Haitham Bou Ammar

Haitham Bou Ammar
University of Pennsylvania | UP · Department of Computer and Information Science

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27
Publications
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183
Citations

Publications

Publications (27)
Article
Full-text available
Dual descent methods are commonly used to solve network flow optimization problems, since their implementation can be distributed over the network. These algorithms, however, often exhibit slow convergence rates. Approximate Newton methods which compute descent directions locally have been proposed as alternatives to accelerate the convergence rate...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we propose a fast distributed solver for linear equations given by symmetric diagonally dominant M-Matrices. Our approach is based on a distributed implementation of the parallel solver of Spielman and Peng by considering a specific approximated inverse chain which can be computed efficiently in a distributed fashion. Representing th...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a tighter bound on the degree distribution of arbitrary P\'{o}lya urn graph processes, proving that the proportion of vertices with degree $d$ obeys a power-law distribution $P(d) \propto d^{-\gamma}$ for $d \leq n^{\frac{1}{6}-\epsilon}$ for any $\epsilon > 0$, where $n$ represents the number of vertices in the network. Previou...
Article
In this work we rigorously analyse assumptions inherent to black-box optimisation hyper-parameter tuning tasks. Our results on the Bayesmark benchmark indicate that heteroscedasticity and non-stationarity pose significant challenges for black-box optimisers. Based on these findings, we propose a Heteroscedastic and Evolutionary Bayesian Optimisatio...
Preprint
We consider a context-dependent Reinforcement Learning (RL) setting, which is characterized by: a) an unknown finite number of not directly observable contexts; b) abrupt (discontinuous) context changes occurring during an episode; and c) Markovian context evolution. We argue that this challenging case is often met in applications and we tackle it...
Preprint
Satisfying safety constraints almost surely (or with probability one) can be critical for deployment of Reinforcement Learning (RL) in real-life applications. For example, plane landing and take-off should ideally occur with probability one. We address the problem by introducing Safety Augmented (Saute) Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), where the s...
Preprint
The Schr\"odinger equation is at the heart of modern quantum mechanics. Since exact solutions of the ground state are typically intractable, standard approaches approximate Schr\"odinger equation as forms of nonlinear generalized eigenvalue problems $F(V)V = SV\Lambda$ in which $F(V)$, the matrix to be decomposed, is a function of its own top-$k$ s...
Preprint
Antibodies are canonically Y-shaped multimeric proteins capable of highly specific molecular recognition. The CDRH3 region located at the tip of variable chains of an antibody dominates antigen-binding specificity. Therefore, it is a priority to design optimal antigen-specific CDRH3 regions to develop therapeutic antibodies to combat harmful pathog...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we propose SAMBA, a novel framework for safe reinforcement learning that combines aspects from probabilistic modelling, information theory, and statistics. Our method builds upon PILCO to enable active exploration using novel acquisition functions for out-of-sample Gaussian process evaluation optimised through a multi-objective probl...
Preprint
Highly dynamic robotic tasks require high-speed and reactive robots. These tasks are particularly challenging due to the physical constraints, hardware limitations, and the high uncertainty of dynamics and sensor measures. To face these issues, it's crucial to design robotics agents that generate precise and fast trajectories and react immediately...
Article
Full-text available
Bayesian optimisation presents a sample-efficient methodology for global optimisation. Within this framework, a crucial performance-determining subroutine is the maximisation of the acquisition function, a task complicated by the fact that acquisition functions tend to be non-convex and thus nontrivial to optimise. In this paper, we undertake a com...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce a method based on deep metric learning to perform Bayesian optimisation over high-dimensional, structured input spaces using variational autoencoders (VAEs). By extending ideas from supervised deep metric learning, we address a longstanding problem in high-dimensional VAE Bayesian optimisation, namely how to enforce a discriminative la...
Preprint
Full-text available
Inspired by the increasing desire to efficiently tune machine learning hyper-parameters, in this work we rigorously analyse conventional and non-conventional assumptions inherent to Bayesian optimisation. Across an extensive set of experiments we conclude that: 1) the majority of hyper-parameter tuning tasks exhibit heteroscedasticity and non-stati...
Preprint
Full-text available
Bayesian optimisation presents a sample-efficient methodology for global optimisation. Within this framework, a crucial performance-determining subroutine is the maximisation of the acquisition function, a task complicated by the fact that acquisition functions tend to be non-convex and thus nontrivial to optimise. In this paper, we undertake a com...
Preprint
In this paper, we present C-ADAM, the first adaptive solver for compositional problems involving a non-linear functional nesting of expected values. We proof that C-ADAM converges to a stationary point in $\mathcal{O}(\delta^{-2.25})$ with $\delta$ being a precision parameter. Moreover, we demonstrate the importance of our results by bridging, for...
Preprint
Full-text available
Deep Q-networks (DQNs) suffer from two important challenges hindering their application in real-world scenarios. First, DQNs overestimate Q-values which leads to increased sample complexity, and second, no theoretical convergence guarantees have been established. In this paper, we address both problems by introducing an intrinsic penalty signal ari...
Preprint
Full-text available
Though successful in high-dimensional domains, deep reinforcement learning exhibits high sample complexity and suffers from stability issues as reported by researchers and practitioners in the field. These problems hinder the application of such algorithms in real-world and safety-critical scenarios. In this paper, we take steps towards stable and...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we propose a distributed second-order method for lifelong reinforcement learning (LRL). Upon observing a new task, our algorithm scales state-of-the-art LRL by approximating the Newton direction up-to-any arbitrary precision ϵ > 0, while guaranteeing accurate solutions. We analyze the theoretical properties of this new method and der...
Article
In this paper, we propose a distributed second- order method for reinforcement learning. Our approach is the fastest in literature so-far as it outperforms state-of-the-art methods, including ADMM, by significant margins. We achieve this by exploiting the sparsity pattern of the dual Hessian and transforming the problem of computing the Newton dire...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, a prestige-based evolution process is introduced, which provides a formal framework for the study of linear hierarchies seen in human societies. Due to the deterministic characteristics of the proposed model, we are capable of determining equilibria in closed form. Surprisingly, these stationary points recover the power-law degree di...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we propose distributed solvers for systems of linear equations given by symmetric diagonally dominant M-matrices based on the parallel solver of Spielman and Peng. We propose two versions of the solvers, where in the first, full communication in the network is required, while in the second communication is restricted to the R-Hop nei...

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