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  1. null (Ed.)
    Humans leverage the dynamics of the environment and their own bodies to accomplish challenging tasks such as grasping an object while walking past it or pushing off a wall to turn a corner. Such tasks often involve switching dynamics as the robot makes and breaks contact. Learning these dynamics is a challenging problem and prone to model inaccuracies, especially near contact regions. In this work, we present a framework for learning composite dynamical behaviors from expert demonstrations. We learn a switching linear dynamical model with contacts encoded in switching conditions as a close approximation of our system dynamics. We then use discrete-time LQR as the differentiable policy class for data-efficient learning of control to develop a control strategy that operates over multiple dynamical modes and takes into account discontinuities due to contact. In addition to predicting interactions with the environment, our policy effectively reacts to inaccurate predictions such as unanticipated contacts. Through simulation and real world experiments, we demonstrate generalization of learned behaviors to different scenarios and robustness to model inaccuracies during execution. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Manipulation tasks can often be decomposed into multiple subtasks performed in parallel, e.g., sliding an object to a goal pose while maintaining con- tact with a table. Individual subtasks can be achieved by task-axis controllers defined relative to the objects being manipulated, and a set of object-centric controllers can be combined in an hierarchy. In prior works, such combinations are defined manually or learned from demonstrations. By contrast, we propose using reinforcement learning to dynamically compose hierarchical object-centric controllers for manipulation tasks. Experiments in both simulation and real world show how the proposed approach leads to improved sample efficiency, zero-shot generalization to novel test environments, and simulation-to-reality transfer with- out fine-tuning. 
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