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Congratulations to the #ECAI2023 outstanding paper award winners

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06 October 2023



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winners' medal

The 26th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI 2023) took place from 30 September – 4 October in Krakow, Poland. On the final day of the conference, the outstanding paper awards were announced. There were two winners in the ECAI 2023 Outstanding Paper category, and one winner in the Outstanding Paper for AI in Social Good category.

ECAI 2023 Outstanding Papers

Selective Learning for Sample-Efficient Training in Multi-Agent Sparse Reward Tasks
Xinning Chen, Xuan Liu, Yanwen Ba, Shigeng Zhang, Bo Ding, Kenli Li

Abstract: Learning effective strategies in sparse reward tasks is one of the fundamental challenges in reinforcement learning. This becomes extremely difficult in multi-agent environments, as the concurrent learning of multiple agents induces the non-stationarity problem and sharply increased joint state space. Existing works have attempted to promote multi-agent cooperation through experience sharing. However, learning from a large collection of shared experiences is inefficient as there are only a few high-value states in sparse reward tasks, which may instead lead to the curse of dimensionality in large-scale multi-agent systems. This paper focuses on sparse-reward multi-agent cooperative tasks and proposes an effective experience-sharing method MASL (Multi-Agent Selective Learning) to boost sample-efficient training by reusing valuable experiences from other agents. MASL adopts a retrogression-based selection method to identify high-value traces of agents from the team rewards, based on which some recall traces are generated and shared among agents to motivate effective exploration. Moreover, MASL selectively considers information from other agents to cope with the non-stationarity issue while enabling efficient training for large-scale agents. Experimental results show that MASL significantly improves sample efficiency compared with state-of-art MARL algorithms in cooperative tasks with sparse rewards.

Read the article in full here.


Theoretical remarks on feudal hierarchies and reinforcement learning
Diogo S Carvalho, Francisco S. Melo, Pedro A Santos

Abstract: Hierarchical reinforcement learning is an increasingly demanded resource for learning to make sequential decisions towards long term goals with successful credit assignment and temporal abstraction. Feudal hierarchies are among the most deployed frameworks. However, there is lack of formalism over the hierarchical structure and of theoretical guarantees. We formalize the common two-level feudal hierarchy as two Markov decision processes, with the one on the high-level being dependent on the policy executed at the low-level. Despite the non-stationarity raised by the dependency, we show that each of the processes presents stable behavior. We then build on the first result to show that, regardless of the convergent learning algorithm used for the low-level, convergence of both prediction and control algorithms at the high-level is guaranteed with probability 1. Our results contribute with theoretical support for the use of feudal hierarchies in combination with standard reinforcement learning methods at each level.

Read the article in full here.


Outstanding Paper for AI in Social Good

Attention Based Models for Cell Type Classification on Single-Cell RNA-Seq Data
Tianxu Wang, Yue Fan, Xiuli Ma

Abstract: Cell type classification serves as one of the most fundamental analyses in bioinformatics. It helps recognizing various cells in cancer microenvironment, discovering new cell types and facilitating other downstream tasks. Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology can profile the whole transcriptome of each cell, thus enabling cell type classification. However, high-dimensional scRNA-seq data pose serious challenges on cell type classification. Existing methods either classify the cells with reliance on the prior knowledge or by using neural networks whose massive parameters are hard to interpret. In this paper, we propose two novel attention-based models for cell type classification on single-cell RNA-seq data. The first model, Cell Feature Attention Network (CFAN), captures the features of a cell and performs attention model on them. To further improve interpretation, the second model, Cell-Gene Representation Attention Network (CGRAN), directly concretizes tokens as cells and genes and uses the cell representation renewed by self-attention over the cell and the genes to predict cell type. Both models show excellent performance in cell type classification; additionally, the key genes with high attention weights in CGRAN indicate and identify the marker genes of the cell types, thus proving the model’s biological interpretation.

Read the article in full here.


You can read the conference contributions in the proceedings, which are open access.



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Lucy Smith , Managing Editor for AIhub.
Lucy Smith , Managing Editor for AIhub.




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