Learning to Multi-Task by Active Sampling

Sahil Sharma*, Ashutosh Kumar Jha*, Parikshit S Hegde, Balaraman Ravindran

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 26, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: One of the long-standing challenges in Artificial Intelligence for learning goal-directed behavior is to build a single agent which can solve multiple tasks. Recent progress in multi-task learning for goal-directed sequential problems has been in the form of distillation based learning wherein a student network learns from multiple task-specific expert networks by mimicking the task-specific policies of the expert networks. While such approaches offer a promising solution to the multi-task learning problem, they require supervision from large expert networks which require extensive data and computation time for training. In this work, we propose an efficient multi-task learning framework which solves multiple goal-directed tasks in an on-line setup without the need for expert supervision. Our work uses active learning principles to achieve multi-task learning by sampling the harder tasks more than the easier ones. We propose three distinct models under our active sampling framework. An adaptive method with extremely competitive multi-tasking performance. A UCB-based meta-learner which casts the problem of picking the next task to train on as a multi-armed bandit problem. A meta-learning method that casts the next-task picking problem as a full Reinforcement Learning problem and uses actor-critic methods for optimizing the multi-tasking performance directly. We demonstrate results in the Atari 2600 domain on seven multi-tasking instances: three 6-task instances, one 8-task instance, two 12-task instances and one 21-task instance.
  • TL;DR: Letting a meta-learner decide the task to train on for an agent in a multi-task setting improves multi-tasking ability substantially
  • Keywords: Deep Reinforcement Learning