Predictive Coding for Locally-Linear Control

Jul 12, 2020

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High-dimensional observations and unknown dynamics are major challenges when applying optimal control to many real-world decision making tasks. The Learning Controllable Embedding (LCE) framework addresses these challenges by embedding the observations into a lower dimensional latent space, estimating the latent dynamics, and then performing control directly in the latent space. To ensure the learned latent dynamics are predictive of next-observations, all existing LCE approaches decode back into the observation space and explicitly perform next-observation prediction—a challenging high-dimensional task that furthermore introduces a large number of nuisance parameters (i.e., the decoder) which are discarded during control. In this paper, we propose a novel information-theoretic LCE approach and show theoretically that explicit next-observation prediction can be replaced with predictive coding. We then use predictive coding to develop a decoder-free LCE model whose latent dynamics are amenable to locally-linear control. Extensive experiments on benchmark tasks show that our model reliably learns a controllable latent space that leads to superior performance when compared with state-of-the-art LCE baselines.

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The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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