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Generalization / Reinforcement Learning / Optimization

Moderator: Nevena Lazic


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Thu 15 April 13:00 - 13:15 PDT

Off-policy Evaluation in Infinite-Horizon Reinforcement Learning with Latent Confounders

Andrew Bennett · Nathan Kallus · Lihong Li · Ali Mousavi

Off-policy evaluation (OPE) in reinforcement learning is an important problem in settings where experimentation is limited, such as healthcare. But, in these very same settings, observed actions are often confounded by unobserved variables making OPE even more difficult. We study an OPE problem in an infinite-horizon, ergodic Markov decision process with unobserved confounders, where states and actions can act as proxies for the unobserved confounders. We show how, given only a latent variable model for states and actions, policy value can be identified from off-policy data. Our method involves two stages. In the first, we show how to use proxies to estimate stationary distribution ratios, extending recent work on breaking the curse of horizon to the confounded setting. In the second, we show optimal balancing can be combined with such learned ratios to obtain policy value while avoiding direct modeling of reward functions. We establish theoretical guarantees of consistency and benchmark our method empirically.

Thu 15 April 13:15 - 13:30 PDT

Does Invariant Risk Minimization Capture Invariance?

Pritish Kamath · Akilesh Tangella · Danica Sutherland · Nathan Srebro

We show that the Invariant Risk Minimization (IRM) formulation of Arjovsky et al. (2019) can fail to capture "natural" invariances, at least when used in its practical "linear" form, and even on very simple problems which directly follow the motivating examples for IRM. This can lead to worse generalization on new environments, even when compared to unconstrained ERM. The issue stems from a significant gap between the linear variant (as in their concrete method IRMv1) and the full non-linear IRM formulation. Additionally, even when capturing the "right" invariances, we show that it is possible for IRM to learn a sub-optimal predictor, due to the loss function not being invariant across environments. The issues arise even when measuring invariance on the population distributions, but are exacerbated by the fact that IRM is extremely fragile to sampling.

Thu 15 April 13:30 - 13:45 PDT

Density of States Estimation for Out of Distribution Detection

Warren Morningstar · Cusuh Ham · Andrew Gallagher · Balaji Lakshminarayanan · Alex Alemi · Joshua Dillon

Perhaps surprisingly, recent studies have shown probabilistic model likelihoods have poor specificity for out-of-distribution (OOD) detection and often assign higher likelihoods to OOD data than in-distribution data. To ameliorate this issue we propose DoSE, the density of states estimator. Drawing on the statistical physics notion of density of states,'' the DoSE decision rule avoids direct comparison of model probabilities, and instead utilizes theprobability of the model probability,'' or indeed the frequency of any reasonable statistic. The frequency is calculated using nonparametric density estimators (e.g., KDE and one-class SVM) which measure the typicality of various model statistics given the training data and from which we can flag test points with low typicality as anomalous. Unlike many other methods, DoSE requires neither labeled data nor OOD examples. DoSE is modular and can be trivially applied to any existing, trained model. We demonstrate DoSE's state-of-the-art performance against other unsupervised OOD detectors on previously established ``hard'' benchmarks.

Thu 15 April 13:45 - 14:00 PDT

Quick Streaming Algorithms for Maximization of Monotone Submodular Functions in Linear Time

Alan Kuhnle

We consider the problem of monotone, submodular maximization over a ground set of size $n$ subject to cardinality constraint $k$. For this problem, we introduce the first deterministic algorithms with linear time complexity; these algorithms are streaming algorithms. Our single-pass algorithm obtains a constant ratio in $\lceil n / c \rceil + c$ oracle queries, for any $c \ge 1$. In addition, we propose a deterministic, multi-pass streaming algorithm with a constant number of passes that achieves nearly the optimal ratio with linear query and time complexities. We prove a lower bound that implies no constant-factor approximation exists using $o(n)$ queries, even if queries to infeasible sets are allowed. An empirical analysis demonstrates that our algorithms require fewer queries (often substantially less than $n$) yet still achieve better objective value than the current state-of-the-art algorithms, including single-pass, multi-pass, and non-streaming algorithms.