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Active Policy Improvement from Multiple Black-box Oracles

Xuefeng Liu · Takuma Yoneda · Chaoqi Wang · Matthew Walter · Yuxin Chen

Exhibit Hall 1 #202
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Reinforcement learning (RL) has made significant strides in various complex domains. However, identifying an effective policy via RL often necessitates extensive exploration. Imitation learning aims to mitigate this issue by using expert demonstrations to guide exploration. In real-world scenarios, one often has access to multiple suboptimal black-box experts, rather than a single optimal oracle. These experts do not universally outperform each other across all states, presenting a challenge in actively deciding which oracle to use and in which state. We introduce MAPS and MAPS-SE, a class of policy improvement algorithms that perform imitation learning from multiple suboptimal oracles. In particular, MAPS actively selects which of the oracles to imitate and improve their value function estimates, and MAPS-SE additionally leverages an active state exploration criterion to determine which states one should explore. We provide a comprehensive theoretical analysis and demonstrate that MAPS and MAPS-SE enjoy sample efficiency advantage over the state-of-the-art policy improvement algorithms. Empirical results show that MAPS-SE significantly accelerates policy optimization via state-wise imitation learning from multiple oracles across a broad spectrum of control tasks in the DeepMind Control Suite.

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