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Carles Domingo-Enrich, Jiequn Han, Brandon Amos, Joan Bruna, Ricky T. Q. Chen

Stochastic optimal control, which has the goal of driving the behavior of noisy systems, is broadly applicable in science, engineering and artificial intelligence. Our work introduces Stochastic Optimal Control Matching (SOCM), a novel Iterative Diffusion Optimization (IDO) technique for stochastic optimal control that stems from the same philosophy as the conditional score matching loss for diffusion models. That is, the control is learned via a least squares problem by trying to fit a matching vector field. The training loss, which is closely connected to the cross-entropy loss, is optimized with respect to both the control function and a family of reparameterization matrices which appear in the matching vector field. The optimization with respect to the reparameterization matrices aims at minimizing the variance of the matching vector field. Experimentally, our algorithm achieves lower error than all the existing IDO techniques for stochastic optimal control for four different control settings. The key idea underlying SOCM is the path-wise reparameterization trick, a novel technique that is of independent interest, e.g., for generative modeling.

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Rajiv Sambharya, Georgina Hall, Brandon Amos, Bartolomeo Stellato

We introduce a machine-learning framework to warm-start fixed-point optimization algorithms. Our architecture consists of a neural network mapping problem parameters to warm starts, followed by a predefined number of fixed-point iterations. We propose two loss functions designed to either minimize the fixed-point residual or the distance to a ground truth solution. In this way, the neural network predicts warm starts with the end-to-end goal of minimizing the downstream loss. An important feature of our architecture is its flexibility, in that it can predict a warm start for fixed-point algorithms run for any number of steps, without being limited to the number of steps it has been trained on. We provide PAC-Bayes generalization bounds on unseen data for common classes of fixed-point operators: contractive, linearly convergent, and averaged. Applying this framework to well-known applications in control, statistics, and signal processing, we observe a significant reduction in the number of iterations and solution time required to solve these problems, through learned warm starts.

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Arman Zharmagambetov, Brandon Amos, Aaron Ferber, Taoan Huang, Bistra Dilkina, Yuandong Tian

Recent works in learning-integrated optimization have shown promise in settings where the optimization problem is only partially observed or where general-purpose optimizers perform poorly without expert tuning. By learning an optimizer $\mathbf{g}$ to tackle these challenging problems with $f$ as the objective, the optimization process can be substantially accelerated by leveraging past experience. The optimizer can be trained with supervision from known optimal solutions or implicitly by optimizing the compound function $f\circ \mathbf{g}$. The implicit approach may not require optimal solutions as labels and is capable of handling problem uncertainty; however, it is slow to train and deploy due to frequent calls to optimizer $\mathbf{g}$ during both training and testing. The training is further challenged by sparse gradients of $\mathbf{g}$, especially for combinatorial solvers. To address these challenges, we propose using a smooth and learnable Landscape Surrogate $M$ as a replacement for $f\circ \mathbf{g}$. This surrogate, learnable by neural networks, can be computed faster than the solver $\mathbf{g}$, provides dense and smooth gradients during training, can generalize to unseen optimization problems, and is efficiently learned via alternating optimization. We test our approach on both synthetic problems, including shortest path and multidimensional knapsack, and real-world problems such as portfolio optimization, achieving comparable or superior objective values compared to state-of-the-art baselines while reducing the number of calls to $\mathbf{g}$. Notably, our approach outperforms existing methods for computationally expensive high-dimensional problems.

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Aram-Alexandre Pooladian, Heli Ben-Hamu, Carles Domingo-Enrich, Brandon Amos, Yaron Lipman, Ricky Chen

Simulation-free methods for training continuous-time generative models construct probability paths that go between noise distributions and individual data samples. Recent works, such as Flow Matching, derived paths that are optimal for each data sample. However, these algorithms rely on independent data and noise samples, and do not exploit underlying structure in the data distribution for constructing probability paths. We propose Multisample Flow Matching, a more general framework that uses non-trivial couplings between data and noise samples while satisfying the correct marginal constraints. At very small overhead costs, this generalization allows us to (i) reduce gradient variance during training, (ii) obtain straighter flows for the learned vector field, which allows us to generate high-quality samples using fewer function evaluations, and (iii) obtain transport maps with lower cost in high dimensions, which has applications beyond generative modeling. Importantly, we do so in a completely simulation-free manner with a simple minimization objective. We show that our proposed methods improve sample consistency on downsampled ImageNet data sets, and lead to better low-cost sample generation.

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Qinqing Zheng, Mikael Henaff, Brandon Amos, Aditya Grover

Natural agents can effectively learn from multiple data sources that differ in size, quality, and types of measurements. We study this heterogeneity in the context of offline reinforcement learning (RL) by introducing a new, practically motivated semi-supervised setting. Here, an agent has access to two sets of trajectories: labelled trajectories containing state, action, reward triplets at every timestep, along with unlabelled trajectories that contain only state and reward information. For this setting, we develop a simple meta-algorithmic pipeline that learns an inverse-dynamics model on the labelled data to obtain proxy-labels for the unlabelled data, followed by the use of any offline RL algorithm on the true and proxy-labelled trajectories. Empirically, we find this simple pipeline to be highly successful -- on several D4RL benchmarks \cite{fu2020d4rl}, certain offline RL algorithms can match the performance of variants trained on a fully labeled dataset even when we label only 10\% trajectories from the low return regime. Finally, we perform a large-scale controlled empirical study investigating the interplay of data-centric properties of the labelled and unlabelled datasets, with algorithmic design choices (e.g., inverse dynamics, offline RL algorithm) to identify general trends and best practices for training RL agents on semi-supervised offline datasets.

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Luis Pineda, Taosha Fan, Maurizio Monge, Shobha Venkataraman, Paloma Sodhi, Ricky Chen, Joseph Ortiz, Daniel DeTone, Austin Wang, Stuart Anderson, Jing Dong, Brandon Amos, Mustafa Mukadam

We present Theseus, an efficient application-agnostic open source library for differentiable nonlinear least squares (DNLS) optimization built on PyTorch, providing a common framework for end-to-end structured learning in robotics and vision. Existing DNLS implementations are application specific and do not always incorporate many ingredients important for efficiency. Theseus is application-agnostic, as we illustrate with several example applications that are built using the same underlying differentiable components, such as second-order optimizers, standard costs functions, and Lie groups. For efficiency, Theseus incorporates support for sparse solvers, automatic vectorization, batching, GPU acceleration, and gradient computation with implicit differentiation and direct loss minimization. We do extensive performance evaluation in a set of applications, demonstrating significant efficiency gains and better scalability when these features are incorporated. Project page: https://sites.google.com/view/theseus-ai

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Heli Ben-Hamu, Samuel Cohen, Joey Bose, Brandon Amos, Aditya Grover, Maximilian Nickel, Ricky T. Q. Chen, Yaron Lipman

Continuous Normalizing Flows (CNFs) are a class of generative models that transform a prior distribution to a model distribution by solving an ordinary differential equation (ODE). We propose to train CNFs on manifolds by minimizing probability path divergence (PPD), a novel family of divergences between the probability density path generated by the CNF and a target probability density path. PPD is formulated using a logarithmic mass conservation formula which is a linear first order partial differential equation relating the log target probabilities and the CNF's defining vector field. PPD has several key benefits over existing methods: it sidesteps the need to solve an ODE per iteration, readily applies to manifold data, scales to high dimensions, and is compatible with a large family of target paths interpolating pure noise and data in finite time. Theoretically, PPD is shown to bound classical probability divergences. Empirically, we show that CNFs learned by minimizing PPD achieve state-of-the-art results in likelihoods and sample quality on existing low-dimensional manifold benchmarks, and is the first example of a generative model to scale to moderately high dimensional manifolds.

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Eugene Vinitsky, Nathan Lichtlé, Xiaomeng Yang, Brandon Amos, Jakob Foerster

We introduce \textit{Nocturne}, a new 2D driving simulator for investigating multi-agent coordination under partial observability. The focus of Nocturne is to enable research into inference and theory of mind in real-world multi-agent settings without the computational overhead of computer vision and feature extraction from images. Agents in this simulator only observe an obstructed view of the scene, mimicking human visual sensing constraints. Unlike existing benchmarks that are bottlenecked by rendering human-like observations directly using a camera input, Nocturne uses efficient intersection methods to compute a vectorized set of visible features in a C++ back-end, allowing the simulator to run at $2000+$ steps-per-second. Using open-source trajectory and map data, we construct a simulator to load and replay arbitrary trajectories and scenes from real-world driving data. Using this environment, we benchmark reinforcement-learning and imitation-learning agents and demonstrate that the agents are quite far from human-level coordination ability and deviate significantly from the expert trajectories.

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Brandon Amos, Samuel Cohen, Giulia Luise, Ievgen Redko

We study the use of amortized optimization to predict optimal transport (OT) maps from the input measures, which we call Meta OT. This helps repeatedly solve similar OT problems between different measures by leveraging the knowledge and information present from past problems to rapidly predict and solve new problems. Otherwise, standard methods ignore the knowledge of the past solutions and suboptimally re-solve each problem from scratch. Meta OT models surpass the standard convergence rates of log-Sinkhorn solvers in the discrete setting and convex potentials in the continuous setting. We improve the computational time of standard OT solvers by multiple orders of magnitude in discrete and continuous transport settings between images, spherical data, and color palettes. Our source code is available at http://github.com/facebookresearch/meta-ot.

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Ricky T. Q. Chen, Brandon Amos, Maximilian Nickel

Mapping between discrete and continuous distributions is a difficult task and many have had to resort to approximate or heuristical approaches. We propose a tessellation-based approach that directly learns quantization boundaries on a continuous space, complete with exact likelihood evaluations. This is done through constructing normalizing flows on convex polytopes parameterized through a differentiable Voronoi tessellation. Using a simple homeomorphism with an efficient log determinant Jacobian, we can then cheaply parameterize distributions on convex polytopes. We explore this approach in two application settings, mapping from discrete to continuous and vice versa. Firstly, a Voronoi dequantization allows automatically learning quantization boundaries in a multidimensional space. The location of boundaries and distances between regions can encode useful structural relations between the quantized discrete values. Secondly, a Voronoi mixture model has constant computation cost for likelihood evaluation regardless of the number of mixture components. Empirically, we show improvements over existing methods across a range of structured data modalities, and find that we can achieve a significant gain from just adding Voronoi mixtures to a baseline model.

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