On Optimizing Interdependent Skills: A Case Study in Simulated 3D Humanoid Robot Soccer (2011)
In several realistic domains an agent's behavior is composed of multiple interdependent skills. For example, consider a humanoid robot that must play soccer, as is the focus of this paper. In order to succeed, it is clear that the robot needs to walk quickly, turn sharply, and kick the ball far. However, these individual skills are ineffective if the robot falls down when switching from walking to turning, or if it cannot position itself behind the ball for a kick. This paper presents a learning architecture for a humanoid robot soccer agent that has been fully deployed and tested within the RoboCup 3D simulation environment. First, we demonstrate that individual skills such as walking and turning can be parameterized and optimized to match the best performance statistics reported in the literature. These results are achieved through effective use of the CMA-ES optimization algorithm. Next, we describe a framework for optimizing skills in conjunction with one another, a little-understood problem with substantial practical significance. Over several phases of learning, a total of roughly 100--150 parameters are optimized. Detailed experiments show that an agent thus optimized performs comparably with the top teams from the RoboCup 2010 competitions, while taking relatively few man-hours for development.
In Proc. of 10th Int. Conf. on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS'11), May 2011.

Shivaram Kalyanakrishnan Ph.D. Alumni shivaram [at] cs utexas edu
Patrick MacAlpine Ph.D. Student patmac [at] cs utexas edu
Peter Stone Faculty pstone [at] cs utexas edu
Daniel Urieli Ph.D. Alumni urieli [at] cs utexas edu