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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.


Visualizing Movement Control Optimization Landscapes

arXiv.org Machine Learning

A large body of animation research focuses on optimization of movement control, either as action sequences or policy parameters. However, as closed-form expressions of the objective functions are often not available, our understanding of the optimization problems is limited. Building on recent work on analyzing neural network training, we contribute novel visualizations of high-dimensional control optimization landscapes; this yields insights into why control optimization is hard and why common practices like early termination and spline-based action parameterizations make optimization easier. For example, our experiments show how trajectory optimization can become increasingly ill-conditioned with longer trajectories, but parameterizing control as partial target states - e.g., target angles converted to torques using a PD-controller - can act as an efficient preconditioner. Both our visualizations and quantitative empirical data also indicate that neural network policy optimization scales better than trajectory optimization for long planning horizons. Our work advances the understanding of movement optimization and our visualizations should also provide value in educational use.


Learning Optimal Data Augmentation Policies via Bayesian Optimization for Image Classification Tasks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In recent years, deep learning has achieved remarkable achievements in many fields, including computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition and others. Adequate training data is the key to ensure the effectiveness of the deep models. However, obtaining valid data requires a lot of time and labor resources. Data augmentation (DA) is an effective alternative approach, which can generate new labeled data based on existing data using label-preserving transformations. Although we can benefit a lot from DA, designing appropriate DA policies requires a lot of expert experience and time consumption, and the evaluation of searching the optimal policies is costly. So we raise a new question in this paper: how to achieve automated data augmentation at as low cost as possible? We propose a method named BO-Aug for automating the process by finding the optimal DA policies using the Bayesian optimization approach. Our method can find the optimal policies at a relatively low search cost, and the searched policies based on a specific dataset are transferable across different neural network architectures or even different datasets. We validate the BO-Aug on three widely used image classification datasets, including CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100 and SVHN. Experimental results show that the proposed method can achieve state-of-the-art or near advanced classification accuracy. Code to reproduce our experiments is available at https://github.com/zhangxiaozao/BO-Aug.


BRPO: Batch Residual Policy Optimization

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In batch reinforcement learning (RL), one often constrains a learned policy to be close to the behavior (data-generating) policy, e.g., by constraining the learned action distribution to differ from the behavior policy by some maximum degree that is the same at each state. This can cause batch RL to be overly conservative, unable to exploit large policy changes at frequently-visited, high-confidence states without risking poor performance at sparsely-visited states. To remedy this, we propose residual policies, where the allowable deviation of the learned policy is state-action-dependent. We derive a new for RL method, BRPO, which learns both the policy and allowable deviation that jointly maximize a lower bound on policy performance. We show that BRPO achieves the state-of-the-art performance in a number of tasks.


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.