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  1. Banerjee, A ; Fukumizu, K (Ed.)
    We present a novel off-policy loss function for learning a transition model in model-based reinforcement learning. Notably, our loss is derived from the off-policy policy evaluation objective with an emphasis on correcting distribution shift. Compared to previous model-based techniques, our approach allows for greater robustness under model mis-specification or distribution shift induced by learning/evaluating policies that are distinct from the data-generating policy. We provide a theoretical analysis and show empirical improvements over existing model-based off-policy evaluation methods. We provide further analysis showing our loss can be used for off-policy optimization (OPO) and demonstrate its integration with more recent improvements in OPO. 
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  2. We present a straightforward and efficient way to control unstable robotic systems using an estimated dynamics model. Specifically, we show how to exploit the differentiability of Gaussian Processes to create a state-dependent linearized approximation of the true continuous dynamics that can be integrated with model predictive control. Our approach is compatible with most Gaussian process approaches for system identification, and can learn an accurate model using modest amounts of training data. We validate our approach by learning the dynamics of an unstable system such as a segway with a 7-D state space and 2-D input space (using only one minute of data), and we show that the resulting controller is robust to unmodelled dynamics and disturbances, while state-of-the-art control methods based on nominal models can fail under small perturbations. Code is open sourced at 
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