Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


PhysWM: Physical World Models for Robot Learning

Marc Otto; Octavio Arriaga; Chandandeep Singh; Jichen Guo; Frank Kirchner
In: NeSy 2023: 17th International Workshop on Neural-Symbolic Learning and Reasoning. International Workshop on Neural-Symbolic Learning and Reasoning (NeSy-2023), July 3-5, Certosa di Pontignano, Siena, Italy, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 7/2023.


Within the last decade machine learning methods have shown remarkable results in pattern recognition tasks and behavior learning. However, when applied to real-world robotics tasks, these approaches have limitations, such as sample inefficiency and limited generalization to out-of-distribution samples. Despite the availability of precise physics in simulation engines, model-based reinforcement learning (RL) resorts to learning an approximation of these dynamics. On the other hand, optimal control approaches often assume a static, complete model of the world, addressing the simulation-reality gap by adding low level controllers. In order to handle these issues, we propose a hybrid simulator consisting of differentiable physics and rendering modules, which employ symbolic representations and reduce the model complexity of neural policies, while retaining gradient computation for model and behavior optimization. Moreover, this reduced parametric representation enables the use of Bayesian inference to estimate the uncertainty over physical parameters. This uncertainty quantification allows us to generate a curriculum of exploration behaviors for continuously improving the world model.