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ROS2Learn: a reinforcement learning framework for ROS 2

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We propose a novel framework for Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) in modular robotics to train a robot directly from joint states, using traditional robotic tools. We use an state-of-the-art implementation of the Proximal Policy Optimization, Trust Region Policy Optimization and Actor-Critic Kronecker-Factored Trust Region algorithms to learn policies in four different Modular Articulated Robotic Arm (MARA) environments. We support this process using a framework that communicates with typical tools used in robotics, such as Gazebo and Robot Operating System 2 (ROS 2). We evaluate several algorithms in modular robots with an empirical study in simulation.


Multi-Path Policy Optimization

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Ling Pan 1, Qingpeng Cai 2, Longbo Huang 1 1 IIIS, Tsinghua University 2 Alibaba Group Abstract Recent years have witnessed a tremendous improvement of deep reinforcement learning. However, a challenging problem is that an agent may suffer from inefficient exploration, particularly for on-policy methods. Previous exploration methods either rely on complex structure to estimate the novelty of states, or incur sensitive hyper-parameters causing instability. In this paper, we propose an efficient exploration method, Multi-Path Policy Optimization (MPPO), which does not incur high computation cost and ensures stability. MPPO maintains an efficient mechanism that effectively utilizes a population of diverse policies to enable better exploration, especially in sparse environments. We also give a theoretical guarantee of the stable performance. We build our scheme upon two widely-adopted on-policy methods, the Trust-Region Policy Optimization (TRPO) algorithm and Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) algorithm. We conduct extensive experiments on several MuJoCo tasks and their sparsified variants to fairly evaluate the proposed method. Results show that MPPO significantly outperforms state-of-the-art exploration methods in terms of both sample efficiency and final performance. 1 Introduction In reinforcement learning, an agent seeks to find an optimal policy that maximizes long-term rewards by interacting with an unknown environment. Directly optimizing the policy by vanilla policy gradient methods may incur large policy changes, which can result in performance collapse due to unlimited updates.


Inter-Level Cooperation in Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This article presents a novel algorithm for promoting cooperation between internal actors in a goal-conditioned hierarchical reinforcement learning (HRL) policy. Current techniques for HRL policy optimization treat the higher and lower level policies as separate entities which are trained to maximize different objective functions, rendering the HRL problem formulation more similar to a general sum game than a single-agent task. Within this setting, we hypothesize that improved cooperation between the internal agents of a hierarchy can simplify the credit assignment problem from the perspective of the high-level policies, thereby leading to significant improvements to training in situations where intricate sets of action primitives must be performed to yield improvements in performance. In order to promote cooperation within this setting, we propose the inclusion of a connected gradient term to the gradient computations of the higher level policies. Our method is demonstrated to achieve superior results to existing techniques in a set of difficult long time horizon tasks.


Pretrain Soft Q-Learning with Imperfect Demonstrations

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Pretraining reinforcement learning methods with demonstrations has been an important concept in the study of reinforcement learning since a large amount of computing power is spent on online simulations with existing reinforcement learning algorithms. Pretraining reinforcement learning remains a significant challenge in exploiting expert demonstrations whilst keeping exploration potentials, especially for value based methods. In this paper, we propose a pretraining method for soft Q-learning. Our work is inspired by pretraining methods for actor-critic algorithms since soft Q-learning is a value based algorithm that is equivalent to policy gradient. The proposed method is based on $\gamma$-discounted biased policy evaluation with entropy regularization, which is also the updating target of soft Q-learning. Our method is evaluated on various tasks from Atari 2600. Experiments show that our method effectively learns from imperfect demonstrations, and outperforms other state-of-the-art methods that learn from expert demonstrations.


Inverse Policy Evaluation for Value-based Sequential Decision-making

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Value-based methods for reinforcement learning lack generally applicable ways to derive behavior from a value function. Many approaches involve approximate value iteration (e.g., $Q$-learning), and acting greedily with respect to the estimates with an arbitrary degree of entropy to ensure that the state-space is sufficiently explored. Behavior based on explicit greedification assumes that the values reflect those of \textit{some} policy, over which the greedy policy will be an improvement. However, value-iteration can produce value functions that do not correspond to \textit{any} policy. This is especially relevant in the function-approximation regime, when the true value function can't be perfectly represented. In this work, we explore the use of \textit{inverse policy evaluation}, the process of solving for a likely policy given a value function, for deriving behavior from a value function. We provide theoretical and empirical results to show that inverse policy evaluation, combined with an approximate value iteration algorithm, is a feasible method for value-based control.