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Thomas Jiralerspong

Master's Research - Université de Montréal


Efficient Causal Graph Discovery Using Large Language Models
Thomas Jiralerspong
Xiaoyin Chen
Yash More
Vedant Shah
Forecaster: Towards Temporally Abstract Tree-Search Planning from Pixels
Thomas Jiralerspong
Flemming Kondrup
The ability to plan at many different levels of abstraction enables agents to envision the long-term repercussions of their decisions and th… (see more)us enables sample-efficient learning. This becomes particularly beneficial in complex environments from high-dimensional state space such as pixels, where the goal is distant and the reward sparse. We introduce Forecaster, a deep hierarchical reinforcement learning approach which plans over high-level goals leveraging a temporally abstract world model. Forecaster learns an abstract model of its environment by modelling the transitions dynamics at an abstract level and training a world model on such transition. It then uses this world model to choose optimal high-level goals through a tree-search planning procedure. It additionally trains a low-level policy that learns to reach those goals. Our method not only captures building world models with longer horizons, but also, planning with such models in downstream tasks. We empirically demonstrate Forecaster's potential in both single-task learning and generalization to new tasks in the AntMaze domain.
Contrastive Retrospection: honing in on critical steps for rapid learning and generalization in RL
Chen Sun
Wannan Yang
Thomas Jiralerspong
Dane Malenfant
Benjamin Alsbury-Nealy
In real life, success is often contingent upon multiple critical steps that are distant in time from each other and from the final reward. T… (see more)hese critical steps are challenging to identify with traditional reinforcement learning (RL) methods that rely on the Bellman equation for credit assignment. Here, we present a new RL algorithm that uses offline contrastive learning to hone in on these critical steps. This algorithm, which we call Contrastive Retrospection (ConSpec), can be added to any existing RL algorithm. ConSpec learns a set of prototypes for the critical steps in a task by a novel contrastive loss and delivers an intrinsic reward when the current state matches one of the prototypes. The prototypes in ConSpec provide two key benefits for credit assignment: (i) They enable rapid identification of all the critical steps. (ii) They do so in a readily interpretable manner, enabling out-of-distribution generalization when sensory features are altered. Distinct from other contemporary RL approaches to credit assignment, ConSpec takes advantage of the fact that it is easier to retrospectively identify the small set of steps that success is contingent upon (and ignoring other states) than it is to prospectively predict reward at every taken step. ConSpec greatly improves learning in a diverse set of RL tasks. The code is available at the link: https://github.com/sunchipsster1/ConSpec