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89 Publications, 262 Unique Authors
AI2-THOR: An Interactive 3D Environment for Visual AI
Eric Kolve, Roozbeh Mottaghi, Winson Han, Eli VanderBilt, Luca Weihs, Alvaro Herrasti, Daniel Gordon, Yuke Zhu, Abhinav Gupta, Ali Farhadi ArXiv 2019
We introduce The House Of inteRactions (THOR), a framework for visual AI research, available at this http URL 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.
RoboTHOR: An Open Simulation-to-Real Embodied AI Platform
Visual recognition ecosystems (e.g. ImageNet, Pascal, COCO) have undeniably played a prevailing role in the evolution of modern computer vision. We argue that interactive and embodied visual AI has reached a stage of development similar to visual recognition prior to the advent of these ecosystems. Recently, various synthetic environments have been introduced to facilitate research in embodied AI. Notwithstanding this progress, the crucial question of how well models trained in simulation generalize to reality has remained largely unanswered. The creation of a comparable ecosystem for simulation-to-real embodied AI presents many challenges: (1) the inherently interactive nature of the problem, (2) the need for tight alignments between real and simulated worlds, (3) the difficulty of replicating physical conditions for repeatable experiments, (4) and the associated cost. In this paper, we introduce RoboTHOR to democratize research in interactive and embodied visual AI. RoboTHOR offers a framework of simulated environments paired with physical counterparts to systematically explore and overcome the challenges of simulation-to-real transfer, and a platform where researchers across the globe can remotely test their embodied models in the physical world. As a first benchmark, our experiments show there exists a significant gap between the performance of models trained in simulation when they are tested in both simulations and their carefully constructed physical analogs. We hope that RoboTHOR will spur the next stage of evolution in embodied computer vision.
ManipulaTHOR: A Framework for Visual Object Manipulation
The domain of Embodied AI has recently witnessed substantial progress, particularly in navigating agents within their environments. These early successes have laid the building blocks for the community to tackle tasks that require agents to actively interact with objects in their environment. Object manipulation is an established research domain within the robotics community and poses several challenges including manipulator motion, grasping and long-horizon planning, particularly when dealing with oft-overlooked practical setups involving visually rich and complex scenes, manipulation using mobile agents (as opposed to tabletop manipulation), and generalization to unseen environments and objects. We propose a framework for object manipulation built upon the physics-enabled, visually rich AI2-THOR framework and present a new challenge to the Embodied AI community known as ArmPointNav. This task extends the popular point navigation task [2] to object manipulation and offers new challenges including 3D obstacle avoidance, manipulating objects in the presence of occlusion, and multi-object manipulation that necessitates long term planning. Popular learning paradigms that are successful on PointNav challenges show promise, but leave a large room for improvement.
Target-driven visual navigation in indoor scenes using deep reinforcement learning
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.
IQA: Visual Question Answering in Interactive Environments
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 [35], 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:
Visual Semantic Planning Using Deep Successor Representations
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.
Visual Semantic Navigation using Scene Priors
How do humans navigate to target objects in novel scenes? Do we use the semantic/functional priors we have built over years to efficiently search and navigate? For example, to search for mugs, we search cabinets near the coffee machine and for fruits we try the fridge. In this work, we focus on incorporating semantic priors in the task of semantic navigation. We propose to use Graph Convolutional Networks for incorporating the prior knowledge into a deep reinforcement learning framework. The agent uses the features from the knowledge graph to predict the actions. For evaluation, we use the AI2-THOR framework. Our experiments show how semantic knowledge improves performance significantly. More importantly, we show improvement in generalization to unseen scenes and/or objects. The supplementary video can be accessed at the following link: this https URL .
SeGAN: Segmenting and Generating the Invisible
Objects often occlude each other in scenes; Inferring their appearance beyond their visible parts plays an important role in scene understanding, depth estimation, object interaction and manipulation. In this paper, we study the challenging problem of completing the appearance of occluded objects. Doing so requires knowing which pixels to paint (segmenting the invisible parts of objects) and what color to paint them (generating the invisible parts). Our proposed novel solution, SeGAN, jointly optimizes for both segmentation and generation of the invisible parts of objects. Our experimental results show that: (a) SeGAN can learn to generate the appearance of the occluded parts of objects; (b) SeGAN outperforms state-of-the-art segmentation baselines for the invisible parts of objects; (c) trained on synthetic photo realistic images, SeGAN can reliably segment natural images; (d) by reasoning about occluder-occludee relations, our method can infer depth layering.
Learning to Learn How to Learn: Self-Adaptive Visual Navigation Using Meta-Learning
Learning is an inherently continuous phenomenon. When humans learn a new task there is no explicit distinction between training and inference. As we learn a task, we keep learning about it while performing the task. What we learn and how we learn it varies during different stages of learning. Learning how to learn and adapt is a key property that enables us to generalize effortlessly to new settings. This is in contrast with conventional settings in machine learning where a trained model is frozen during inference. In this paper we study the problem of learning to learn at both training and test time in the context of visual navigation. A fundamental challenge in navigation is generalization to unseen scenes. In this paper we propose a self-adaptive visual navigation method (SAVN) which learns to adapt to new environments without any explicit supervision. Our solution is a meta-reinforcement learning approach where an agent learns a self-supervised interaction loss that encourages effective navigation. Our experiments, performed in the AI2-THOR framework, show major improvements in both success rate and SPL for visual navigation in novel scenes. Our code and data are available at:
ALFRED: A Benchmark for Interpreting Grounded Instructions for Everyday Tasks
We present ALFRED (Action Learning From Realistic Environments and Directives), a benchmark for learning a mapping from natural language instructions and egocentric vision to sequences of actions for household tasks. ALFRED includes long, compositional tasks with non-reversible state changes to shrink the gap between research benchmarks and real-world applications. ALFRED consists of expert demonstrations in interactive visual environments for 25k natural language directives. These directives contain both high-level goals like “Rinse off a mug and place it in the coffee maker.” and low-level language instructions like “Walk to the coffee maker on the right.” ALFRED tasks are more complex in terms of sequence length, action space, and language than existing vision- and-language task datasets. We show that a baseline model based on recent embodied vision-and-language tasks performs poorly on ALFRED, suggesting that there is significant room for developing innovative grounded visual language understanding models with this benchmark.
Neural Task Graphs: Generalizing to Unseen Tasks From a Single Video Demonstration
De-An Huang, Suraj Nair, Danfei Xu, Yuke Zhu, Animesh Garg, Li Fei-Fei, Silvio Savarese, Juan Carlos Niebles CVPR 2019
Our goal is to generate a policy to complete an unseen task given just a single video demonstration of the task in a given domain. We hypothesize that to successfully generalize to unseen complex tasks from a single video demonstration, it is necessary to explicitly incorporate the compositional structure of the tasks into the model. To this end, we propose Neural Task Graph (NTG) Networks, which use conjugate task graph as the intermediate representation to modularize both the video demonstration and the derived policy. We empirically show NTG achieves inter-task generalization on two complex tasks: Block Stacking in BulletPhysics and Object Collection in AI2-THOR. NTG improves data efficiency with visual input as well as achieve strong generalization without the need for dense hierarchical supervision. We further show that similar performance trends hold when applied to real-world data. We show that NTG can effectively predict task structure on the JIGSAWS surgical dataset and generalize to unseen tasks.
Shifting the Baseline: Single Modality Performance on Visual Navigation & QA
We demonstrate the surprising strength of unimodal baselines in multimodal domains, and make concrete recommendations for best practices in future research. Where existing work often compares against random or majority class baselines, we argue that unimodal approaches better capture and reflect dataset biases and therefore provide an important comparison when assessing the performance of multimodal techniques. We present unimodal ablations on three recent datasets in visual navigation and QA, seeing an up to 29% absolute gain in performance over published baselines.
Look, Listen, and Act: Towards Audio-Visual Embodied Navigation
A crucial ability of mobile intelligent agents is to integrate the evidence from multiple sensory inputs in an environment and to make a sequence of actions to reach their goals. In this paper, we attempt to approach the problem of Audio-Visual Embodied Navigation, the task of planning the shortest path from a random starting location in a scene to the sound source in an indoor environment, given only raw egocentric visual and audio sensory data. To accomplish this task, the agent is required to learn from various modalities, i.e., relating the audio signal to the visual environment. Here we describe an approach to audio-visual embodied navigation that takes advantage of both visual and audio pieces of evidence. Our solution is based on three key ideas: a visual perception mapper module that constructs its spatial memory of the environment, a sound perception module that infers the relative location of the sound source from the agent, and a dynamic path planner that plans a sequence of actions based on the audio-visual observations and the spatial memory of the environment to navigate toward the goal. Experimental results on a newly collected Visual-Audio-Room dataset using the simulated multi-modal environment demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach over several competitive baselines.
Active Object Perceiver: Recognition-Guided Policy Learning for Object Searching on Mobile Robots
We study the problem of learning a navigation policy for a robot to actively search for an object of interest in an indoor environment solely from its visual inputs. While scene-driven visual navigation has been widely studied, prior efforts on learning navigation policies for robots to find objects are limited. The problem is often more challenging than target scene finding as the target objects can be very small in the view and can be in an arbitrary pose. We approach the problem from an active perceiver perspective, and propose a novel framework that integrates a deep neural network based object recognition module and a deep reinforcement learning based action prediction mechanism. To validate our method, we conduct experiments on both a simulation dataset (AI2-THOR)and a real-world environment with a physical robot. We further propose a new decaying reward function to learn the control policy specific to the object searching task. Experimental results validate the efficacy of our method, which outperforms competing methods in both average trajectory length and success rate.
Two Body Problem: Collaborative Visual Task Completion
Collaboration is a necessary skill to perform tasks that are beyond one agent's capabilities. Addressed extensively in both conventional and modern AI, multi-agent collaboration has often been studied in the context of simple grid worlds. We argue that there are inherently visual aspects to collaboration which should be studied in visually rich environments. A key element in collaboration is communication that can be either explicit, through messages, or implicit, through perception of the other agents and the visual world. Learning to collaborate in a visual environment entails learning (1) to perform the task, (2) when and what to communicate, and (3) how to act based on these communications and the perception of the visual world. In this paper we study the problem of learning to collaborate directly from pixels in AI2-THOR and demonstrate the benefits of explicit and implicit modes of communication to perform visual tasks. Refer to our project page for more details:
AllenAct: A Framework for Embodied AI Research
The domain of Embodied AI, in which agents learn to complete tasks through interaction with their environment from egocentric observations, has experienced substantial growth with the advent of deep reinforcement learning and increased interest from the computer vision, NLP, and robotics communities. This growth has been facilitated by the creation of a large number of simulated environments (such as AI2-THOR, Habitat and CARLA), tasks (like point navigation, instruction following, and embodied question answering), and associated leaderboards. While this diversity has been beneficial and organic, it has also fragmented the community: a huge amount of effort is required to do something as simple as taking a model trained in one environment and testing it in another. This discourages good science. We introduce AllenAct, a modular and flexible learning framework designed with a focus on the unique requirements of Embodied AI research. AllenAct provides first-class support for a growing collection of embodied environments, tasks and algorithms, provides reproductions of state-of-the-art models and includes extensive documentation, tutorials, start-up code, and pre-trained models. We hope that our framework makes Embodied AI more accessible and encourages new researchers to join this exciting area. The framework can be accessed at: this https URL
RoboCSE: Robot Common Sense Embedding
Autonomous service robots require computational frameworks that allow them to generalize knowledge to new situations in a manner that models uncertainty while scaling to real-world problem sizes. The Robot Common Sense Embedding (RoboCSE) showcases a class of computational frameworks, multi-relational embeddings, that have not been leveraged in robotics to model semantic knowledge. We validate RoboCSE on a realistic home environment simulator (AI2-THOR) to measure how well it generalizes learned knowledge about object affordances, locations, and materials. Our experiments show that RoboCSE can perform prediction better than a baseline that uses pre-trained embeddings, such as Word 2Vec, achieving statistically significant improvements while using orders of magnitude less memory than our Bayesian Logic Network baseline. In addition, we show that predictions made by RoboCSE are robust to significant reductions in data available for training as well as domain transfer to MatterPort3D, achieving statistically significant improvements over a baseline that memorizes training data.
Vision-based Navigation Using Deep Reinforcement Learning
Deep reinforcement learning (RL) has been successfully applied to a variety of game-like environments. However, the application of deep RL to visual navigation with realistic environments is a challenging task. We propose a novel learning architecture capable of navigating an agent, e.g. a mobile robot, to a target given by an image. To achieve this, we have extended the batched A2C algorithm with auxiliary tasks designed to improve visual navigation performance. We propose three additional auxiliary tasks: predicting the segmentation of the observation image and of the target image and predicting the depth-map. These tasks enable the use of supervised learning to pre-train a major part of the network and to reduce the number of training steps substantially. The training performance has been further improved by increasing the environment complexity gradually over time. An efficient neural network structure is proposed, which is capable of learning for multiple targets in multiple environments. Our method navigates in continuous state spaces and on the AI2-THOR environment simulator surpasses the performance of state-of-the-art goal-oriented visual navigation methods from the literature.
Learning Object Relation Graph and Tentative Policy for Visual Navigation
Target-driven visual navigation aims at navigating an agent towards a given target based on the observation of the agent. In this task, it is critical to learn informative visual representation and robust navigation policy. Aiming to improve these two components, this paper proposes three complementary techniques, object relation graph (ORG), trial-driven imitation learning (IL), and a memory-augmented tentative policy network (TPN). ORG improves visual representation learning by integrating object relationships, including category closeness and spatial correlations, e.g., a TV usually co-occurs with a remote spatially. Both Trial-driven IL and TPN underlie robust navigation policy, instructing the agent to escape from deadlock states, such as looping or being stuck. Specifically, trial-driven IL is a type of supervision used in policy network training, while TPN, mimicking the IL supervision in unseen environment, is applied in testing. Experiment in the artificial environment AI2-THOR validates that each of the techniques is effective. When combined, the techniques bring significantly improvement over baseline methods in navigation effectiveness and efficiency in unseen environments. We report 22.8% and 23.5% increase in success rate and Success weighted by Path Length (SPL), respectively. The code is available at this https URL.
ALFWorld: Aligning Text and Embodied Environments for Interactive Learning
Given a simple request (e.g., Put a washed apple in the kitchen fridge), humans can reason in purely abstract terms by imagining action sequences and scoring their likelihood of success, prototypicality, and efficiency, all without moving a muscle. Once we see the kitchen in question, we can update our abstract plans to fit the scene. Embodied agents require the same abilities, but existing work does not yet provide the infrastructure necessary for both reasoning abstractly and executing concretely. We address this limitation by introducing ALFWorld, a simulator that enables agents to learn abstract, text-based policies in TextWorld (Cote et al., 2018) and then execute goals from the ALFRED benchmark (Shridhar et al., 2020) in a rich visual environment. ALFWorld enables the creation of a new BUTLER agent whose abstract knowledge, learned in TextWorld, corresponds directly to concrete, visually grounded actions. In turn, as we demonstrate empirically, this fosters better agent generalization than training only in the visually grounded environment. BUTLER's simple, modular design factors the problem to allow researchers to focus on models for improving every piece of the pipeline (language understanding, planning, navigation, visual scene understanding, and so forth).
A Cordial Sync: Going Beyond Marginal Policies for Multi-Agent Embodied Tasks
Autonomous agents must learn to collaborate. It is not scalable to develop a new centralized agent every time a task's difficulty outpaces a single agent's abilities. While multi-agent collaboration research has flourished in gridworld-like environments, relatively little work has considered visually rich domains. Addressing this, we introduce the novel task FurnMove in which agents work together to move a piece of furniture through a living room to a goal. Unlike existing tasks, FurnMove requires agents to coordinate at every timestep. We identify two challenges when training agents to complete FurnMove: existing decentralized action sampling procedures do not permit expressive joint action policies and, in tasks requiring close coordination, the number of failed actions dominates successful actions. To confront these challenges we introduce SYNC-policies (synchronize your actions coherently) and CORDIAL (coordination loss). Using SYNC-policies and CORDIAL, our agents achieve a 58% completion rate on FurnMove, an impressive absolute gain of 25 percentage points over competitive decentralized baselines. Our dataset, code, and pretrained models are available at this https URL .
Rearrangement: A Challenge for Embodied AI
We describe a framework for research and evaluation in Embodied AI. Our proposal is based on a canonical task: Rearrangement. A standard task can focus the development of new techniques and serve as a source of trained models that can be transferred to other settings. In the rearrangement task, the goal is to bring a given physical environment into a specified state. The goal state can be specified by object poses, by images, by a description in language, or by letting the agent experience the environment in the goal state. We characterize rearrangement scenarios along different axes and describe metrics for benchmarking rearrangement performance. To facilitate research and exploration, we present experimental testbeds of rearrangement scenarios in four different simulation environments. We anticipate that other datasets will be released and new simulation platforms will be built to support training of rearrangement agents and their deployment on physical systems.
Unsupervised Reinforcement Learning of Transferable Meta-Skills for Embodied Navigation
Visual navigation is a task of training an embodied agent by intelligently navigating to a target object (e.g., television) using only visual observations. A key challenge for current deep reinforcement learning models lies in the requirements for a large amount of training data. It is exceedingly expensive to construct sufficient 3D synthetic environments annotated with the target object information. In this paper, we focus on visual navigation in the low-resource setting, where we have only a few training environments annotated with object information. We propose a novel unsupervised reinforcement learning approach to learn transferable meta-skills (e.g., bypass obstacles, go straight) from unannotated environments without any supervisory signals. The agent can then fast adapt to visual navigation through learning a high-level master policy to combine these meta-skills, when the visual-navigation-specified reward is provided. Experimental results show that our method significantly outperforms the baseline by 53.34% relatively on SPL, and further qualitative analysis demonstrates that our method learns transferable motor primitives for visual navigation.
Synthesize Policies for Transfer and Adaptation across Tasks and Environments
The ability to transfer in reinforcement learning is key towards building an agent of general artificial intelligence. In this paper, we consider the problem of learning to simultaneously transfer across both environments and tasks, probably more importantly, by learning from only sparse (environment, task) pairs out of all the possible combinations. We propose a novel compositional neural network architecture which depicts a meta rule for composing policies from environment and task embeddings. Notably, one of the main challenges is to learn the embeddings jointly with the meta rule. We further propose new training methods to disentangle the embeddings, making them both distinctive signatures of the environments and tasks and effective building blocks for composing the policies. Experiments on GridWorld and THOR, of which the agent takes as input an egocentric view, show that our approach gives rise to high success rates on all the (environment, task) pairs after learning from only 40% of them.
What Should I Do Now? Marrying Reinforcement Learning and Symbolic Planning
Long-term planning poses a major difficulty to many reinforcement learning algorithms. This problem becomes even more pronounced in dynamic visual environments. In this work we propose Hierarchical Planning and Reinforcement Learning (HIP-RL), a method for merging the benefits and capabilities of Symbolic Planning with the learning abilities of Deep Reinforcement Learning. We apply HIPRL to the complex visual tasks of interactive question answering and visual semantic planning and achieve state-of-the-art results on three challenging datasets all while taking fewer steps at test time and training in fewer iterations. Sample results can be found at
Learning Generalizable Visual Representations via Interactive Gameplay
A growing body of research suggests that embodied gameplay, prevalent not just in human cultures but across a variety of animal species including turtles and ravens, is critical in developing the neural flexibility for creative problem solving, decision making, and socialization. Comparatively little is known regarding the impact of embodied gameplay upon artificial agents. While recent work has produced agents proficient in abstract games, these environments are far removed from the real world and thus these agents can provide little insight into the advantages of embodied play. Hiding games, such as hide-and-seek, played universally, provide a rich ground for studying the impact of embodied gameplay on representation learning in the context of perspective taking, secret keeping, and false belief understanding. Here we are the first to show that embodied adversarial reinforcement learning agents playing Cache, a variant of hide-and-seek, in a high fidelity, interactive, environment, learn generalizable representations of their observations encoding information such as object permanence, free space, and containment. Moving closer to biologically motivated learning strategies, our agents' representations, enhanced by intentionality and memory, are developed through interaction and play. These results serve as a model for studying how facets of vision develop through interaction, provide an experimental framework for assessing what is learned by artificial agents, and demonstrates the value of moving from large, static, datasets towards experiential, interactive, representation learning.
MOCA: A Modular Object-Centric Approach for Interactive Instruction Following
Performing simple household tasks based on language directives is very natural to humans, yet it remains an open challenge for an AI agent. Recently, an `interactive instruction following' task has been proposed to foster research in reasoning over long instruction sequences that requires object interactions in a simulated environment. It involves solving open problems in vision, language and navigation literature at each step. To address this multifaceted problem, we propose a modular architecture that decouples the task into visual perception and action policy, and name it as MOCA, a Modular Object-Centric Approach. We evaluate our method on the ALFRED benchmark and empirically validate that it outperforms prior arts by significant margins in all metrics with good generalization performance (high success rate in unseen environments). Our code is available at