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  1. Abstract

    Sub-nanometer-resolved TERS provides a systematic way for investigating tip-molecule interaction and molecular motions, enabling a promising approach to examine on-surface reaction mechanisms and catalysis at the microscopic level.

  2. Off-policy evaluation often refers to two related tasks: estimating the expected return of a policy and estimating its value function (or other functions of interest, such as density ratios). While recent works on marginalized importance sampling (MIS) show that the former can enjoy provable guarantees under realizable function approximation, the latter is only known to be feasible under much stronger assumptions such as prohibitively expressive discriminators. In this work, we provide guarantees for off-policy function estimation under only realizability, by imposing proper regularization on the MIS objectives. Compared to commonly used regularization in MIS, our regularizer is much more flexible and can account for an arbitrary user-specified distribution, under which the learned function will be close to the ground truth. We provide exact characterization of the optimal dual solution that needs to be realized by the discriminator class, which determines the data-coverage assumption in the case of value-function learning. As another surprising observation, the regularizer can be altered to relax the data-coverage requirement, and completely eliminate it in the ideal case with strong side information.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  3. We propose a new learning framework that captures the tiered structure of many real-world user-interaction applications, where the users can be divided into two groups based on their different tolerance on exploration risks and should be treated separately. In this setting, we simultaneously maintain two policies π^O and πE: π^O ("O" for "online") interacts with more risk-tolerant users from the first tier and minimizes regret by balancing exploration and exploitation as usual, while π^E ("E" for "exploit") exclusively focuses on exploitation for risk-averse users from the second tier utilizing the data collected so far. An important question is whether such a separation yields advantages over the standard online setting (i.e., π^E=π^O) for the risk-averse users. We individually consider the gap-independent vs. gap-dependent settings. For the former, we prove that the separation is indeed not beneficial from a minimax perspective. For the latter, we show that if choosing Pessimistic Value Iteration as the exploitation algorithm to produce π^E, we can achieve a constant regret for risk-averse users independent of the number of episodes K, which is in sharp contrast to the Ω(logK) regret for any online RL algorithms in the same setting, while the regret of π^O (almost) maintains its onlinemore »regret optimality and does not need to compromise for the success of π^E.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  5. We consider a challenging theoretical problem in offline reinforcement learning (RL): obtaining sample-efficiency guarantees with a dataset lacking sufficient coverage, under only realizability-type assumptions for the function approximators. While the existing theory has addressed learning under realizability and under non-exploratory data separately, no work has been able to address both simultaneously (except for a concurrent work which we compare in detail). Under an additional gap assumption, we provide guarantees to a simple pessimistic algorithm based on a version space formed by marginalized importance sampling (MIS), and the guarantee only requires the data to cover the optimal policy and the function classes to realize the optimal value and density-ratio functions. While similar gap assumptions have been used in other areas of RL theory, our work is the first to identify the utility and the novel mechanism of gap assumptions in offline RL with weak function approximation.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  6. We consider off-policy evaluation (OPE) in Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs), where the evaluation policy depends only on observable variables and the behavior policy depends on unobservable latent variables. Existing works either assume no unmeasured confounders, or focus on settings where both the observation and the state spaces are tabular. In this work, we first propose novel identification methods for OPE in POMDPs with latent confounders, by introducing bridge functions that link the target policy’s value and the observed data distribution. We next propose minimax estimation methods for learning these bridge functions, and construct three estimators based on these estimated bridge functions, corresponding to a value function-based estimator, a marginalized importance sampling estimator, and a doubly-robust estimator. Our proposal permits general function approximation and is thus applicable to settings with continuous or large observation/state spaces. The nonasymptotic and asymptotic properties of the proposed estimators are investigated in detail. A Python implementation of our proposal is available at Confounded-POMDP-Exp.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  7. We propose Adversarially Trained Actor Critic (ATAC), a new model-free algorithm for offline reinforcement learning (RL) under insufficient data coverage, based on the concept of relative pessimism. ATAC is designed as a two-player Stackelberg game: A policy actor competes against an adversarially trained value critic, who finds data-consistent scenarios where the actor is inferior to the data-collection behavior policy. We prove that, when the actor attains no regret in the two-player game, running ATAC produces a policy that provably 1) outperforms the behavior policy over a wide range of hyperparameters that control the degree of pessimism, and 2) competes with the best policy covered by data with appropriately chosen hyperparameters. Compared with existing works, notably our framework offers both theoretical guarantees for general function approximation and a deep RL implementation scalable to complex environments and large datasets. In the D4RL benchmark, ATAC consistently outperforms state-of-the-art offline RL algorithms on a range of continuous control tasks.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  8. Sample-efficiency guarantees for offline reinforcement learning (RL) often rely on strong assumptions on both the function classes (e.g., Bellman-completeness) and the data coverage (e.g., all-policy concentrability). Despite the recent efforts on relaxing these assumptions, existing works are only able to relax one of the two factors, leaving the strong assumption on the other factor intact. As an important open problem, can we achieve sample-efficient offline RL with weak assumptions on both factors? In this paper we answer the question in the positive. We analyze a simple algorithm based on the primal-dual formulation of MDPs, where the dual variables (discounted occupancy) are modeled using a density-ratio function against offline data. With proper regularization, the algorithm enjoys polynomial sample complexity, under only realizability and single-policy concentrability. We also provide alternative analyses based on different assumptions to shed light on the nature of primal-dual algorithms for offline RL.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 17, 2023
  10. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 26, 2023