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  1. null (Ed.)
    We introduce a framework that abstracts Reinforcement Learning (RL) as a sequence modeling problem. This allows us to draw upon the simplicity and scalability of the Transformer architecture, and associated advances in language modeling such as GPT-x and BERT. In particular, we present Decision Transformer, an architecture that casts the problem of RL as conditional sequence modeling. Unlike prior approaches to RL that fit value functions or compute policy gradients, Decision Transformer simply outputs the optimal actions by leveraging a causally masked Transformer. By conditioning an autoregressive model on the desired return (reward), past states, and actions, our Decision Transformer model can generate future actions that achieve the desired return. Despite its simplicity, Decision Transformer matches or exceeds the performance of state-of-the-art model-free offline RL baselines on Atari, OpenAI Gym, and Key-to-Door tasks. 
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  2. In offline reinforcement learning (RL), the goal is to learn a highly rewarding policy based solely on a dataset of historical interactions with the environment. This serves as an extreme test for an agent's ability to effectively use historical data which is known to be critical for efficient RL. Prior work in offline RL has been confined almost exclusively to model-free RL approaches. In this work, we present MOReL, an algorithmic framework for model-based offline RL. This framework consists of two steps: (a) learning a pessimistic MDP using the offline dataset; (b) learning a near-optimal policy in this pessimistic MDP. The design of the pessimistic MDP is such that for any policy, the performance in the real environment is approximately lower-bounded by the performance in the pessimistic MDP. This enables the pessimistic MDP to serve as a good surrogate for purposes of policy evaluation and learning. Theoretically, we show that MOReL is minimax optimal (up to log factors) for offline RL. Empirically, MOReL matches or exceeds state-of-the-art results on widely used offline RL benchmarks. Overall, the modular design of MOReL enables translating advances in its components (for e.g., in model learning, planning etc.) to improvements in offline RL. 
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  3. A core capability of intelligent systems is the ability to quickly learn new tasks by drawing on prior experience. Gradient (or optimization) based meta-learning has recently emerged as an effective approach for few-shot learning. In this formulation, meta-parameters are learned in the outer loop, while task-specific models are learned in the inner-loop, by using only a small amount of data from the current task. A key challenge in scaling these approaches is the need to differentiate through the inner loop learning process, which can impose considerable computational and memory burdens. By drawing upon implicit differentiation, we develop the implicit MAML algorithm, which depends only on the solution to the inner level optimization and not the path taken by the inner loop optimizer. This effectively decouples the meta-gradient computation from the choice of inner loop optimizer. As a result, our approach is agnostic to the choice of inner loop optimizer and can gracefully handle many gradient steps without vanishing gradients or memory constraints. Theoretically, we prove that implicit MAML can compute accurate meta-gradients with a memory footprint that is, up to small constant factors, no more than that which is required to compute a single inner loop gradient and at no overall increase in the total computational cost. Experimentally, we show that these benefits of implicit MAML translate into empirical gains on few-shot image recognition benchmarks. 
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