In the last few years, deep multi-agent reinforcement learning (RL) has become a highly active area of research. A particularly challenging class of problems in this area is partially observable, cooperative, multi-agent learning, in which teams of agents must learn to coordinate their behaviour while conditioning only on their private observations. This is an attractive research area since such problems are relevant to a large number of real-world systems and are also more amenable to evaluation than general-sum problems. Standardised environments such as the ALE and MuJoCo have allowed single-agent RL to move beyond toy domains, such as grid worlds. However, there is no comparable benchmark for cooperative multi-agent RL. As a result, most papers in this field use one-off toy problems, making it difficult to measure real progress. In this paper, we propose the StarCraft Multi-Agent Challenge (SMAC) as a benchmark problem to fill this gap. SMAC is based on the popular real-time strategy game StarCraft II and focuses on micromanagement challenges where each unit is controlled by an independent agent that must act based on local observations. We offer a diverse set of challenge maps and recommendations for best practices in benchmarking and evaluations. We also open-source a deep multi-agent RL learning framework including state-of-the-art algorithms. We believe that SMAC can provide a standard benchmark environment for years to come. Videos of our best agents for several SMAC scenarios are available at: https://youtu.be/VZ7zmQ_obZ0.
Detection and recognition of text in natural images are two main problems in the field of computer vision that have a wide variety of applications in analysis of sports videos, autonomous driving, industrial automation, to name a few. They face common challenging problems that are factors in how text is represented and affected by several environmental conditions. The current state-of-the-art scene text detection and/or recognition methods have exploited the witnessed advancement in deep learning architectures and reported a superior accuracy on benchmark datasets when tackling multi-resolution and multi-oriented text. However, there are still several remaining challenges affecting text in the wild images that cause existing methods to underperform due to there models are not able to generalize to unseen data and the insufficient labeled data. Thus, unlike previous surveys in this field, the objectives of this survey are as follows: first, offering the reader not only a review on the recent advancement in scene text detection and recognition, but also presenting the results of conducting extensive experiments using a unified evaluation framework that assesses pre-trained models of the selected methods on challenging cases, and applies the same evaluation criteria on these techniques. Second, identifying several existing challenges for detecting or recognizing text in the wild images, namely, in-plane-rotation, multi-oriented and multi-resolution text, perspective distortion, illumination reflection, partial occlusion, complex fonts, and special characters. Finally, the paper also presents insight into the potential research directions in this field to address some of the mentioned challenges that are still encountering scene text detection and recognition techniques.
Due to the significance and value in human-computer interaction and natural language processing, task-oriented dialog systems are attracting more and more attention in both academic and industrial communities. In this paper, we survey recent advances and challenges in an issue-specific manner. We discuss three critical topics for task-oriented dialog systems: (1) improving data efficiency to facilitate dialog system modeling in low-resource settings, (2) modeling multi-turn dynamics for dialog policy learning to achieve better task-completion performance, and (3) integrating domain ontology knowledge into the dialog model in both pipeline and end-to-end models. We also review the recent progresses in dialog evaluation and some widely-used corpora. We believe that this survey can shed a light on future research in task-oriented dialog systems.
Recently, deep multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) has become a highly active research area as many real-world problems can be inherently viewed as multiagent systems. A particularly interesting and widely applicable class of problems is the partially observable cooperative multiagent setting, in which a team of agents learns to coordinate their behaviors conditioning on their private observations and commonly shared global reward signals. One natural solution is to resort to the centralized training and decentralized execution paradigm. During centralized training, one key challenge is the multiagent credit assignment: how to allocate the global rewards for individual agent policies for better coordination towards maximizing system-level's benefits. In this paper, we propose a new method called Q-value Path Decomposition (QPD) to decompose the system's global Q-values into individual agents' Q-values. Unlike previous works which restrict the representation relation of the individual Q-values and the global one, we leverage the integrated gradient attribution technique into deep MARL to directly decompose global Q-values along trajectory paths to assign credits for agents. We evaluate QPD on the challenging StarCraft II micromanagement tasks and show that QPD achieves the state-of-the-art performance in both homogeneous and heterogeneous multiagent scenarios compared with existing cooperative MARL algorithms.
Despite deep reinforcement learning has recently achieved great successes, however in multiagent environments, a number of challenges still remain. Multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) is commonly considered to suffer from the problem of non-stationary environments and exponentially increasing policy space. It would be even more challenging to learn effective policies in circumstances where the rewards are sparse and delayed over long trajectories. In this paper, we study Hierarchical Deep Multiagent Reinforcement Learning (hierarchical deep MARL) in cooperative multiagent problems with sparse and delayed rewards, where efficient multiagent learning methods are desperately needed. We decompose the original MARL problem into hierarchies and investigate how effective policies can be learned hierarchically in synchronous/asynchronous hierarchical MARL frameworks. Several hierarchical deep MARL architectures, i.e., Ind-hDQN, hCom and hQmix, are introduced for different learning paradigms. Moreover, to alleviate the issues of sparse experiences in high-level learning and non-stationarity in multiagent settings, we propose a new experience replay mechanism, named as Augmented Concurrent Experience Replay (ACER). We empirically demonstrate the effects and efficiency of our approaches in several classic Multiagent Trash Collection tasks, as well as in an extremely challenging team sports game, i.e., Fever Basketball Defense.
This manuscript surveys reinforcement learning from the perspective of optimization and control with a focus on continuous control applications. It surveys the general formulation, terminology, and typical experimental implementations of reinforcement learning and reviews competing solution paradigms. In order to compare the relative merits of various techniques, this survey presents a case study of the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) with unknown dynamics, perhaps the simplest and best studied problem in optimal control. The manuscript describes how merging techniques from learning theory and control can provide non-asymptotic characterizations of LQR performance and shows that these characterizations tend to match experimental behavior. In turn, when revisiting more complex applications, many of the observed phenomena in LQR persist. In particular, theory and experiment demonstrate the role and importance of models and the cost of generality in reinforcement learning algorithms. This survey concludes with a discussion of some of the challenges in designing learning systems that safely and reliably interact with complex and uncertain environments and how tools from reinforcement learning and controls might be combined to approach these challenges.
Deep hierarchical reinforcement learning has gained a lot of attention in recent years due to its ability to produce state-of-the-art results in challenging environments where non-hierarchical frameworks fail to learn useful policies. However, as problem domains become more complex, deep hierarchical reinforcement learning can become inefficient, leading to longer convergence times and poor performance. We introduce the Deep Nested Agent framework, which is a variant of deep hierarchical reinforcement learning where information from the main agent is propagated to the low level $nested$ agent by incorporating this information into the nested agent's state. We demonstrate the effectiveness and performance of the Deep Nested Agent framework by applying it to three scenarios in Minecraft with comparisons to a deep non-hierarchical single agent framework, as well as, a deep hierarchical framework.
While most machine translation systems to date are trained on large parallel corpora, humans learn language in a different way: by being grounded in an environment and interacting with other humans. In this work, we propose a communication game where two agents, native speakers of their own respective languages, jointly learn to solve a visual referential task. We find that the ability to understand and translate a foreign language emerges as a means to achieve shared goals. The emergent translation is interactive and multimodal, and crucially does not require parallel corpora, but only monolingual, independent text and corresponding images. Our proposed translation model achieves this by grounding the source and target languages into a shared visual modality, and outperforms several baselines on both word-level and sentence-level translation tasks. Furthermore, we show that agents in a multilingual community learn to translate better and faster than in a bilingual communication setting.
In many real-world settings, a team of agents must coordinate their behaviour while acting in a decentralised way. At the same time, it is often possible to train the agents in a centralised fashion in a simulated or laboratory setting, where global state information is available and communication constraints are lifted. Learning joint action-values conditioned on extra state information is an attractive way to exploit centralised learning, but the best strategy for then extracting decentralised policies is unclear. Our solution is QMIX, a novel value-based method that can train decentralised policies in a centralised end-to-end fashion. QMIX employs a network that estimates joint action-values as a complex non-linear combination of per-agent values that condition only on local observations. We structurally enforce that the joint-action value is monotonic in the per-agent values, which allows tractable maximisation of the joint action-value in off-policy learning, and guarantees consistency between the centralised and decentralised policies. We evaluate QMIX on a challenging set of StarCraft II micromanagement tasks, and show that QMIX significantly outperforms existing value-based multi-agent reinforcement learning methods.
We consider the multi-agent reinforcement learning setting with imperfect information in which each agent is trying to maximize its own utility. The reward function depends on the hidden state (or goal) of both agents, so the agents must infer the other players' hidden goals from their observed behavior in order to solve the tasks. We propose a new approach for learning in these domains: Self Other-Modeling (SOM), in which an agent uses its own policy to predict the other agent's actions and update its belief of their hidden state in an online manner. We evaluate this approach on three different tasks and show that the agents are able to learn better policies using their estimate of the other players' hidden states, in both cooperative and adversarial settings.
Detecting objects and estimating their pose remains as one of the major challenges of the computer vision research community. There exists a compromise between localizing the objects and estimating their viewpoints. The detector ideally needs to be view-invariant, while the pose estimation process should be able to generalize towards the category-level. This work is an exploration of using deep learning models for solving both problems simultaneously. For doing so, we propose three novel deep learning architectures, which are able to perform a joint detection and pose estimation, where we gradually decouple the two tasks. We also investigate whether the pose estimation problem should be solved as a classification or regression problem, being this still an open question in the computer vision community. We detail a comparative analysis of all our solutions and the methods that currently define the state of the art for this problem. We use PASCAL3D+ and ObjectNet3D datasets to present the thorough experimental evaluation and main results. With the proposed models we achieve the state-of-the-art performance in both datasets.