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Salem Lahlou

PhD - Université de Montréal
Supervisor

Publications

Minigrid & Miniworld: Modular & Customizable Reinforcement Learning Environments for Goal-Oriented Tasks
Maxime Chevalier-Boisvert
Bolun Dai
Mark Towers
Rodrigo De Lazcano Perez-Vicente
Lucas Willems
Salem Lahlou
Suman Pal
J K Terry
We present the Minigrid and Miniworld libraries which provide a suite of goal-oriented 2D and 3D environments. The libraries were explicitly… (see more) created with a minimalistic design paradigm to allow users to rapidly develop new environments for a wide range of research-specific needs. As a result, both have received widescale adoption by the RL community, facilitating research in a wide range of areas. In this paper, we outline the design philosophy, environment details, and their world generation API. We also showcase the additional capabilities brought by the unified API between Minigrid and Miniworld through case studies on transfer learning (for both RL agents and humans) between the different observation spaces. The source code of Minigrid and Miniworld can be found at https://github.com/Farama-Foundation/Minigrid and https://github.com/Farama-Foundation/Miniworld along with their documentation at https://minigrid.farama.org/ and https://miniworld.farama.org/.
BatchGFN: Generative Flow Networks for Batch Active Learning
Shreshth A Malik
Salem Lahlou
Andrew Jesson
Moksh J. Jain
Nikolay Malkin
Tristan Deleu
Yarin Gal
We introduce BatchGFN—a novel approach for pool-based active learning that uses generative flow networks to sample sets of data points pro… (see more)portional to a batch reward. With an appropriate reward function to quantify the utility of acquiring a batch, such as the joint mutual information between the batch and the model parameters, BatchGFN is able to construct highly informative batches for active learning in a principled way. We show our approach enables sampling near-optimal utility batches at inference time with a single forward pass per point in the batch in toy regression problems. This alleviates the computational complexity of batch-aware algorithms and removes the need for greedy approximations to find maximizers for the batch reward. We also present early results for amortizing training across acquisition steps, which will enable scaling to real-world tasks.
DEUP: Direct Epistemic Uncertainty Prediction
Moksh J. Jain
Salem Lahlou
Hadi Nekoei
Victor I Butoi
Paul Bertin
Jarrid Rector-Brooks
Maksym Korablyov
Epistemic Uncertainty is a measure of the lack of knowledge of a learner which diminishes with more evidence. While existing work focuses on… (see more) using the variance of the Bayesian posterior due to parameter uncertainty as a measure of epistemic uncertainty, we argue that this does not capture the part of lack of knowledge induced by model misspecification. We discuss how the excess risk, which is the gap between the generalization error of a predictor and the Bayes predictor, is a sound measure of epistemic uncertainty which captures the effect of model misspecification. We thus propose a principled framework for directly estimating the excess risk by learning a secondary predictor for the generalization error and subtracting an estimate of aleatoric uncertainty, i.e., intrinsic unpredictability. We discuss the merits of this novel measure of epistemic uncertainty, and highlight how it differs from variance-based measures of epistemic uncertainty and addresses its major pitfall. Our framework, Direct Epistemic Uncertainty Prediction (DEUP) is particularly interesting in interactive learning environments, where the learner is allowed to acquire novel examples in each round. Through a wide set of experiments, we illustrate how existing methods in sequential model optimization can be improved with epistemic uncertainty estimates from DEUP, and how DEUP can be used to drive exploration in reinforcement learning. We also evaluate the quality of uncertainty estimates from DEUP for probabilistic image classification and predicting synergies of drug combinations.
GFlowNets and variational inference
Nikolay Malkin
Salem Lahlou
Tristan Deleu
Xu Ji
Edward J Hu
Katie E Everett
Dinghuai Zhang
This paper builds bridges between two families of probabilistic algorithms: (hierarchical) variational inference (VI), which is typically us… (see more)ed to model distributions over continuous spaces, and generative flow networks (GFlowNets), which have been used for distributions over discrete structures such as graphs. We demonstrate that, in certain cases, VI algorithms are equivalent to special cases of GFlowNets in the sense of equality of expected gradients of their learning objectives. We then point out the differences between the two families and show how these differences emerge experimentally. Notably, GFlowNets, which borrow ideas from reinforcement learning, are more amenable than VI to off-policy training without the cost of high gradient variance induced by importance sampling. We argue that this property of GFlowNets can provide advantages for capturing diversity in multimodal target distributions.
GFlowOut: Dropout with Generative Flow Networks
Dianbo Liu
Moksh J. Jain
Bonaventure F. P. Dossou
Qianli Shen
Salem Lahlou
Anirudh Goyal
Nikolay Malkin
Chris Emezue
Dinghuai Zhang
Nadhir Hassen
Xu Ji
Kenji Kawaguchi
GFlowOut: Dropout with Generative Flow Networks
Dianbo Liu
Moksh J. Jain
Bonaventure F. P. Dossou
Qianli Shen
Salem Lahlou
Anirudh Goyal
Nikolay Malkin
Chris Emezue
Dinghuai Zhang
Nadhir Hassen
Xu Ji
Kenji Kawaguchi
A theory of continuous generative flow networks
Salem Lahlou
Tristan Deleu
Pablo Lemos
Dinghuai Zhang
Alexandra Volokhova
Alex Hernandez-Garcia
Lena Nehale Ezzine
Nikolay Malkin
A theory of continuous generative flow networks
Salem Lahlou
Tristan Deleu
Pablo Lemos
Dinghuai Zhang
Alexandra Volokhova
Alex Hernandez-Garcia
Lena Nehale Ezzine
Nikolay Malkin
Generative flow networks (GFlowNets) are amortized variational inference algorithms that are trained to sample from unnormalized target dist… (see more)ributions over compositional objects. A key limitation of GFlowNets until this time has been that they are restricted to discrete spaces. We present a theory for generalized GFlowNets, which encompasses both existing discrete GFlowNets and ones with continuous or hybrid state spaces, and perform experiments with two goals in mind. First, we illustrate critical points of the theory and the importance of various assumptions. Second, we empirically demonstrate how observations about discrete GFlowNets transfer to the continuous case and show strong results compared to non-GFlowNet baselines on several previously studied tasks. This work greatly widens the perspectives for the application of GFlowNets in probabilistic inference and various modeling settings.