Hierarchical Task Learning from Language Instructions with Unified Transformers and Self-Monitoring


Despite recent progress, learning new tasks through language instructions remains an extremely challenging problem. On the ALFRED benchmark for task learning, the published state-of-the-art system only achieves a task success rate of less than 10% in an unseen environment, compared to the human performance of over 90%. To address this issue, this paper takes a closer look at task learning. In a departure from a widely applied end-to-end architecture, we decomposed task learning into three sub-problems: sub-goal planning, scene navigation, and object manipulation; and developed a model HiTUT (stands for Hierarchical Tasks via Unified Transformers) that addresses each sub-problem in a unified manner to learn a hierarchical task structure. On the ALFRED benchmark, HiTUT has achieved the best performance with a remarkably higher generalization ability. In the unseen environment, HiTUT achieves over 160% performance gain in success rate compared to the previous state of the art. The explicit representation of task structures also enables an in-depth understanding of the nature of the problem and the ability of the agent, which provides insight for future benchmark development and evaluation.

Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL-IJCNLP)


Yichi Zhang
Yichi Zhang
Ph.D. Student