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Saturday, January 21, 2023

Fully Autonomous Real-World Reinforcement Learning

 Considerable piece, reinforcement training.

Fully Autonomous Real-World Reinforcement Learning

Fully Autonomous Real-World Reinforcement Learning with Applications to Mobile Manipulation  From Berkely Bair

J─Ödrzej Orbik, Charles Sun, Coline Devin, Glen Berseth    Jan 20, 2023

Reinforcement learning provides a conceptual framework for autonomous agents to learn from experience, analogously to how one might train a pet with treats. But practical applications of reinforcement learning are often far from natural: instead of using RL to learn through trial and error by actually attempting the desired task, typical RL applications use a separate (usually simulated) training phase. For example, AlphaGo did not learn to play Go by competing against thousands of humans, but rather by playing against itself in simulation. While this kind of simulated training is appealing for games where the rules are perfectly known, applying this to real world domains such as robotics can require a range of complex approaches, such as the use of simulated data, or instrumenting real-world environments in various ways to make training feasible under laboratory conditions. Can we instead devise reinforcement learning systems for robots that allow them to learn directly “on-the-job”, while performing the task that they are required to do? In this blog post, we will discuss ReLMM, a system that we developed that learns to clean up a room directly with a real robot via continual learning.

We evaluate our method on different tasks that range in difficulty. The top-left task has uniform white blobs to pickup with no obstacles, while other rooms have objects of diverse shapes and colors, obstacles that increase navigation difficulty and obscure the objects and patterned rugs that make it difficult to see the objects against the ground.

To enable “on-the-job” training in the real world, the difficulty of collecting more experience is prohibitive. If we can make training in the real world easier, by making the data gathering process more autonomous without requiring human monitoring or intervention, we can further benefit from the simplicity of agents that learn from experience. In this work, we design an “on-the-job” mobile robot training system for cleaning by learning to grasp objects throughout different rooms.

Lesson 1: The Benefits of Modular Policies for Robots.

People are not born one day and performing job interviews the next. There are many levels of tasks people learn before they apply for a job as we start with the easier ones and build on them. In ReLMM, we make use of this concept by allowing robots to train common-reusable skills, such as grasping, by first encouraging the robot to prioritize training these skills before learning later skills, such as navigation. Learning in this fashion has two advantages for robotics. The first advantage is that when an agent focuses on learning a skill, it is more efficient at collecting data around the local state distribution for that skill.  .... ' 

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