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Learning an Embedding Space for Transferable Robot Skills

Jost Tobias Springenberg
Karol Hausman
Martin Riedmiller
Nicolas Heess
Ziyu Wang
ICLR (2018)
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We present a method that learns manipulation skills that are continuously parameterized in a skill embedding space and which we can take advantage of for rapidly solving new tasks. We learn skills by taking advantage of latent variables. The main contribution of our work is an entropy-regularized policy gradient formulation for hierarchical policies, and an associated, data-efficient and robust off-policy gradient algorithm based on stochastic value gradients. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on several simulated robotic manipulation tasks. We find that our method allows for the discovery of multiple solutions and is capable of learning the minimum number of distinct skills that are necessary to solve a given set of tasks.