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NOTE: this code is based heavily on the Ravens code base from Google and retains the same license.


Code for the ICRA 2021 paper Learning to Rearrange Deformable Cables, Fabrics, and Bags with Goal-Conditioned Transporter Networks. Here is the project website, which also contains the data we used to train policies. Contents of this README:

For physical experiments, see this code:


This is how to get the code running on a local machine. First, get conda on the machine if it isn't there already:


Then, create a new Python 3.7 conda environment (e.g., named "py3-defs") and activate it:

conda create -n py3-defs python=3.7
conda activate py3-defs

Then install:


Note I: It is tested on Ubuntu 18.04. We have not tried other Ubuntu versions or other operating systems.

Note II: Installing TensorFlow using conda is usually easier than pip because the conda version will ship with the correct CUDA and cuDNN libraries, whereas the pip version is a nightmare regarding version compatibility.

Note III: the code has only been tested with PyBullet 3.0.4. In fact, there are some places which explicitly hard-code this requirement. Using later versions may work but is not recommended.

Environments and Tasks

This repository contains tasks in the ICRA 2021 paper and the predecessor paper on Transporters (presented at CoRL 2020). For the latter paper, there are (roughly) 10 tasks that came pre-shipped; the Transporters paper doesn't test with pushing or insertion-translation, but tests with all others. See for some task-specific documentation

Each task subclasses a Task class and needs to define its own reset(). The Task class defines an oracle policy that's used to get demonstrations (so it is not implemented within each task subclass), and is divided into cases depending on the action, or self.primitive, used.

Similarly, different tasks have different reward functions, but all are integrated into the Task super-class and divided based on the self.metric type: pose or zone.

Code Usage

Experiments start with python, with --disp added for seeing the PyBullet GUI (but not used for large-scale experiments). The general logic for proceeds as follows:

  • Gather expert demonstrations for the task and put it in data/{TASK}, unless there are already a sufficient amount of demonstrations. There are sub-directories for action, color, depth, info, etc., which store the data pickle files with consistent indexing per time step. Caution: this will start "counting" the data from the existing data/ directory. If you want entirely fresh data, delete the relevant file in data/.

  • Given the data, train the designated agent. The logged data is stored in logs/{AGENT}/{TASK}/{DATE}/{train}/ in the form of a tfevent file for TensorBoard. Note: it will do multiple training runs for statistical significance.

For deformables, we actually use a separate script, due to some issues with creating multiple environments.

See for commands to reproduce experimental results.

Downloading the Data

We normally generate 1000 demos for each of the tasks. However, this can take a long time, especially for the bag tasks. We have pre-generated datasets for all the tasks we tested with on the project website. Here's how to do this. For example, suppose we want to download demonstration data for the "bag-color-goal" task. Download the demonstration data from the website. Since this is also a goal-conditioned task, download the goal demonstrations as well. Make new data/ and goals/ directories and put the tar.gz files in the respective directories:


Note: if you generate data using the script, then it will automatically create the data/ scripts, and similarly for the script. You only need to manually create data/ and goals/ if you only want to download and get pre-existing datasets in the right spot.

Then untar both of them in their respective directories:

tar -zxvf bag-color-goal_1000_demos_480Hz_filtered_Nov13.tar.gz
tar -zxvf bag-color-goal_20_goals_480Hz_Nov19.tar.gz

Now the data should be ready! If you want to inspect and debug the data, for example the goals data, then do:

python ravens/ --path goals/bag-color-goal/

Note that by default it saves any content in goals/ to goals_out/ and data in data/ to data_out/. Also, by default, it will download and save images. This can be very computationally intensive if you do this for the full 1000 demos. (The goals/ data only has 20 demos.) You can change this easily in the main method of ravens/

Running the script will print out some interesting data statistics for you.


If you have questions, please use the public issue tracker.

If you find this code or research paper helpful, please consider citing it:

    author    = {Daniel Seita and Pete Florence and Jonathan Tompson and Erwin Coumans and Vikas Sindhwani and Ken Goldberg and Andy Zeng},
    title     = {{Learning to Rearrange Deformable Cables, Fabrics, and Bags with Goal-Conditioned Transporter Networks}},
    booktitle = {IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    Year      = {2021}


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