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Makale: Runway to Realway: Visual Analysis of Fashion

Clothing and fashion are an integral part of our everyday lives. In this paper we present an approach to studying fashion both on the runway and in more real-world settings, computationally, and at large scale, using computer vision. Our contributions include collecting a new runway dataset, designing features suitable for capturing outfit appearance, collecting human judgments of outfit similarity, and learning similarity functions on the features to mimic those judgments. We provide both intrinsic and extrinsic evaluations of our learned models to assess performance on outfit similarity prediction as well as season, year, and brand estimation. An example application tracks visual trends as runway fashions filter down to “realway” street fashions.

Makale: Learning Contact-Rich Manipulation Skills with Guided Policy Search

Autonomous learning of object manipulation skills can enable robots to acquire rich behavioral repertoires that scale to the variety of objects found in the real world. However, current motion skill learning methods typically restrict the behavior to a compact, low-dimensional representation, limiting its expressiveness and generality. In this paper, we extend a recently developed policy search method and use it to learn a range of dynamic manipulation behaviors with highly general policy representations, without using known models or example demonstrations. Our approach learns a set of trajectories for the desired motion skill by using iteratively refitted time-varying linear models, and then unifies these trajectories into a single control policy that can generalize to new situations. To enable this method to run on a real robot, we introduce several improvements that reduce the sample count and automate parameter selection. We show that our method can acquire fast, fluent behaviors after only minutes of interaction time, and can learn robust controllers for complex tasks, including stacking large lego blocks, putting together a plastic toy, placing wooden rings onto tight-fitting pegs, and screwing bottle caps onto bottles.

Makale: Incentivizing Exploration In Reinforcement Learning With Deep Predictive Models

Achieving efficient and scalable exploration in complex domains poses a major challenge in reinforcement learning. While Bayesian and PAC-MDP approaches to the exploration problem offer strong formal guarantees, they are often impractical in higher dimensions due to their reliance on enumerating the state-action space. Hence, exploration in complex domains is often performed with simple epsilon-greedy methods. To achieve more efficient exploration, we develop a method for assigning exploration bonuses based on a concurrently learned model of the system dynamics. By parameterizing our learned model with a neural network, we are able to develop a scalable and efficient approach to exploration bonuses that can be applied to tasks with complex, high-dimensional state spaces. We demonstrate our approach on the task of learning to play Atari games from raw pixel inputs. In this domain, our method offers substantial improvements in exploration efficiency when compared with the standard epsilon greedy approach. As a result of our improved exploration strategy, we are able to achieve state-of-the-art results on several games that pose a major challenge for prior methods.

Makale: Deep Learning Helicopter Dynamics Models

We consider the problem of system identification of helicopter dynamics. Helicopters are complex systems, coupling rigid body dynamics with aerodynamics, engine dynamics, vibration, and other phenomena. Resultantly, they pose a challenging system identification problem, especially when considering non-stationary flight regimes. We pose the dynamics modeling problem as direct highdimensional regression, and take inspiration from recent results in Deep Learning to represent the helicopter dynamics with a Rectified Linear Unit (ReLU) Network Model, a hierarchical neural network model. We provide a simple method for initializing the parameters of the model, and optimization details for training. We describe three baseline models and show that they are significantly outperformed by the ReLU Network Model in experiments on real data, indicating the power of the model to capture useful structure in system dynamics across a rich array of aerobatic maneuvers. Specifically, the ReLU Network Model improves 58% overall in RMS acceleration prediction over state-of-the-art methods. Predicting acceleration along the helicopter’s up-down axis is empirically found to be the most difficult, and the ReLU Network Model improves by 60% over the prior state-of-the-art. We discuss explanations of these performance gains, and also investigate the impact of hyperparameters in the novel model.