As demand drives systems to generalize to various domains and problems, the study of multitask, transfer and lifelong learning has become an increasingly important pursuit. In discrete domains, performance on the Atari game suite has emerged as the de facto benchmark for assessing multitask learning. However, in continuous domains there is a lack of agreement on standard multitask evaluation environments which makes it difficult to compare different approaches fairly. In this work, we describe a benchmark set of tasks that we have developed in an extendable framework based on OpenAI Gym. We run a simple baseline using Trust Region Policy Optimization and release the framework publicly to be expanded and used for the systematic comparison of multitask, transfer, and lifelong learning in continuous domains.

* Accepted at Lifelong Learning: A Reinforcement Learning Approach Workshop @ ICML, Sydney, Australia, 2017
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Reinforcement learning has shown promise in learning policies that can solve complex problems. However, manually specifying a good reward function can be difficult, especially for intricate tasks. Inverse reinforcement learning offers a useful paradigm to learn the underlying reward function directly from expert demonstrations. Yet in reality, the corpus of demonstrations may contain trajectories arising from a diverse set of underlying reward functions rather than a single one. Thus, in inverse reinforcement learning, it is useful to consider such a decomposition. The options framework in reinforcement learning is specifically designed to decompose policies in a similar light. We therefore extend the options framework and propose a method to simultaneously recover reward options in addition to policy options. We leverage adversarial methods to learn joint reward-policy options using only observed expert states. We show that this approach works well in both simple and complex continuous control tasks and shows significant performance increases in one-shot transfer learning.

* Accepted to the Thirthy-Second AAAI Conference On Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2018
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We present a robust multi-robot convoying approach that relies on visual detection of the leading agent, thus enabling target following in unstructured 3-D environments. Our method is based on the idea of tracking-by-detection, which interleaves efficient model-based object detection with temporal filtering of image-based bounding box estimation. This approach has the important advantage of mitigating tracking drift (i.e. drifting away from the target object), which is a common symptom of model-free trackers and is detrimental to sustained convoying in practice. To illustrate our solution, we collected extensive footage of an underwater robot in ocean settings, and hand-annotated its location in each frame. Based on this dataset, we present an empirical comparison of multiple tracker variants, including the use of several convolutional neural networks, both with and without recurrent connections, as well as frequency-based model-free trackers. We also demonstrate the practicality of this tracking-by-detection strategy in real-world scenarios by successfully controlling a legged underwater robot in five degrees of freedom to follow another robot's independent motion.

* Accepted to IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2017
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