Curriculum Learning for Goal-Oriented Semantic Communications with a Common Language

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Goal-oriented semantic communication will be a pillar of next-generation wireless networks. Despite significant recent efforts in this area, most prior works are focused on specific data types (e.g., image or audio), and they ignore the goal and effectiveness aspects of semantic transmissions. In contrast, in this paper, a holistic goal-oriented semantic communication framework is proposed to enable a speaker and a listener to cooperatively execute a set of sequential tasks in a dynamic environment. A common language based on a hierarchical belief set is proposed to enable semantic communications between speaker and listener. The speaker, acting as an observer of the environment, utilizes the beliefs to transmit an initial description of its observation (called event) to the listener. The listener is then able to infer on the transmitted description and complete it by adding related beliefs to the transmitted beliefs of the speaker. As such, the listener reconstructs the observed event based on the completed description, and it then takes appropriate action in the environment based on the reconstructed event. An optimization problem is defined to determine the perfect and abstract description of the events while minimizing the transmission and inference costs with constraints on the task execution time and belief efficiency. Then, a novel bottom-up curriculum learning (CL) framework based on reinforcement learning is proposed to solve the optimization problem and enable the speaker and listener to gradually identify the structure of the belief set and the perfect and abstract description of the events. Simulation results show that the proposed CL method outperforms traditional RL in terms of convergence time, task execution cost and time, reliability, and belief efficiency. Copyright © 2022, The Authors. All rights reserved.


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Curriculum Learning, Goal-Oriented Semantic Communication, Reinforcement Learning, Semantic Optimization


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