Nowadays, algorithms with fast convergence, small memory footprints, and low per-iteration complexity are particularly favorable for artificial intelligence applications. In this paper, we propose a doubly stochastic algorithm with a novel accelerating multi-momentum technique to solve large scale empirical risk minimization problem for learning tasks. While enjoying a provably superior convergence rate, in each iteration, such algorithm only accesses a mini batch of samples and meanwhile updates a small block of variable coordinates, which substantially reduces the amount of memory reference when both the massive sample size and ultra-high dimensionality are involved. Empirical studies on huge scale datasets are conducted to illustrate the efficiency of our method in practice.
Although reinforcement learning has seen tremendous success recently, this kind of trial-and-error learning can be impractical or inefficient in complex environments. The use of demonstrations, on the other hand, enables agents to benefit from expert knowledge rather than having to discover the best action to take through exploration. In this survey, we discuss the advantages of using demonstrations in sequential decision making, various ways to apply demonstrations in learning-based decision making paradigms (for example, reinforcement learning and planning in the learned models), and how to collect the demonstrations in various scenarios. Additionally, we exemplify a practical pipeline for generating and utilizing demonstrations in the recently proposed ManiSkill robot learning benchmark.
Generalizable manipulation skills, which can be composed to tackle long-horizon and complex daily chores, are one of the cornerstones of Embodied AI. However, existing benchmarks, mostly composed of a suite of simulatable environments, are insufficient to push cutting-edge research works because they lack object-level topological and geometric variations, are not based on fully dynamic simulation, or are short of native support for multiple types of manipulation tasks. To this end, we present ManiSkill2, the next generation of the SAPIEN ManiSkill benchmark, to address critical pain points often encountered by researchers when using benchmarks for generalizable manipulation skills. ManiSkill2 includes 20 manipulation task families with 2000+ object models and 4M+ demonstration frames, which cover stationary/mobile-base, single/dual-arm, and rigid/soft-body manipulation tasks with 2D/3D-input data simulated by fully dynamic engines. It defines a unified interface and evaluation protocol to support a wide range of algorithms (e.g., classic sense-plan-act, RL, IL), visual observations (point cloud, RGBD), and controllers (e.g., action type and parameterization). Moreover, it empowers fast visual input learning algorithms so that a CNN-based policy can collect samples at about 2000 FPS with 1 GPU and 16 processes on a regular workstation. It implements a render server infrastructure to allow sharing rendering resources across all environments, thereby significantly reducing memory usage. We open-source all codes of our benchmark (simulator, environments, and baselines) and host an online challenge open to interdisciplinary researchers.
We revisit a simple Learning-from-Scratch baseline for visuo-motor control that uses data augmentation and a shallow ConvNet. We find that this baseline has competitive performance with recent methods that leverage frozen visual representations trained on large-scale vision datasets.
Training long-horizon robotic policies in complex physical environments is essential for many applications, such as robotic manipulation. However, learning a policy that can generalize to unseen tasks is challenging. In this work, we propose to achieve one-shot task generalization by decoupling plan generation and plan execution. Specifically, our method solves complex long-horizon tasks in three steps: build a paired abstract environment by simplifying geometry and physics, generate abstract trajectories, and solve the original task by an abstract-to-executable trajectory translator. In the abstract environment, complex dynamics such as physical manipulation are removed, making abstract trajectories easier to generate. However, this introduces a large domain gap between abstract trajectories and the actual executed trajectories as abstract trajectories lack low-level details and are not aligned frame-to-frame with the executed trajectory. In a manner reminiscent of language translation, our approach leverages a seq-to-seq model to overcome the large domain gap between the abstract and executable trajectories, enabling the low-level policy to follow the abstract trajectory. Experimental results on various unseen long-horizon tasks with different robot embodiments demonstrate the practicability of our methods to achieve one-shot task generalization.
In this paper, we focus on the simulation of active stereovision depth sensors, which are popular in both academic and industry communities. Inspired by the underlying mechanism of the sensors, we designed a fully physics-grounded simulation pipeline, which includes material acquisition, ray tracing based infrared (IR) image rendering, IR noise simulation, and depth estimation. The pipeline is able to generate depth maps with material-dependent error patterns similar to a real depth sensor. We conduct extensive experiments to show that perception algorithms and reinforcement learning policies trained in our simulation platform could transfer well to real world test cases without any fine-tuning. Furthermore, due to the high degree of realism of this simulation, our depth sensor simulator can be used as a convenient testbed to evaluate the algorithm performance in the real world, which will largely reduce the human effort in developing robotic algorithms. The entire pipeline has been integrated into the SAPIEN simulator and is open-sourced to promote the research of vision and robotics communities.
We present a two-step hybrid reinforcement learning (RL) policy that is designed to generate interpretable and robust hierarchical policies on the RL problem with graph-based input. Unlike prior deep reinforcement learning policies parameterized by an end-to-end black-box graph neural network, our approach disentangles the decision-making process into two steps. The first step is a simplified classification problem that maps the graph input to an action group where all actions share a similar semantic meaning. The second step implements a sophisticated rule-miner that conducts explicit one-hop reasoning over the graph and identifies decisive edges in the graph input without the necessity of heavy domain knowledge. This two-step hybrid policy presents human-friendly interpretations and achieves better performance in terms of generalization and robustness. Extensive experimental studies on four levels of complex text-based games have demonstrated the superiority of the proposed method compared to the state-of-the-art.
Learning generalizable manipulation skills is central for robots to achieve task automation in environments with endless scene and object variations. However, existing robot learning environments are limited in both scale and diversity of 3D assets (especially of articulated objects), making it difficult to train and evaluate the generalization ability of agents over novel objects. In this work, we focus on object-level generalization and propose SAPIEN Manipulation Skill Benchmark (abbreviated as ManiSkill), a large-scale learning-from-demonstrations benchmark for articulated object manipulation with 3D visual input (point cloud and RGB-D image). ManiSkill supports object-level variations by utilizing a rich and diverse set of articulated objects, and each task is carefully designed for learning manipulations on a single category of objects. We equip ManiSkill with a large number of high-quality demonstrations to facilitate learning-from-demonstrations approaches and perform evaluations on baseline algorithms. We believe that ManiSkill can encourage the robot learning community to explore more on learning generalizable object manipulation skills.