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Learning Plannable Representations with Causal InfoGAN

Neural Information Processing Systems

In recent years, deep generative models have been shown to 'imagine' convincing high-dimensional observations such as images, audio, and even video, learning directly from raw data. In this work, we ask how to imagine goal-directed visual plans -- a plausible sequence of observations that transition a dynamical system from its current configuration to a desired goal state, which can later be used as a reference trajectory for control. We focus on systems with high-dimensional observations, such as images, and propose an approach that naturally combines representation learning and planning. Our framework learns a generative model of sequential observations, where the generative process is induced by a transition in a low-dimensional planning model, and an additional noise. By maximizing the mutual information between the generated observations and the transition in the planning model, we obtain a low-dimensional representation that best explains the causal nature of the data. We structure the planning model to be compatible with efficient planning algorithms, and we propose several such models based on either discrete or continuous states. Finally, to generate a visual plan, we project the current and goal observations onto their respective states in the planning model, plan a trajectory, and then use the generative model to transform the trajectory to a sequence of observations. We demonstrate our method on imagining plausible visual plans of rope manipulation.


Learning Plannable Representations with Causal InfoGAN

Neural Information Processing Systems

In recent years, deep generative models have been shown to 'imagine' convincing high-dimensional observations such as images, audio, and even video, learning directly from raw data. In this work, we ask how to imagine goal-directed visual plans -- a plausible sequence of observations that transition a dynamical system from its current configuration to a desired goal state, which can later be used as a reference trajectory for control. We focus on systems with high-dimensional observations, such as images, and propose an approach that naturally combines representation learning and planning. Our framework learns a generative model of sequential observations, where the generative process is induced by a transition in a low-dimensional planning model, and an additional noise. By maximizing the mutual information between the generated observations and the transition in the planning model, we obtain a low-dimensional representation that best explains the causal nature of the data. We structure the planning model to be compatible with efficient planning algorithms, and we propose several such models based on either discrete or continuous states. Finally, to generate a visual plan, we project the current and goal observations onto their respective states in the planning model, plan a trajectory, and then use the generative model to transform the trajectory to a sequence of observations. We demonstrate our method on imagining plausible visual plans of rope manipulation.


Hallucinative Topological Memory for Zero-Shot Visual Planning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In visual planning (VP), an agent learns to plan goal-directed behavior from observations of a dynamical system obtained offline, e.g., images obtained from self-supervised robot interaction. Most previous works on VP approached the problem by planning in a learned latent space, resulting in low-quality visual plans, and difficult training algorithms. Here, instead, we propose a simple VP method that plans directly in image space and displays competitive performance. We build on the semi-parametric topological memory (SPTM) method: image samples are treated as nodes in a graph, the graph connectivity is learned from image sequence data, and planning can be performed using conventional graph search methods. We propose two modifications on SPTM. First, we train an energy-based graph connectivity function using contrastive predictive coding that admits stable training. Second, to allow zero-shot planning in new domains, we learn a conditional VAE model that generates images given a context of the domain, and use these hallucinated samples for building the connectivity graph and planning. We show that this simple approach significantly outperform the state-of-the-art VP methods, in terms of both plan interpretability and success rate when using the plan to guide a trajectory-following controller. Interestingly, our method can pick up non-trivial visual properties of objects, such as their geometry, and account for it in the plans.


InfoGAN-CR: Disentangling Generative Adversarial Networks with Contrastive Regularizers

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Training disentangled representations with generative adversarial networks (GANs) remains challenging, with leading implementations failing to achieve comparable performance to Variational Autoencoder (VAE)-based methods. After $\beta$-VAE and FactorVAE discovered that regularizing the total correlation of the latent vectors promotes disentanglement, numerous VAE-based methods emerged. Such a discovery has yet to be made for GANs, and reported disentanglement scores of GAN-based methods are significantly inferior to VAE-based methods on benchmark datasets. To this end, we propose a novel regularizer that achieves higher disentanglement scores than state-of-the-art VAE- and GAN-based approaches. The proposed contrastive regularizer is inspired by a natural notion of disentanglement: latent traversal. Latent traversal refers to generating images by varying one latent code while fixing the rest. We turn this intuition into a regularizer by adding a discriminator that detects how the latent codes are coupled together, in paired examples. Numerical experiments show that this approach improves upon competing state-of-the-art approaches on benchmark datasets.


InfoGAN: Interpretable Representation Learning by Information Maximizing Generative Adversarial Nets

Neural Information Processing Systems

This paper describes InfoGAN, an information-theoretic extension to the Generative Adversarial Network that is able to learn disentangled representations in a completely unsupervised manner. InfoGAN is a generative adversarial network that also maximizes the mutual information between a small subset of the latent variables and the observation. We derive a lower bound to the mutual information objective that can be optimized efficiently, and show that our training procedure can be interpreted as a variation of the Wake-Sleep algorithm. Specifically, InfoGAN successfully disentangles writing styles from digit shapes on the MNIST dataset, pose from lighting of 3D rendered images, and background digits from the central digit on the SVHN dataset. It also discovers visual concepts that include hair styles, presence/absence of eyeglasses, and emotions on the CelebA face dataset. Experiments show that InfoGAN learns interpretable representations that are competitive with representations learned by existing fully supervised methods.