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Relax, it doesn’t matter how you get there: A new self-supervised approach for multi-timescale behavior analysis

Mehdi Azabou · Michael Mendelson · Nauman Ahad · Maks Sorokin · Shantanu Thakoor · Carolina Urzay · Eva Dyer

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #809
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Wed 13 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


Unconstrained and natural behavior consists of dynamics that are complex and unpredictable, especially when trying to predict what will happen multiple steps into the future. While some success has been found in building representations of animal behavior under constrained or simplified task-based conditions, many of these models cannot be applied to free and naturalistic settings where behavior becomes increasingly hard to model. In this work, we develop a multi-task representation learning model for animal behavior that combines two novel components: (i) an action-prediction objective that aims to predict the distribution of actions over future timesteps, and (ii) a multi-scale architecture that builds separate latent spaces to accommodate short- and long-term dynamics. After demonstrating the ability of the method to build representations of both local and global dynamics in robots in varying environments and terrains, we apply our method to the MABe 2022 Multi-Agent Behavior challenge, where our model ranks first overall on both mice and fly benchmarks. In all of these cases, we show that our model can build representations that capture the many different factors that drive behavior and solve a wide range of downstream tasks.

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