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Masked Autoencoding for Scalable and Generalizable Decision Making
Fangchen Liu · Hao Liu · Aditya Grover · Pieter Abbeel

Wed Nov 30 02:00 PM -- 04:00 PM (PST) @ Hall J #410

We are interested in learning scalable agents for reinforcement learning that can learn from large-scale, diverse sequential data similar to current large vision and language models. To this end, this paper presents masked decision prediction (MaskDP), a simple and scalable self-supervised pretraining method for reinforcement learning (RL) and behavioral cloning (BC). In our MaskDP approach, we employ a masked autoencoder (MAE) to state-action trajectories, wherein we randomly mask state and action tokens and reconstruct the missing data. By doing so, the model is required to infer masked out states and actions and extract information about dynamics. We find that masking different proportions of the input sequence significantly helps with learning a better model that generalizes well to multiple downstream tasks. In our empirical study we find that a MaskDP model gains the capability of zero-shot transfer to new BC tasks, such as single and multiple goal reaching, and it can zero-shot infer skills from a few example transitions. In addition, MaskDP transfers well to offline RL and shows promising scaling behavior w.r.t. to model size. It is amenable to data efficient finetuning, achieving competitive results with prior methods based on autoregressive pretraining.

Author Information

Fangchen Liu (University of California, Berkeley)
Hao Liu (University of California Berkeley)
Aditya Grover (University of California, Los Angeles)
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.

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