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TarGF: Learning Target Gradient Field to Rearrange Objects without Explicit Goal Specification
Mingdong Wu · Fangwei Zhong · Yulong Xia · Hao Dong


Object Rearrangement is to move objects from an initial state to a goal state. Here, we focus on a more practical setting in object rearrangement, i.e., rearranging objects from shuffled layouts to a normative target distribution without explicit goal specification. However, it remains challenging for AI agents, as it is hard to describe the target distribution (goal specification) for reward engineering or collect expert trajectories as demonstrations. Hence, it is infeasible to directly employ reinforcement learning or imitation learning algorithms to address the task. This paper aims to search for a policy only with a set of examples from a target distribution instead of a handcrafted reward function. We employ the score-matching objective to train a Target Gradient Field (TarGF), indicating a direction on each object to increase the likelihood of the target distribution. For object rearrangement, the TarGF can be used in two ways: 1) For model-based planning, we can cast the target gradient into a reference control and output actions with a distributed path planner; 2) For model-free reinforcement learning, the TarGF is not only used for estimating the likelihood-change as a reward but also provides suggested actions in residual policy learning. Experimental results in ball and room rearrangement demonstrate that our method significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in the quality of the terminal state, the efficiency of the control process, and scalability.

Author Information

Mingdong Wu (CFCS, Peking University)
Fangwei Zhong (Peking University)
Yulong Xia (Peking University)
Hao Dong (Peking University)

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