Yunqiu Xu


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Perceiving the World: Question-guided Reinforcement Learning for Text-based Games
Yunqiu Xu | Meng Fang | Ling Chen | Yali Du | Joey Zhou | Chengqi Zhang
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Text-based games provide an interactive way to study natural language processing. While deep reinforcement learning has shown effectiveness in developing the game playing agent, the low sample efficiency and the large action space remain to be the two major challenges that hinder the DRL from being applied in the real world. In this paper, we address the challenges by introducing world-perceiving modules, which automatically decompose tasks and prune actions by answering questions about the environment. We then propose a two-phase training framework to decouple language learning from reinforcement learning, which further improves the sample efficiency. The experimental results show that the proposed method significantly improves the performance and sample efficiency. Besides, it shows robustness against compound error and limited pre-training data.

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Fire Burns, Sword Cuts: Commonsense Inductive Bias for Exploration in Text-based Games
Dongwon Ryu | Ehsan Shareghi | Meng Fang | Yunqiu Xu | Shirui Pan | Reza Haf
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Text-based games (TGs) are exciting testbeds for developing deep reinforcement learning techniques due to their partially observed environments and large action spaces. In these games, the agent learns to explore the environment via natural language interactions with the game simulator. A fundamental challenge in TGs is the efficient exploration of the large action space when the agent has not yet acquired enough knowledge about the environment. We propose CommExpl, an exploration technique that injects external commonsense knowledge, via a pretrained language model (LM), into the agent during training when the agent is the most uncertain about its next action. Our method exhibits improvement on the collected game scores during the training in four out of nine games from Jericho. Additionally, the produced trajectory of actions exhibit lower perplexity, when tested with a pretrained LM, indicating better closeness to human language.


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Generalization in Text-based Games via Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning
Yunqiu Xu | Meng Fang | Ling Chen | Yali Du | Chengqi Zhang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Deep reinforcement learning provides a promising approach for text-based games in studying natural language communication between humans and artificial agents. However, the generalization still remains a big challenge as the agents depend critically on the complexity and variety of training tasks. In this paper, we address this problem by introducing a hierarchical framework built upon the knowledge graph-based RL agent. In the high level, a meta-policy is executed to decompose the whole game into a set of subtasks specified by textual goals, and select one of them based on the KG. Then a sub-policy in the low level is executed to conduct goal-conditioned reinforcement learning. We carry out experiments on games with various difficulty levels and show that the proposed method enjoys favorable generalizability.