Ruoyao Wang


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Behavior Cloned Transformers are Neurosymbolic Reasoners
Ruoyao Wang | Peter Jansen | Marc-Alexandre Côté | Prithviraj Ammanabrolu
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

In this work, we explore techniques for augmenting interactive agents with information from symbolic modules, much like humans use tools like calculators and GPS systems to assist with arithmetic and navigation. We test our agent’s abilities in text games – challenging benchmarks for evaluating the multi-step reasoning abilities of game agents in grounded, language-based environments. Our experimental study indicates that injecting the actions from these symbolic modules into the action space of a behavior cloned transformer agent increases performance on four text game benchmarks that test arithmetic, navigation, sorting, and common sense reasoning by an average of 22%, allowing an agent to reach the highest possible performance on unseen games. This action injection technique is easily extended to new agents, environments, and symbolic modules.

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Self-Supervised Behavior Cloned Transformers are Path Crawlers for Text Games
Ruoyao Wang | Peter Jansen
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

In this work, we introduce a self-supervised behavior cloning transformer for text games, which are challenging benchmarks for multi-step reasoning in virtual environments. Traditionally, Behavior Cloning Transformers excel in such tasks but rely on supervised training data. Our approach auto-generates training data by exploring trajectories (defined by common macro-action sequences) that lead to reward within the games, while determining the generality and utility of these trajectories by rapidly training small models then evalauating their performance on unseen development games. Through empirical analysis, we show our method consistently uncovers generalizable training data, achieving about 90% performance of supervised systems across three benchmark text games.

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ByteSized32: A Corpus and Challenge Task for Generating Task-Specific World Models Expressed as Text Games
Ruoyao Wang | Graham Todd | Xingdi Yuan | Ziang Xiao | Marc-Alexandre Côté | Peter Jansen
Proceedings of the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

In this work we investigate the capacity of language models to generate explicit, interpretable, and interactive world models of scientific and common-sense reasoning tasks. We operationalize this as a task of generating text games, expressed as hundreds of lines of Python code. To facilitate this task, we introduce ByteSized32, a corpus of 32 reasoning-focused text games totalling 20k lines of Python code. We empirically demonstrate that GPT-4 can use these games as templates for single-shot in-context learning, successfully producing runnable games on unseen topics in 28% of cases. When allowed to self-reflect on program errors, game runnability substantially increases to 58%. While evaluating simulation fidelity is labor intensive, we introduce a suite of automated metrics to assess game fidelity, technical validity, adherence to task specifications, and winnability, showing a high-degree of agreement with expert human ratings. We pose this as a challenge task to spur further development at the juncture of world modeling and code generation.


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FIBER: Fill-in-the-Blanks as a Challenging Video Understanding Evaluation Framework
Santiago Castro | Ruoyao Wang | Pingxuan Huang | Ian Stewart | Oana Ignat | Nan Liu | Jonathan Stroud | Rada Mihalcea
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We propose fill-in-the-blanks as a video understanding evaluation framework and introduce FIBER – a novel dataset consisting of 28,000 videos and descriptions in support of this evaluation framework. The fill-in-the-blanks setting tests a model’s understanding of a video by requiring it to predict a masked noun phrase in the caption of the video, given the video and the surrounding text. The FIBER benchmark does not share the weaknesses of the current state-of-the-art language-informed video understanding tasks, namely: (1) video question answering using multiple-choice questions, where models perform relatively well because they exploit linguistic biases in the task formulation, thus making our framework challenging for the current state-of-the-art systems to solve; and (2) video captioning, which relies on an open-ended evaluation framework that is often inaccurate because system answers may be perceived as incorrect if they differ in form from the ground truth. The FIBER dataset and our code are available at

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ScienceWorld: Is your Agent Smarter than a 5th Grader?
Ruoyao Wang | Peter Jansen | Marc-Alexandre Côté | Prithviraj Ammanabrolu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We present ScienceWorld, a benchmark to test agents’ scientific reasoning abilities in a new interactive text environment at the level of a standard elementary school science curriculum. Despite the transformer-based progress seen in question-answering and scientific text processing, we find that current models cannot reason about or explain learned science concepts in novel contexts. For instance, models can easily answer what the conductivity of a known material is but struggle when asked how they would conduct an experiment in a grounded environment to find the conductivity of an unknown material. This begs the question of whether current models are simply retrieving answers by way of seeing a large number of similar examples or if they have learned to reason about concepts in a reusable manner. We hypothesize that agents need to be grounded in interactive environments to achieve such reasoning capabilities. Our experiments provide empirical evidence supporting this hypothesis – showing that a 1.5 million parameter agent trained interactively for 100k steps outperforms a 11 billion parameter model statically trained for scientific question-answering and reasoning from millions of expert demonstrations.


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LifeQA: A Real-life Dataset for Video Question Answering
Santiago Castro | Mahmoud Azab | Jonathan Stroud | Cristina Noujaim | Ruoyao Wang | Jia Deng | Rada Mihalcea
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We introduce LifeQA, a benchmark dataset for video question answering that focuses on day-to-day real-life situations. Current video question answering datasets consist of movies and TV shows. However, it is well-known that these visual domains are not representative of our day-to-day lives. Movies and TV shows, for example, benefit from professional camera movements, clean editing, crisp audio recordings, and scripted dialog between professional actors. While these domains provide a large amount of data for training models, their properties make them unsuitable for testing real-life question answering systems. Our dataset, by contrast, consists of video clips that represent only real-life scenarios. We collect 275 such video clips and over 2.3k multiple-choice questions. In this paper, we analyze the challenging but realistic aspects of LifeQA, and we apply several state-of-the-art video question answering models to provide benchmarks for future research. The full dataset is publicly available at