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Addressing Optimism Bias in Sequence Modeling for Reinforcement Learning

Adam Villaflor · Zhe Huang · Swapnil Pande · John Dolan · Jeff Schneider

Hall E #903

Keywords: [ APP: Robotics ] [ RL: Deep RL ] [ DL: Generative Models and Autoencoders ] [ DL: Sequential Models, Time series ] [ RL: Continuous Action ] [ RL: Planning ] [ RL: Batch/Offline ]


Impressive results in natural language processing (NLP) based on the Transformer neural network architecture have inspired researchers to explore viewing offline reinforcement learning (RL) as a generic sequence modeling problem. Recent works based on this paradigm have achieved state-of-the-art results in several of the mostly deterministic offline Atari and D4RL benchmarks. However, because these methods jointly model the states and actions as a single sequencing problem, they struggle to disentangle the effects of the policy and world dynamics on the return. Thus, in adversarial or stochastic environments, these methods lead to overly optimistic behavior that can be dangerous in safety-critical systems like autonomous driving. In this work, we propose a method that addresses this optimism bias by explicitly disentangling the policy and world models, which allows us at test time to search for policies that are robust to multiple possible futures in the environment. We demonstrate our method’s superior performance on a variety of autonomous driving tasks in simulation.

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