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  1. Recently, many reinforcement learning techniques have been shown to have provable guarantees in the simple case of linear dynamics, especially in problems like linear quadratic regulators. However, in practice many tasks require learning a policy from rich, high-dimensional features such as images, which are unlikely to be linear. We consider a setting where there is a hidden linear subspace of the high-dimensional feature space in which the dynamics are linear. We design natural objectives based on forward and inverse dynamics models. We prove that these objectives can be efficiently optimized and their local optimizers extract the hidden linear subspace. We empirically verify our theoretical results with synthetic data and explore the effectiveness of our approach (generalized to nonlinear settings) in simple control tasks with rich observations. 
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  2. Tucker decomposition is a popular technique for many data analysis and machine learning applications. Finding a Tucker decomposition is a nonconvex optimization problem. As the scale of the problems increases, local search algorithms such as stochastic gradient descent have become popular in practice. In this paper, we characterize the optimization landscape of the Tucker decomposition problem. In particular, we show that if the tensor has an exact Tucker decomposition, for a standard nonconvex objective of Tucker decomposition, all local minima are also globally optimal. We also give a local search algorithm that can nd an approximate local (and global) optimal solution in polynomial time. 
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  3. Word embedding is a powerful tool in natural language processing. In this paper we consider the problem of word embedding composition – given vector representations of two words, compute a vector for the entire phrase. We give a generative model that can capture specific syntactic relations between words. Under our model, we prove that the correlations between three words (measured by their PMI) form a tensor that has an approximate low rank Tucker decomposition. The result of the Tucker decomposition gives the word embeddings as well as a core tensor, which can be used to produce better compositions of the word embeddings. We also complement our theoretical results with experiments that verify our assumptions, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the new composition method. 
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