Moderator : Aleksandra Faust

Tue 20 Jul 5 p.m. PDT
— 6 p.m. PDT

Abstract:

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Tue 20 July 17:00 - 17:20 PDT

(Oral)

Angelos Filos · Clare Lyle · Yarin Gal · Sergey Levine · Natasha Jaques · Gregory Farquhar

We study reinforcement learning (RL) with no-reward demonstrations, a setting in which an RL agent has access to additional data from the interaction of other agents with the same environment. However, it has no access to the rewards or goals of these agents, and their objectives and levels of expertise may vary widely. These assumptions are common in multi-agent settings, such as autonomous driving. To effectively use this data, we turn to the framework of successor features. This allows us to disentangle shared features and dynamics of the environment from agent-specific rewards and policies. We propose a multi-task inverse reinforcement learning (IRL) algorithm, called \emph{inverse temporal difference learning} (ITD), that learns shared state features, alongside per-agent successor features and preference vectors, purely from demonstrations without reward labels. We further show how to seamlessly integrate ITD with learning from online environment interactions, arriving at a novel algorithm for reinforcement learning with demonstrations, called $\Psi \Phi$-learning (pronounced `Sci-Fi'). We provide empirical evidence for the effectiveness of $\Psi \Phi$-learning as a method for improving RL, IRL, imitation, and few-shot transfer, and derive worst-case bounds for its performance in zero-shot transfer to new tasks.

Tue 20 July 17:20 - 17:25 PDT

(Spotlight)

Sanae Amani Geshnigani · Christos Thrampoulidis · Lin Yang

Safety in reinforcement learning has become increasingly important in recent years. Yet, existing solutions either fail to strictly avoid choosing unsafe actions, which may lead to catastrophic results in safety-critical systems, or fail to provide regret guarantees for settings where safety constraints need to be learned. In this paper, we address both problems by first modeling safety as an unknown linear cost function of states and actions, which must always fall below a certain threshold. We then present algorithms, termed SLUCB-QVI and RSLUCB-QVI, for episodic Markov decision processes (MDPs) with linear function approximation. We show that SLUCB-QVI and RSLUCB-QVI, while with \emph{no safety violation}, achieve a $\tilde{\mathcal{O}}\left(\kappa\sqrt{d^3H^3T}\right)$ regret, nearly matching that of state-of-the-art unsafe algorithms, where $H$ is the duration of each episode, $d$ is the dimension of the feature mapping, $\kappa$ is a constant characterizing the safety constraints, and $T$ is the total number of action plays. We further present numerical simulations that corroborate our theoretical findings.

Tue 20 July 17:25 - 17:30 PDT

(Spotlight)

Sungryull Sohn · Sungtae Lee · Jongwook Choi · Harm van Seijen · Mehdi Fatemi · Honglak Lee

We propose the k-Shortest-Path (k-SP) constraint: a novel constraint on the agent’s trajectory that improves the sample efficiency in sparse-reward MDPs. We show that any optimal policy necessarily satisfies the k-SP constraint. Notably, the k-SP constraint prevents the policy from exploring state-action pairs along the non-k-SP trajectories (e.g., going back and forth). However, in practice, excluding state-action pairs may hinder the convergence of RL algorithms. To overcome this, we propose a novel cost function that penalizes the policy violating SP constraint, instead of completely excluding it. Our numerical experiment in a tabular RL setting demonstrates that the SP-constraint can significantly reduce the trajectory space of policy. As a result, our constraint enables more sample efficient learning by suppressing redundant exploration and exploitation. Our experiments on MiniGrid, DeepMind Lab, Atari, and Fetch show that the proposed method significantly improves proximal policy optimization (PPO) and outperforms existing novelty-seeking exploration methods including count-based exploration even in continuous control tasks, indicating that it improves the sample efficiency by preventing the agent from taking redundant actions.

Tue 20 July 17:30 - 17:35 PDT

(Spotlight)

Ilya Kostrikov · Rob Fergus · Jonathan Tompson · Ofir Nachum

Many modern approaches to offline Reinforcement Learning (RL) utilize behavior regularization, typically augmenting a model-free actor critic algorithm with a penalty measuring divergence of the policy from the offline data. In this work, we propose an alternative approach to encouraging the learned policy to stay close to the data, namely parameterizing the critic as the log-behavior-policy, which generated the offline data, plus a state-action value offset term, which can be learned using a neural network. Behavior regularization then corresponds to an appropriate regularizer on the offset term. We propose using a gradient penalty regularizer for the offset term and demonstrate its equivalence to Fisher divergence regularization, suggesting connections to the score matching and generative energy-based model literature. We thus term our resulting algorithm Fisher-BRC (Behavior Regularized Critic). On standard offline RL benchmarks, Fisher-BRC achieves both improved performance and faster convergence over existing state-of-the-art methods.

Tue 20 July 17:35 - 17:40 PDT

(Spotlight)

Elad Sarafian · Shai Keynan · Sarit Kraus

The Reinforcement Learning (RL) building blocks, i.e. $Q$-functions and policy networks, usually take elements from the cartesian product of two domains as input. In particular, the input of the $Q$-function is both the state and the action, and in multi-task problems (Meta-RL) the policy can take a state and a context. Standard architectures tend to ignore these variables' underlying interpretations and simply concatenate their features into a single vector. In this work, we argue that this choice may lead to poor gradient estimation in actor-critic algorithms and high variance learning steps in Meta-RL algorithms. To consider the interaction between the input variables, we suggest using a Hypernetwork architecture where a primary network determines the weights of a conditional dynamic network. We show that this approach improves the gradient approximation and reduces the learning step variance, which both accelerates learning and improves the final performance. We demonstrate a consistent improvement across different locomotion tasks and different algorithms both in RL (TD3 and SAC) and in Meta-RL (MAML and PEARL).

Tue 20 July 17:40 - 17:45 PDT

(Spotlight)

Jongmin Lee · Wonseok Jeon · Byung-Jun Lee · Joelle Pineau · Kee-Eung Kim

We consider the offline reinforcement learning (RL) setting where the agent aims to optimize the policy solely from the data without further environment interactions. In offline RL, the distributional shift becomes the primary source of difficulty, which arises from the deviation of the target policy being optimized from the behavior policy used for data collection. This typically causes overestimation of action values, which poses severe problems for model-free algorithms that use bootstrapping. To mitigate the problem, prior offline RL algorithms often used sophisticated techniques that encourage underestimation of action values, which introduces an additional set of hyperparameters that need to be tuned properly. In this paper, we present an offline RL algorithm that prevents overestimation in a more principled way. Our algorithm, OptiDICE, directly estimates the stationary distribution corrections of the optimal policy and does not rely on policy-gradients, unlike previous offline RL algorithms. Using an extensive set of benchmark datasets for offline RL, we show that OptiDICE performs competitively with the state-of-the-art methods.

Tue 20 July 17:45 - 17:50 PDT

(Spotlight)

Mikel Landajuela Larma · Brenden Petersen · Sookyung Kim · Claudio Santiago · Ruben Glatt · Nathan Mundhenk · Jacob Pettit · Daniel Faissol

Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) has proven successful for many difficult control problems by learning policies represented by neural networks. However, the complexity of neural network-based policies—involving thousands of composed non-linear operators—can render them problematic to understand, trust, and deploy. In contrast, simple policies comprising short symbolic expressions can facilitate human understanding, while also being transparent and exhibiting predictable behavior. To this end, we propose deep symbolic policy, a novel approach to directly search the space of symbolic policies. We use an autoregressive recurrent neural network to generate control policies represented by tractable mathematical expressions, employing a risk-seeking policy gradient to maximize performance of the generated policies. To scale to environments with multi-dimensional action spaces, we propose an "anchoring" algorithm that distills pre-trained neural network-based policies into fully symbolic policies, one action dimension at a time. We also introduce two novel methods to improve exploration in DRL-based combinatorial optimization, building on ideas of entropy regularization and distribution initialization. Despite their dramatically reduced complexity, we demonstrate that discovered symbolic policies outperform seven state-of-the-art DRL algorithms in terms of average rank and average normalized episodic reward across eight benchmark environments.