Planning is an important capability of artificial agents that perform long-horizon tasks in real-world environments. In this work, we explore the use of pre-trained language models (PLMs) to reason about plan sequences from text instructions in embodied visual environments. Prior PLM based approaches for planning either assume observations are available in the form of text (e.g., provided by a captioning model), reason about plans from the instruction alone, or incorporate information about the visual environment in limited ways (such as a pre-trained affordance function). In contrast, we show that PLMs can accurately plan even when observations are directly encoded as input prompts for the PLM. We show that this simple approach outperforms prior approaches in experiments on the ALFWorld and VirtualHome benchmarks.
This work explores the problem of generating task graphs of real-world activities. Different from prior formulations, we consider a setting where text transcripts of instructional videos performing a real-world activity (e.g., making coffee) are provided and the goal is to identify the key steps relevant to the task as well as the dependency relationship between these key steps. We propose a novel task graph generation approach that combines the reasoning capabilities of instruction-tuned language models along with clustering and ranking components to generate accurate task graphs in a completely unsupervised manner. We show that the proposed approach generates more accurate task graphs compared to a supervised learning approach on tasks from the ProceL and CrossTask datasets.
Real-world tasks consist of multiple inter-dependent subtasks (e.g., a dirty pan needs to be washed before it can be used for cooking). In this work, we aim to model the causal dependencies between such subtasks from instructional videos describing the task. This is a challenging problem since complete information about the world is often inaccessible from videos, which demands robust learning mechanisms to understand the causal structure of events. We present Multimodal Subtask Graph Generation (MSG2), an approach that constructs a Subtask Graph defining the dependency between a task's subtasks relevant to a task from noisy web videos. Graphs generated by our multimodal approach are closer to human-annotated graphs compared to prior approaches. MSG2 further performs the downstream task of next subtask prediction 85% and 30% more accurately than recent video transformer models in the ProceL and CrossTask datasets, respectively.
We tackle real-world problems with complex structures beyond the pixel-based game or simulator. We formulate it as a few-shot reinforcement learning problem where a task is characterized by a subtask graph that defines a set of subtasks and their dependencies that are unknown to the agent. Different from the previous meta-rl methods trying to directly infer the unstructured task embedding, our multi-task subtask graph inferencer (MTSGI) first infers the common high-level task structure in terms of the subtask graph from the training tasks, and use it as a prior to improve the task inference in testing. Our experiment results on 2D grid-world and complex web navigation domains show that the proposed method can learn and leverage the common underlying structure of the tasks for faster adaptation to the unseen tasks than various existing algorithms such as meta reinforcement learning, hierarchical reinforcement learning, and other heuristic agents.
Real world tasks are hierarchical and compositional. Tasks can be composed of multiple subtasks (or sub-goals) that are dependent on each other. These subtasks are defined in terms of entities (e.g., "apple", "pear") that can be recombined to form new subtasks (e.g., "pickup apple", and "pickup pear"). To solve these tasks efficiently, an agent must infer subtask dependencies (e.g. an agent must execute "pickup apple" before "place apple in pot"), and generalize the inferred dependencies to new subtasks (e.g. "place apple in pot" is similar to "place apple in pan"). Moreover, an agent may also need to solve unseen tasks, which can involve unseen entities. To this end, we formulate parameterized subtask graph inference (PSGI), a method for modeling subtask dependencies using first-order logic with subtask entities. To facilitate this, we learn entity attributes in a zero-shot manner, which are used as quantifiers (e.g. "is_pickable(X)") for the parameterized subtask graph. We show this approach accurately learns the latent structure on hierarchical and compositional tasks more efficiently than prior work, and show PSGI can generalize by modelling structure on subtasks unseen during adaptation.
Operating in the real-world often requires agents to learn about a complex environment and apply this understanding to achieve a breadth of goals. This problem, known as goal-conditioned reinforcement learning (GCRL), becomes especially challenging for long-horizon goals. Current methods have tackled this problem by augmenting goal-conditioned policies with graph-based planning algorithms. However, they struggle to scale to large, high-dimensional state spaces and assume access to exploration mechanisms for efficiently collecting training data. In this work, we introduce Successor Feature Landmarks (SFL), a framework for exploring large, high-dimensional environments so as to obtain a policy that is proficient for any goal. SFL leverages the ability of successor features (SF) to capture transition dynamics, using it to drive exploration by estimating state-novelty and to enable high-level planning by abstracting the state-space as a non-parametric landmark-based graph. We further exploit SF to directly compute a goal-conditioned policy for inter-landmark traversal, which we use to execute plans to "frontier" landmarks at the edge of the explored state space. We show in our experiments on MiniGrid and ViZDoom that SFL enables efficient exploration of large, high-dimensional state spaces and outperforms state-of-the-art baselines on long-horizon GCRL tasks.
We propose the k-Shortest-Path (k-SP) constraint: a novel constraint on the agent's trajectory that improves the sample efficiency in sparse-reward MDPs. We show that any optimal policy necessarily satisfies the k-SP constraint. Notably, the k-SP constraint prevents the policy from exploring state-action pairs along the non-k-SP trajectories (e.g., going back and forth). However, in practice, excluding state-action pairs may hinder the convergence of RL algorithms. To overcome this, we propose a novel cost function that penalizes the policy violating SP constraint, instead of completely excluding it. Our numerical experiment in a tabular RL setting demonstrates that the SP constraint can significantly reduce the trajectory space of policy. As a result, our constraint enables more sample efficient learning by suppressing redundant exploration and exploitation. Our experiments on MiniGrid, DeepMind Lab, Atari, and Fetch show that the proposed method significantly improves proximal policy optimization (PPO) and outperforms existing novelty-seeking exploration methods including count-based exploration even in continuous control tasks, indicating that it improves the sample efficiency by preventing the agent from taking redundant actions.
First-person object-interaction tasks in high-fidelity, 3D, simulated environments such as the AI2Thor virtual home-environment pose significant sample-efficiency challenges for reinforcement learning (RL) agents learning from sparse task rewards. To alleviate these challenges, prior work has provided extensive supervision via a combination of reward-shaping, ground-truth object-information, and expert demonstrations. In this work, we show that one can learn object-interaction tasks from scratch without supervision by learning an attentive object-model as an auxiliary task during task learning with an object-centric relational RL agent. Our key insight is that learning an object-model that incorporates object-attention into forward prediction provides a dense learning signal for unsupervised representation learning of both objects and their relationships. This, in turn, enables faster policy learning for an object-centric relational RL agent. We demonstrate our agent by introducing a set of challenging object-interaction tasks in the AI2Thor environment where learning with our attentive object-model is key to strong performance. Specifically, we compare our agent and relational RL agents with alternative auxiliary tasks to a relational RL agent equipped with ground-truth object-information, and show that learning with our object-model best closes the performance gap in terms of both learning speed and maximum success rate. Additionally, we find that incorporating object-attention into an object-model's forward predictions is key to learning representations which capture object-category and object-state.
In batch reinforcement learning (RL), one often constrains a learned policy to be close to the behavior (data-generating) policy, e.g., by constraining the learned action distribution to differ from the behavior policy by some maximum degree that is the same at each state. This can cause batch RL to be overly conservative, unable to exploit large policy changes at frequently-visited, high-confidence states without risking poor performance at sparsely-visited states. To remedy this, we propose residual policies, where the allowable deviation of the learned policy is state-action-dependent. We derive a new for RL method, BRPO, which learns both the policy and allowable deviation that jointly maximize a lower bound on policy performance. We show that BRPO achieves the state-of-the-art performance in a number of tasks.
We propose and address a novel few-shot RL problem, where a task is characterized by a subtask graph which describes a set of subtasks and their dependencies that are unknown to the agent. The agent needs to quickly adapt to the task over few episodes during adaptation phase to maximize the return in the test phase. Instead of directly learning a meta-policy, we develop a Meta-learner with Subtask Graph Inference(MSGI), which infers the latent parameter of the task by interacting with the environment and maximizes the return given the latent parameter. To facilitate learning, we adopt an intrinsic reward inspired by upper confidence bound (UCB) that encourages efficient exploration. Our experiment results on two grid-world domains and StarCraft II environments show that the proposed method is able to accurately infer the latent task parameter, and to adapt more efficiently than existing meta RL and hierarchical RL methods.