimate failures rates of agents multiple orders of magnitude faster than standard evaluation schemes, in minutes to hours rather than days.

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Continuous control with deep reinforcement learning

Feb 29, 2016
Timothy P. Lillicrap, Jonathan J. Hunt, Alexander Pritzel, Nicolas Heess, Tom Erez, Yuval Tassa, David Silver, Daan Wierstra

We adapt the ideas underlying the success of Deep Q-Learning to the continuous action domain. We present an actor-critic, model-free algorithm based on the deterministic policy gradient that can operate over continuous action spaces. Using the same learning algorithm, network architecture and hyper-parameters, our algorithm robustly solves more than 20 simulated physics tasks, including classic problems such as cartpole swing-up, dexterous manipulation, legged locomotion and car driving. Our algorithm is able to find policies whose performance is competitive with those found by a planning algorithm with full access to the dynamics of the domain and its derivatives. We further demonstrate that for many of the tasks the algorithm can learn policies end-to-end: directly from raw pixel inputs.

* 10 pages + supplementary 

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Data-efficient Deep Reinforcement Learning for Dexterous Manipulation

Apr 10, 2017
Ivaylo Popov, Nicolas Heess, Timothy Lillicrap, Roland Hafner, Gabriel Barth-Maron, Matej Vecerik, Thomas Lampe, Yuval Tassa, Tom Erez, Martin Riedmiller

Deep learning and reinforcement learning methods have recently been used to solve a variety of problems in continuous control domains. An obvious application of these techniques is dexterous manipulation tasks in robotics which are difficult to solve using traditional control theory or hand-engineered approaches. One example of such a task is to grasp an object and precisely stack it on another. Solving this difficult and practically relevant problem in the real world is an important long-term goal for the field of robotics. Here we take a step towards this goal by examining the problem in simulation and providing models and techniques aimed at solving it. We introduce two extensions to the Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient algorithm (DDPG), a model-free Q-learning based method, which make it significantly more data-efficient and scalable. Our results show that by making extensive use of off-policy data and replay, it is possible to find control policies that robustly grasp objects and stack them. Further, our results hint that it may soon be feasible to train successful stacking policies by collecting interactions on real robots.

* 12 pages, 5 Figures 

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Learning Awareness Models

Apr 17, 2018
Brandon Amos, Laurent Dinh, Serkan Cabi, Thomas Rothörl, Sergio Gómez Colmenarejo, Alistair Muldal, Tom Erez, Yuval Tassa, Nando de Freitas, Misha Denil

We consider the setting of an agent with a fixed body interacting with an unknown and uncertain external world. We show that models trained to predict proprioceptive information about the agent's body come to represent objects in the external world. In spite of being trained with only internally available signals, these dynamic body models come to represent external objects through the necessity of predicting their effects on the agent's own body. That is, the model learns holistic persistent representations of objects in the world, even though the only training signals are body signals. Our dynamics model is able to successfully predict distributions over 132 sensor readings over 100 steps into the future and we demonstrate that even when the body is no longer in contact with an object, the latent variables of the dynamics model continue to represent its shape. We show that active data collection by maximizing the entropy of predictions about the body---touch sensors, proprioception and vestibular information---leads to learning of dynamic models that show superior performance when used for control. We also collect data from a real robotic hand and show that the same models can be used to answer questions about properties of objects in the real world. Videos with qualitative results of our models are available at

* Accepted to ICLR 2018 

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Reinforcement and Imitation Learning for Diverse Visuomotor Skills

May 27, 2018
Yuke Zhu, Ziyu Wang, Josh Merel, Andrei Rusu, Tom Erez, Serkan Cabi, Saran Tunyasuvunakool, János Kramár, Raia Hadsell, Nando de Freitas, Nicolas Heess

We propose a model-free deep reinforcement learning method that leverages a small amount of demonstration data to assist a reinforcement learning agent. We apply this approach to robotic manipulation tasks and train end-to-end visuomotor policies that map directly from RGB camera inputs to joint velocities. We demonstrate that our approach can solve a wide variety of visuomotor tasks, for which engineering a scripted controller would be laborious. In experiments, our reinforcement and imitation agent achieves significantly better performances than agents trained with reinforcement learning or imitation learning alone. We also illustrate that these policies, trained with large visual and dynamics variations, can achieve preliminary successes in zero-shot sim2real transfer. A brief visual description of this work can be viewed in

* 13 pages, 6 figures, Published in RSS 2018 

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DeepMind Control Suite

Jan 02, 2018
Yuval Tassa, Yotam Doron, Alistair Muldal, Tom Erez, Yazhe Li, Diego de Las Casas, David Budden, Abbas Abdolmaleki, Josh Merel, Andrew Lefrancq, Timothy Lillicrap, Martin Riedmiller

The DeepMind Control Suite is a set of continuous control tasks with a standardised structure and interpretable rewards, intended to serve as performance benchmarks for reinforcement learning agents. The tasks are written in Python and powered by the MuJoCo physics engine, making them easy to use and modify. We include benchmarks for several learning algorithms. The Control Suite is publicly available at . A video summary of all tasks is available at .

* 24 pages, 7 figures, 2 tables 

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Emergence of Locomotion Behaviours in Rich Environments

Jul 10, 2017
Nicolas Heess, Dhruva TB, Srinivasan Sriram, Jay Lemmon, Josh Merel, Greg Wayne, Yuval Tassa, Tom Erez, Ziyu Wang, S. M. Ali Eslami, Martin Riedmiller, David Silver

The reinforcement learning paradigm allows, in principle, for complex behaviours to be learned directly from simple reward signals. In practice, however, it is common to carefully hand-design the reward function to encourage a particular solution, or to derive it from demonstration data. In this paper explore how a rich environment can help to promote the learning of complex behavior. Specifically, we train agents in diverse environmental contexts, and find that this encourages the emergence of robust behaviours that perform well across a suite of tasks. We demonstrate this principle for locomotion -- behaviours that are known for their sensitivity to the choice of reward. We train several simulated bodies on a diverse set of challenging terrains and obstacles, using a simple reward function based on forward progress. Using a novel scalable variant of policy gradient reinforcement learning, our agents learn to run, jump, crouch and turn as required by the environment without explicit reward-based guidance. A visual depiction of highlights of the learned behavior can be viewed following .

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Motion Segmentation Using Locally Affine Atom Voting

Jul 13, 2019
Erez Posner, Rami Hagege

We present a novel method for motion segmentation called LAAV (Locally Affine Atom Voting). Our model's main novelty is using sets of features to segment motion for all features in the scene. LAAV acts as a pre-processing pipeline stage for features in the image, followed by a fine-tuned version of the state-of-the-art Random Voting (RV) method. Unlike standard approaches, LAAV segments motion using feature-set affinities instead of pair-wise affinities between all features; therefore, it significantly simplifies complex scenarios and reduces the computational cost without a loss of accuracy. We describe how the challenges encountered by using previously suggested approaches are addressed using our model. We then compare our algorithm with several state-of-the-art methods. Experiments shows that our approach achieves the most accurate motion segmentation results and, in the presence of measurement noise, achieves comparable results to the other algorithms.

* 10 pages, 4 figures 

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Automated Tactical Decision Planning Model with Strategic Values Guidance for Local Action-Value-Ambiguity

Nov 30, 2018
Daniel Muller, Erez Karpas

In many real-world planning problems, action's impact differs with a place, time and the context in which the action is applied. The same action with the same effects in a different context or states can cause a different change. In actions with incomplete precondition list, that applicable in several states and circumstances, ambiguity regarding the impact of the action is challenging even in small domains. To estimate the real impact of actions, an evaluation of the effect list will not be enough; a relative estimation is more informative and suitable for estimation of action's real impact. Recent work on Over-subscription Planning (OSP) defined the net utility of action as the net change in the state's value caused by the action. The notion of net utility of action allows for a broader perspective on value action impact and use for a more accurate evaluation of achievements of the action, considering inter-state and intra-state dependencies. To achieve value-rational decisions in complex reality often requires strategic, high level, planning with a global perspective and values, while many local tactical decisions require real-time information to estimate the impact of actions. This paper proposes an offline action-value structure analysis to exploit the compactly represented informativeness of net utility of actions to extend the scope of planning to value uncertainty scenarios and to provide a real-time value-rational decision planning tool. The result of the offline pre-processing phase is a compact decision planning model representation for flexible, local reasoning of net utility of actions with (offline) value ambiguity. The obtained flexibility is beneficial for the online planning phase and real-time execution of actions with value ambiguity. Our empirical evaluation shows the effectiveness of this approach in domains with value ambiguity in their action-value-structure.

* 9 pages, 4 figures, 2 tables 

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Detection of distal radius fractures trained by a small set of X-ray images and Faster R-CNN

Dec 21, 2018
Erez Yahalomi, Michael Chernofsky, Michael Werman

Distal radius fractures are the most common fractures of the upper extremity in humans. As such, they account for a significant portion of the injuries that present to emergency rooms and clinics throughout the world. We trained a Faster R-CNN, a machine vision neural network for object detection, to identify and locate distal radius fractures in anteroposterior X-ray images. We achieved an accuracy of 96\% in identifying fractures and mean Average Precision, mAP, of 0.866. This is significantly more accurate than the detection achieved by physicians and radiologists. These results were obtained by training the deep learning network with only 38 original images of anteroposterior hands X-ray images with fractures. This opens the possibility to detect with this type of neural network rare diseases or rare symptoms of common diseases , where only a small set of diagnosed X-ray images could be collected for each disease.

* Computing Conference 2019 

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Using Deep Learning and Google Street View to Estimate the Demographic Makeup of the US

Mar 02, 2017
Timnit Gebru, Jonathan Krause, Yilun Wang, Duyun Chen, Jia Deng, Erez Lieberman Aiden, Li Fei-Fei

The United States spends more than $1B each year on initiatives such as the American Community Survey (ACS), a labor-intensive door-to-door study that measures statistics relating to race, gender, education, occupation, unemployment, and other demographic factors. Although a comprehensive source of data, the lag between demographic changes and their appearance in the ACS can exceed half a decade. As digital imagery becomes ubiquitous and machine vision techniques improve, automated data analysis may provide a cheaper and faster alternative. Here, we present a method that determines socioeconomic trends from 50 million images of street scenes, gathered in 200 American cities by Google Street View cars. Using deep learning-based computer vision techniques, we determined the make, model, and year of all motor vehicles encountered in particular neighborhoods. Data from this census of motor vehicles, which enumerated 22M automobiles in total (8% of all automobiles in the US), was used to accurately estimate income, race, education, and voting patterns, with single-precinct resolution. (The average US precinct contains approximately 1000 people.) The resulting associations are surprisingly simple and powerful. For instance, if the number of sedans encountered during a 15-minute drive through a city is higher than the number of pickup trucks, the city is likely to vote for a Democrat during the next Presidential election (88% chance); otherwise, it is likely to vote Republican (82%). Our results suggest that automated systems for monitoring demographic trends may effectively complement labor-intensive approaches, with the potential to detect trends with fine spatial resolution, in close to real time.

* 41 pages including supplementary material. Under review at PNAS 

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