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Technical Report

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Abstract or Description

Sequence optimization, where the items in a list are ordered to maximize some reward has many applications such as web advertisement placement, search, and control libraries in robotics. Previous work in sequence optimization produces a static ordering that does not take any features of the item or context of the problem into account. In this work, we propose a general approach to order the items within the sequence based on the context (e.g., perceptual information, environment description, and goals). We take a simple, efficient, reduction-based approach where the choice and order of the items is established by repeatedly learning simple classifiers or regressors for each ``slot'' in the sequence. Our approach leverages recent work on submodular function maximization to provide a formal regret reduction from submodular sequence optimization to simple cost-sensitive prediction. We apply our contextual sequence prediction algorithm to optimize control libraries and demonstrate results on two robotics problems: manipulator trajectory prediction and mobile robot path planning.



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