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PC-MLP: Model-based Reinforcement Learning with Policy Cover Guided Exploration

Yuda Song · Wen Sun


Model-based Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a popular learning paradigm due to its potential sample efficiency compared to model-free RL. However, existing empirical model-based RL approaches lack the ability to explore. This work studies a computationally and statistically efficient model-based algorithm for both Kernelized Nonlinear Regulators (KNR) and linear Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). For both models, our algorithm guarantees polynomial sample complexity and only uses access to a planning oracle. Experimentally, we first demonstrate the flexibility and the efficacy of our algorithm on a set of exploration challenging control tasks where existing empirical model-based RL approaches completely fail. We then show that our approach retains excellent performance even in common dense reward control benchmarks that do not require heavy exploration.

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