Spotlight
End-to-End Differentiable Physics for Learning and Control
Filipe de Avila Belbute-Peres · Kevin Smith · Kelsey Allen · Josh Tenenbaum · J. Zico Kolter

Wed Dec 5th 09:55 -- 10:00 AM @ Room 220 CD

We present a differentiable physics engine that can be integrated as a module in deep neural networks for end-to-end learning. As a result, structured physics knowledge can be embedded into larger systems, allowing them, for example, to match observations by performing precise simulations, while achieves high sample efficiency. Specifically, in this paper we demonstrate how to perform backpropagation analytically through a physical simulator defined via a linear complementarity problem. Unlike traditional finite difference methods, such gradients can be computed analytically, which allows for greater flexibility of the engine. Through experiments in diverse domains, we highlight the system's ability to learn physical parameters from data, efficiently match and simulate observed visual behavior, and readily enable control via gradient-based planning methods. Code for the engine and experiments is included with the paper.

Author Information

Filipe de Avila Belbute-Peres (Carnegie Mellon University)
Kevin Smith (MIT)
Kelsey Allen (MIT)
Josh Tenenbaum (MIT)

Josh Tenenbaum is an Associate Professor of Computational Cognitive Science at MIT in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received his PhD from MIT in 1999, and was an Assistant Professor at Stanford University from 1999 to 2002. He studies learning and inference in humans and machines, with the twin goals of understanding human intelligence in computational terms and bringing computers closer to human capacities. He focuses on problems of inductive generalization from limited data -- learning concepts and word meanings, inferring causal relations or goals -- and learning abstract knowledge that supports these inductive leaps in the form of probabilistic generative models or 'intuitive theories'. He has also developed several novel machine learning methods inspired by human learning and perception, most notably Isomap, an approach to unsupervised learning of nonlinear manifolds in high-dimensional data. He has been Associate Editor for the journal Cognitive Science, has been active on program committees for the CogSci and NIPS conferences, and has co-organized a number of workshops, tutorials and summer schools in human and machine learning. Several of his papers have received outstanding paper awards or best student paper awards at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), NIPS, and Cognitive Science conferences. He is the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Society for Mathematical Psychology (2005), the Early Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists (2007), and the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (in the area of cognition and human learning) from the American Psychological Association (2008).

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.

Related Events (a corresponding poster, oral, or spotlight)

More from the Same Authors