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Nicolas Heess

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TacticAI: an AI assistant for football tactics

Oct 17, 2023
Zhe Wang, Petar Veličković, Daniel Hennes, Nenad Tomašev, Laurel Prince, Michael Kaisers, Yoram Bachrach, Romuald Elie, Li Kevin Wenliang, Federico Piccinini, William Spearman, Ian Graham, Jerome Connor, Yi Yang, Adrià Recasens, Mina Khan, Nathalie Beauguerlange, Pablo Sprechmann, Pol Moreno, Nicolas Heess, Michael Bowling, Demis Hassabis, Karl Tuyls

Identifying key patterns of tactics implemented by rival teams, and developing effective responses, lies at the heart of modern football. However, doing so algorithmically remains an open research challenge. To address this unmet need, we propose TacticAI, an AI football tactics assistant developed and evaluated in close collaboration with domain experts from Liverpool FC. We focus on analysing corner kicks, as they offer coaches the most direct opportunities for interventions and improvements. TacticAI incorporates both a predictive and a generative component, allowing the coaches to effectively sample and explore alternative player setups for each corner kick routine and to select those with the highest predicted likelihood of success. We validate TacticAI on a number of relevant benchmark tasks: predicting receivers and shot attempts and recommending player position adjustments. The utility of TacticAI is validated by a qualitative study conducted with football domain experts at Liverpool FC. We show that TacticAI's model suggestions are not only indistinguishable from real tactics, but also favoured over existing tactics 90% of the time, and that TacticAI offers an effective corner kick retrieval system. TacticAI achieves these results despite the limited availability of gold-standard data, achieving data efficiency through geometric deep learning.

* 32 pages, 10 figures 
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Open X-Embodiment: Robotic Learning Datasets and RT-X Models

Oct 17, 2023
Open X-Embodiment Collaboration, Abhishek Padalkar, Acorn Pooley, Ajinkya Jain, Alex Bewley, Alex Herzog, Alex Irpan, Alexander Khazatsky, Anant Rai, Anikait Singh, Anthony Brohan, Antonin Raffin, Ayzaan Wahid, Ben Burgess-Limerick, Beomjoon Kim, Bernhard Schölkopf, Brian Ichter, Cewu Lu, Charles Xu, Chelsea Finn, Chenfeng Xu, Cheng Chi, Chenguang Huang, Christine Chan, Chuer Pan, Chuyuan Fu, Coline Devin, Danny Driess, Deepak Pathak, Dhruv Shah, Dieter Büchler, Dmitry Kalashnikov, Dorsa Sadigh, Edward Johns, Federico Ceola, Fei Xia, Freek Stulp, Gaoyue Zhou, Gaurav S. Sukhatme, Gautam Salhotra, Ge Yan, Giulio Schiavi, Gregory Kahn, Hao Su, Hao-Shu Fang, Haochen Shi, Heni Ben Amor, Henrik I Christensen, Hiroki Furuta, Homer Walke, Hongjie Fang, Igor Mordatch, Ilija Radosavovic, Isabel Leal, Jacky Liang, Jad Abou-Chakra, Jaehyung Kim, Jan Peters, Jan Schneider, Jasmine Hsu, Jeannette Bohg, Jeffrey Bingham, Jiajun Wu, Jialin Wu, Jianlan Luo, Jiayuan Gu, Jie Tan, Jihoon Oh, Jitendra Malik, Jonathan Tompson, Jonathan Yang, Joseph J. Lim, João Silvério, Junhyek Han, Kanishka Rao, Karl Pertsch, Karol Hausman, Keegan Go, Keerthana Gopalakrishnan, Ken Goldberg, Kendra Byrne, Kenneth Oslund, Kento Kawaharazuka, Kevin Zhang, Krishan Rana, Krishnan Srinivasan, Lawrence Yunliang Chen, Lerrel Pinto, Liam Tan, Lionel Ott, Lisa Lee, Masayoshi Tomizuka, Maximilian Du, Michael Ahn, Mingtong Zhang, Mingyu Ding, Mohan Kumar Srirama, Mohit Sharma, Moo Jin Kim, Naoaki Kanazawa, Nicklas Hansen, Nicolas Heess, Nikhil J Joshi, Niko Suenderhauf, Norman Di Palo, Nur Muhammad Mahi Shafiullah, Oier Mees, Oliver Kroemer, Pannag R Sanketi, Paul Wohlhart, Peng Xu, Pierre Sermanet, Priya Sundaresan, Quan Vuong, Rafael Rafailov, Ran Tian, Ria Doshi, Roberto Martín-Martín, Russell Mendonca, Rutav Shah, Ryan Hoque, Ryan Julian, Samuel Bustamante, Sean Kirmani, Sergey Levine, Sherry Moore, Shikhar Bahl, Shivin Dass, Shubham Sonawani, Shuran Song, Sichun Xu, Siddhant Haldar, Simeon Adebola, Simon Guist, Soroush Nasiriany, Stefan Schaal, Stefan Welker, Stephen Tian, Sudeep Dasari, Suneel Belkhale, Takayuki Osa, Tatsuya Harada, Tatsuya Matsushima, Ted Xiao, Tianhe Yu, Tianli Ding, Todor Davchev, Tony Z. Zhao, Travis Armstrong, Trevor Darrell, Vidhi Jain, Vincent Vanhoucke, Wei Zhan, Wenxuan Zhou, Wolfram Burgard, Xi Chen, Xiaolong Wang, Xinghao Zhu, Xuanlin Li, Yao Lu, Yevgen Chebotar, Yifan Zhou, Yifeng Zhu, Ying Xu, Yixuan Wang, Yonatan Bisk, Yoonyoung Cho, Youngwoon Lee, Yuchen Cui, Yueh-Hua Wu, Yujin Tang, Yuke Zhu, Yunzhu Li, Yusuke Iwasawa, Yutaka Matsuo, Zhuo Xu, Zichen Jeff Cui

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Large, high-capacity models trained on diverse datasets have shown remarkable successes on efficiently tackling downstream applications. In domains from NLP to Computer Vision, this has led to a consolidation of pretrained models, with general pretrained backbones serving as a starting point for many applications. Can such a consolidation happen in robotics? Conventionally, robotic learning methods train a separate model for every application, every robot, and even every environment. Can we instead train generalist X-robot policy that can be adapted efficiently to new robots, tasks, and environments? In this paper, we provide datasets in standardized data formats and models to make it possible to explore this possibility in the context of robotic manipulation, alongside experimental results that provide an example of effective X-robot policies. We assemble a dataset from 22 different robots collected through a collaboration between 21 institutions, demonstrating 527 skills (160266 tasks). We show that a high-capacity model trained on this data, which we call RT-X, exhibits positive transfer and improves the capabilities of multiple robots by leveraging experience from other platforms. More details can be found on the project website $\href{}{\text{}}$.

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Policy composition in reinforcement learning via multi-objective policy optimization

Aug 30, 2023
Shruti Mishra, Ankit Anand, Jordan Hoffmann, Nicolas Heess, Martin Riedmiller, Abbas Abdolmaleki, Doina Precup

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We enable reinforcement learning agents to learn successful behavior policies by utilizing relevant pre-existing teacher policies. The teacher policies are introduced as objectives, in addition to the task objective, in a multi-objective policy optimization setting. Using the Multi-Objective Maximum a Posteriori Policy Optimization algorithm (Abdolmaleki et al. 2020), we show that teacher policies can help speed up learning, particularly in the absence of shaping rewards. In two domains with continuous observation and action spaces, our agents successfully compose teacher policies in sequence and in parallel, and are also able to further extend the policies of the teachers in order to solve the task. Depending on the specified combination of task and teacher(s), teacher(s) may naturally act to limit the final performance of an agent. The extent to which agents are required to adhere to teacher policies are determined by hyperparameters which determine both the effect of teachers on learning speed and the eventual performance of the agent on the task. In the humanoid domain (Tassa et al. 2018), we also equip agents with the ability to control the selection of teachers. With this ability, agents are able to meaningfully compose from the teacher policies to achieve a superior task reward on the walk task than in cases without access to the teacher policies. We show the resemblance of composed task policies with the corresponding teacher policies through videos.

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Towards A Unified Agent with Foundation Models

Jul 18, 2023
Norman Di Palo, Arunkumar Byravan, Leonard Hasenclever, Markus Wulfmeier, Nicolas Heess, Martin Riedmiller

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Language Models and Vision Language Models have recently demonstrated unprecedented capabilities in terms of understanding human intentions, reasoning, scene understanding, and planning-like behaviour, in text form, among many others. In this work, we investigate how to embed and leverage such abilities in Reinforcement Learning (RL) agents. We design a framework that uses language as the core reasoning tool, exploring how this enables an agent to tackle a series of fundamental RL challenges, such as efficient exploration, reusing experience data, scheduling skills, and learning from observations, which traditionally require separate, vertically designed algorithms. We test our method on a sparse-reward simulated robotic manipulation environment, where a robot needs to stack a set of objects. We demonstrate substantial performance improvements over baselines in exploration efficiency and ability to reuse data from offline datasets, and illustrate how to reuse learned skills to solve novel tasks or imitate videos of human experts.

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RoboCat: A Self-Improving Foundation Agent for Robotic Manipulation

Jun 20, 2023
Konstantinos Bousmalis, Giulia Vezzani, Dushyant Rao, Coline Devin, Alex X. Lee, Maria Bauza, Todor Davchev, Yuxiang Zhou, Agrim Gupta, Akhil Raju, Antoine Laurens, Claudio Fantacci, Valentin Dalibard, Martina Zambelli, Murilo Martins, Rugile Pevceviciute, Michiel Blokzijl, Misha Denil, Nathan Batchelor, Thomas Lampe, Emilio Parisotto, Konrad Żołna, Scott Reed, Sergio Gómez Colmenarejo, Jon Scholz, Abbas Abdolmaleki, Oliver Groth, Jean-Baptiste Regli, Oleg Sushkov, Tom Rothörl, José Enrique Chen, Yusuf Aytar, Dave Barker, Joy Ortiz, Martin Riedmiller, Jost Tobias Springenberg, Raia Hadsell, Francesco Nori, Nicolas Heess

The ability to leverage heterogeneous robotic experience from different robots and tasks to quickly master novel skills and embodiments has the potential to transform robot learning. Inspired by recent advances in foundation models for vision and language, we propose a foundation agent for robotic manipulation. This agent, named RoboCat, is a visual goal-conditioned decision transformer capable of consuming multi-embodiment action-labelled visual experience. This data spans a large repertoire of motor control skills from simulated and real robotic arms with varying sets of observations and actions. With RoboCat, we demonstrate the ability to generalise to new tasks and robots, both zero-shot as well as through adaptation using only 100--1000 examples for the target task. We also show how a trained model itself can be used to generate data for subsequent training iterations, thus providing a basic building block for an autonomous improvement loop. We investigate the agent's capabilities, with large-scale evaluations both in simulation and on three different real robot embodiments. We find that as we grow and diversify its training data, RoboCat not only shows signs of cross-task transfer, but also becomes more efficient at adapting to new tasks.

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Language to Rewards for Robotic Skill Synthesis

Jun 16, 2023
Wenhao Yu, Nimrod Gileadi, Chuyuan Fu, Sean Kirmani, Kuang-Huei Lee, Montse Gonzalez Arenas, Hao-Tien Lewis Chiang, Tom Erez, Leonard Hasenclever, Jan Humplik, Brian Ichter, Ted Xiao, Peng Xu, Andy Zeng, Tingnan Zhang, Nicolas Heess, Dorsa Sadigh, Jie Tan, Yuval Tassa, Fei Xia

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Large language models (LLMs) have demonstrated exciting progress in acquiring diverse new capabilities through in-context learning, ranging from logical reasoning to code-writing. Robotics researchers have also explored using LLMs to advance the capabilities of robotic control. However, since low-level robot actions are hardware-dependent and underrepresented in LLM training corpora, existing efforts in applying LLMs to robotics have largely treated LLMs as semantic planners or relied on human-engineered control primitives to interface with the robot. On the other hand, reward functions are shown to be flexible representations that can be optimized for control policies to achieve diverse tasks, while their semantic richness makes them suitable to be specified by LLMs. In this work, we introduce a new paradigm that harnesses this realization by utilizing LLMs to define reward parameters that can be optimized and accomplish variety of robotic tasks. Using reward as the intermediate interface generated by LLMs, we can effectively bridge the gap between high-level language instructions or corrections to low-level robot actions. Meanwhile, combining this with a real-time optimizer, MuJoCo MPC, empowers an interactive behavior creation experience where users can immediately observe the results and provide feedback to the system. To systematically evaluate the performance of our proposed method, we designed a total of 17 tasks for a simulated quadruped robot and a dexterous manipulator robot. We demonstrate that our proposed method reliably tackles 90% of the designed tasks, while a baseline using primitive skills as the interface with Code-as-policies achieves 50% of the tasks. We further validated our method on a real robot arm where complex manipulation skills such as non-prehensile pushing emerge through our interactive system.

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Coherent Soft Imitation Learning

May 29, 2023
Joe Watson, Sandy H. Huang, Nicolas Heess

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Imitation learning methods seek to learn from an expert either through behavioral cloning (BC) of the policy or inverse reinforcement learning (IRL) of the reward. Such methods enable agents to learn complex tasks from humans that are difficult to capture with hand-designed reward functions. Choosing BC or IRL for imitation depends on the quality and state-action coverage of the demonstrations, as well as additional access to the Markov decision process. Hybrid strategies that combine BC and IRL are not common, as initial policy optimization against inaccurate rewards diminishes the benefit of pretraining the policy with BC. This work derives an imitation method that captures the strengths of both BC and IRL. In the entropy-regularized ('soft') reinforcement learning setting, we show that the behaviour-cloned policy can be used as both a shaped reward and a critic hypothesis space by inverting the regularized policy update. This coherency facilities fine-tuning cloned policies using the reward estimate and additional interactions with the environment. This approach conveniently achieves imitation learning through initial behaviour cloning, followed by refinement via RL with online or offline data sources. The simplicity of the approach enables graceful scaling to high-dimensional and vision-based tasks, with stable learning and minimal hyperparameter tuning, in contrast to adversarial approaches.

* 51 pages, 47 figures. DeepMind internship report 
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