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A Survey of Inverse Reinforcement Learning: Challenges, Methods and Progress

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Inverse reinforcement learning is the problem of inferring the reward function of an observed agent, given its policy or behavior. Researchers perceive IRL both as a problem and as a class of methods. By categorically surveying the current literature in IRL, this article serves as a reference for researchers and practitioners in machine learning to understand the challenges of IRL and select the approaches best suited for the problem on hand. The survey formally introduces the IRL problem along with its central challenges which include accurate inference, generalizability, correctness of prior knowledge, and growth in solution complexity with problem size. The article elaborates how the current methods mitigate these challenges. We further discuss the extensions of traditional IRL methods: (i) inaccurate and incomplete perception, (ii) incomplete model, (iii) multiple rewards, and (iv) non-linear reward functions. This discussion concludes with some broad advances in the research area and currently open research questions.


Inverse Reinforcement Learning via Deep Gaussian Process

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We propose a new approach to inverse reinforcement learning (IRL) based on the deep Gaussian process (deep GP) model, which is capable of learning complicated reward structures with few demonstrations. Our model stacks multiple latent GP layers to learn abstract representations of the state feature space, which is linked to the demonstrations through the Maximum Entropy learning framework. Incorporating the IRL engine into the nonlinear latent structure renders existing deep GP inference approaches intractable. To tackle this, we develop a non-standard variational approximation framework which extends previous inference schemes. This allows for approximate Bayesian treatment of the feature space and guards against overfitting. Carrying out representation and inverse reinforcement learning simultaneously within our model outperforms state-of-the-art approaches, as we demonstrate with experiments on standard benchmarks ("object world","highway driving") and a new benchmark ("binary world").


Maximum Causal Tsallis Entropy Imitation Learning

Neural Information Processing Systems

In this paper, we propose a novel maximum causal Tsallis entropy (MCTE) framework for imitation learning which can efficiently learn a sparse multi-modal policy distribution from demonstrations. We provide the full mathematical analysis of the proposed framework. First, the optimal solution of an MCTE problem is shown to be a sparsemax distribution, whose supporting set can be adjusted. The proposed method has advantages over a softmax distribution in that it can exclude unnecessary actions by assigning zero probability. Second, we prove that an MCTE problem is equivalent to robust Bayes estimation in the sense of the Brier score. Third, we propose a maximum causal Tsallis entropy imitation learning (MCTEIL) algorithm with a sparse mixture density network (sparse MDN) by modeling mixture weights using a sparsemax distribution. In particular, we show that the causal Tsallis entropy of an MDN encourages exploration and efficient mixture utilization while Boltzmann Gibbs entropy is less effective. We validate the proposed method in two simulation studies and MCTEIL outperforms existing imitation learning methods in terms of average returns and learning multi-modal policies.


Maximum Causal Tsallis Entropy Imitation Learning

Neural Information Processing Systems

In this paper, we propose a novel maximum causal Tsallis entropy (MCTE) framework for imitation learning which can efficiently learn a sparse multi-modal policy distribution from demonstrations. We provide the full mathematical analysis of the proposed framework. First, the optimal solution of an MCTE problem is shown to be a sparsemax distribution, whose supporting set can be adjusted. The proposed method has advantages over a softmax distribution in that it can exclude unnecessary actions by assigning zero probability. Second, we prove that an MCTE problem is equivalent to robust Bayes estimation in the sense of the Brier score. Third, we propose a maximum causal Tsallis entropy imitation learning (MCTEIL) algorithm with a sparse mixture density network (sparse MDN) by modeling mixture weights using a sparsemax distribution. In particular, we show that the causal Tsallis entropy of an MDN encourages exploration and efficient mixture utilization while Boltzmann Gibbs entropy is less effective. We validate the proposed method in two simulation studies and MCTEIL outperforms existing imitation learning methods in terms of average returns and learning multi-modal policies.


Adversarial recovery of agent rewards from latent spaces of the limit order book

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Inverse reinforcement learning has proved its ability to explain state-action trajectories of expert agents by recovering their underlying reward functions in increasingly challenging environments. Recent advances in adversarial learning have allowed extending inverse RL to applications with non-stationary environment dynamics unknown to the agents, arbitrary structures of reward functions and improved handling of the ambiguities inherent to the ill-posed nature of inverse RL. This is particularly relevant in real time applications on stochastic environments involving risk, like volatile financial markets. Moreover, recent work on simulation of complex environments enable learning algorithms to engage with real market data through simulations of its latent space representations, avoiding a costly exploration of the original environment. In this paper, we explore whether adversarial inverse RL algorithms can be adapted and trained within such latent space simulations from real market data, while maintaining their ability to recover agent rewards robust to variations in the underlying dynamics, and transfer them to new regimes of the original environment.