Ramya Ramakrishnan, Chongjie Zhang and Julie Shah (2017) "Perturbation Training for Human-Robot Teams", Volume 59, pages 495-541

PDF | doi:10.1613/jair.5390

In this work, we design and evaluate a computational learning model that enables a human-robot team to co-develop joint strategies for performing novel tasks that require coordination. The joint strategies are learned through "perturbation training," a human team-training strategy that requires team members to practice variations of a given task to help their team generalize to new variants of that task. We formally define the problem of human-robot perturbation training and develop and evaluate the first end-to-end framework for such training, which incorporates a multi-agent transfer learning algorithm, human-robot co-learning framework and communication protocol. Our transfer learning algorithm, Adaptive Perturbation Training (AdaPT), is a hybrid of transfer and reinforcement learning techniques that learns quickly and robustly for new task variants. We empirically validate the benefits of AdaPT through comparison to other hybrid reinforcement and transfer learning techniques aimed at transferring knowledge from multiple source tasks to a single target task.

We also demonstrate that AdaPT's rapid learning supports live interaction between a person and a robot, during which the human-robot team trains to achieve a high level of performance for new task variants. We augment AdaPT with a co-learning framework and a computational bi-directional communication protocol so that the robot can co-train with a person during live interaction. Results from large-scale human subject experiments (n=48) indicate that AdaPT enables an agent to learn in a manner compatible with a human's own learning process, and that a robot undergoing perturbation training with a human results in a high level of team performance. Finally, we demonstrate that human-robot training using AdaPT in a simulation environment produces effective performance for a team incorporating an embodied robot partner.

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