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Playful Interactions for Representation Learning
Sarah Young · Pieter Abbeel · Lerrel Pinto

Tue Dec 14 10:30 AM -- 10:40 AM (PST) @

One of the key challenges in visual imitation learning is collecting large amounts of expert demonstrations for a given task. While methods for collecting human demonstrations are becoming easier with teleoperation methods and the use of low-cost assistive tools, we often still require 100-1000 demonstrations for every task to learn a visual representation and policy. To address this, we turn to an alternate form of data that does not require task-specific demonstrations -- play. Playing is a fundamental method children use to learn a set of skills and behaviors and visual representations in early learning. Importantly, play data is diverse, task-agnostic, and relatively cheap to obtain. In this work, we propose to use playful interactions in a self-supervised manner to learn visual representations for downstream tasks. We collect 2 hours of playful data in 19 diverse environments and use self-predictive learning to extract visual representations. Given these representations, we train policies using imitation learning for two downstream tasks: Pushing and Stacking. Our representations, which are trained from scratch, compare favorably against ImageNet pretrained representations. Finally, we provide an experimental analysis on the effects of different pretraining modes on downstream task learning.

Author Information

Sarah Young (UC 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.

Lerrel Pinto (New York University)

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