skip to main content

Title: Learning Task Specifications from Demonstrations
Real world applications often naturally decompose into several sub-tasks. In many settings (e.g., robotics) demonstrations provide a natural way to specify the sub-tasks. However, most methods for learning from demonstrations either do not provide guarantees that the artifacts learned for the sub-tasks can be safely recombined or limit the types of composition available. Motivated by this deficit, we consider the problem of inferring Boolean non-Markovian rewards (also known as logical trace properties or specifications) from demonstrations provided by an agent operating in an uncertain, stochastic environment. Crucially, specifications admit well-defined composition rules that are typically easy to interpret. In this paper, we formulate the specification inference task as a maximum a posteriori (MAP) probability inference problem, apply the principle of maximum entropy to derive an analytic demonstration likelihood model and give an efficient approach to search for the most likely specification in a large candidate pool of specifications. In our experiments, we demonstrate how learning specifications can help avoid common problems that often arise due to ad-hoc reward composition.
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1740079 1750009
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Thirty-third Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Programmers often leverage data structure libraries that provide useful and reusable abstractions. Modular verification of programs that make use of these libraries naturally rely on specifications that capture important properties about how the library expects these data structures to be accessed and manipulated. However, these specifications are often missing or incomplete, making it hard for clients to be confident they are using the library safely. When library source code is also unavailable, as is often the case, the challenge to infer meaningful specifications is further exacerbated. In this paper, we present a novel data-driven abductive inference mechanism that infers specifications for library methods sufficient to enable verification of the library's clients. Our technique combines a data-driven learning-based framework to postulate candidate specifications, along with SMT-provided counterexamples to refine these candidates, taking special care to prevent generating specifications that overfit to sampled tests. The resulting specifications form a minimal set of requirements on the behavior of library implementations that ensures safety of a particular client program. Our solution thus provides a new multi-abduction procedure for precise specification inference of data structure libraries guided by client-side verification tasks. Experimental results on a wide range of realistic OCaml data structure programs demonstrate themore »effectiveness of the approach.« less
  2. We present a closed-loop multi-arm motion planner that is scalable and flexible with team size. Traditional multi-arm robotic systems have relied on centralized motion planners, whose run times often scale exponentially with team size, and thus, fail to handle dynamic environments with open-loop control. In this paper, we tackle this problem with multi-agent reinforcement learning, where a shared policy network is trained to control each individual robot arm to reach its target end-effector pose given observations of its workspace state and target end-effector pose. The policy is trained using Soft Actor-Critic with expert demonstrations from a sampling-based motion planning algorithm (i.e., BiRRT). By leveraging classical planning algorithms, we can improve the learning efficiency of the reinforcement learning algorithm while retaining the fast inference time of neural networks. The resulting policy scales sub-linearly and can be deployed on multi-arm systems with variable team sizes. Thanks to the closed-loop and decentralized formulation, our approach generalizes to 5-10 multiarm systems and dynamic moving targets (>90% success rate for a 10-arm system), despite being trained on only 1-4 arm planning tasks with static targets.
  3. With growing access to versatile robotics, it is beneficial for end users to be able to teach robots tasks without needing to code a control policy. One possibility is to teach the robot through successful task executions. However, near-optimal demonstrations of a task can be difficult to provide and even successful demonstrations can fail to capture task aspects key to robust skill replication. Here, we propose a learning from demonstration (LfD) approach that enables learning of robust task definitions without the need for near-optimal demonstrations. We present a novel algorithmic framework for learning task specifications based on the ergodic metric—a measure of information content in motion. Moreover, we make use of negative demonstrations— demonstrations of what not to do—and show that they can help compensate for imperfect demonstrations, reduce the number of demonstrations needed, and highlight crucial task elements improving robot performance. In a proof-of-concept example of cart-pole inversion, we show that negative demonstrations alone can be sufficient to successfully learn and recreate a skill. Through a human subject study with 24 participants, we show that consistently more information about a task can be captured from combined positive and negative (posneg) demonstrations than from the same amount of just positivemore »demonstrations. Finally, we demonstrate our learning approach on simulated tasks of target reaching and table cleaning with a 7-DoF Franka arm. Our results point towards a future with robust, data efficient LfD for novice users.« less
  4. Real-world tasks often exhibit a compositional structure that contains a sequence of simpler sub-tasks. For instance, opening a door requires reaching, grasping, rotating, and pulling the door knob. Such compositional tasks require an agent to reason about the sub-task at hand while orchestrating global behavior accordingly. This can be cast as an online task inference problem, where the current task identity, represented by a context variable, is estimated from the agent’s past experiences with probabilistic inference. Previous approaches have employed simple latent distributions, e.g., Gaussian, to model a single context for the entire task. However, this formulation lacks the expressiveness to capture the composition and transition of the sub-tasks. We propose a variational inference framework OCEAN to perform online task inference for compositional tasks. OCEAN models global and local context variables in a joint latent space, where the global variables represent a mixture of subtasks required for the task, while the local variables capture the transitions between the subtasks. Our framework supports flexible latent distributions based on prior knowledge of the task structure and can be trained in an unsupervised manner. Experimental results show that OCEAN provides more effective task inference with sequential context adaptation and thus leads to amore »performance boost on complex, multi-stage tasks.« less
  5. Shared intentionality is a critical component in developing conscious AI agents capable of collaboration, self-reflection, deliberation, and reasoning. We formulate inference of shared intentionality as an inverse reinforcement learning problem with logical reward specifications. We show how the approach can infer task descriptions from demonstrations. We also extend our approach to actively convey intentionality. We demonstrate the approach on a simple grid-world example.