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Actor-Critic Alignment for Offline-to-Online Reinforcement Learning

Zishun Yu · Xinhua Zhang

Exhibit Hall 1 #305
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Abstract: Deep offline reinforcement learning has recently demonstrated considerable promises in leveraging offline datasets, providing high-quality models that significantly reduce the online interactions required for fine-tuning. However, such a benefit is often diminished due to the marked state-action distribution shift, which causes significant bootstrap error and wipes out the good initial policy. Existing solutions resort to constraining the policy shift or balancing the sample replay based on their online-ness. However, they require online estimation of distribution divergence or density ratio. To avoid such complications, we propose deviating from existing actor-critic approaches that directly transfer the state-action value functions. Instead, we post-process them by aligning with the offline learned policy, so that the $Q$-values for actions *outside* the offline policy are also tamed. As a result, the online fine-tuning can be simply performed as in the standard actor-critic algorithms. We show empirically that the proposed method improves the performance of the fine-tuned robotic agents on various simulated tasks.

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