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In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper

Generative Augmented Flow Networks

Ling Pan · Dinghuai Zhang · Aaron Courville · Longbo Huang · Yoshua Bengio



The Generative Flow Network is a probabilistic framework where an agent learns a stochastic policy for object generation, such that the probability of generating an object is proportional to a given reward function. Its effectiveness has been shown in discovering high-quality and diverse solutions, compared to reward-maximizing reinforcement learning-based methods. Nonetheless, GFlowNets only learn from rewards of the terminal states, which can limit its applicability. Indeed, intermediate rewards play a critical role in learning, for example from intrinsic motivation to provide intermediate feedback even in particularly challenging sparse reward tasks. Inspired by this, we propose Generative Augmented Flow Networks (GAFlowNets), a novel learning framework to incorporate intermediate rewards into GFlowNets. We specify intermediate rewards by intrinsic motivation to tackle the exploration problem in sparse reward environments. GAFlowNets can leverage edge-based and state-based intrinsic rewards in a joint way to improve exploration. Based on extensive experiments on the GridWorld task, we demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of GAFlowNet in terms of convergence, performance, and diversity of solutions. We further show that GAFlowNet is scalable to a more complex and large-scale molecule generation domain, where it achieves consistent and significant performance improvement.

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