Grounded Decoding: Guiding Text Generation with Grounded Models for Embodied Agents

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Wenlong Huang, Fei Xia, Dhruv Shah, Danny Driess, Andy Zeng, Yao Lu, Pete Florence, Igor Mordatch, Sergey Levine, Karol Hausman, brian ichter


Recent progress in large language models (LLMs) has demonstrated the ability to learn and leverage Internet-scale knowledge through pre-training with autoregressive models. Unfortunately, applying such models to settings with embodied agents, such as robots, is challenging due to their lack of experience with the physical world, inability to parse non-language observations, and ignorance of rewards or safety constraints that robots may require. On the other hand, language-conditioned robotic policies that learn from interaction data can provide the necessary grounding that allows the agent to be correctly situated in the real world, but such policies are limited by the lack of high-level semantic understanding due to the limited breadth of the interaction data available for training them. Thus, if we want to make use of the semantic knowledge in a language model while still situating it in an embodied setting, we must construct an action sequence that is both likely according to the language model and also realizable according to grounded models of the environment. We frame this as a problem similar to probabilistic filtering: decode a sequence that both has high probability under the language model and high probability under a set of grounded model objectives. We demonstrate how such grounded models can be obtained across three simulation and real-world domains, and that the proposed decoding strategy is able to solve complex, long-horizon embodiment tasks in a robotic setting by leveraging the knowledge of both models.