Graph schemas as abstractions for transfer learning, inference, and planning

We propose schemas as a model for abstractions that can be used for rapid transfer learning, inference, and planning. Common structured representations of concepts and behaviors -- schemas -- have been proposed as a powerful way to encode abstractions. Latent graph learning is emerging as a new computational model of the hippocampus to explain map learning and transitive inference. We build on this work to show that learned latent graphs in these models have a slot structure -- schemas -- that allow for quick knowledge transfer across environments. In a new environment, an agent can rapidly learn new bindings between the sensory stream to multiple latent schemas and select the best fitting one to guide behavior. To evaluate these graph schemas, we use two previously published challenging tasks: the memory & planning game and one-shot StreetLearn, that are designed to test rapid task solving in novel environments. Graph schemas can be learned in far fewer episodes than previous baselines, and can model and plan in a few steps in novel variations of these tasks. We further demonstrate learning, matching, and reusing graph schemas in navigation tasks in more challenging environments with aliased observations and size variations, and show how different schemas can be composed to model larger 2D and 3D environments.