The ability to learn and refine behavior after deployment has become ever more important for robots as we design them to operate in unstructured environments like households. In this work, we design a new learning system based on large language model (LLM), OLAF, that allows everyday users to teach a robot using verbal corrections when the robot makes mistakes, e.g., by saying "Stop what you're doing. You should move closer to the cup." A key feature of OLAF is its ability to update the robot's visuomotor neural policy based on the verbal feedback to avoid repeating mistakes in the future. This is in contrast to existing LLM-based robotic systems, which only follow verbal commands or corrections but not learn from them. We demonstrate the efficacy of our design in experiments where a user teaches a robot to perform long-horizon manipulation tasks both in simulation and on physical hardware, achieving on average 20.0% improvement in policy success rate. Videos and more results are at https://ut-austin-rpl.github.io/olaf/
Our goal is for robots to follow natural language instructions like "put the towel next to the microwave." But getting large amounts of labeled data, i.e. data that contains demonstrations of tasks labeled with the language instruction, is prohibitive. In contrast, obtaining policies that respond to image goals is much easier, because any autonomous trial or demonstration can be labeled in hindsight with its final state as the goal. In this work, we contribute a method that taps into joint image- and goal- conditioned policies with language using only a small amount of language data. Prior work has made progress on this using vision-language models or by jointly training language-goal-conditioned policies, but so far neither method has scaled effectively to real-world robot tasks without significant human annotation. Our method achieves robust performance in the real world by learning an embedding from the labeled data that aligns language not to the goal image, but rather to the desired change between the start and goal images that the instruction corresponds to. We then train a policy on this embedding: the policy benefits from all the unlabeled data, but the aligned embedding provides an interface for language to steer the policy. We show instruction following across a variety of manipulation tasks in different scenes, with generalization to language instructions outside of the labeled data. Videos and code for our approach can be found on our website: http://tiny.cc/grif .
We present a novel observation about the behavior of offline reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms: on many benchmark datasets, offline RL can produce well-performing and safe policies even when trained with "wrong" reward labels, such as those that are zero everywhere or are negatives of the true rewards. This phenomenon cannot be easily explained by offline RL's return maximization objective. Moreover, it gives offline RL a degree of robustness that is uncharacteristic of its online RL counterparts, which are known to be sensitive to reward design. We demonstrate that this surprising robustness property is attributable to an interplay between the notion of pessimism in offline RL algorithms and a certain bias implicit in common data collection practices. As we prove in this work, pessimism endows the agent with a "survival instinct", i.e., an incentive to stay within the data support in the long term, while the limited and biased data coverage further constrains the set of survival policies. Formally, given a reward class -- which may not even contain the true reward -- we identify conditions on the training data distribution that enable offline RL to learn a near-optimal and safe policy from any reward within the class. We argue that the survival instinct should be taken into account when interpreting results from existing offline RL benchmarks and when creating future ones. Our empirical and theoretical results suggest a new paradigm for RL, whereby an agent is "nudged" to learn a desirable behavior with imperfect reward but purposely biased data coverage.
We propose Heuristic Blending (HUBL), a simple performance-improving technique for a broad class of offline RL algorithms based on value bootstrapping. HUBL modifies Bellman operators used in these algorithms, partially replacing the bootstrapped values with Monte-Carlo returns as heuristics. For trajectories with higher returns, HUBL relies more on heuristics and less on bootstrapping; otherwise, it leans more heavily on bootstrapping. We show that this idea can be easily implemented by relabeling the offline datasets with adjusted rewards and discount factors, making HUBL readily usable by many existing offline RL implementations. We theoretically prove that HUBL reduces offline RL's complexity and thus improves its finite-sample performance. Furthermore, we empirically demonstrate that HUBL consistently improves the policy quality of four state-of-the-art bootstrapping-based offline RL algorithms (ATAC, CQL, TD3+BC, and IQL), by 9% on average over 27 datasets of the D4RL and Meta-World benchmarks.
We study a new paradigm for sequential decision making, called offline Policy Learning from Observation (PLfO). Offline PLfO aims to learn policies using datasets with substandard qualities: 1) only a subset of trajectories is labeled with rewards, 2) labeled trajectories may not contain actions, 3) labeled trajectories may not be of high quality, and 4) the overall data may not have full coverage. Such imperfection is common in real-world learning scenarios, so offline PLfO encompasses many existing offline learning setups, including offline imitation learning (IL), ILfO, and reinforcement learning (RL). In this work, we present a generic approach, called Modality-agnostic Adversarial Hypothesis Adaptation for Learning from Observations (MAHALO), for offline PLfO. Built upon the pessimism concept in offline RL, MAHALO optimizes the policy using a performance lower bound that accounts for uncertainty due to the dataset's insufficient converge. We implement this idea by adversarially training data-consistent critic and reward functions in policy optimization, which forces the learned policy to be robust to the data deficiency. We show that MAHALO consistently outperforms or matches specialized algorithms across a variety of offline PLfO tasks in theory and experiments.
A rich representation is key to general robotic manipulation, but existing model architectures require a lot of data to learn it. Unfortunately, ideal robotic manipulation training data, which comes in the form of expert visuomotor demonstrations for a variety of annotated tasks, is scarce. In this work we propose PLEX, a transformer-based architecture that learns from task-agnostic visuomotor trajectories accompanied by a much larger amount of task-conditioned object manipulation videos -- a type of robotics-relevant data available in quantity. The key insight behind PLEX is that the trajectories with observations and actions help induce a latent feature space and train a robot to execute task-agnostic manipulation routines, while a diverse set of video-only demonstrations can efficiently teach the robot how to plan in this feature space for a wide variety of tasks. In contrast to most works on robotic manipulation pretraining, PLEX learns a generalizable sensorimotor multi-task policy, not just an observational representation. We also show that using relative positional encoding in PLEX's transformers further increases its data efficiency when learning from human-collected demonstrations. Experiments showcase \appr's generalization on Meta-World-v2 benchmark and establish state-of-the-art performance in challenging Robosuite environments.
We propose a novel model-based offline Reinforcement Learning (RL) framework, called Adversarial Model for Offline Reinforcement Learning (ARMOR), which can robustly learn policies to improve upon an arbitrary reference policy regardless of data coverage. ARMOR is designed to optimize policies for the worst-case performance relative to the reference policy through adversarially training a Markov decision process model. In theory, we prove that ARMOR, with a well-tuned hyperparameter, can compete with the best policy within data coverage when the reference policy is supported by the data. At the same time, ARMOR is robust to hyperparameter choices: the policy learned by ARMOR, with "any" admissible hyperparameter, would never degrade the performance of the reference policy, even when the reference policy is not covered by the dataset. To validate these properties in practice, we design a scalable implementation of ARMOR, which by adversarial training, can optimize policies without using model ensembles in contrast to typical model-based methods. We show that ARMOR achieves competent performance with both state-of-the-art offline model-free and model-based RL algorithms and can robustly improve the reference policy over various hyperparameter choices.
Real-world reinforcement learning (RL) is often severely limited since typical RL algorithms heavily rely on the reset mechanism to sample proper initial states. In practice, the reset mechanism is expensive to implement due to the need for human intervention or heavily engineered environments. To make learning more practical, we propose a generic no-regret reduction to systematically design reset-free RL algorithms. Our reduction turns reset-free RL into a two-player game. We show that achieving sublinear regret in this two player game would imply learning a policy that has both sublinear performance regret and sublinear total number of resets in the original RL problem. This means that the agent eventually learns to perform optimally and avoid resets. By this reduction, we design an instantiation for linear Markov decision processes, which is the first provably correct reset-free RL algorithm to our knowledge.
We propose a new model-based offline RL framework, called Adversarial Models for Offline Reinforcement Learning (ARMOR), which can robustly learn policies to improve upon an arbitrary baseline policy regardless of data coverage. Based on the concept of relative pessimism, ARMOR is designed to optimize for the worst-case relative performance when facing uncertainty. In theory, we prove that the learned policy of ARMOR never degrades the performance of the baseline policy with any admissible hyperparameter, and can learn to compete with the best policy within data coverage when the hyperparameter is well tuned, and the baseline policy is supported by the data. Such a robust policy improvement property makes ARMOR especially suitable for building real-world learning systems, because in practice ensuring no performance degradation is imperative before considering any benefit learning can bring.
Simulated humanoids are an appealing research domain due to their physical capabilities. Nonetheless, they are also challenging to control, as a policy must drive an unstable, discontinuous, and high-dimensional physical system. One widely studied approach is to utilize motion capture (MoCap) data to teach the humanoid agent low-level skills (e.g., standing, walking, and running) that can then be re-used to synthesize high-level behaviors. However, even with MoCap data, controlling simulated humanoids remains very hard, as MoCap data offers only kinematic information. Finding physical control inputs to realize the demonstrated motions requires computationally intensive methods like reinforcement learning. Thus, despite the publicly available MoCap data, its utility has been limited to institutions with large-scale compute. In this work, we dramatically lower the barrier for productive research on this topic by training and releasing high-quality agents that can track over three hours of MoCap data for a simulated humanoid in the dm_control physics-based environment. We release MoCapAct (Motion Capture with Actions), a dataset of these expert agents and their rollouts, which contain proprioceptive observations and actions. We demonstrate the utility of MoCapAct by using it to train a single hierarchical policy capable of tracking the entire MoCap dataset within dm_control and show the learned low-level component can be re-used to efficiently learn downstream high-level tasks. Finally, we use MoCapAct to train an autoregressive GPT model and show that it can control a simulated humanoid to perform natural motion completion given a motion prompt. Videos of the results and links to the code and dataset are available at https://microsoft.github.io/MoCapAct.