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      PAC-Bayes Control: Synthesizing Controllers that Provably Generalize to Novel Environments

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          Abstract

          Our goal is to synthesize controllers for robots that provably generalize well to novel environments given a dataset of example environments. The key technical idea behind our approach is to leverage tools from generalization theory in machine learning by exploiting a precise analogy (which we present in the form of a reduction) between robustness of controllers to novel environments and generalization of hypotheses in supervised learning. In particular, we utilize the Probably Approximately Correct (PAC)-Bayes framework, which allows us to obtain upper bounds (that hold with high probability) on the expected cost of (stochastic) controllers across novel environments. We propose control synthesis algorithms that explicitly seek to minimize this upper bound. The corresponding optimization problem can be solved using convex optimization (Relative Entropy Programming in particular) in the setting where we are optimizing over a finite control policy space. In the more general setting of continuously parameterized controllers, we minimize this upper bound using stochastic gradient descent. We present examples of our approach in the context of obstacle avoidance control with depth measurements. Our simulated examples demonstrate the potential of our approach to provide strong generalization guarantees on controllers for robotic systems with continuous state and action spaces, complicated (e.g., nonlinear) dynamics, and rich sensory inputs (e.g., depth measurements).

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          Planning and acting in partially observable stochastic domains

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            Deep learning for detecting robotic grasps

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              Algorithmic stability and sanity-check bounds for leave-one-out cross-validation.

              In this article we prove sanity-check bounds for the error of the leave-one-out cross-validation estimate of the generalization error: that is, bounds showing that the worst-case error of this estimate is not much worse than that of the training error estimate. The name sanity check refers to the fact that although we often expect the leave-one-out estimate to perform considerably better than the training error estimate, we are here only seeking assurance that its performance will not be considerably worse. Perhaps surprisingly, such assurance has been given only for limited cases in the prior literature on cross-validation. Any nontrivial bound on the error of leave-one-out must rely on some notion of algorithmic stability. Previous bounds relied on the rather strong notion of hypothesis stability, whose application was primarily limited to nearest-neighbor and other local algorithms. Here we introduce the new and weaker notion of error stability and apply it to obtain sanity-check bounds for leave-one-out for other classes of learning algorithms, including training error minimization procedures and Bayesian algorithms. We also provide lower bounds demonstrating the necessity of some form of error stability for proving bounds on the error of the leave-one-out estimate, and the fact that for training error minimization algorithms, in the worst case such bounds must still depend on the Vapnik-Chervonenkis dimension of the hypothesis class.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                11 June 2018
                Article
                1806.04225

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                cs.RO cs.AI cs.LG cs.SY math.OC

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