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Daniel Bairamian, Philippe Marcotte, Joshua Romoff, Gabriel Robert, Derek Nowrouzezahrai

Recent advances in Competitive Self-Play (CSP) have achieved, or even surpassed, human level performance in complex game environments such as Dota 2 and StarCraft II using Distributed Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL). One core component of these methods relies on creating a pool of learning agents -- consisting of the Main Agent, past versions of this agent, and Exploiter Agents -- where Exploiter Agents learn counter-strategies to the Main Agents. A key drawback of these approaches is the large computational cost and physical time that is required to train the system, making them impractical to deploy in highly iterative real-life settings such as video game productions. In this paper, we propose the Minimax Exploiter, a game theoretic approach to exploiting Main Agents that leverages knowledge of its opponents, leading to significant increases in data efficiency. We validate our approach in a diversity of settings, including simple turn based games, the arcade learning environment, and For Honor, a modern video game. The Minimax Exploiter consistently outperforms strong baselines, demonstrating improved stability and data efficiency, leading to a robust CSP-MARL method that is both flexible and easy to deploy.

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Andrew Spielberg, Fangcheng Zhong, Konstantinos Rematas, Krishna Murthy Jatavallabhula, Cengiz Oztireli, Tzu-Mao Li, Derek Nowrouzezahrai

Originally designed for applications in computer graphics, visual computing (VC) methods synthesize information about physical and virtual worlds, using prescribed algorithms optimized for spatial computing. VC is used to analyze geometry, physically simulate solids, fluids, and other media, and render the world via optical techniques. These fine-tuned computations that operate explicitly on a given input solve so-called forward problems, VC excels at. By contrast, deep learning (DL) allows for the construction of general algorithmic models, side stepping the need for a purely first principles-based approach to problem solving. DL is powered by highly parameterized neural network architectures -- universal function approximators -- and gradient-based search algorithms which can efficiently search that large parameter space for optimal models. This approach is predicated by neural network differentiability, the requirement that analytic derivatives of a given problem's task metric can be computed with respect to neural network's parameters. Neural networks excel when an explicit model is not known, and neural network training solves an inverse problem in which a model is computed from data.

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Yewon Lee, Philip Huang, Krishna Murthy Jatavallabhula, Andrew Z. Li, Fabian Damken, Eric Heiden, Kevin Smith, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Fabio Ramos, Florian Shkurti

Planning for many manipulation tasks, such as using tools or assembling parts, often requires both symbolic and geometric reasoning. Task and Motion Planning (TAMP) algorithms typically solve these problems by conducting a tree search over high-level task sequences while checking for kinematic and dynamic feasibility. While performant, most existing algorithms are highly inefficient as their time complexity grows exponentially with the number of possible actions and objects. Additionally, they only find a single solution to problems in which many feasible plans may exist. To address these limitations, we propose a novel algorithm called Stein Task and Motion Planning (STAMP) that leverages parallelization and differentiable simulation to efficiently search for multiple diverse plans. STAMP relaxes discrete-and-continuous TAMP problems into continuous optimization problems that can be solved using variational inference. Our algorithm builds upon Stein Variational Gradient Descent, a gradient-based variational inference algorithm, and parallelized differentiable physics simulators on the GPU to efficiently obtain gradients for inference. Further, we employ imitation learning to introduce action abstractions that reduce the inference problem to lower dimensions. We demonstrate our method on two TAMP problems and empirically show that STAMP is able to: 1) produce multiple diverse plans in parallel; and 2) search for plans more efficiently compared to existing TAMP baselines.

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Sayantan Datta, Carl Marshall, Zhao Dong, Zhengqin Li, Derek Nowrouzezahrai

We introduce differentiable indirection -- a novel learned primitive that employs differentiable multi-scale lookup tables as an effective substitute for traditional compute and data operations across the graphics pipeline. We demonstrate its flexibility on a number of graphics tasks, i.e., geometric and image representation, texture mapping, shading, and radiance field representation. In all cases, differentiable indirection seamlessly integrates into existing architectures, trains rapidly, and yields both versatile and efficient results.

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Paul Barde, Jakob Foerster, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Amy Zhang

Training multiple agents to coordinate is an important problem with applications in robotics, game theory, economics, and social sciences. However, most existing Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning (MARL) methods are online and thus impractical for real-world applications in which collecting new interactions is costly or dangerous. While these algorithms should leverage offline data when available, doing so gives rise to the offline coordination problem. Specifically, we identify and formalize the strategy agreement (SA) and the strategy fine-tuning (SFT) challenges, two coordination issues at which current offline MARL algorithms fail. To address this setback, we propose a simple model-based approach that generates synthetic interaction data and enables agents to converge on a strategy while fine-tuning their policies accordingly. Our resulting method, Model-based Offline Multi-Agent Proximal Policy Optimization (MOMA-PPO), outperforms the prevalent learning methods in challenging offline multi-agent MuJoCo tasks even under severe partial observability and with learned world models.

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Zhen Liu, Yao Feng, Michael J. Black, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Liam Paull, Weiyang Liu

We consider the task of generating realistic 3D shapes, which is useful for a variety of applications such as automatic scene generation and physical simulation. Compared to other 3D representations like voxels and point clouds, meshes are more desirable in practice, because (1) they enable easy and arbitrary manipulation of shapes for relighting and simulation, and (2) they can fully leverage the power of modern graphics pipelines which are mostly optimized for meshes. Previous scalable methods for generating meshes typically rely on sub-optimal post-processing, and they tend to produce overly-smooth or noisy surfaces without fine-grained geometric details. To overcome these shortcomings, we take advantage of the graph structure of meshes and use a simple yet very effective generative modeling method to generate 3D meshes. Specifically, we represent meshes with deformable tetrahedral grids, and then train a diffusion model on this direct parametrization. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our model on multiple generative tasks.

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Christopher Beckham, Martin Weiss, Florian Golemo, Sina Honari, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Christopher Pal

Different types of mental rotation tests have been used extensively in psychology to understand human visual reasoning and perception. Understanding what an object or visual scene would look like from another viewpoint is a challenging problem that is made even harder if it must be performed from a single image. We explore a controlled setting whereby questions are posed about the properties of a scene if that scene was observed from another viewpoint. To do this we have created a new version of the CLEVR dataset that we call CLEVR Mental Rotation Tests (CLEVR-MRT). Using CLEVR-MRT we examine standard methods, show how they fall short, then explore novel neural architectures that involve inferring volumetric representations of a scene. These volumes can be manipulated via camera-conditioned transformations to answer the question. We examine the efficacy of different model variants through rigorous ablations and demonstrate the efficacy of volumetric representations.

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Mattie Tesfaldet, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Christopher Pal

Recent extensions of Cellular Automata (CA) have incorporated key ideas from modern deep learning, dramatically extending their capabilities and catalyzing a new family of Neural Cellular Automata (NCA) techniques. Inspired by Transformer-based architectures, our work presents a new class of $\textit{attention-based}$ NCAs formed using a spatially localized$\unicode{x2014}$yet globally organized$\unicode{x2014}$self-attention scheme. We introduce an instance of this class named $\textit{Vision Transformer Cellular Automata}$ (ViTCA). We present quantitative and qualitative results on denoising autoencoding across six benchmark datasets, comparing ViTCA to a U-Net, a U-Net-based CA baseline (UNetCA), and a Vision Transformer (ViT). When comparing across architectures configured to similar parameter complexity, ViTCA architectures yield superior performance across all benchmarks and for nearly every evaluation metric. We present an ablation study on various architectural configurations of ViTCA, an analysis of its effect on cell states, and an investigation on its inductive biases. Finally, we examine its learned representations via linear probes on its converged cell state hidden representations, yielding, on average, superior results when compared to our U-Net, ViT, and UNetCA baselines.

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Yanran Guan, Andrei Chubarau, Ruby Rao, Derek Nowrouzezahrai

Neural implicit surface representations have recently emerged as popular alternative to explicit 3D object encodings, such as polygonal meshes, tabulated points, or voxels. While significant work has improved the geometric fidelity of these representations, much less attention is given to their final appearance. Traditional explicit object representations commonly couple the 3D shape data with auxiliary surface-mapped image data, such as diffuse color textures and fine-scale geometric details in normal maps that typically require a mapping of the 3D surface onto a plane, i.e., a surface parameterization; implicit representations, on the other hand, cannot be easily textured due to lack of configurable surface parameterization. Inspired by this digital content authoring methodology, we design a neural network architecture that implicitly encodes the underlying surface parameterization suitable for appearance data. As such, our model remains compatible with existing mesh-based digital content with appearance data. Motivated by recent work that overfits compact networks to individual 3D objects, we present a new weight-encoded neural implicit representation that extends the capability of neural implicit surfaces to enable various common and important applications of texture mapping. Our method outperforms reasonable baselines and state-of-the-art alternatives.

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Jithendaraa Subramanian, Yashas Annadani, Ivaxi Sheth, Nan Rosemary Ke, Tristan Deleu, Stefan Bauer, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Samira Ebrahimi Kahou

Causal learning has long concerned itself with the accurate recovery of underlying causal mechanisms. Such causal modelling enables better explanations of out-of-distribution data. Prior works on causal learning assume that the high-level causal variables are given. However, in machine learning tasks, one often operates on low-level data like image pixels or high-dimensional vectors. In such settings, the entire Structural Causal Model (SCM) -- structure, parameters, \textit{and} high-level causal variables -- is unobserved and needs to be learnt from low-level data. We treat this problem as Bayesian inference of the latent SCM, given low-level data. For linear Gaussian additive noise SCMs, we present a tractable approximate inference method which performs joint inference over the causal variables, structure and parameters of the latent SCM from random, known interventions. Experiments are performed on synthetic datasets and a causally generated image dataset to demonstrate the efficacy of our approach. We also perform image generation from unseen interventions, thereby verifying out of distribution generalization for the proposed causal model.

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