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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 29, 2024
  2. Symbolic planning models allow decision-making agents to sequence actions in arbitrary ways to achieve a variety of goals in dynamic domains. However, they are typically handcrafted and tend to require precise formulations that are not robust to human error. Reinforcement learning (RL) approaches do not require such models, and instead learn domain dynamics by exploring the environment and collecting rewards. However, RL approaches tend to require millions of episodes of experience and often learn policies that are not easily transferable to other tasks. In this paper, we address one aspect of the open problem of integrating these approaches: how can decision-making agents resolve discrepancies in their symbolic planning models while attempting to accomplish goals? We propose an integrated framework named SPOTTER that uses RL to augment and support ("spot") a planning agent by discovering new operators needed by the agent to accomplish goals that are initially unreachable for the agent. SPOTTER outperforms pure-RL approaches while also discovering transferable symbolic knowledge and does not require supervision, successful plan traces or any a priori knowledge about the missing planning operator. 
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  3. In this work, we present methods for using human-robot dialog to improve language understanding for a mobile robot agent. The agent parses natural language to underlying semantic meanings and uses robotic sensors to create multi-modal models of perceptual concepts like red and heavy. The agent can be used for showing navigation routes, delivering objects to people, and relocating objects from one location to another. We use dialog clari_cation questions both to understand commands and to generate additional parsing training data. The agent employs opportunistic active learning to select questions about how words relate to objects, improving its understanding of perceptual concepts. We evaluated this agent on Amazon Mechanical Turk. After training on data induced from conversations, the agent reduced the number of dialog questions it asked while receiving higher usability ratings. Additionally, we demonstrated the agent on a robotic platform, where it learned new perceptual concepts on the y while completing a real-world task. 
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