Reinforcement Learning (RL) has made significant strides in enabling artificial agents to learn diverse behaviors. However, learning an effective policy often requires a large number of environment interactions. To mitigate sample complexity issues, recent approaches have used high-level task specifications, such as Linear Temporal Logic (LTL$_f$) formulas or Reward Machines (RM), to guide the learning progress of the agent. In this work, we propose a novel approach, called Logical Specifications-guided Dynamic Task Sampling (LSTS), that learns a set of RL policies to guide an agent from an initial state to a goal state based on a high-level task specification, while minimizing the number of environmental interactions. Unlike previous work, LSTS does not assume information about the environment dynamics or the Reward Machine, and dynamically samples promising tasks that lead to successful goal policies. We evaluate LSTS on a gridworld and show that it achieves improved time-to-threshold performance on complex sequential decision-making problems compared to state-of-the-art RM and Automaton-guided RL baselines, such as Q-Learning for Reward Machines and Compositional RL from logical Specifications (DIRL). Moreover, we demonstrate that our method outperforms RM and Automaton-guided RL baselines in terms of sample-efficiency, both in a partially observable robotic task and in a continuous control robotic manipulation task.
As AI agents leave the lab and venture into the real world as autonomous vehicles, delivery robots, and cooking robots, it is increasingly necessary to design and comprehensively evaluate algorithms that tackle the ``open-world''. To this end, we introduce NovelGym, a flexible and adaptable ecosystem designed to simulate gridworld environments, serving as a robust platform for benchmarking reinforcement learning (RL) and hybrid planning and learning agents in open-world contexts. The modular architecture of NovelGym facilitates rapid creation and modification of task environments, including multi-agent scenarios, with multiple environment transformations, thus providing a dynamic testbed for researchers to develop open-world AI agents.
Recent advancements in reasoning abilities of Large Language Models (LLM) has promoted their usage in problems that require high-level planning for robots and artificial agents. However, current techniques that utilize LLMs for such planning tasks make certain key assumptions such as, access to datasets that permit finetuning, meticulously engineered prompts that only provide relevant and essential information to the LLM, and most importantly, a deterministic approach to allow execution of the LLM responses either in the form of existing policies or plan operators. In this work, we propose LgTS (LLM-guided Teacher-Student learning), a novel approach that explores the planning abilities of LLMs to provide a graphical representation of the sub-goals to a reinforcement learning (RL) agent that does not have access to the transition dynamics of the environment. The RL agent uses Teacher-Student learning algorithm to learn a set of successful policies for reaching the goal state from the start state while simultaneously minimizing the number of environmental interactions. Unlike previous methods that utilize LLMs, our approach does not assume access to a propreitary or a fine-tuned LLM, nor does it require pre-trained policies that achieve the sub-goals proposed by the LLM. Through experiments on a gridworld based DoorKey domain and a search-and-rescue inspired domain, we show that generating a graphical structure of sub-goals helps in learning policies for the LLM proposed sub-goals and the Teacher-Student learning algorithm minimizes the number of environment interactions when the transition dynamics are unknown.
Despite recent progress in Reinforcement Learning for robotics applications, many tasks remain prohibitively difficult to solve because of the expensive interaction cost. Transfer learning helps reduce the training time in the target domain by transferring knowledge learned in a source domain. Sim2Real transfer helps transfer knowledge from a simulated robotic domain to a physical target domain. Knowledge transfer reduces the time required to train a task in the physical world, where the cost of interactions is high. However, most existing approaches assume exact correspondence in the task structure and the physical properties of the two domains. This work proposes a framework for Few-Shot Policy Transfer between two domains through Observation Mapping and Behavior Cloning. We use Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) along with a cycle-consistency loss to map the observations between the source and target domains and later use this learned mapping to clone the successful source task behavior policy to the target domain. We observe successful behavior policy transfer with limited target task interactions and in cases where the source and target task are semantically dissimilar.
A holistic understanding of object properties across diverse sensory modalities (e.g., visual, audio, and haptic) is essential for tasks ranging from object categorization to complex manipulation. Drawing inspiration from cognitive science studies that emphasize the significance of multi-sensory integration in human perception, we introduce MOSAIC (Multi-modal Object property learning with Self-Attention and Integrated Comprehension), a novel framework designed to facilitate the learning of unified multi-sensory object property representations. While it is undeniable that visual information plays a prominent role, we acknowledge that many fundamental object properties extend beyond the visual domain to encompass attributes like texture, mass distribution, or sounds, which significantly influence how we interact with objects. In MOSAIC, we leverage this profound insight by distilling knowledge from the extensive pre-trained Contrastive Language-Image Pre-training (CLIP) model, aligning these representations not only across vision but also haptic and auditory sensory modalities. Through extensive experiments on a dataset where a humanoid robot interacts with 100 objects across 10 exploratory behaviors, we demonstrate the versatility of MOSAIC in two task families: object categorization and object-fetching tasks. Our results underscore the efficacy of MOSAIC's unified representations, showing competitive performance in category recognition through a simple linear probe setup and excelling in the fetch object task under zero-shot transfer conditions. This work pioneers the application of CLIP-based sensory grounding in robotics, promising a significant leap in multi-sensory perception capabilities for autonomous systems. We have released the code, datasets, and additional results: https://github.com/gtatiya/MOSAIC.
* Under review for 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and
Automation (ICRA), May 13 to 17, 2024, Yokohama, Japan
Despite advances in Reinforcement Learning, many sequential decision making tasks remain prohibitively expensive and impractical to learn. Recently, approaches that automatically generate reward functions from logical task specifications have been proposed to mitigate this issue; however, they scale poorly on long-horizon tasks (i.e., tasks where the agent needs to perform a series of correct actions to reach the goal state, considering future transitions while choosing an action). Employing a curriculum (a sequence of increasingly complex tasks) further improves the learning speed of the agent by sequencing intermediate tasks suited to the learning capacity of the agent. However, generating curricula from the logical specification still remains an unsolved problem. To this end, we propose AGCL, Automaton-guided Curriculum Learning, a novel method for automatically generating curricula for the target task in the form of Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs). AGCL encodes the specification in the form of a deterministic finite automaton (DFA), and then uses the DFA along with the Object-Oriented MDP (OOMDP) representation to generate a curriculum as a DAG, where the vertices correspond to tasks, and edges correspond to the direction of knowledge transfer. Experiments in gridworld and physics-based simulated robotics domains show that the curricula produced by AGCL achieve improved time-to-threshold performance on a complex sequential decision-making problem relative to state-of-the-art curriculum learning (e.g, teacher-student, self-play) and automaton-guided reinforcement learning baselines (e.g, Q-Learning for Reward Machines). Further, we demonstrate that AGCL performs well even in the presence of noise in the task's OOMDP description, and also when distractor objects are present that are not modeled in the logical specification of the tasks' objectives.
* To be presented at The International Conference on Automated Planning
and Scheduling (ICAPS) 2023
Humans learn about objects via interaction and using multiple perceptions, such as vision, sound, and touch. While vision can provide information about an object's appearance, non-visual sensors, such as audio and haptics, can provide information about its intrinsic properties, such as weight, temperature, hardness, and the object's sound. Using tools to interact with objects can reveal additional object properties that are otherwise hidden (e.g., knives and spoons can be used to examine the properties of food, including its texture and consistency). Robots can use tools to interact with objects and gather information about their implicit properties via non-visual sensors. However, a robot's model for recognizing objects using a tool-mediated behavior does not generalize to a new tool or behavior due to differing observed data distributions. To address this challenge, we propose a framework to enable robots to transfer implicit knowledge about granular objects across different tools and behaviors. The proposed approach learns a shared latent space from multiple robots' contexts produced by respective sensory data while interacting with objects using tools. We collected a dataset using a UR5 robot that performed 5,400 interactions using 6 tools and 6 behaviors on 15 granular objects and tested our method on cross-tool and cross-behavioral transfer tasks. Our results show the less experienced target robot can benefit from the experience gained from the source robot and perform recognition on a set of novel objects. We have released the code, datasets, and additional results: https://github.com/gtatiya/Tool-Knowledge-Transfer.
* Under review for 2023 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent
Robots and Systems (IROS), October 1 to 5, 2023, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Learning to detect, characterize and accommodate novelties is a challenge that agents operating in open-world domains need to address to be able to guarantee satisfactory task performance. Certain novelties (e.g., changes in environment dynamics) can interfere with the performance or prevent agents from accomplishing task goals altogether. In this paper, we introduce general methods and architectural mechanisms for detecting and characterizing different types of novelties, and for building an appropriate adaptive model to accommodate them utilizing logical representations and reasoning methods. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed methods in evaluations performed by a third party in the adversarial multi-agent board game Monopoly. The results show high novelty detection and accommodation rates across a variety of novelty types, including changes to the rules of the game, as well as changes to the agent's action capabilities.
Generalisation to unseen contexts remains a challenge for embodied navigation agents. In the context of semantic audio-visual navigation (SAVi) tasks, the notion of generalisation should include both generalising to unseen indoor visual scenes as well as generalising to unheard sounding objects. However, previous SAVi task definitions do not include evaluation conditions on truly novel sounding objects, resorting instead to evaluating agents on unheard sound clips of known objects; meanwhile, previous SAVi methods do not include explicit mechanisms for incorporating domain knowledge about object and region semantics. These weaknesses limit the development and assessment of models' abilities to generalise their learned experience. In this work, we introduce the use of knowledge-driven scene priors in the semantic audio-visual embodied navigation task: we combine semantic information from our novel knowledge graph that encodes object-region relations, spatial knowledge from dual Graph Encoder Networks, and background knowledge from a series of pre-training tasks -- all within a reinforcement learning framework for audio-visual navigation. We also define a new audio-visual navigation sub-task, where agents are evaluated on novel sounding objects, as opposed to unheard clips of known objects. We show improvements over strong baselines in generalisation to unseen regions and novel sounding objects, within the Habitat-Matterport3D simulation environment, under the SoundSpaces task.