Completing state representations using spectral learning

Nan Jiang, Alex Kulesza, Satinder Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


A central problem in dynamical system modeling is state discovery-that is, finding a compact summary of the past that captures the information needed to predict the future. Predictive State Representations (PSRs) enable clever spectral methods for state discovery; however, while consistent in the limit of infinite data, these methods often suffer from poor performance in the low data regime. In this paper we develop a novel algorithm for incorporating domain knowledge, in the form of an imperfect state representation, as side information to speed spectral learning for PSRs. We prove theoretical results characterizing the relevance of a user-provided state representation, and design spectral algorithms that can take advantage of a relevant representation. Our algorithm utilizes principal angles to extract the relevant components of the representation, and is robust to mis-specification. Empirical evaluation on synthetic HMMs, an aircraft identification domain, and a gene splice dataset shows that, even with weak domain knowledge, the algorithm can significantly outperform standard PSR learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4328-4337
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2018
Event32nd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2018 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Dec 2 2018Dec 8 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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