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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 12, 2024
  2. Offline reinforcement learning, which aims at optimizing sequential decision-making strategies with historical data, has been extensively applied in real-life applications. State-Of-The-Art algorithms usually leverage powerful function approximators (e.g. neural networks) to alleviate the sample complexity hurdle for better empirical performances. Despite the successes, a more systematic under- standing of the statistical complexity for function approximation remains lacking. Towards bridging the gap, we take a step by considering offline reinforcement learning with differentiable function class approximation (DFA). This function class naturally incorporates a wide range of models with nonlinear/nonconvex structures. We show offline RL with differentiable function approximation is provably efficient by analyzing the pessimistic fitted Q-learning (PFQL) algorithm, and our results provide the theoretical basis for understanding a variety of practical heuristics that rely on Fitted Q-Iteration style design. In addition, we further im- prove our guarantee with a tighter instance-dependent characterization. We hope our work could draw interest in studying reinforcement learning with differentiable function approximation beyond the scope of current research. 
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  3. We propose a novel solid-fluid coupling method to capture the subtle hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions between liquid, solid, and air at their multi-phase junctions. The key component of our approach is a Lagrangian model that tackles the coupling, evolution, and equilibrium of dynamic contact lines evolving on the interface between surface-tension fluid and deformable objects. This contact-line model captures an ensemble of small-scale geometric and physical processes, including dynamic waterfront tracking, local momentum transfer and force balance, and interfacial tension calculation. On top of this contact-line model, we further developed a mesh-based level set method to evolve the three-phase T-junction on a deformable solid surface. Our dynamic contact-line model, in conjunction with its monolithic coupling system, unifies the simulation of various hydrophobic and hydrophilic solid-fluid-interaction phenomena and enables a broad range of challenging small-scale elastocapillary phenomena that were previously difficult or impractical to solve, such as the elastocapillary origami and self-assembly, dynamic contact angles of drops, capillary adhesion, as well as wetting and splashing on vibrating surfaces. 
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  4. We propose a novel Clebsch method to simulate the free-surface vortical flow. At the center of our approach lies a level-set method enhanced by a wave-function correction scheme and a wave-function extrapolation algorithm to tackle the Clebsch method's numerical instabilities near a dynamic interface. By combining the Clebsch wave function's expressiveness in representing vortical structures and the level-set function's ability on tracking interfacial dynamics, we can model complex vortex-interface interaction problems that exhibit rich free-surface flow details on a Cartesian grid. We showcase the efficacy of our approach by simulating a wide range of new free-surface flow phenomena that were impractical for previous methods, including horseshoe vortex, sink vortex, bubble rings, and free-surface wake vortices. 
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  5. We present the Moving Eulerian-Lagrangian Particles (MELP), a novel mesh-free method for simulating incompressible fluid on thin films and foams. Employing a bi-layer particle structure, MELP jointly simulates detailed, vigorous flow and large surface deformation at high stability and efficiency. In addition, we design multi-MELP: a mechanism that facilitates the physically-based interaction between multiple MELP systems, to simulate bubble clusters and foams with non-manifold topological evolution. We showcase the efficacy of our method with a broad range of challenging thin film phenomena, including the Rayleigh-Taylor instability across double-bubbles, foam fragmentation with rim surface tension, recovery of the Plateau borders, Newton black films, as well as cyclones on bubble clusters. 
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  6. Goal-oriented Reinforcement Learning, where the agent needs to reach the goal state while simultaneously minimizing the cost, has received significant attention in real-world applications. Its theoretical formulation, stochastic shortest path (SSP), has been intensively researched in the online setting. Nevertheless, it remains understudied when such an online interaction is prohibited and only historical data is provided. In this paper, we consider the offline stochastic shortest path problem when the state space and the action space are finite. We design the simple value iteration-based algorithms for tackling both offline policy evaluation (OPE) and offline policy learning tasks. Notably, our analysis of these simple algorithms yields strong instance-dependent bounds which can imply worst-case bounds that are near-minimax optimal. We hope our study could help illuminate the fundamental statistical limits of the offline SSP problem and motivate further studies beyond the scope of current consideration. 
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