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Joshua B. Tenenbaum

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Learning Reusable Manipulation Strategies

Nov 06, 2023
Jiayuan Mao, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Tomás Lozano-Pérez, Leslie Pack Kaelbling

Humans demonstrate an impressive ability to acquire and generalize manipulation "tricks." Even from a single demonstration, such as using soup ladles to reach for distant objects, we can apply this skill to new scenarios involving different object positions, sizes, and categories (e.g., forks and hammers). Additionally, we can flexibly combine various skills to devise long-term plans. In this paper, we present a framework that enables machines to acquire such manipulation skills, referred to as "mechanisms," through a single demonstration and self-play. Our key insight lies in interpreting each demonstration as a sequence of changes in robot-object and object-object contact modes, which provides a scaffold for learning detailed samplers for continuous parameters. These learned mechanisms and samplers can be seamlessly integrated into standard task and motion planners, enabling their compositional use.

* CoRL 2023. Project page: 
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Getting aligned on representational alignment

Nov 02, 2023
Ilia Sucholutsky, Lukas Muttenthaler, Adrian Weller, Andi Peng, Andreea Bobu, Been Kim, Bradley C. Love, Erin Grant, Iris Groen, Jascha Achterberg, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Katherine M. Collins, Katherine L. Hermann, Kerem Oktar, Klaus Greff, Martin N. Hebart, Nori Jacoby, Qiuyi Zhang, Raja Marjieh, Robert Geirhos, Sherol Chen, Simon Kornblith, Sunayana Rane, Talia Konkle, Thomas P. O'Connell, Thomas Unterthiner, Andrew K. Lampinen, Klaus-Robert Müller, Mariya Toneva, Thomas L. Griffiths

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Biological and artificial information processing systems form representations that they can use to categorize, reason, plan, navigate, and make decisions. How can we measure the extent to which the representations formed by these diverse systems agree? Do similarities in representations then translate into similar behavior? How can a system's representations be modified to better match those of another system? These questions pertaining to the study of representational alignment are at the heart of some of the most active research areas in cognitive science, neuroscience, and machine learning. For example, cognitive scientists measure the representational alignment of multiple individuals to identify shared cognitive priors, neuroscientists align fMRI responses from multiple individuals into a shared representational space for group-level analyses, and ML researchers distill knowledge from teacher models into student models by increasing their alignment. Unfortunately, there is limited knowledge transfer between research communities interested in representational alignment, so progress in one field often ends up being rediscovered independently in another. Thus, greater cross-field communication would be advantageous. To improve communication between these fields, we propose a unifying framework that can serve as a common language between researchers studying representational alignment. We survey the literature from all three fields and demonstrate how prior work fits into this framework. Finally, we lay out open problems in representational alignment where progress can benefit all three of these fields. We hope that our work can catalyze cross-disciplinary collaboration and accelerate progress for all communities studying and developing information processing systems. We note that this is a working paper and encourage readers to reach out with their suggestions for future revisions.

* Working paper, changes to be made in upcoming revisions 
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LILO: Learning Interpretable Libraries by Compressing and Documenting Code

Oct 30, 2023
Gabriel Grand, Lionel Wong, Matthew Bowers, Theo X. Olausson, Muxin Liu, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Jacob Andreas

While large language models (LLMs) now excel at code generation, a key aspect of software development is the art of refactoring: consolidating code into libraries of reusable and readable programs. In this paper, we introduce LILO, a neurosymbolic framework that iteratively synthesizes, compresses, and documents code to build libraries tailored to particular problem domains. LILO combines LLM-guided program synthesis with recent algorithmic advances in automated refactoring from Stitch: a symbolic compression system that efficiently identifies optimal lambda abstractions across large code corpora. To make these abstractions interpretable, we introduce an auto-documentation (AutoDoc) procedure that infers natural language names and docstrings based on contextual examples of usage. In addition to improving human readability, we find that AutoDoc boosts performance by helping LILO's synthesizer to interpret and deploy learned abstractions. We evaluate LILO on three inductive program synthesis benchmarks for string editing, scene reasoning, and graphics composition. Compared to existing neural and symbolic methods - including the state-of-the-art library learning algorithm DreamCoder - LILO solves more complex tasks and learns richer libraries that are grounded in linguistic knowledge.

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What's Left? Concept Grounding with Logic-Enhanced Foundation Models

Oct 24, 2023
Joy Hsu, Jiayuan Mao, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Jiajun Wu

Recent works such as VisProg and ViperGPT have smartly composed foundation models for visual reasoning-using large language models (LLMs) to produce programs that can be executed by pre-trained vision-language models. However, they operate in limited domains, such as 2D images, not fully exploiting the generalization of language: abstract concepts like "left" can also be grounded in 3D, temporal, and action data, as in moving to your left. This limited generalization stems from these inference-only methods' inability to learn or adapt pre-trained models to a new domain. We propose the Logic-Enhanced Foundation Model (LEFT), a unified framework that learns to ground and reason with concepts across domains with a differentiable, domain-independent, first-order logic-based program executor. LEFT has an LLM interpreter that outputs a program represented in a general, logic-based reasoning language, which is shared across all domains and tasks. LEFT's executor then executes the program with trainable domain-specific grounding modules. We show that LEFT flexibly learns concepts in four domains: 2D images, 3D scenes, human motions, and robotic manipulation. It exhibits strong reasoning ability in a wide variety of tasks, including those that are complex and not seen during training, and can be easily applied to new domains.

* NeurIPS 2023. First two authors contributed equally. Project page: 
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LINC: A Neurosymbolic Approach for Logical Reasoning by Combining Language Models with First-Order Logic Provers

Oct 23, 2023
Theo X. Olausson, Alex Gu, Benjamin Lipkin, Cedegao E. Zhang, Armando Solar-Lezama, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Roger Levy

Logical reasoning, i.e., deductively inferring the truth value of a conclusion from a set of premises, is an important task for artificial intelligence with wide potential impacts on science, mathematics, and society. While many prompting-based strategies have been proposed to enable Large Language Models (LLMs) to do such reasoning more effectively, they still appear unsatisfactory, often failing in subtle and unpredictable ways. In this work, we investigate the validity of instead reformulating such tasks as modular neurosymbolic programming, which we call LINC: Logical Inference via Neurosymbolic Computation. In LINC, the LLM acts as a semantic parser, translating premises and conclusions from natural language to expressions in first-order logic. These expressions are then offloaded to an external theorem prover, which symbolically performs deductive inference. Leveraging this approach, we observe significant performance gains on FOLIO and a balanced subset of ProofWriter for three different models in nearly all experimental conditions we evaluate. On ProofWriter, augmenting the comparatively small open-source StarCoder+ (15.5B parameters) with LINC even outperforms GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 with Chain-of-Thought (CoT) prompting by an absolute 38% and 10%, respectively. When used with GPT-4, LINC scores 26% higher than CoT on ProofWriter while performing comparatively on FOLIO. Further analysis reveals that although both methods on average succeed roughly equally often on this dataset, they exhibit distinct and complementary failure modes. We thus provide promising evidence for how logical reasoning over natural language can be tackled through jointly leveraging LLMs alongside symbolic provers. All corresponding code is publicly available at

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Inferring Relational Potentials in Interacting Systems

Oct 23, 2023
Armand Comas-Massagué, Yilun Du, Christian Fernandez, Sandesh Ghimire, Mario Sznaier, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Octavia Camps

Systems consisting of interacting agents are prevalent in the world, ranging from dynamical systems in physics to complex biological networks. To build systems which can interact robustly in the real world, it is thus important to be able to infer the precise interactions governing such systems. Existing approaches typically discover such interactions by explicitly modeling the feed-forward dynamics of the trajectories. In this work, we propose Neural Interaction Inference with Potentials (NIIP) as an alternative approach to discover such interactions that enables greater flexibility in trajectory modeling: it discovers a set of relational potentials, represented as energy functions, which when minimized reconstruct the original trajectory. NIIP assigns low energy to the subset of trajectories which respect the relational constraints observed. We illustrate that with these representations NIIP displays unique capabilities in test-time. First, it allows trajectory manipulation, such as interchanging interaction types across separately trained models, as well as trajectory forecasting. Additionally, it allows adding external hand-crafted potentials at test-time. Finally, NIIP enables the detection of out-of-distribution samples and anomalies without explicit training. Website:

* Published at ICML 2023 (Oral) 
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AI for Mathematics: A Cognitive Science Perspective

Oct 19, 2023
Cedegao E. Zhang, Katherine M. Collins, Adrian Weller, Joshua B. Tenenbaum

Mathematics is one of the most powerful conceptual systems developed and used by the human species. Dreams of automated mathematicians have a storied history in artificial intelligence (AI). Rapid progress in AI, particularly propelled by advances in large language models (LLMs), has sparked renewed, widespread interest in building such systems. In this work, we reflect on these goals from a \textit{cognitive science} perspective. We call attention to several classical and ongoing research directions from cognitive science, which we believe are valuable for AI practitioners to consider when seeking to build truly human (or superhuman)-level mathematical systems. We close with open discussions and questions that we believe necessitate a multi-disciplinary perspective -- cognitive scientists working in tandem with AI researchers and mathematicians -- as we move toward better mathematical AI systems which not only help us push the frontier of the mathematics, but also offer glimpses into how we as humans are even capable of such great cognitive feats.

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Video Language Planning

Oct 16, 2023
Yilun Du, Mengjiao Yang, Pete Florence, Fei Xia, Ayzaan Wahid, Brian Ichter, Pierre Sermanet, Tianhe Yu, Pieter Abbeel, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Leslie Kaelbling, Andy Zeng, Jonathan Tompson

We are interested in enabling visual planning for complex long-horizon tasks in the space of generated videos and language, leveraging recent advances in large generative models pretrained on Internet-scale data. To this end, we present video language planning (VLP), an algorithm that consists of a tree search procedure, where we train (i) vision-language models to serve as both policies and value functions, and (ii) text-to-video models as dynamics models. VLP takes as input a long-horizon task instruction and current image observation, and outputs a long video plan that provides detailed multimodal (video and language) specifications that describe how to complete the final task. VLP scales with increasing computation budget where more computation time results in improved video plans, and is able to synthesize long-horizon video plans across different robotics domains: from multi-object rearrangement, to multi-camera bi-arm dexterous manipulation. Generated video plans can be translated into real robot actions via goal-conditioned policies, conditioned on each intermediate frame of the generated video. Experiments show that VLP substantially improves long-horizon task success rates compared to prior methods on both simulated and real robots (across 3 hardware platforms).

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Learning to Act from Actionless Videos through Dense Correspondences

Oct 12, 2023
Po-Chen Ko, Jiayuan Mao, Yilun Du, Shao-Hua Sun, Joshua B. Tenenbaum

In this work, we present an approach to construct a video-based robot policy capable of reliably executing diverse tasks across different robots and environments from few video demonstrations without using any action annotations. Our method leverages images as a task-agnostic representation, encoding both the state and action information, and text as a general representation for specifying robot goals. By synthesizing videos that ``hallucinate'' robot executing actions and in combination with dense correspondences between frames, our approach can infer the closed-formed action to execute to an environment without the need of any explicit action labels. This unique capability allows us to train the policy solely based on RGB videos and deploy learned policies to various robotic tasks. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach in learning policies on table-top manipulation and navigation tasks. Additionally, we contribute an open-source framework for efficient video modeling, enabling the training of high-fidelity policy models with four GPUs within a single day.

* Project page: 
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