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  • Conference paper
    Sæmundsson S, Hofmann K, Deisenroth MP, 2018,

    Meta reinforcement learning with latent variable Gaussian processes

    , Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI) 2018, Publisher: Association for Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (AUAI)

    Learning from small data sets is critical inmany practical applications where data col-lection is time consuming or expensive, e.g.,robotics, animal experiments or drug design.Meta learning is one way to increase the dataefficiency of learning algorithms by general-izing learned concepts from a set of trainingtasks to unseen, but related, tasks. Often, thisrelationship between tasks is hard coded or re-lies in some other way on human expertise.In this paper, we frame meta learning as a hi-erarchical latent variable model and infer therelationship between tasks automatically fromdata. We apply our framework in a model-based reinforcement learning setting and showthat our meta-learning model effectively gen-eralizes to novel tasks by identifying how newtasks relate to prior ones from minimal data.This results in up to a60%reduction in theaverage interaction time needed to solve taskscompared to strong baselines.

  • Conference paper
    Saputra RP, Kormushev P, 2018,

    Casualty detection for mobile rescue robots via ground-projected point clouds

    , Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS) 2018, Publisher: Springer, Cham, Pages: 473-475, ISSN: 0302-9743

    In order to operate autonomously, mobile rescue robots needto be able to detect human casualties in disaster situations. In this paper,we propose a novel method for autonomous detection of casualties lyingdown on the ground based on point-cloud data. This data can be obtainedfrom different sensors, such as an RGB-D camera or a 3D LIDAR sensor.The method is based on a ground-projected point-cloud (GPPC) imageto achieve human body shape detection. A preliminary experiment hasbeen conducted using the RANSAC method for floor detection and, theHOG feature and the SVM classifier to detect human body shape. Theresults show that the proposed method succeeds to identify a casualtyfrom point-cloud data in a wide range of viewing angles.

  • Conference paper
    Pardo F, Tavakoli A, Levdik V, Kormushev Pet al., 2018,

    Time limits in reinforcement learning

    , International Conference on Machine Learning, Pages: 4042-4051

    In reinforcement learning, it is common to let anagent interact for a fixed amount of time with itsenvironment before resetting it and repeating theprocess in a series of episodes. The task that theagent has to learn can either be to maximize itsperformance over (i) that fixed period, or (ii) anindefinite period where time limits are only usedduring training to diversify experience. In thispaper, we provide a formal account for how timelimits could effectively be handled in each of thetwo cases and explain why not doing so can causestate-aliasing and invalidation of experience re-play, leading to suboptimal policies and traininginstability. In case (i), we argue that the termi-nations due to time limits are in fact part of theenvironment, and thus a notion of the remainingtime should be included as part of the agent’s in-put to avoid violation of the Markov property. Incase (ii), the time limits are not part of the envi-ronment and are only used to facilitate learning.We argue that this insight should be incorporatedby bootstrapping from the value of the state atthe end of each partial episode. For both cases,we illustrate empirically the significance of ourconsiderations in improving the performance andstability of existing reinforcement learning algo-rithms, showing state-of-the-art results on severalcontrol tasks.

  • Conference paper
    Olofsson S, Deisenroth M, Misener R, 2018,

    Design of experiments for model discrimination hybridising analytical and data-driven approaches

    , 35th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), Publisher: ICML

    Healthcare companies must submit pharmaceuti-cal drugs or medical devices to regulatory bodiesbefore marketing new technology. Regulatorybodies frequently require transparent and inter-pretable computational modelling to justify a newhealthcare technology, but researchers may haveseveral competing models for a biological sys-tem and too little data to discriminate betweenthe models. In design of experiments for modeldiscrimination, the goal is to design maximallyinformative physical experiments in order to dis-criminate between rival predictive models. Priorwork has focused either on analytical approaches,which cannot manage all functions, or on data-driven approaches, which may have computa-tional difficulties or lack interpretable marginalpredictive distributions. We develop a method-ology introducing Gaussian process surrogatesin lieu of the original mechanistic models. Wethereby extend existing design and model discrim-ination methods developed for analytical modelsto cases of non-analytical models in a computa-tionally efficient manner.

  • Journal article
    Olofsson S, Deisenroth MP, Misener R, 2018,

    Design of Experiments for Model Discrimination using Gaussian Process Surrogate Models

    , Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, Vol: 44, Pages: 847-852, ISSN: 1570-7946

    © 2018 Elsevier B.V. Given rival mathematical models and an initial experimental data set, optimal design of experiments for model discrimination discards inaccurate models. Model discrimination is fundamentally about finding out how systems work. Not knowing how a particular system works, or having several rivalling models to predict the behaviour of the system, makes controlling and optimising the system more difficult. The most common way to perform model discrimination is by maximising the pairwise squared difference between model predictions, weighted by measurement noise and model uncertainty resulting from uncertainty in the fitted model parameters. The model uncertainty for analytical model functions is computed using gradient information. We develop a novel method where we replace the black-box models with Gaussian process surrogate models. Using the surrogate models, we are able to approximately marginalise out the model parameters, yielding the model uncertainty. Results show the surrogate model method working for model discrimination for classical test instances.

  • Conference paper
    Saputra RP, Kormushev P, 2018,

    ResQbot: a mobile rescue robot with immersive teleperception for casualty extraction

    , Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS) 2018, Publisher: Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature, Pages: 209-220, ISSN: 0302-9743

    In this work, we propose a novel mobile rescue robot equipped with an immersive stereoscopic teleperception and a teleoperation control. This robot is designed with the capability to perform safely a casualty-extraction procedure. We have built a proof-of-concept mobile rescue robot called ResQbot for the experimental platform. An approach called “loco-manipulation” is used to perform the casualty-extraction procedure using the platform. The performance of this robot is evaluated in terms of task accomplishment and safety by conducting a mock rescue experiment. We use a custom-made human-sized dummy that has been sensorised to be used as the casualty. In terms of safety, we observe several parameters during the experiment including impact force, acceleration, speed and displacement of the dummy’s head. We also compare the performance of the proposed immersive stereoscopic teleperception to conventional monocular teleperception. The results of the experiments show that the observed safety parameters are below key safety thresholds which could possibly lead to head or neck injuries. Moreover, the teleperception comparison results demonstrate an improvement in task-accomplishment performance when the operator is using the immersive teleperception.

  • Conference paper
    Wang K, Shah A, Kormushev P, 2018,

    SLIDER: a novel bipedal walking robot without knees

    , Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS) 2018, Publisher: Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature, Pages: 471-472, ISSN: 0302-9743

    In this work, we propose a novel mobile rescue robot equipped with an immersive stereoscopic teleperception and a teleoperation control. This robot is designed with the capability to perform safely a casualty-extraction procedure. We have built a proof-of-concept mobile rescue robot called ResQbot for the experimental platform. An approach called “loco-manipulation” is used to perform the casualty-extraction procedure using the platform. The performance of this robot is evaluated in terms of task accomplishment and safety by conducting a mock rescue experiment. We use a custom-made human-sized dummy that has been sensorised to be used as the casualty. In terms of safety, we observe several parameters during the experiment including impact force, acceleration, speed and displacement of the dummy’s head. We also compare the performance of the proposed immersive stereoscopic teleperception to conventional monocular teleperception. The results of the experiments show that the observed safety parameters are below key safety thresholds which could possibly lead to head or neck injuries. Moreover, the teleperception comparison results demonstrate an improvement in task-accomplishment performance when the operator is using the immersive teleperception.

  • Conference paper
    Ceran ET, Gunduz D, Gyorgy A, 2018,

    Average age of information with hybrid ARQ under a resource constraint

    , Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC), Publisher: IEEE, ISSN: 1525-3511

    Scheduling the transmission of status updates over an error-prone communication channel is studied in order to minimize the long-term average age of information (AoI) at the destination under a constraint on the average number of transmissions at the source node. After each transmission, the source receives an instantaneous ACK/NACK feedback, and decides on the next update without prior knowledge on the success of future transmissions. First, the optimal scheduling policy is studied under different feedback mechanisms when the channel statistics are known; in particular, the standard automatic repeat request (ARQ) and hybrid ARQ (HARQ) protocols are considered. Then, for an unknown environment, an average-cost reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm is proposed that learns the system parameters and the transmission policy in real time. The effectiveness of the proposed methods are verified through numerical simulations.

  • Conference paper
    Kamthe S, Deisenroth MP, 2018,

    Data-efficient reinforcement learning with probabilistic model predictive control

    , Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, Publisher: PMLR, Pages: 1701-1710

    Trial-and-error based reinforcement learning(RL) has seen rapid advancements in recenttimes, especially with the advent of deep neural networks. However, the majority of autonomous RL algorithms require a large number of interactions with the environment. Alarge number of interactions may be impractical in many real-world applications, such asrobotics, and many practical systems have toobey limitations in the form of state spaceor control constraints. To reduce the numberof system interactions while simultaneouslyhandling constraints, we propose a modelbased RL framework based on probabilisticModel Predictive Control (MPC). In particular, we propose to learn a probabilistic transition model using Gaussian Processes (GPs)to incorporate model uncertainty into longterm predictions, thereby, reducing the impact of model errors. We then use MPC tofind a control sequence that minimises theexpected long-term cost. We provide theoretical guarantees for first-order optimality inthe GP-based transition models with deterministic approximate inference for long-termplanning. We demonstrate that our approachdoes not only achieve state-of-the-art dataefficiency, but also is a principled way for RLin constrained environments.

  • Conference paper
    Saputra RP, Kormushev P, 2018,

    ResQbot: A mobile rescue robot for casualty extraction

    , 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2018), Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery, Pages: 239-240

    Performing search and rescue missions in disaster-struck environments is challenging. Despite the advances in the robotic search phase of the rescue missions, few works have been focused on the physical casualty extraction phase. In this work, we propose a mobile rescue robot that is capable of performing a safe casualty extraction routine. To perform this routine, this robot adopts a loco-manipulation approach. We have designed and built a mobile rescue robot platform called ResQbot as a proof of concept of the proposed system. We have conducted preliminary experiments using a sensorised human-sized dummy as a victim, to confirm that the platform is capable of performing a safe casualty extraction procedure.

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