Author

# Vassilis Vassiliades

Other affiliations: Centre national de la recherche scientifique, University of Cyprus, French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation

Bio: Vassilis Vassiliades is an academic researcher from University of Lorraine. The author has contributed to research in topics: Reinforcement learning & Robot. The author has an hindex of 11, co-authored 32 publications receiving 573 citations. Previous affiliations of Vassilis Vassiliades include Centre national de la recherche scientifique & University of Cyprus.

##### Papers

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TL;DR: This paper introduces a simple extension of MAP-Elites that has a constant, predefined number of regions irrespective of the dimensionality of the feature space, and shows that methods from computational geometry could partition a high-dimensional space into well-spread geometric regions.

Abstract: The recently introduced multidimensional archive of phenotypic elites (MAP-Elites) is an evolutionary algorithm capable of producing a large archive of diverse, high-performing solutions in a single run. It works by discretizing a continuous feature space into unique regions according to the desired discretization per dimension. While simple, this algorithm has a main drawback: it cannot scale to high-dimensional feature spaces since the number of regions increase exponentially with the number of dimensions. In this paper, we address this limitation by introducing a simple extension of MAP-Elites that has a constant, predefined number of regions irrespective of the dimensionality of the feature space. Our main insight is that methods from computational geometry could partition a high-dimensional space into well-spread geometric regions. In particular, our algorithm uses a centroidal Voronoi tessellation (CVT) to divide the feature space into a desired number of regions; it then places every generated individual in its closest region, replacing a less fit one if the region is already occupied. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the new “CVT-MAP-Elites” algorithm in high-dimensional feature spaces through comparisons against MAP-Elites in maze navigation and hexapod locomotion tasks.

120 citations

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TL;DR: A novel learning algorithm called “Reset-free Trial-and-Error” (RTE) is introduced that breaks the complexity by pre-generating hundreds of possible behaviors with a dynamics simulator of the intact robot, and allows complex robots to quickly recover from damage while completing their tasks and taking the environment into account.

106 citations

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TL;DR: This article shows that a first strategy is to leverage prior knowledge on the policy structure, which is to create data-driven surrogate models of the expected reward or the dynamical model, so that the policy optimizer queries the model instead of the real system.

Abstract: Most policy search (PS) algorithms require thousands of training episodes to find an effective policy, which is often infeasible with a physical robot. This survey article focuses on the extreme other end of the spectrum: how can a robot adapt with only a handful of trials (a dozen) and a few minutes? By analogy with the word “big-data,” we refer to this challenge as “micro-data reinforcement learning.” In this article, we show that a first strategy is to leverage prior knowledge on the policy structure (e.g., dynamic movement primitives), on the policy parameters (e.g., demonstrations), or on the dynamics (e.g., simulators). A second strategy is to create data-driven surrogate models of the expected reward (e.g., Bayesian optimization) or the dynamical model (e.g., model-based PS), so that the policy optimizer queries the model instead of the real system. Overall, all successful micro-data algorithms combine these two strategies by varying the kind of model and prior knowledge. The current scientific challenges essentially revolve around scaling up to complex robots, designing generic priors, and optimizing the computing time.

99 citations

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TL;DR: In this paper, the authors focus on the extreme other end of the spectrum: how can a robot adapt with only a handful of trials (a dozen and a few minutes) and refer to this challenge as "micro-data reinforcement learning".

Abstract: Most policy search algorithms require thousands of training episodes to find an effective policy, which is often infeasible with a physical robot. This survey article focuses on the extreme other end of the spectrum: how can a robot adapt with only a handful of trials (a dozen) and a few minutes? By analogy with the word "big-data", we refer to this challenge as "micro-data reinforcement learning". We show that a first strategy is to leverage prior knowledge on the policy structure (e.g., dynamic movement primitives), on the policy parameters (e.g., demonstrations), or on the dynamics (e.g., simulators). A second strategy is to create data-driven surrogate models of the expected reward (e.g., Bayesian optimization) or the dynamical model (e.g., model-based policy search), so that the policy optimizer queries the model instead of the real system. Overall, all successful micro-data algorithms combine these two strategies by varying the kind of model and prior knowledge. The current scientific challenges essentially revolve around scaling up to complex robots (e.g., humanoids), designing generic priors, and optimizing the computing time.

81 citations

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21 Mar 2017TL;DR: This paper introduces a novel model-based RL algorithm, called Black-DROPS (Black-box Data-efficient RObot Policy Search) that is as data-efficient as the state-of-the-art algorithm for data- efficient RL in robotics, and is as fast (or faster) than analytical approaches when several cores are available.

Abstract: The most data-efficient algorithms for reinforcement learning (RL) in robotics are based on uncertain dynamical models: after each episode, they first learn a dynamical model of the robot, then they use an optimization algorithm to find a policy that maximizes the expected return given the model and its uncertainties. It is often believed that this optimization can be tractable only if analytical, gradient-based algorithms are used; however, these algorithms require using specific families of reward functions and policies, which greatly limits the flexibility of the overall approach. In this paper, we introduce a novel model-based RL algorithm, called Black-DROPS (Black-box Data-efficient RObot Policy Search) that: (1) does not impose any constraint on the reward function or the policy (they are treated as black-boxes), (2) is as data-efficient as the state-of-the-art algorithm for data-efficient RL in robotics, and (3) is as fast (or faster) than analytical approaches when several cores are available. The key idea is to replace the gradient-based optimization algorithm with a parallel, black-box algorithm that takes into account the model uncertainties. We demonstrate the performance of our new algorithm on two standard control benchmark problems (in simulation) and a low-cost robotic manipulator (with a real robot).

70 citations

##### Cited by

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TL;DR: Machine learning addresses many of the same research questions as the fields of statistics, data mining, and psychology, but with differences of emphasis.

Abstract: Machine Learning is the study of methods for programming computers to learn. Computers are applied to a wide range of tasks, and for most of these it is relatively easy for programmers to design and implement the necessary software. However, there are many tasks for which this is difficult or impossible. These can be divided into four general categories. First, there are problems for which there exist no human experts. For example, in modern automated manufacturing facilities, there is a need to predict machine failures before they occur by analyzing sensor readings. Because the machines are new, there are no human experts who can be interviewed by a programmer to provide the knowledge necessary to build a computer system. A machine learning system can study recorded data and subsequent machine failures and learn prediction rules. Second, there are problems where human experts exist, but where they are unable to explain their expertise. This is the case in many perceptual tasks, such as speech recognition, hand-writing recognition, and natural language understanding. Virtually all humans exhibit expert-level abilities on these tasks, but none of them can describe the detailed steps that they follow as they perform them. Fortunately, humans can provide machines with examples of the inputs and correct outputs for these tasks, so machine learning algorithms can learn to map the inputs to the outputs. Third, there are problems where phenomena are changing rapidly. In finance, for example, people would like to predict the future behavior of the stock market, of consumer purchases, or of exchange rates. These behaviors change frequently, so that even if a programmer could construct a good predictive computer program, it would need to be rewritten frequently. A learning program can relieve the programmer of this burden by constantly modifying and tuning a set of learned prediction rules. Fourth, there are applications that need to be customized for each computer user separately. Consider, for example, a program to filter unwanted electronic mail messages. Different users will need different filters. It is unreasonable to expect each user to program his or her own rules, and it is infeasible to provide every user with a software engineer to keep the rules up-to-date. A machine learning system can learn which mail messages the user rejects and maintain the filtering rules automatically. Machine learning addresses many of the same research questions as the fields of statistics, data mining, and psychology, but with differences of emphasis. Statistics focuses on understanding the phenomena that have generated the data, often with the goal of testing different hypotheses about those phenomena. Data mining seeks to find patterns in the data that are understandable by people. Psychological studies of human learning aspire to understand the mechanisms underlying the various learning behaviors exhibited by people (concept learning, skill acquisition, strategy change, etc.).

13,246 citations

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TL;DR: In this paper, a sedimentological core and petrographic characterisation of samples from eleven boreholes from the Lower Carboniferous of Bowland Basin (Northwest England) is presented.

Abstract: Deposits of clastic carbonate-dominated (calciclastic) sedimentary slope systems in the rock record have been identified mostly as linearly-consistent carbonate apron deposits, even though most ancient clastic carbonate slope deposits fit the submarine fan systems better. Calciclastic submarine fans are consequently rarely described and are poorly understood. Subsequently, very little is known especially in mud-dominated calciclastic submarine fan systems. Presented in this study are a sedimentological core and petrographic characterisation of samples from eleven boreholes from the Lower Carboniferous of Bowland Basin (Northwest England) that reveals a >250 m thick calciturbidite complex deposited in a calciclastic submarine fan setting. Seven facies are recognised from core and thin section characterisation and are grouped into three carbonate turbidite sequences. They include: 1) Calciturbidites, comprising mostly of highto low-density, wavy-laminated bioclast-rich facies; 2) low-density densite mudstones which are characterised by planar laminated and unlaminated muddominated facies; and 3) Calcidebrites which are muddy or hyper-concentrated debrisflow deposits occurring as poorly-sorted, chaotic, mud-supported floatstones. These

9,929 citations

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9,185 citations

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3,248 citations

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TL;DR: The Computational Brain this paper provides a broad overview of neuroscience and computational theory, followed by a study of some of the most recent and sophisticated modeling work in the context of relevant neurobiological research.

1,472 citations