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Sparse Graphical Memory for Robust Planning
Scott Emmons · Ajay Jain · Misha Laskin · Thanard Kurutach · Pieter Abbeel · Deepak Pathak

Tue Dec 08 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @ Poster Session 1 #419

To operate effectively in the real world, agents should be able to act from high-dimensional raw sensory input such as images and achieve diverse goals across long time-horizons. Current deep reinforcement and imitation learning methods can learn directly from high-dimensional inputs but do not scale well to long-horizon tasks. In contrast, classical graphical methods like A* search are able to solve long-horizon tasks, but assume that the state space is abstracted away from raw sensory input. Recent works have attempted to combine the strengths of deep learning and classical planning; however, dominant methods in this domain are still quite brittle and scale poorly with the size of the environment. We introduce Sparse Graphical Memory (SGM), a new data structure that stores states and feasible transitions in a sparse memory. SGM aggregates states according to a novel two-way consistency objective, adapting classic state aggregation criteria to goal-conditioned RL: two states are redundant when they are interchangeable both as goals and as starting states. Theoretically, we prove that merging nodes according to two-way consistency leads to an increase in shortest path lengths that scales only linearly with the merging threshold. Experimentally, we show that SGM significantly outperforms current state of the art methods on long horizon, sparse-reward visual navigation tasks. Project video and code are available at https://sites.google.com/view/sparse-graphical-memory.

Author Information

Scott Emmons (UC Berkeley)
Ajay Jain (UC Berkeley)
Misha Laskin (UC Berkeley)
Thanard Kurutach (University of California Berkeley)
Pieter Abbeel (UC Berkeley & Covariant)

Pieter Abbeel is Professor and Director of the Robot Learning Lab at UC Berkeley [2008- ], Co-Director of the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Lab, Co-Founder of covariant.ai [2017- ], Co-Founder of Gradescope [2014- ], Advisor to OpenAI, Founding Faculty Partner AI@TheHouse venture fund, Advisor to many AI/Robotics start-ups. He works in machine learning and robotics. In particular his research focuses on making robots learn from people (apprenticeship learning), how to make robots learn through their own trial and error (reinforcement learning), and how to speed up skill acquisition through learning-to-learn (meta-learning). His robots have learned advanced helicopter aerobatics, knot-tying, basic assembly, organizing laundry, locomotion, and vision-based robotic manipulation. He has won numerous awards, including best paper awards at ICML, NIPS and ICRA, early career awards from NSF, Darpa, ONR, AFOSR, Sloan, TR35, IEEE, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Pieter's work is frequently featured in the popular press, including New York Times, BBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Forbes, Tech Review, NPR.

Deepak Pathak (Carnegie Mellon University)

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