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  1. Pre-trained language models derive substantial linguistic and factual knowledge from the massive corpora on which they are trained, and prompt engineering seeks to align these models to specific tasks. Unfortunately, existing prompt engineering methods require significant amounts of labeled data, access to model parameters, or both. We introduce a new method for selecting prompt templates without labeled examples and without direct access to the model. Specifically, over a set of candidate templates, we choose the template that maximizes the mutual information between the input and the corresponding model output. Across 8 datasets representing 7 distinct NLP tasks, we show that when a template has high mutual information, it also has high accuracy on the task. On the largest model, selecting prompts with our method gets 90% of the way from the average prompt accuracy to the best prompt accuracy and requires no ground truth labels.
  2. Model-based optimal control of soft robots may enable compliant, underdamped platforms to operate in a repeatable fashion and effectively accomplish tasks that are otherwise impossible for soft robots. Unfortunately, developing accurate analytical dynamic models for soft robots is time-consuming, difficult, and error-prone. Deep learning presents an alternative modeling approach that only requires a time history of system inputs and system states, which can be easily measured or estimated. However, fully relying on empirical or learned models involves collecting large amounts of representative data from a soft robot in order to model the complex state space‚Äďa task which may not be feasible in many situations. Furthermore, the exclusive use of empirical models for model-based control can be dangerous if the model does not generalize well. To address these challenges, we propose a hybrid modeling approach that combines machine learning methods with an existing first-principles model in order to improve overall performance for a sampling-based non-linear model predictive controller. We validate this approach on a soft robot platform and demonstrate that performance improves by 52% on average when employing the combined model.