Emergent Discrete Communication in Semantic SpacesDownload PDF

21 May 2021, 20:44 (edited 31 Jan 2022)NeurIPS 2021 PosterReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: Emergent communication, zero-shot understanding, reference games
  • TL;DR: Instead of using one-hot tokens in emergent discrete communication, we enable agents to learn tokens within a semantic space, enabling greater robustness and zero-shot understanding of new communication
  • Abstract: Neural agents trained in reinforcement learning settings can learn to communicate among themselves via discrete tokens, accomplishing as a team what agents would be unable to do alone. However, the current standard of using one-hot vectors as discrete communication tokens prevents agents from acquiring more desirable aspects of communication such as zero-shot understanding. Inspired by word embedding techniques from natural language processing, we propose neural agent architectures that enables them to communicate via discrete tokens derived from a learned, continuous space. We show in a decision theoretic framework that our technique optimizes communication over a wide range of scenarios, whereas one-hot tokens are only optimal under restrictive assumptions. In self-play experiments, we validate that our trained agents learn to cluster tokens in semantically-meaningful ways, allowing them communicate in noisy environments where other techniques fail. Lastly, we demonstrate both that agents using our method can effectively respond to novel human communication and that humans can understand unlabeled emergent agent communication, outperforming the use of one-hot communication.
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