Prioritized Level Replay

Minqi Jiang · Edward Grefenstette · Tim Rocktäschel

Keywords: [ Reinforcement Learning and Planning -> Deep RL ]


Environments with procedurally generated content serve as important benchmarks for testing systematic generalization in deep reinforcement learning. In this setting, each level is an algorithmically created environment instance with a unique configuration of its factors of variation. Training on a prespecified subset of levels allows for testing generalization to unseen levels. What can be learned from a level depends on the current policy, yet prior work defaults to uniform sampling of training levels independently of the policy. We introduce Prioritized Level Replay (PLR), a general framework for selectively sampling the next training level by prioritizing those with higher estimated learning potential when revisited in the future. We show TD-errors effectively estimate a level's future learning potential and, when used to guide the sampling procedure, induce an emergent curriculum of increasingly difficult levels. By adapting the sampling of training levels, PLR significantly improves sample-efficiency and generalization on Procgen Benchmark—matching the previous state-of-the-art in test return—and readily combines with other methods. Combined with the previous leading method, PLR raises the state-of-the-art to over 76% improvement in test return relative to standard RL baselines.

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