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  1. Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) is a popular deep policy gradient algorithm. In standard implementations, PPO regularizes policy updates with clipped probability ratios, and parameterizes policies with either continuous Gaussian distributions or discrete Softmax distributions. These design choices are widely accepted, and motivated by empirical performance comparisons on MuJoCo and Atari benchmarks. We revisit these practices outside the regime of current benchmarks, and expose three failure modes of standard PPO. We explain why standard design choices are problematic in these cases, and show that alternative choices of surrogate objectives and policy parameterizations can prevent the failure modes. We hope that our work serves as a reminder that many algorithmic design choices in reinforcement learning are tied to specific simulation environments. We should not implicitly accept these choices as a standard part of a more general algorithm.
  2. In this paper, we propose Test-Time Training, a general approach for improving the performance of predictive models when training and test data come from different distributions. We turn a single unlabeled test sample into a self-supervised learning problem, on which we update the model parameters before making a prediction. This also extends naturally to data in an online stream. Our simple approach leads to improvements on diverse image classification benchmarks aimed at evaluating robustness to distribution shifts.