Training Transformers#

This tutorial shows how to train a transformer policy network.

Note: Understand how to launch training runs and view results first!

Before trying to train a transformer, it might be useful to read the following tutorials:

A template with tuned parameters for transformer based policy networks is defined in robomimic/config/default_templates/bc_transformer.json.

1. Using default configurations#

The easiest way to train a transformer policy network is to pass the default template json to the main training script via the --config argument. The dataset can be specified by setting the data attribute of the train section of the config json, or specified via the --dataset argument. You may find that your data has different rollout horizon lengths, observation modalities, or other incompatibilities with the default template. In this scenario, we suggest defining custom parameters as described in (2).

$ python --config ../config/default_templates/bc_transformer.json --dataset /path/to/dataset.hdf5

2. Defining custom parameters#

If you want to modify the default transformer parameters, do not directly modify the default config (config/ or template (config/default_templates/bc_transformer.json). Instead, you can create a copy of robomimic/config/default_templates/bc_transformer.json and store it in a new directory on your computer. Set this as the base file for scripts/ and define custom settings as described here. This is particularly useful when running a sweep over hyperparameters; it is the prefered way to launch multiple training runs.

Optionally, you can modify the default template in python code or directly set the appropriate keys in your copy of the config file. This code snippet below highlights useful parameters to tune for transformers. To see all transformer policy settings, refer to config/

# make sure transformer is enabled
config.algo.transformer.enabled = True

# useful config attributes to modify for transformers
config.algo.transformer.embed_dim = 512                       # dimension for embeddings used by transformer
config.algo.transformer.num_layers = 6                        # number of transformer blocks to stack
config.algo.transformer.num_heads = 8                         # number of attention heads for each transformer block (should divide embed_dim evenly)
config.algo.transformer.context_length = 10                   # length of (s, a) sub-seqeunces to feed to transformer
config.train.frame_stack = 10                                 # length of sub-sequence to observe: (s_{t-1}, a_{t-1}), (s_{t-2}, a_{t-2}), ..., (s_{t-9}, a_{t-9})
config.train.seq_length = 1                                   # length of sub-seqeunce to predict: (s_{t}, a_{t})