Learning Coordination Policies over Heterogeneous Graphs for Human-Robot Teams via Recurrent Neural Schedule Propagation

30 Jan 2023  ·  Batuhan Altundas, Zheyuan Wang, Joshua Bishop, Matthew Gombolay ·

As human-robot collaboration increases in the workforce, it becomes essential for human-robot teams to coordinate efficiently and intuitively. Traditional approaches for human-robot scheduling either utilize exact methods that are intractable for large-scale problems and struggle to account for stochastic, time varying human task performance, or application-specific heuristics that require expert domain knowledge to develop. We propose a deep learning-based framework, called HybridNet, combining a heterogeneous graph-based encoder with a recurrent schedule propagator for scheduling stochastic human-robot teams under upper- and lower-bound temporal constraints. The HybridNet's encoder leverages Heterogeneous Graph Attention Networks to model the initial environment and team dynamics while accounting for the constraints. By formulating task scheduling as a sequential decision-making process, the HybridNet's recurrent neural schedule propagator leverages Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) models to propagate forward consequences of actions to carry out fast schedule generation, removing the need to interact with the environment between every task-agent pair selection. The resulting scheduling policy network provides a computationally lightweight yet highly expressive model that is end-to-end trainable via Reinforcement Learning algorithms. We develop a virtual task scheduling environment for mixed human-robot teams in a multi-round setting, capable of modeling the stochastic learning behaviors of human workers. Experimental results showed that HybridNet outperformed other human-robot scheduling solutions across problem sizes for both deterministic and stochastic human performance, with faster runtime compared to pure-GNN-based schedulers.

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