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  1. The root system is critical for the survival of nearly all land plants and a key target for improving abiotic stress tolerance, nutrient accumulation, and yield in crop species. Although many methods of root phenotyping exist, within field studies, one of the most popular methods is the extraction and measurement of the upper portion of the root system, known as the root crown, followed by trait quantification based on manual measurements or 2D imaging. However, 2D techniques are inherently limited by the information available from single points of view. Here, we used X-ray computed tomography to generate highly accurate 3D models of maize root crowns and created computational pipelines capable of measuring 71 features from each sample. This approach improves estimates of the genetic contribution to root system architecture and is refined enough to detect various changes in global root system architecture over developmental time as well as more subtle changes in root distributions as a result of environmental differences. We demonstrate that root pulling force, a high-throughput method of root extraction that provides an estimate of root mass, is associated with multiple 3D traits from our pipeline. Our combined methodology can therefore be used to calibrate and interpret rootmore »pulling force measurements across a range of experimental contexts or scaled up as a stand-alone approach in large genetic studies of root system architecture.« less
  2. Banerjee, A ; Fukumizu, K (Ed.)
    We present a novel off-policy loss function for learning a transition model in model-based reinforcement learning. Notably, our loss is derived from the off-policy policy evaluation objective with an emphasis on correcting distribution shift. Compared to previous model-based techniques, our approach allows for greater robustness under model mis-specification or distribution shift induced by learning/evaluating policies that are distinct from the data-generating policy. We provide a theoretical analysis and show empirical improvements over existing model-based off-policy evaluation methods. We provide further analysis showing our loss can be used for off-policy optimization (OPO) and demonstrate its integration with more recent improvements in OPO.
  3. We take initial steps in studying PAC-MDP algorithms with limited adaptivity, that is, algorithms that change its exploration policy as infrequently as possible during regret minimization. This is motivated by the difficulty of running fully adaptive algorithms in real-world applications (such as medical domains), and we propose to quantify adaptivity using the notion of local switching cost. Our main contribution, Q-Learning with UCB2 exploration, is a model-free algorithm for H-step episodic MDP that achieves sublinear regret whose local switching cost in K episodes is O(H3SA log K), and we provide a lower bound of Ω(HSA) on the local switching cost for any no-regret algorithm. Our algorithm can be naturally adapted to the concurrent setting [13], which yields nontrivial results that improve upon prior work in certain aspects.