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Title: Enhanced Meta Reinforcement Learning using Demonstrations in Sparse Reward Environments
Meta reinforcement learning (Meta-RL) is an approach wherein the experience gained from solving a variety of tasks is distilled into a meta-policy. The metapolicy, when adapted over only a small (or just a single) number of steps, is able to perform near-optimally on a new, related task. However, a major challenge to adopting this approach to solve real-world problems is that they are often associated with sparse reward functions that only indicate whether a task is completed partially or fully. We consider the situation where some data, possibly generated by a suboptimal agent, is available for each task. We then develop a class of algorithms entitled Enhanced Meta-RL using Demonstrations (EMRLD) that exploit this information—even if sub-optimal—to obtain guidance during training. We show how EMRLD jointly utilizes RL and supervised learning over the offline data to generate a meta-policy that demonstrates monotone performance improvements. We also develop a warm started variant called EMRLD-WS that is particularly efficient for sub-optimal demonstration data. Finally, we show that our EMRLD algorithms significantly outperform existing approaches in a variety of sparse reward environments, including that of a mobile robot.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Curran Associates
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advances in neural information processing systems
Medium: X
New Orleans, LA
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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