Softstar: Heuristic-Guided Probabilistic Inference

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

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Authors

Mathew Monfort, Brenden M. Lake, Brenden M. Lake, Brian Ziebart, Patrick Lucey, Josh Tenenbaum

Abstract

Recent machine learning methods for sequential behavior prediction estimate the motives of behavior rather than the behavior itself. This higher-level abstraction improves generalization in different prediction settings, but computing predictions often becomes intractable in large decision spaces. We propose the Softstar algorithm, a softened heuristic-guided search technique for the maximum entropy inverse optimal control model of sequential behavior. This approach supports probabilistic search with bounded approximation error at a significantly reduced computational cost when compared to sampling based methods. We present the algorithm, analyze approximation guarantees, and compare performance with simulation-based inference on two distinct complex decision tasks.