Transformers have significantly impacted domains like natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics, where they improve performance compared to other neural networks. This survey explores how transformers are used in reinforcement learning (RL), where they are seen as a promising solution for addressing challenges such as unstable training, credit assignment, lack of interpretability, and partial observability. We begin by providing a brief domain overview of RL, followed by a discussion on the challenges of classical RL algorithms. Next, we delve into the properties of the transformer and its variants and discuss the characteristics that make them well-suited to address the challenges inherent in RL. We examine the application of transformers to various aspects of RL, including representation learning, transition and reward function modeling, and policy optimization. We also discuss recent research that aims to enhance the interpretability and efficiency of transformers in RL, using visualization techniques and efficient training strategies. Often, the transformer architecture must be tailored to the specific needs of a given application. We present a broad overview of how transformers have been adapted for several applications, including robotics, medicine, language modeling, cloud computing, and combinatorial optimization. We conclude by discussing the limitations of using transformers in RL and assess their potential for catalyzing future breakthroughs in this field.
Training novice users to operate an excavator for learning different skills requires the presence of expert teachers. Considering the complexity of the problem, it is comparatively expensive to find skilled experts as the process is time-consuming and requires precise focus. Moreover, since humans tend to be biased, the evaluation process is noisy and will lead to high variance in the final score of different operators with similar skills. In this work, we address these issues and propose a novel strategy for the automatic evaluation of excavator operators. We take into account the internal dynamics of the excavator and the safety criterion at every time step to evaluate the performance. To further validate our approach, we use this score prediction model as a source of reward for a reinforcement learning agent to learn the task of maneuvering an excavator in a simulated environment that closely replicates the real-world dynamics. For a policy learned using these external reward prediction models, our results demonstrate safer solutions following the required dynamic constraints when compared to policy trained with task-based reward functions only, making it one step closer to real-life adoption. For future research, we release our codebase at https://github.com/pranavAL/InvRL_Auto-Evaluate and video results https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jR1otOAu8zrY8mkhUOUZW9jkBOAKK71Z/view?usp=share_link .
* 11 pages, 5 figures, Accepted at Reinforcement Learning for Real Life
(RL4RealLife) Workshop at NeurIPS 2022
Deep reinforcement Learning for end-to-end driving is limited by the need of complex reward engineering. Sparse rewards can circumvent this challenge but suffers from long training time and leads to sub-optimal policy. In this work, we explore driving using only goal conditioned sparse rewards and propose a curriculum learning approach for end to end driving using only navigation view maps that benefit from small virtual-to-real domain gap. To address the complexity of multiple driving policies, we learn concurrent individual policies which are selected at inference by a navigation system. We demonstrate the ability of our proposal to generalize on unseen road layout, and to drive longer than in the training.
Image captioning models have been able to generate grammatically correct and human understandable sentences. However most of the captions convey limited information as the model used is trained on datasets that do not caption all possible objects existing in everyday life. Due to this lack of prior information most of the captions are biased to only a few objects present in the scene, hence limiting their usage in daily life. In this paper, we attempt to show the biased nature of the currently existing image captioning models and present a new image captioning dataset, Egoshots, consisting of 978 real life images with no captions. We further exploit the state of the art pre-trained image captioning and object recognition networks to annotate our images and show the limitations of existing works. Furthermore, in order to evaluate the quality of the generated captions, we propose a new image captioning metric, object based Semantic Fidelity (SF). Existing image captioning metrics can evaluate a caption only in the presence of their corresponding annotations; however, SF allows evaluating captions generated for images without annotations, making it highly useful for real life generated captions.
* 15 pages, 25 figures, Accepted at Machine Learning in Real Life
(ML-IRL) ICLR 2020 Workshop