A Multi-Task Reinforcement Learning Benchmark.

Robodesk Banner

If you find this open source release useful, please reference in your paper:

  author = {Harini Kannan and Danijar Hafner and Chelsea Finn and Dumitru Erhan},
  title = {RoboDesk: A Multi-Task Reinforcement Learning Benchmark},
  year = {2021},
  howpublished = {\url{}},


  • Diversity: RoboDesk includes 9 diverse tasks that test for a variety of different behaviors within the same environment, making it useful for evaluating transfer, multi-task learning, and global exploration.
  • Complexity: The high-dimensional image inputs contain objects of different shapes and colors, whose initial positions are randomized to avoid naive memorization and require learning algorithms to generalize.
  • Robustness: We carefully designed and tested RoboDesk to ensure fast and stable physics simulation. This avoids objects from intersecting, getting stuck, or quickly flying away, a common problem with some existing environments.
  • Lightweight: RoboDesk comes as a self-contained Python package with few dependencies. The source code is clean and pragmatic, making it a useful blueprint for creating new MuJoCo environments.

Training Agents

Installation: pip3 install -U robodesk

The environment follows the OpenAI Gym interface:

import robodesk

env = robodesk.RoboDesk(seed=0)
obs = env.reset()
assert obs.shape == (64, 64, 3)

done = False
while not done:
  action = env.action_space.sample()
  obs, reward, done, info = env.step(action)


Robodesk Tasks

The behaviors above were learned using the Dreamer agent. These policies have been learned from scratch and only from pixels, not proprioceptive states.

Task Description
open_slide Push the sliding door all the way to the right, navigating around the other objects.
open_drawer Pull the dark brown drawer all the way open.
push_green Push the green button to turn the green light on.
stack_blocks Stack the upright blue block on top of the flat green block.
upright_block_off_table Push the blue upright block off the table.
flat_block_in_bin Push the green flat block into the blue bin.
flat_block_in_shelf Push the green flat block into the shelf, navigating around the other blocks.
lift_upright_block Grasp the blue upright block and lift it above the table.
lift_ball Grasp the magenta ball and lift it above the table.

Environment Details


robodesk.RoboDesk(task='open_slide', reward='dense', action_repeat=1, episode_length=500, image_size=64)
Parameter Description
task Available tasks are open_slide, open_drawer, push_green, stack, upright_block_off_table, flat_block_in_bin, flat_block_in_shelf, lift_upright_block, lift_ball.
reward Available reward types are dense, sparse, success. Success gives only the first sparse reward during the episode, useful for computing success rates during evaluation.
action_repeat Reduces the control frequency by applying each action multiple times. This is faster than using an environment wrapper because only the needed images are rendered.
episode_length Time limit for the episode, can be None.
image_size Size of the image observations in pixels, used for both height and width.


All rewards are bound between 0 and 1. There are three types of rewards available:

  • Dense rewards are based on Euclidean distances between the objects and their target positions and can include additional terms, for example to encourage the arm to reach the object. These are the easiest rewards for learning.
  • Sparse rewards are either 0 or 1 based on whether the target object is in the target area or not, according to a fixed threshold. Learning from sparse rewards is more challenging.
  • Success rewards are equivalent to the sparse rewards, except that only the first reward is given during each episode. As a result, an episode return of 0 means failure and 1 means sucess at the task. This should only be used during evaluation.


Episodes end after 500 time steps by default. There are no early terminations.

Observation Space

Each observation is a dictionary that contains the current image, as well as additional information. For the standard benchmark, only the image should be used for learning. The observation dictionary contains the following keys:

Key Space
image Box(0, 255, (64, 64, 3), np.uint8)
qpos_robot Box(-np.inf, np.inf, (9,), np.float32)
qvel_robot Box(-np.inf, np.inf, (9,), np.float32)
qpos_objects Box(-np.inf, np.inf, (26,), np.float32)
qvel_objects Box(-np.inf, np.inf, (26,), np.float32)
end_effector Box(-np.inf, np.inf, (3,), np.float32)

Action Space

RoboDesk uses end effector control with a simple bounded action space:

Box(-1, 1, (5,), np.float32)


We thank Ben Eysenbach and Debidatta Dwibedi for their helpful feedback.

Our benchmark builds upon previously open-sourced work. We build upon the desk XMLs first introduced in [1], the Franka XMLs open-sourced in [2], and the Franka meshes open-sourced in [3].