DeepSym: Deep Symbol Generation and Rule Learning from Unsupervised Continuous Robot Interaction for Planning

Alper Ahmetoglu, M. Yunus Seker, Aysu Sayin, Serkan Bugur, Justus Piater, Erhan Oztop, Emre Ugur

Autonomous discovery of discrete symbols and rules from continuous interaction experience is a crucial building block of robot AI, but remains a challenging problem. Solving it will overcome the limitations in scalability, flexibility, and robustness of manually-designed symbols and rules, and will constitute a substantial advance towards autonomous robots that can learn and reason at abstract levels in open-ended environments. Towards this goal, we propose a novel and general method that finds action-grounded, discrete object and effect categories and builds probabilistic rules over them that can be used in complex action planning. Our robot interacts with single and multiple objects using a given action repertoire and observes the effects created in the environment. In order to form action-grounded object, effect, and relational categories, we employ a binarized bottleneck layer of a predictive, deep encoder-decoder network that takes as input the image of the scene and the action applied, and generates the resulting object displacements in the scene (action effects) in pixel coordinates. The binary latent vector represents a learned, action-driven categorization of objects. To distill the knowledge represented by the neural network into rules useful for symbolic reasoning, we train a decision tree to reproduce its decoder function. From its branches we extract probabilistic rules and represent them in PPDDL, allowing off-the-shelf planners to operate on the robot's sensorimotor experience. Our system is verified in a physics-based 3d simulation environment where a robot arm-hand system learned symbols that can be interpreted as 'rollable', 'insertable', 'larger-than' from its push and stack actions; and generated effective plans to achieve goals such as building towers from given cubes, balls, and cups using off-the-shelf probabilistic planners.

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