We present an approach to learn an object-centric forward model, and show that this allows us to plan for sequences of actions to achieve distant desired goals. We propose to model a scene as a collection of objects, each with an explicit spatial location and implicit visual feature, and learn to model the effects of actions using random interaction data. Our model allows capturing the robot-object and object-object interactions, and leads to more sample-efficient and accurate predictions. We show that this learned model can be leveraged to search for action sequences that lead to desired goal configurations, and that in conjunction with a learned correction module, this allows for robust closed loop execution. We present experiments both in simulation and the real world, and show that our approach improves over alternate implicit or pixel-space forward models. Please see our project page (https://judyye.github.io/ocmpc/) for result videos.
When we humans look at a video of human-object interaction, we can not only infer what is happening but we can even extract actionable information and imitate those interactions. On the other hand, current recognition or geometric approaches lack the physicality of action representation. In this paper, we take a step towards a more physical understanding of actions. We address the problem of inferring contact points and the physical forces from videos of humans interacting with objects. One of the main challenges in tackling this problem is obtaining ground-truth labels for forces. We sidestep this problem by instead using a physics simulator for supervision. Specifically, we use a simulator to predict effects and enforce that estimated forces must lead to the same effect as depicted in the video. Our quantitative and qualitative results show that (a) we can predict meaningful forces from videos whose effects lead to accurate imitation of the motions observed, (b) by jointly optimizing for contact point and force prediction, we can improve the performance on both tasks in comparison to independent training, and (c) we can learn a representation from this model that generalizes to novel objects using few shot examples.
Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs) have recently become the primary choice for learning from graph-structured data, superseding hash fingerprints in representing chemical compounds. However, GCNs lack the ability to take into account the ordering of node neighbors, even when there is a geometric interpretation of the graph vertices that provides an order based on their spatial positions. To remedy this issue, we propose Geometric Graph Convolutional Network (geo-GCN) which uses spatial features to efficiently learn from graphs that can be naturally located in space. Our contribution is threefold: we propose a GCN-inspired architecture which (i) leverages node positions, (ii) is a proper generalisation of both GCNs and Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), (iii) benefits from augmentation which further improves the performance and assures invariance with respect to the desired properties. Empirically, geo-GCN outperforms state-of-the-art graph-based methods on image classification and chemical tasks.
The recent proliferation of knowledge graphs (KGs) coupled with incomplete or partial information, in the form of missing relations (links) between entities, has fueled a lot of research on knowledge base completion (also known as relation prediction). Several recent works suggest that convolutional neural network (CNN) based models generate richer and more expressive feature embeddings and hence also perform well on relation prediction. However, we observe that these KG embeddings treat triples independently and thus fail to cover the complex and hidden information that is inherently implicit in the local neighborhood surrounding a triple. To this effect, our paper proposes a novel attention based feature embedding that captures both entity and relation features in any given entity's neighborhood. Additionally, we also encapsulate relation clusters and multihop relations in our model. Our empirical study offers insights into the efficacy of our attention based model and we show marked performance gains in comparison to state of the art methods on all datasets.
Few-shot Learning aims to learn classifiers for new classes with only a few training examples per class. Existing meta-learning or metric-learning based few-shot learning approaches are limited in handling diverse domains with various number of labels. The meta-learning approaches train a meta learner to predict weights of homogeneous-structured task-specific networks, requiring a uniform number of classes across tasks. The metric-learning approaches learn one task-invariant metric for all the tasks, and they fail if the tasks diverge. We propose to deal with these limitations with meta metric learning. Our meta metric learning approach consists of task-specific learners, that exploit metric learning to handle flexible labels, and a meta learner, that discovers good parameters and gradient decent to specify the metrics in task-specific learners. Thus the proposed model is able to handle unbalanced classes as well as to generate task-specific metrics. We test our approach in the `$k$-shot $N$-way' few-shot learning setting used in previous work and new realistic few-shot setting with diverse multi-domain tasks and flexible label numbers. Experiments show that our approach attains superior performances in both settings.
Most policy search algorithms require thousands of training episodes to find an effective policy, which is often infeasible with a physical robot. This survey article focuses on the extreme other end of the spectrum: how can a robot adapt with only a handful of trials (a dozen) and a few minutes? By analogy with the word "big-data", we refer to this challenge as "micro-data reinforcement learning". We show that a first strategy is to leverage prior knowledge on the policy structure (e.g., dynamic movement primitives), on the policy parameters (e.g., demonstrations), or on the dynamics (e.g., simulators). A second strategy is to create data-driven surrogate models of the expected reward (e.g., Bayesian optimization) or the dynamical model (e.g., model-based policy search), so that the policy optimizer queries the model instead of the real system. Overall, all successful micro-data algorithms combine these two strategies by varying the kind of model and prior knowledge. The current scientific challenges essentially revolve around scaling up to complex robots (e.g., humanoids), designing generic priors, and optimizing the computing time.
Existing methods for interactive image retrieval have demonstrated the merit of integrating user feedback, improving retrieval results. However, most current systems rely on restricted forms of user feedback, such as binary relevance responses, or feedback based on a fixed set of relative attributes, which limits their impact. In this paper, we introduce a new approach to interactive image search that enables users to provide feedback via natural language, allowing for more natural and effective interaction. We formulate the task of dialog-based interactive image retrieval as a reinforcement learning problem, and reward the dialog system for improving the rank of the target image during each dialog turn. To avoid the cumbersome and costly process of collecting human-machine conversations as the dialog system learns, we train our system with a user simulator, which is itself trained to describe the differences between target and candidate images. The efficacy of our approach is demonstrated in a footwear retrieval application. Extensive experiments on both simulated and real-world data show that 1) our proposed learning framework achieves better accuracy than other supervised and reinforcement learning baselines and 2) user feedback based on natural language rather than pre-specified attributes leads to more effective retrieval results, and a more natural and expressive communication interface.
This paper introduces a novel neural network-based reinforcement learning approach for robot gaze control. Our approach enables a robot to learn and to adapt its gaze control strategy for human-robot interaction neither with the use of external sensors nor with human supervision. The robot learns to focus its attention onto groups of people from its own audio-visual experiences, independently of the number of people, of their positions and of their physical appearances. In particular, we use a recurrent neural network architecture in combination with Q-learning to find an optimal action-selection policy; we pre-train the network using a simulated environment that mimics realistic scenarios that involve speaking/silent participants, thus avoiding the need of tedious sessions of a robot interacting with people. Our experimental evaluation suggests that the proposed method is robust against parameter estimation, i.e. the parameter values yielded by the method do not have a decisive impact on the performance. The best results are obtained when both audio and visual information is jointly used. Experiments with the Nao robot indicate that our framework is a step forward towards the autonomous learning of socially acceptable gaze behavior.
We introduce Interactive Question Answering (IQA), the task of answering questions that require an autonomous agent to interact with a dynamic visual environment. IQA presents the agent with a scene and a question, like: "Are there any apples in the fridge?" The agent must navigate around the scene, acquire visual understanding of scene elements, interact with objects (e.g. open refrigerators) and plan for a series of actions conditioned on the question. Popular reinforcement learning approaches with a single controller perform poorly on IQA owing to the large and diverse state space. We propose the Hierarchical Interactive Memory Network (HIMN), consisting of a factorized set of controllers, allowing the system to operate at multiple levels of temporal abstraction. To evaluate HIMN, we introduce IQUAD V1, a new dataset built upon AI2-THOR, a simulated photo-realistic environment of configurable indoor scenes with interactive objects. IQUAD V1 has 75,000 questions, each paired with a unique scene configuration. Our experiments show that our proposed model outperforms popular single controller based methods on IQUAD V1. For sample questions and results, please view our video: https://youtu.be/pXd3C-1jr98.
Although reinforcement learning methods can achieve impressive results in simulation, the real world presents two major challenges: generating samples is exceedingly expensive, and unexpected perturbations can cause proficient but narrowly-learned policies to fail at test time. In this work, we propose to learn how to quickly and effectively adapt online to new situations as well as to perturbations. To enable sample-efficient meta-learning, we consider learning online adaptation in the context of model-based reinforcement learning. Our approach trains a global model such that, when combined with recent data, the model can be be rapidly adapted to the local context. Our experiments demonstrate that our approach can enable simulated agents to adapt their behavior online to novel terrains, to a crippled leg, and in highly-dynamic environments.
Scientific publications have evolved several features for mitigating vocabulary mismatch when indexing, retrieving, and computing similarity between articles. These mitigation strategies range from simply focusing on high-value article sections, such as titles and abstracts, to assigning keywords, often from controlled vocabularies, either manually or through automatic annotation. Various document representation schemes possess different cost-benefit tradeoffs. In this paper, we propose to model different representations of the same article as translations of each other, all generated from a common latent representation in a multilingual topic model. We start with a methodological overview on latent variable models for parallel document representations that could be used across many information science tasks. We then show how solving the inference problem of mapping diverse representations into a shared topic space allows us to evaluate representations based on how topically similar they are to the original article. In addition, our proposed approach provides means to discover where different concept vocabularies require improvement.