Interactive Agent Modeling by Learning to Probe

1 Oct 2018  ·  Tianmin Shu, Caiming Xiong, Ying Nian Wu, Song-Chun Zhu ·

The ability of modeling the other agents, such as understanding their intentions and skills, is essential to an agent's interactions with other agents. Conventional agent modeling relies on passive observation from demonstrations. In this work, we propose an interactive agent modeling scheme enabled by encouraging an agent to learn to probe. In particular, the probing agent (i.e. a learner) learns to interact with the environment and with a target agent (i.e., a demonstrator) to maximize the change in the observed behaviors of that agent. Through probing, rich behaviors can be observed and are used for enhancing the agent modeling to learn a more accurate mind model of the target agent. Our framework consists of two learning processes: i) imitation learning for an approximated agent model and ii) pure curiosity-driven reinforcement learning for an efficient probing policy to discover new behaviors that otherwise can not be observed. We have validated our approach in four different tasks. The experimental results suggest that the agent model learned by our approach i) generalizes better in novel scenarios than the ones learned by passive observation, random probing, and other curiosity-driven approaches do, and ii) can be used for enhancing performance in multiple applications including distilling optimal planning to a policy net, collaboration, and competition. A video demo is available at

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