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End-to-End Differentiable Physics for Learning and Control

Neural Information Processing Systems

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.


End-to-End Differentiable Physics for Learning and Control

Neural Information Processing Systems

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.


Physics-as-Inverse-Graphics: Joint Unsupervised Learning of Objects and Physics from Video

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We aim to perform unsupervised discovery of objects and their states such as location and velocity, as well as physical system parameters such as mass and gravity from video -- given only the differential equations governing the scene dynamics. Existing physical scene understanding methods require either object state supervision, or do not integrate with differentiable physics to learn interpretable system parameters and states. We address this problem through a $\textit{physics-as-inverse-graphics}$ approach that brings together vision-as-inverse-graphics and differentiable physics engines. This framework allows us to perform long term extrapolative video prediction, as well as vision-based model-predictive control. Our approach significantly outperforms related unsupervised methods in long-term future frame prediction of systems with interacting objects (such as ball-spring or 3-body gravitational systems). We further show the value of this tight vision-physics integration by demonstrating data-efficient learning of vision-actuated model-based control for a pendulum system. The controller's interpretability also provides unique capabilities in goal-driven control and physical reasoning for zero-data adaptation.


End-to-End Differentiable Physics for Learning and Control

Neural Information Processing Systems

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.


Spring-Rod System Identification via Differentiable Physics Engine

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We propose a novel differentiable physics engine for system identification of complex spring-rod assemblies. Unlike black-box data-driven methods for learning the evolution of a dynamical system \emph{and} its parameters, we modularize the design of our engine using a discrete form of the governing equations of motion, similar to a traditional physics engine. We further reduce the dimension from 3D to 1D for each module, which allows efficient learning of system parameters using linear regression. The regression parameters correspond to physical quantities, such as spring stiffness or the mass of the rod, making the pipeline explainable. The approach significantly reduces the amount of training data required, and also avoids iterative identification of data sampling and model training. We compare the performance of the proposed engine with previous solutions, and demonstrate its efficacy on tensegrity systems, such as NASA's icosahedron.