Boosting Structured Prediction for Imitation Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 19 (NIPS 2006)

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J. Bagnell, Joel Chestnutt, David Bradley, Nathan Ratliff


The Maximum Margin Planning (MMP) (Ratliff et al., 2006) algorithm solves imitation learning problems by learning linear mappings from features to cost functions in a planning domain. The learned policy is the result of minimum-cost planning using these cost functions. These mappings are chosen so that example policies (or trajectories) given by a teacher appear to be lower cost (with a lossscaled margin) than any other policy for a given planning domain. We provide a novel approach, M M P B O O S T , based on the functional gradient descent view of boosting (Mason et al., 1999; Friedman, 1999a) that extends MMP by "boosting" in new features. This approach uses simple binary classification or regression to improve performance of MMP imitation learning, and naturally extends to the class of structured maximum margin prediction problems. (Taskar et al., 2005) Our technique is applied to navigation and planning problems for outdoor mobile robots and robotic legged locomotion.