NIPS Proceedingsβ

Softstar: Heuristic-Guided Probabilistic Inference

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

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Conference Event Type: Poster


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.