A Real-World WebAgent with Planning, Long Context Understanding, and Program Synthesis

Published on Jul 24
· Featured in Daily Papers on Jul 25


Pre-trained large language models (LLMs) have recently achieved better generalization and sample efficiency in autonomous web navigation. However, the performance on real-world websites has still suffered from (1) open domainness, (2) limited context length, and (3) lack of inductive bias on HTML. We introduce WebAgent, an LLM-driven agent that can complete the tasks on real websites following natural language instructions. WebAgent plans ahead by decomposing instructions into canonical sub-instructions, summarizes long HTML documents into task-relevant snippets, and acts on websites via generated Python programs from those. We design WebAgent with Flan-U-PaLM, for grounded code generation, and HTML-T5, new pre-trained LLMs for long HTML documents using local and global attention mechanisms and a mixture of long-span denoising objectives, for planning and summarization. We empirically demonstrate that our recipe improves the success on a real website by over 50%, and that HTML-T5 is the best model to solve HTML-based tasks; achieving 14.9% higher success rate than prior SoTA on the MiniWoB web navigation benchmark and better accuracy on offline task planning evaluation.

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