WebShop: Towards Scalable Real-World Web Interaction with Grounded Language Agents

Shunyu Yao, Howard Chen, John Yang, Karthik Narasimhan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Existing benchmarks for grounding language in interactive environments either lack real-world linguistic elements, or prove difficult to scale up due to substantial human involvement in the collection of data or feedback signals. To bridge this gap, we develop WebShop - a simulated e-commerce website environment with 1.18 million real-world products and 12, 087 crowd-sourced text instructions. Given a text instruction specifying a product requirement, an agent needs to navigate multiple types of webpages and issue diverse actions to find, customize, and purchase an item. WebShop provides several challenges for language grounding including understanding compositional instructions, query (re-)formulation, comprehending and acting on noisy text in webpages, and performing strategic exploration. We collect over 1, 600 human demonstrations for the task, and train and evaluate a diverse range of agents using reinforcement learning, imitation learning, and pre-trained image and language models. Our best model achieves a task success rate of 29%, which outperforms rule-based heuristics (9.6%) but is far lower than human expert performance (59%). We also analyze agent and human trajectories and ablate various model components to provide insights for developing future agents with stronger language understanding and decision making abilities. Finally, we show that agents trained on WebShop exhibit non-trivial sim-to-real transfer when evaluated on amazon.com and ebay.com, indicating the potential value of WebShop in developing practical web-based agents that can operate in the wild.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 - 36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
EditorsS. Koyejo, S. Mohamed, A. Agarwal, D. Belgrave, K. Cho, A. Oh
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
ISBN (Electronic)9781713871088
StatePublished - 2022
Event36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Nov 28 2022Dec 9 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume35
ISSN (Print)1049-5258

Conference

Conference36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Period11/28/2212/9/22

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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