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Hierarchical Apprenticeship Learning with Application to Quadruped Locomotion
J. Zico Kolter · Pieter Abbeel · Andrew Y Ng

Tue Dec 04 05:20 PM -- 05:30 PM (PST) @

We consider apprenticeship learning --- learning from expert demonstrations --- in the setting of large, complex domains. Past work in apprenticeship learning requires that the expert demonstrate complete trajectories through the domain, but in many problems where even an expert has difficulty controlling the system, this is infeasible. For example, consider the task of teaching a quadruped robot to navigate over extreme terrain; demonstrating an optimal policy (i.e., an optimal set of foot locations over the entire terrain) is a highly non-trivial task, even for an expert. In this paper we propose a method for hierarchical apprenticeship learning, which allows the algorithm to accept isolated advice at different hierarchical levels of the control task. This type of advice is often feasible for experts to give, even if the expert is unable to demonstrate full trajectories. This thus allows us to extend the apprenticeship learning paradigm to much larger, more challenging domains. In particular, in this paper we apply the hierarchical apprenticeship learning algorithm to the task of quadruped locomotion over extreme terrain, and achieve, to the best of our knowledge, results superior to any previously published work.

Author Information

J. Zico Kolter (Carnegie Mellon University / Bosch Center for AI)

Zico Kolter is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and also serves as Chief Scientist of AI Research for the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence. His work focuses on the intersection of machine learning and optimization, with a large focus on developing more robust, explainable, and rigorous methods in deep learning. In addition, he has worked on a number of application areas, highlighted by work on sustainability and smart energy systems. He is the recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty Award, and best paper awards at KDD, IJCAI, and PESGM.

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.

Andrew Y Ng (DeepLearning.AI)

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