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Concurrent Layered Learning

Shimon Whiteson and Peter Stone. Concurrent Layered Learning. In Second International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, pp. 193–200, ACM Press, New York, NY, July 2003.
AAMAS-2003

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Abstract

Hierarchies are powerful tools for decomposing complex control tasks into manageable subtasks. Several hierarchical approaches have been proposed for creating agents that can execute these tasks. Layered learning is such a hierarchical paradigm that relies on learning the various subtasks necessary for achieving the complete high-level goal. Layered learning prescribes training low-level behaviors (those closer to the environmental inputs) prior to high-level behaviors. In past implementations these lower-level behaviors were always frozen before advancing to the next layer. In this paper, we hypothesize that there are situations where layered learning would work better were the lower layers allowed to keep learning concurrently with the training of subsequent layers, an approach we call concurrent layered learning. We identify a situation where concurrent layered learning is beneficial and present detailed empirical results verifying our hypothesis. In particular, we use neuro-evolution to concurrently learn two layers of a layered learning approach to a simulated robotic soccer keepaway task. The main contribution of this paper is evidence that there exist situations where concurrent layered learning outperforms traditional layered learning. Thus, we establish that, when using layered learning, the concurrent training of layers can be an effective option.

BibTeX

@InProceedings(AAMAS03,
        author="Shimon Whiteson and Peter Stone",
        title="Concurrent Layered Learning",
        booktitle="Second International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems",
        month="July",year="2003",
	pages="193--200",
	publisher="{ACM} Press",
	address="New York, NY",
	editor="Jeffrey S.~Rosenschein and Tuomas Sandholm and Michael Wooldridge and Makoto Yokoo",
        abstract={
                  Hierarchies are powerful tools for decomposing
                  complex control tasks into manageable subtasks.
                  Several hierarchical approaches have been proposed
                  for creating agents that can execute these tasks.
                  Layered learning is such a hierarchical paradigm
                  that relies on learning the various subtasks
                  necessary for achieving the complete high-level
                  goal.  Layered learning prescribes training
                  low-level behaviors (those closer to the
                  environmental inputs) prior to high-level behaviors.
                  In past implementations these lower-level behaviors
                  were always frozen before advancing to the next
                  layer.  In this paper, we hypothesize that there are
                  situations where layered learning would work better
                  were the lower layers allowed to keep learning
                  concurrently with the training of subsequent layers,
                  an approach we call concurrent layered learning.  We
                  identify a situation where concurrent layered
                  learning is beneficial and present detailed
                  empirical results verifying our hypothesis.  In
                  particular, we use neuro-evolution to concurrently
                  learn two layers of a layered learning approach to a
                  simulated robotic soccer keepaway task.  The main
                  contribution of this paper is evidence that there
                  exist situations where concurrent layered learning
                  outperforms traditional layered learning.  Thus, we
                  establish that, when using layered learning, the
                  concurrent training of layers can be an effective
                  option.
        },
        wwwnote={<a href="http://www.aamas-conference.org/">AAMAS-2003</a>},
)

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