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Zhaoran Wang

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Empowering Autonomous Driving with Large Language Models: A Safety Perspective

Nov 28, 2023
Yixuan Wang, Ruochen Jiao, Chengtian Lang, Sinong Simon Zhan, Chao Huang, Zhaoran Wang, Zhuoran Yang, Qi Zhu

Autonomous Driving (AD) faces crucial hurdles for commercial launch, notably in the form of diminished public trust and safety concerns from long-tail unforeseen driving scenarios. This predicament is due to the limitation of deep neural networks in AD software, which struggle with interpretability and exhibit poor generalization capabilities in out-of-distribution and uncertain scenarios. To this end, this paper advocates for the integration of Large Language Models (LLMs) into the AD system, leveraging their robust common-sense knowledge, reasoning abilities, and human-interaction capabilities. The proposed approach deploys the LLM as an intelligent decision-maker in planning, incorporating safety verifiers for contextual safety learning to enhance overall AD performance and safety. We present results from two case studies that affirm the efficacy of our approach. We further discuss the potential integration of LLM for other AD software components including perception, prediction, and simulation. Despite the observed challenges in the case studies, the integration of LLMs is promising and beneficial for reinforcing both safety and performance in AD.

* 14 pages, 7 figures 
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Provably Efficient High-Dimensional Bandit Learning with Batched Feedbacks

Nov 24, 2023
Jianqing Fan, Zhaoran Wang, Zhuoran Yang, Chenlu Ye

We study high-dimensional multi-armed contextual bandits with batched feedback where the $T$ steps of online interactions are divided into $L$ batches. In specific, each batch collects data according to a policy that depends on previous batches and the rewards are revealed only at the end of the batch. Such a feedback structure is popular in applications such as personalized medicine and online advertisement, where the online data often do not arrive in a fully serial manner. We consider high-dimensional and linear settings where the reward function of the bandit model admits either a sparse or low-rank structure and ask how small a number of batches are needed for a comparable performance with fully dynamic data in which $L = T$. For these settings, we design a provably sample-efficient algorithm which achieves a $ \mathcal{\tilde O}(s_0^2 \log^2 T)$ regret in the sparse case and $ \mathcal{\tilde O} ( r ^2 \log^2 T)$ regret in the low-rank case, using only $L = \mathcal{O}( \log T)$ batches. Here $s_0$ and $r$ are the sparsity and rank of the reward parameter in sparse and low-rank cases, respectively, and $ \mathcal{\tilde O}(\cdot)$ omits logarithmic factors involving the feature dimensions. In other words, our algorithm achieves regret bounds comparable to those in fully sequential setting with only $\mathcal{O}( \log T)$ batches. Our algorithm features a novel batch allocation method that adjusts the batch sizes according to the estimation accuracy within each batch and cumulative regret. Furthermore, we also conduct experiments with synthetic and real-world data to validate our theory.

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A Principled Framework for Knowledge-enhanced Large Language Model

Nov 18, 2023
Saizhuo Wang, Zhihan Liu, Zhaoran Wang, Jian Guo

Large Language Models (LLMs) are versatile, yet they often falter in tasks requiring deep and reliable reasoning due to issues like hallucinations, limiting their applicability in critical scenarios. This paper introduces a rigorously designed framework for creating LLMs that effectively anchor knowledge and employ a closed-loop reasoning process, enhancing their capability for in-depth analysis. We dissect the framework to illustrate the contribution of each component to the LLMs' performance, offering a theoretical assurance of improved reasoning under well-defined assumptions.

* 10 pages 
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Model-Based Reparameterization Policy Gradient Methods: Theory and Practical Algorithms

Oct 30, 2023
Shenao Zhang, Boyi Liu, Zhaoran Wang, Tuo Zhao

ReParameterization (RP) Policy Gradient Methods (PGMs) have been widely adopted for continuous control tasks in robotics and computer graphics. However, recent studies have revealed that, when applied to long-term reinforcement learning problems, model-based RP PGMs may experience chaotic and non-smooth optimization landscapes with exploding gradient variance, which leads to slow convergence. This is in contrast to the conventional belief that reparameterization methods have low gradient estimation variance in problems such as training deep generative models. To comprehend this phenomenon, we conduct a theoretical examination of model-based RP PGMs and search for solutions to the optimization difficulties. Specifically, we analyze the convergence of the model-based RP PGMs and pinpoint the smoothness of function approximators as a major factor that affects the quality of gradient estimation. Based on our analysis, we propose a spectral normalization method to mitigate the exploding variance issue caused by long model unrolls. Our experimental results demonstrate that proper normalization significantly reduces the gradient variance of model-based RP PGMs. As a result, the performance of the proposed method is comparable or superior to other gradient estimators, such as the Likelihood Ratio (LR) gradient estimator. Our code is available at

* Published at NeurIPS 2023 
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Posterior Sampling for Competitive RL: Function Approximation and Partial Observation

Oct 30, 2023
Shuang Qiu, Ziyu Dai, Han Zhong, Zhaoran Wang, Zhuoran Yang, Tong Zhang

This paper investigates posterior sampling algorithms for competitive reinforcement learning (RL) in the context of general function approximations. Focusing on zero-sum Markov games (MGs) under two critical settings, namely self-play and adversarial learning, we first propose the self-play and adversarial generalized eluder coefficient (GEC) as complexity measures for function approximation, capturing the exploration-exploitation trade-off in MGs. Based on self-play GEC, we propose a model-based self-play posterior sampling method to control both players to learn Nash equilibrium, which can successfully handle the partial observability of states. Furthermore, we identify a set of partially observable MG models fitting MG learning with the adversarial policies of the opponent. Incorporating the adversarial GEC, we propose a model-based posterior sampling method for learning adversarial MG with potential partial observability. We further provide low regret bounds for proposed algorithms that can scale sublinearly with the proposed GEC and the number of episodes $T$. To the best of our knowledge, we for the first time develop generic model-based posterior sampling algorithms for competitive RL that can be applied to a majority of tractable zero-sum MG classes in both fully observable and partially observable MGs with self-play and adversarial learning.

* NeurIPS 2023 
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Learning Regularized Graphon Mean-Field Games with Unknown Graphons

Oct 26, 2023
Fengzhuo Zhang, Vincent Y. F. Tan, Zhaoran Wang, Zhuoran Yang

We design and analyze reinforcement learning algorithms for Graphon Mean-Field Games (GMFGs). In contrast to previous works that require the precise values of the graphons, we aim to learn the Nash Equilibrium (NE) of the regularized GMFGs when the graphons are unknown. Our contributions are threefold. First, we propose the Proximal Policy Optimization for GMFG (GMFG-PPO) algorithm and show that it converges at a rate of $O(T^{-1/3})$ after $T$ iterations with an estimation oracle, improving on a previous work by Xie et al. (ICML, 2021). Second, using kernel embedding of distributions, we design efficient algorithms to estimate the transition kernels, reward functions, and graphons from sampled agents. Convergence rates are then derived when the positions of the agents are either known or unknown. Results for the combination of the optimization algorithm GMFG-PPO and the estimation algorithm are then provided. These algorithms are the first specifically designed for learning graphons from sampled agents. Finally, the efficacy of the proposed algorithms are corroborated through simulations. These simulations demonstrate that learning the unknown graphons reduces the exploitability effectively.

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Learning Regularized Monotone Graphon Mean-Field Games

Oct 12, 2023
Fengzhuo Zhang, Vincent Y. F. Tan, Zhaoran Wang, Zhuoran Yang

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This paper studies two fundamental problems in regularized Graphon Mean-Field Games (GMFGs). First, we establish the existence of a Nash Equilibrium (NE) of any $\lambda$-regularized GMFG (for $\lambda\geq 0$). This result relies on weaker conditions than those in previous works for analyzing both unregularized GMFGs ($\lambda=0$) and $\lambda$-regularized MFGs, which are special cases of GMFGs. Second, we propose provably efficient algorithms to learn the NE in weakly monotone GMFGs, motivated by Lasry and Lions [2007]. Previous literature either only analyzed continuous-time algorithms or required extra conditions to analyze discrete-time algorithms. In contrast, we design a discrete-time algorithm and derive its convergence rate solely under weakly monotone conditions. Furthermore, we develop and analyze the action-value function estimation procedure during the online learning process, which is absent from algorithms for monotone GMFGs. This serves as a sub-module in our optimization algorithm. The efficiency of the designed algorithm is corroborated by empirical evaluations.

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Reason for Future, Act for Now: A Principled Framework for Autonomous LLM Agents with Provable Sample Efficiency

Oct 11, 2023
Zhihan Liu, Hao Hu, Shenao Zhang, Hongyi Guo, Shuqi Ke, Boyi Liu, Zhaoran Wang

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Large language models (LLMs) demonstrate impressive reasoning abilities, but translating reasoning into actions in the real world remains challenging. In particular, it remains unclear how to complete a given task provably within a minimum number of interactions with the external environment, e.g., through an internal mechanism of reasoning. To this end, we propose a principled framework with provable regret guarantees to orchestrate reasoning and acting, which we call "reason for future, act for now" (\texttt{RAFA}). Specifically, we design a prompt template for reasoning that learns from the memory buffer and plans a future trajectory over a long horizon ("reason for future"). At each step, the LLM agent takes the initial action of the planned trajectory ("act for now"), stores the collected feedback in the memory buffer, and reinvokes the reasoning routine to replan the future trajectory from the new state. The key idea is to cast reasoning in LLMs as learning and planning in Bayesian adaptive Markov decision processes (MDPs). Correspondingly, we prompt LLMs to form an updated posterior of the unknown environment from the memory buffer (learning) and generate an optimal trajectory for multiple future steps that maximizes a value function (planning). The learning and planning subroutines are performed in an "in-context" manner to emulate the actor-critic update for MDPs. Our theoretical analysis proves that the novel combination of long-term reasoning and short-term acting achieves a $\sqrt{T}$ regret. In particular, the regret bound highlights an intriguing interplay between the prior knowledge obtained through pretraining and the uncertainty reduction achieved by reasoning and acting. Our empirical validation shows that it outperforms various existing frameworks and achieves nearly perfect scores on a few benchmarks.

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Let Models Speak Ciphers: Multiagent Debate through Embeddings

Oct 10, 2023
Chau Pham, Boyi Liu, Yingxiang Yang, Zhengyu Chen, Tianyi Liu, Jianbo Yuan, Bryan A. Plummer, Zhaoran Wang, Hongxia Yang

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Discussion and debate among Large Language Models (LLMs) have gained considerable attention due to their potential to enhance the reasoning ability of LLMs. Although natural language is an obvious choice for communication due to LLM's language understanding capability, the token sampling step needed when generating natural language poses a potential risk of information loss, as it uses only one token to represent the model's belief across the entire vocabulary. In this paper, we introduce a communication regime named CIPHER (Communicative Inter-Model Protocol Through Embedding Representation) to address this issue. Specifically, we remove the token sampling step from LLMs and let them communicate their beliefs across the vocabulary through the expectation of the raw transformer output embeddings. Remarkably, by deviating from natural language, CIPHER offers an advantage of encoding a broader spectrum of information without any modification to the model weights. While the state-of-the-art LLM debate methods using natural language outperforms traditional inference by a margin of 1.5-8%, our experiment results show that CIPHER debate further extends this lead by 1-3.5% across five reasoning tasks and multiple open-source LLMs of varying sizes. This showcases the superiority and robustness of embeddings as an alternative "language" for communication among LLMs.

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Sample-Efficient Multi-Agent RL: An Optimization Perspective

Oct 10, 2023
Nuoya Xiong, Zhihan Liu, Zhaoran Wang, Zhuoran Yang

We study multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL) for the general-sum Markov Games (MGs) under the general function approximation. In order to find the minimum assumption for sample-efficient learning, we introduce a novel complexity measure called the Multi-Agent Decoupling Coefficient (MADC) for general-sum MGs. Using this measure, we propose the first unified algorithmic framework that ensures sample efficiency in learning Nash Equilibrium, Coarse Correlated Equilibrium, and Correlated Equilibrium for both model-based and model-free MARL problems with low MADC. We also show that our algorithm provides comparable sublinear regret to the existing works. Moreover, our algorithm combines an equilibrium-solving oracle with a single objective optimization subprocedure that solves for the regularized payoff of each deterministic joint policy, which avoids solving constrained optimization problems within data-dependent constraints (Jin et al. 2020; Wang et al. 2023) or executing sampling procedures with complex multi-objective optimization problems (Foster et al. 2023), thus being more amenable to empirical implementation.

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