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Invariance in Policy Optimisation and Partial Identifiability in Reward Learning

Joar Skalse · Matthew Farrugia-Roberts · Stuart Russell · Alessandro Abate · Adam Gleave

Exhibit Hall 1 #643
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It is often very challenging to manually design reward functions for complex, real-world tasks. To solve this, one can instead use reward learning to infer a reward function from data. However, there are often multiple reward functions that fit the data equally well, even in the infinite-data limit. This means that the reward function is only partially identifiable. In this work, we formally characterise the partial identifiability of the reward function given several popular reward learning data sources, including expert demonstrations and trajectory comparisons. We also analyse the impact of this partial identifiability for several downstream tasks, such as policy optimisation. We unify our results in a framework for comparing data sources and downstream tasks by their invariances, with implications for the design and selection of data sources for reward learning.

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