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  1. We propose SCALE, an approach for discovering and learning a di- verse set of interpretable robot skills from a limited dataset. Rather than learning a single skill which may fail to capture all the modes in the data, we first iden- tify the different modes via causal reasoning and learn a separate skill for each of them. Our main insight is to associate each mode with a unique set of causally relevant context variables that are discovered by performing causal interventions in simulation. This enables data partitioning based on the causal processes that generated the data, and then compressed skills that ignore the irrelevant variables can be trained. We model each robot skill as a Regional Compressed Option, which extends the options framework by associating a causal process and its rele- vant variables with the option. Modeled as the skill Data Generating Region, each causal process is local in nature and hence valid over only a subset of the context space. We demonstrate our approach for two representative manipulation tasks: block stacking and peg-in-hole insertion under uncertainty. Our experiments show that our approach yields diverse skills that are compact, robust to domain shifts, and suitable for sim-to-real transfer. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 13, 2024
  2. Robots deployed in many real-world settings need to be able to acquire new skills and solve new tasks over time. Prior works on planning with skills often make assumptions on the structure of skills and tasks, such as subgoal skills, shared skill implementations, or task-specific plan skeletons, which limit adaptation to new skills and tasks. By contrast, we propose doing task planning by jointly searching in the space of parameterized skills using high-level skill effect models learned in simulation. We use an iterative training procedure to efficiently generate relevant data to train such models. Our approach allows flexible skill parameterizations and task specifications to facilitate lifelong learning in general-purpose domains. Experiments demonstrate the ability of our planner to integrate new skills in a lifelong manner, finding new task strategies with lower costs in both train and test tasks. We additionally show that our method can transfer to the real world without further fine-tuning. 
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