Active Inference for Stochastic Control

Aswin Paul, Noor Sajid, Manoj Gopalkrishnan, Adeel Razi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


Active inference has emerged as an alternative approach to control problems given its intuitive (probabilistic) formalism. However, despite its theoretical utility, computational implementations have largely been restricted to low-dimensional, deterministic settings. This paper highlights that this is a consequence of the inability to adequately model stochastic transition dynamics, particularly when an extensive policy (i.e., action trajectory) space must be evaluated during planning. Fortunately, recent advancements propose a modified planning algorithm for finite temporal horizons. We build upon this work to assess the utility of active inference for a stochastic control setting. For this, we simulate the classic windy grid-world task with additional complexities, namely: 1) environment stochasticity; 2) learning of transition dynamics; and 3) partial observability. Our results demonstrate the advantage of using active inference, compared to reinforcement learning, in both deterministic and stochastic settings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMachine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases - International Workshops of ECML PKDD 2021, Proceedings
EditorsMichael Kamp, Michael Kamp, Irena Koprinska, Adrien Bibal, Tassadit Bouadi, Benoît Frénay, Luis Galárraga, José Oramas, Linara Adilova, Yamuna Krishnamurthy, Bo Kang, Christine Largeron, Jefrey Lijffijt, Tiphaine Viard, Pascal Welke, Massimiliano Ruocco, Erlend Aune, Claudio Gallicchio, Gregor Schiele, Franz Pernkopf, Michaela Blott, Holger Fröning, Günther Schindler, Riccardo Guidotti, Anna Monreale, Salvatore Rinzivillo, Przemyslaw Biecek, Eirini Ntoutsi, Mykola Pechenizkiy, Bodo Rosenhahn, Christopher Buckley, Daniela Cialfi, Pablo Lanillos, Maxwell Ramstead, Tim Verbelen, Pedro M. Ferreira, Giuseppina Andresini, Donato Malerba, Ibéria Medeiros, Philippe Fournier-Viger, M. Saqib Nawaz, Sebastian Ventura, Meng Sun, Min Zhou, Valerio Bitetta, Ilaria Bordino, Andrea Ferretti, Francesco Gullo, Giovanni Ponti, Lorenzo Severini, Rita Ribeiro, João Gama, Ricard Gavaldà, Lee Cooper, Naghmeh Ghazaleh, Jonas Richiardi, Damian Roqueiro, Diego Saldana Miranda, Konstantinos Sechidis, Guilherme Graça
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030937362
ISBN (Print)9783030937355
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventEuropean Conference on Machine Learning European Conference on Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases 2021 - Bilbao, Spain
Duration: 13 Sept 202117 Sept 2021
Conference number: 21st

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
Volume1524 CCIS
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Machine Learning European Conference on Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases 2021
Abbreviated titleECMLPKDD 2021
Internet address


  • Active inference
  • Optimal control
  • Sophisticated inference
  • Stochastic control

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