A truly autonomous agent does not live in a decision process with a single task and fixed environment;
the agent does not receive a clear task or well-shaped reward signals. It is left to figure out how to
prepare for future unknown challenges, ideally in an open-ended learning fashion.
In Advances in Neural Information Processing (NeurIPS’19), pages: 12520-12531, Curran Associates, Inc., NeurIPS'19, 2019 (inproceedings)
We present a novel intrinsically motivated agent that learns how to control the environment in the fastest possible manner by optimizing learning progress. It learns what can be controlled, how to allocate time and attention, and the relations between objects using surprise based motivation. The effectiveness of our method is demonstrated in a synthetic as well as a robotic manipulation environment yielding considerably improved performance and smaller sample complexity. In a nutshell, our work combines several task-level planning agent structures (backtracking search on task graph, probabilistic road-maps, allocation of search efforts) with intrinsic motivation to achieve learning from scratch.
Our goal is to understand the principles of Perception, Action and Learning in autonomous systems that successfully interact with complex environments and to use this understanding to design future systems