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Guy Tennenholtz

Guy Tennenholtz

Guy Tennenholtz is a research scientist at Google Research. He received his Ph.D. from the Technion Institute of Technology in 2022. He has published over 20 papers in major machine learning conferences. His research focuses include reinforcement learning and causal inference with applications in ecosystems in recommender systems, healthcare, and robotics.
Authored Publications
Google Publications
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    Modeling Recommender Ecosystems: Research Challenges at the Intersection of Mechanism Design, Reinforcement Learning and Generative Models
    Martin Mladenov
    Proceedings of the 38th Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-24), Vancouver (2024) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Modern recommender systems lie at the heart of complex ecosystems that couple the behavior of users, content providers, advertisers, and other actors. Despite this, the focus of the majority of recommender research---and most practical recommenders of any import---is on the \emph{local, myopic} optimization of the recommendations made to individual users. This comes at a significant cost to the \emph{long-term utility} that recommenders could generate for its users. We argue that explicitly modeling the incentives and behaviors of all actors in the system---and the interactions among them induced by the recommender's policy---is strictly necessary if one is to maximize the value the system brings to these actors and improve overall ecosystem ``health.'' Doing so requires: optimization over long horizons using techniques such as \emph{reinforcement learning}; making inevitable tradeoffs among the utility that can be generated for different actors using the methods of \emph{social choice}; reducing information asymmetry, while accounting for incentives and strategic behavior, using the tools of \emph{mechanism design}; better modeling of both user and item-provider behaviors by incorporating notions from \emph{behavioral economics and psychology}; and exploiting recent advances in \emph{generative and foundation models} to make these mechanisms interpretable and actionable. We propose a conceptual framework that encompasses these elements, and articulate a number of research challenges that emerge at the intersection of these different disciplines. View details
    Delphic Offline Reinforcement Learning under Nonidentifiable Hidden Confounding
    Alizée Pace
    Hugo Yèche
    Bernhard Schölkopf
    Gunnar Rätsch
    The Twelfth International Conference on Learning Representations (2024)
    Preview abstract A prominent challenge of offline reinforcement learning (RL) is the issue of hidden confounding. There, unobserved variables may influence both the actions taken by the agent and the outcomes observed in the data. Hidden confounding can compromise the validity of any causal conclusion drawn from the data and presents a major obstacle to effective offline RL. In this paper, we tackle the problem of hidden confounding in the nonidentifiable setting. We propose a definition of uncertainty due to confounding bias, termed delphic uncertainty, which uses variation over compatible world models, and differentiate it from the well known epistemic and aleatoric uncertainties. We derive a practical method for estimating the three types of uncertainties, and construct a pessimistic offline RL algorithm to account for them. Our method does not assume identifiability of the unobserved confounders, and attempts to reduce the amount of confounding bias. We demonstrate through extensive experiments and ablations the efficacy of our approach on a sepsis management benchmark, as well as real electronic health records. Our results suggest that nonidentifiable confounding bias can be addressed in practice to improve offline RL solutions. View details
    Preview abstract Embeddings have become a pivotal means to represent complex, multi-faceted information about entities, concepts, and relationships in a condensed and useful format. Nevertheless, they often preclude direct interpretation. While downstream tasks make use of these compressed representations, meaningful interpretation usually requires visualization using dimensionality reduction or specialized machine learning interpretability methods. This paper addresses the challenge of making such embeddings more interpretable and broadly useful, by employing large language models (LLMs) to directly interact with embeddings -- transforming abstract vectors into understandable narratives. By injecting embeddings into LLMs, we enable querying and exploration of complex embedding data. We demonstrate our approach on a variety of diverse tasks, including: enhancing concept activation vectors (CAVs), communicating novel embedded entities, and decoding user preferences in recommender systems. Our work couples the immense information potential of embeddings with the interpretative power of LLMs. View details
    Reinforcement Learning with History Dependent Dynamic Contexts
    Nadav Merlis
    Martin Mladenov
    Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2023), Honolulu, Hawaii
    Preview abstract We introduce a framework for modeling and solving reinforcement learning problems in non-Markovian, history-dependent environments. Our framework, called the Dynamic Contextual Markov Decision Process (DCMDP), generalizes the contextual MDP framework to handle non-Markov environments where contexts change over time. To overcome the exponential dependence on history, we leverage an aggregated mapping of previous visits to states, actions and contexts to construct an optimistic upper confidence-based algorithm, for which we establish regret bounds. Motivated by our theoretical results, we introduce a practical model-based algorithm that addresses history-dependent contexts, by planing in a latent space and using optimism over history-dependent features. We demonstrate the efficiency and performance of our approach on a recommendation task using the MovieLens dataset, in which the user's behavior is influenced by the agent's recommendations and changes over time. View details
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