In optimizing their transportation services, Uber uses evolutionary strategies and genetic algorithms to train deep neural networks through reinforcement learning. A lot of difficult words in one sentence; you can imagine the complexity of the process.
Because it is particularly difficult to observe the underlying dynamics of this learning process in neural network optimization, Uber built VINE – a Visual Inspector for NeuroEvolution. VINE helps to discover how evolutionary strategies and genetic optimizing are performing under the hood. In a recent article, they demonstrate how VINE works on the Mujoco Humanoid Locomotion task.
[…] In the Humanoid Locomotion Task, each pseudo-offspring neural network controls the movement of a robot, and earns a score, called its fitness, based on how well it walks. [Evolutionary principles] construct the next parent by aggregating the parameters of pseudo-offspring based on these fitness scores […]. The cycle then repeats.
Uber, March 2018, link
VINE plots parent neural networks and their pseudo-offspring according to their performance. Users can then interact with these plots to:
- visualize parents, top performance, and/or the entire pseudo-offspring cloud of any generation,
- compare between and within generation performance,
- and zoom in on any pseudo-offspring (points) in the plot to display performance information.
The GIFs below demonstrate what VINE is capable of displaying:
VINE can be found at this link. It is lightweight, portable, and implemented in Python.