We introduce Interactive Question Answering (IQA), the task of answering questions that require an autonomous agent to interact with a dynamic visual environment. IQA presents the agent with a scene and a question, like: "Are there any apples in the fridge?" The agent must navigate around the scene, acquire visual understanding of scene elements, interact with objects (e.g. open refrigerators) and plan for a series of actions conditioned on the question. Popular reinforcement learning approaches with a single controller perform poorly on IQA owing to the large and diverse state space. We propose the Hierarchical Interactive Memory Network (HIMN), consisting of a factorized set of controllers, allowing the system to operate at multiple levels of temporal abstraction. To evaluate HIMN, we introduce IQUAD V1, a new dataset built upon AI2-THOR, a simulated photo-realistic environment of configurable indoor scenes with interactive objects. IQUAD V1 has 75,000 questions, each paired with a unique scene configuration. Our experiments show that our proposed model outperforms popular single controller based methods on IQUAD V1. For sample questions and results, please view our video.
We introduce The House Of inteRactions (THOR), a framework for visual AI research. AI2-THOR consists of near photo-realistic 3D indoor scenes, where AI agents can navigate in the scenes and interact with objects to perform tasks. AI2-THOR enables research in many different domains including but not limited to deep reinforcement learning, imitation learning, learning by interaction, planning, visual question answering, unsupervised representation learning, object detection and segmentation, and learning models of cognition. The goal of AI2-THOR is to facilitate building visually intelligent models and push the research forward in this domain.
A crucial capability of real-world intelligent agents is their ability to plan a sequence of actions to achieve their goals in the visual world. In this work, we address the problem of visual semantic planning: the task of predicting a sequence of actions from visual observations that transform a dynamic environment from an initial state to a goal state. Doing so entails knowledge about objects and their affordances, as well as actions and their preconditions and effects. We propose learning these through interacting with a visual and dynamic environment. Our proposed solution involves bootstrapping reinforcement learning with imitation learning. To ensure cross task generalization, we develop a deep predictive model based on successor representations. Our experimental results show near optimal results across a wide range of tasks in the challenging THOR environment.
Two less addressed issues of deep reinforcement learning are (1) lack of generalization capability to new goals, and (2) data inefficiency, i.e., the model requires several (and often costly) episodes of trial and error to converge, which makes it impractical to be applied to real-world scenarios. In this paper, we address these two issues and apply our model to target-driven visual navigation. To address the first issue, we propose an actor-critic model whose policy is a function of the goal as well as the current state, which allows better generalization. To address the second issue, we propose the AI2-THOR framework, which provides an environment with high-quality 3D scenes and a physics engine. Our framework enables agents to take actions and interact with objects. Hence, we can collect a huge number of training samples efficiently. We show that our proposed method (1) converges faster than the state-of-the-art deep reinforcement learning methods, (2) generalizes across targets and scenes, (3) generalizes to a real robot scenario with a small amount of fine-tuning (although the model is trained in simulation), (4) is end-to-end trainable and does not need feature engineering, feature matching between frames or 3D reconstruction of the environment.