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Cal-QL: Calibrated Offline RL Pre-Training for Efficient Online Fine-Tuning
Mitsuhiko Nakamoto · Yuexiang Zhai · Anikait Singh · Max Sobol Mark · Yi Ma · Chelsea Finn · Aviral Kumar · Sergey Levine
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=Ye9feH28TF »

A compelling use case of offline reinforcement learning (RL) is to obtain a policy initialization from existing datasets followed by fast online fine-tuning with limited interaction. However, existing offline RL methods tend to behave poorly during fine-tuning. In this paper, we devise an approach for learning an effective initialization from offline data that also enables fast online fine-tuning capabilities. Our approach, calibrated Q-learning (Cal-QL), accomplishes this by learning a conservative value function initialization that underestimates the value of the learned policy from offline data, while also being calibrated, in the sense that the learned Q-values are at a reasonable scale. We refer to this property as calibration, and define it formally as providing a lower bound on the true value function of the learned policy and an upper bound on the value of some other (suboptimal) reference policy, which may simply be the behavior policy. We show that offline RL algorithms that learn such calibrated value functions lead to effective online fine-tuning, enabling us to take the benefits of offline initializations in online fine-tuning. In practice, Cal-QL can be implemented on top of the conservative Q learning (CQL) for offline RL within a one-line code change. Empirically, Cal-QL outperforms state-of-the-art methods on 9/11 fine-tuning benchmark tasks that we study in this paper.

Author Information

Mitsuhiko Nakamoto (University of California, Berkeley)
Yuexiang Zhai (UC Berkeley)
Anikait Singh (Stanford University)
Max Sobol Mark (Computer Science Department, Stanford University)
Yi Ma (UC Berkeley)
Chelsea Finn (Stanford)

Chelsea Finn is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Finn's research interests lie in the capability of robots and other agents to develop broadly intelligent behavior through learning and interaction. To this end, her work has included deep learning algorithms for concurrently learning visual perception and control in robotic manipulation skills, inverse reinforcement methods for learning reward functions underlying behavior, and meta-learning algorithms that can enable fast, few-shot adaptation in both visual perception and deep reinforcement learning. Finn received her Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and her PhD in Computer Science at UC Berkeley. Her research has been recognized through the ACM doctoral dissertation award, the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, the C.V. Ramamoorthy Distinguished Research Award, and the MIT Technology Review 35 under 35 Award, and her work has been covered by various media outlets, including the New York Times, Wired, and Bloomberg. Throughout her career, she has sought to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities within CS and AI by developing an AI outreach camp at Berkeley for underprivileged high school students, a mentoring program for underrepresented undergraduates across four universities, and leading efforts within the WiML and Berkeley WiCSE communities of women researchers.

Aviral Kumar (Indian Institute of Technology Bombay)

Final year undergraduate student at IIT Bombay, India. Interning at Google Brain Toronto. Will join UC Berkeley as a Ph.D. student starting Fall 2018.

Sergey Levine (University of Washington)

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