This paper presents a new multi-objective deep reinforcement learning (MODRL) framework based on deep Q-networks. We propose the use of linear and non-linear methods to develop the MODRL framework that includes both single-policy and multi-policy strategies. The experimental results on two benchmark problems including the two-objective deep sea treasure environment and the three-objective mountain car problem indicate that the proposed framework is able to converge to the optimal Pareto solutions effectively. The proposed framework is generic, which allows implementation of different deep reinforcement learning algorithms in different complex environments. This therefore overcomes many difficulties involved with standard multi-objective reinforcement learning (MORL) methods existing in the current literature. The framework creates a platform as a testbed environment to develop methods for solving various problems associated with the current MORL. Details of the framework implementation can be referred to http://www.deakin.edu.au/~thanhthi/drl.htm.
Reinforcement learning (RL) is a popular paradigm for addressing sequential decision tasks in which the agent has only limited environmental feedback. Despite many advances over the past three decades, learning in many domains still requires a large amount of interaction with the environment, which can be prohibitively expensive in realistic scenarios. To address this problem, transfer learning has been applied to reinforcement learning such that experience gained in one task can be leveraged when starting to learn the next, harder task. More recently, several lines of research have explored how tasks, or data samples themselves, can be sequenced into a curriculum for the purpose of learning a problem that may otherwise be too difficult to learn from scratch. In this article, we present a framework for curriculum learning (CL) in reinforcement learning, and use it to survey and classify existing CL methods in terms of their assumptions, capabilities, and goals. Finally, we use our framework to find open problems and suggest directions for future RL curriculum learning research.
Deep reinforcement learning (RL) has achieved many recent successes, yet experiment turn-around time remains a key bottleneck in research and in practice. We investigate how to optimize existing deep RL algorithms for modern computers, specifically for a combination of CPUs and GPUs. We confirm that both policy gradient and Q-value learning algorithms can be adapted to learn using many parallel simulator instances. We further find it possible to train using batch sizes considerably larger than are standard, without negatively affecting sample complexity or final performance. We leverage these facts to build a unified framework for parallelization that dramatically hastens experiments in both classes of algorithm. All neural network computations use GPUs, accelerating both data collection and training. Our results include using an entire DGX-1 to learn successful strategies in Atari games in mere minutes, using both synchronous and asynchronous algorithms.
Deep reinforcement learning suggests the promise of fully automated learning of robotic control policies that directly map sensory inputs to low-level actions. However, applying deep reinforcement learning methods on real-world robots is exceptionally difficult, due both to the sample complexity and, just as importantly, the sensitivity of such methods to hyperparameters. While hyperparameter tuning can be performed in parallel in simulated domains, it is usually impractical to tune hyperparameters directly on real-world robotic platforms, especially legged platforms like quadrupedal robots that can be damaged through extensive trial-and-error learning. In this paper, we develop a stable variant of the soft actor-critic deep reinforcement learning algorithm that requires minimal hyperparameter tuning, while also requiring only a modest number of trials to learn multilayer neural network policies. This algorithm is based on the framework of maximum entropy reinforcement learning, and automatically trades off exploration against exploitation by dynamically and automatically tuning a temperature parameter that determines the stochasticity of the policy. We show that this method achieves state-of-the-art performance on four standard benchmark environments. We then demonstrate that it can be used to learn quadrupedal locomotion gaits on a real-world Minitaur robot, learning to walk from scratch directly in the real world in two hours of training.
Recent studies have shown the vulnerability of reinforcement learning (RL) models in noisy settings. The sources of noises differ across scenarios. For instance, in practice, the observed reward channel is often subject to noise (e.g., when observed rewards are collected through sensors), and thus observed rewards may not be credible as a result. Also, in applications such as robotics, a deep reinforcement learning (DRL) algorithm can be manipulated to produce arbitrary errors. In this paper, we consider noisy RL problems where observed rewards by RL agents are generated with a reward confusion matrix. We call such observed rewards as perturbed rewards. We develop an unbiased reward estimator aided robust RL framework that enables RL agents to learn in noisy environments while observing only perturbed rewards. Our framework draws upon approaches for supervised learning with noisy data. The core ideas of our solution include estimating a reward confusion matrix and defining a set of unbiased surrogate rewards. We prove the convergence and sample complexity of our approach. Extensive experiments on different DRL platforms show that policies based on our estimated surrogate reward can achieve higher expected rewards, and converge faster than existing baselines. For instance, the state-of-the-art PPO algorithm is able to obtain 67.5% and 46.7% improvements in average on five Atari games, when the error rates are 10% and 30% respectively.
Despite deep reinforcement learning has recently achieved great successes, however in multiagent environments, a number of challenges still remain. Multiagent reinforcement learning (MARL) is commonly considered to suffer from the problem of non-stationary environments and exponentially increasing policy space. It would be even more challenging to learn effective policies in circumstances where the rewards are sparse and delayed over long trajectories. In this paper, we study Hierarchical Deep Multiagent Reinforcement Learning (hierarchical deep MARL) in cooperative multiagent problems with sparse and delayed rewards, where efficient multiagent learning methods are desperately needed. We decompose the original MARL problem into hierarchies and investigate how effective policies can be learned hierarchically in synchronous/asynchronous hierarchical MARL frameworks. Several hierarchical deep MARL architectures, i.e., Ind-hDQN, hCom and hQmix, are introduced for different learning paradigms. Moreover, to alleviate the issues of sparse experiences in high-level learning and non-stationarity in multiagent settings, we propose a new experience replay mechanism, named as Augmented Concurrent Experience Replay (ACER). We empirically demonstrate the effects and efficiency of our approaches in several classic Multiagent Trash Collection tasks, as well as in an extremely challenging team sports game, i.e., Fever Basketball Defense.
Many reinforcement-learning researchers treat the reward function as a part of the environment, meaning that the agent can only know the reward of a state if it encounters that state in a trial run. However, we argue that this is an unnecessary limitation and instead, the reward function should be provided to the learning algorithm. The advantage is that the algorithm can then use the reward function to check the reward for states that the agent hasn't even encountered yet. In addition, the algorithm can simultaneously learn policies for multiple reward functions. For each state, the algorithm would calculate the reward using each of the reward functions and add the rewards to its experience replay dataset. The Hindsight Experience Replay algorithm developed by Andrychowicz et al. (2017) does just this, and learns to generalize across a distribution of sparse, goal-based rewards. We extend this algorithm to linearly-weighted, multi-objective rewards and learn a single policy that can generalize across all linear combinations of the multi-objective reward. Whereas other multi-objective algorithms teach the Q-function to generalize across the reward weights, our algorithm enables the policy to generalize, and can thus be used with continuous actions.
We introduce an approach for deep reinforcement learning (RL) that improves upon the efficiency, generalization capacity, and interpretability of conventional approaches through structured perception and relational reasoning. It uses self-attention to iteratively reason about the relations between entities in a scene and to guide a model-free policy. Our results show that in a novel navigation and planning task called Box-World, our agent finds interpretable solutions that improve upon baselines in terms of sample complexity, ability to generalize to more complex scenes than experienced during training, and overall performance. In the StarCraft II Learning Environment, our agent achieves state-of-the-art performance on six mini-games -- surpassing human grandmaster performance on four. By considering architectural inductive biases, our work opens new directions for overcoming important, but stubborn, challenges in deep RL.
Existing multi-agent reinforcement learning methods are limited typically to a small number of agents. When the agent number increases largely, the learning becomes intractable due to the curse of the dimensionality and the exponential growth of agent interactions. In this paper, we present Mean Field Reinforcement Learning where the interactions within the population of agents are approximated by those between a single agent and the average effect from the overall population or neighboring agents; the interplay between the two entities is mutually reinforced: the learning of the individual agent's optimal policy depends on the dynamics of the population, while the dynamics of the population change according to the collective patterns of the individual policies. We develop practical mean field Q-learning and mean field Actor-Critic algorithms and analyze the convergence of the solution to Nash equilibrium. Experiments on Gaussian squeeze, Ising model, and battle games justify the learning effectiveness of our mean field approaches. In addition, we report the first result to solve the Ising model via model-free reinforcement learning methods.
In this paper we discuss policy iteration methods for approximate solution of a finite-state discounted Markov decision problem, with a focus on feature-based aggregation methods and their connection with deep reinforcement learning schemes. We introduce features of the states of the original problem, and we formulate a smaller "aggregate" Markov decision problem, whose states relate to the features. The optimal cost function of the aggregate problem, a nonlinear function of the features, serves as an architecture for approximation in value space of the optimal cost function or the cost functions of policies of the original problem. We discuss properties and possible implementations of this type of aggregation, including a new approach to approximate policy iteration. In this approach the policy improvement operation combines feature-based aggregation with reinforcement learning based on deep neural networks, which is used to obtain the needed features. We argue that the cost function of a policy may be approximated much more accurately by the nonlinear function of the features provided by aggregation, than by the linear function of the features provided by deep reinforcement learning, thereby potentially leading to more effective policy improvement.
Recent years have witnessed significant progresses in deep Reinforcement Learning (RL). Empowered with large scale neural networks, carefully designed architectures, novel training algorithms and massively parallel computing devices, researchers are able to attack many challenging RL problems. However, in machine learning, more training power comes with a potential risk of more overfitting. As deep RL techniques are being applied to critical problems such as healthcare and finance, it is important to understand the generalization behaviors of the trained agents. In this paper, we conduct a systematic study of standard RL agents and find that they could overfit in various ways. Moreover, overfitting could happen "robustly": commonly used techniques in RL that add stochasticity do not necessarily prevent or detect overfitting. In particular, the same agents and learning algorithms could have drastically different test performance, even when all of them achieve optimal rewards during training. The observations call for more principled and careful evaluation protocols in RL. We conclude with a general discussion on overfitting in RL and a study of the generalization behaviors from the perspective of inductive bias.