Reinforcement learning (RL) enables agents to learn optimal policies by interacting with the environment. The agent collects experience from trial-and-error and optimises its action rules from the environment feedback. RL is getting popular in robotic systems for planning and accomplishment of complex tasks, such as robot navigation and manipulation. However, for these systems to work effectively and safely in the real world, the behaviours of RL agents need to be reliable, and interpretable.
To develop such RL agents, an in-depth understanding of the learning process, i.e., how the agent’s behaviours are developed, is the key. However, it is very challenging due to the random exploration in RL and the long-time learning process. On the other hand, visual analytics researches on providing interactive visual interfaces to facilitate analytical reasoning and has contributed to the interpretability of black-box models.
In this project, we will explore how to integrate visual analytics into the development of reliable and interpretable RL agents. Research questions include: 1) interactive visualization of the learning process to facilitate understanding of and control over RL processes; 2) visual analysis of agent’s interaction with the environment for reasoning of its behaviours; and 3) interactive integration of expert knowledge to regulate the learning process.
Keywords: reinforcement learning, visual analytics, explainable AI
[Contact for information on the project: [Email Address Removed]]
Academic criteria: A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master's degree, in computing or a related subject. Applicants with appropriate professional experience are also considered. Degree-level mathematics (or equivalent) is required for research in some project areas.
Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.
Application Information: If you would like to be considered for the School Funded Application, please submit your application before the 30th June 2021.
In the funding field of your application, insert “I am applying for 2021 PhD Scholarship in Computer Science and Informatics”, and specify the project title and supervisors of this project in the text box provided.
Apply online: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/programmes/programme/computer-science-and-informatics - Please read the "How to apply" instructions carefully prior to application.