This paper presents a safety-aware learning framework that employs an adaptive model learning method together with barrier certificates for systems with possibly nonstationary agent dynamics. To extract the dynamic structure of the model, we use a sparse optimization technique, and the resulting model will be used in combination with control barrier certificates which constrain feedback controllers only when safety is about to be violated. Under some mild assumptions, solutions to the constrained feedback-controller optimization are guaranteed to be globally optimal, and the monotonic improvement of a feedback controller is thus ensured. In addition, we reformulate the (action-)value function approximation to make any kernel-based nonlinear function estimation method applicable. We then employ a state-of-the-art kernel adaptive filtering technique for the (action-)value function approximation. The resulting framework is verified experimentally on a brushbot, whose dynamics is unknown and highly complex.
Quantum hardware and quantum-inspired algorithms are becoming increasingly popular for combinatorial optimization. However, these algorithms may require careful hyperparameter tuning for each problem instance. We use a reinforcement learning agent in conjunction with a quantum-inspired algorithm to solve the Ising energy minimization problem, which is equivalent to the Maximum Cut problem. The agent controls the algorithm by tuning one of its parameters with the goal of improving recently seen solutions. We propose a new Rescaled Ranked Reward (R3) method that enables stable single-player version of self-play training that helps the agent to escape local optima. The training on any problem instance can be accelerated by applying transfer learning from an agent trained on randomly generated problems. Our approach allows sampling high-quality solutions to the Ising problem with high probability and outperforms both baseline heuristics and a black-box hyperparameter optimization approach.
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.
This paper proposes a model-free Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithm to synthesise policies for an unknown Markov Decision Process (MDP), such that a linear time property is satisfied. We convert the given property into a Limit Deterministic Buchi Automaton (LDBA), then construct a synchronized MDP between the automaton and the original MDP. According to the resulting LDBA, a reward function is then defined over the state-action pairs of the product MDP. With this reward function, our algorithm synthesises a policy whose traces satisfies the linear time property: as such, the policy synthesis procedure is "constrained" by the given specification. Additionally, we show that the RL procedure sets up an online value iteration method to calculate the maximum probability of satisfying the given property, at any given state of the MDP - a convergence proof for the procedure is provided. Finally, the performance of the algorithm is evaluated via a set of numerical examples. We observe an improvement of one order of magnitude in the number of iterations required for the synthesis compared to existing approaches.
For an autonomous agent to fulfill a wide range of user-specified goals at test time, it must be able to learn broadly applicable and general-purpose skill repertoires. Furthermore, to provide the requisite level of generality, these skills must handle raw sensory input such as images. In this paper, we propose an algorithm that acquires such general-purpose skills by combining unsupervised representation learning and reinforcement learning of goal-conditioned policies. Since the particular goals that might be required at test-time are not known in advance, the agent performs a self-supervised "practice" phase where it imagines goals and attempts to achieve them. We learn a visual representation with three distinct purposes: sampling goals for self-supervised practice, providing a structured transformation of raw sensory inputs, and computing a reward signal for goal reaching. We also propose a retroactive goal relabeling scheme to further improve the sample-efficiency of our method. Our off-policy algorithm is efficient enough to learn policies that operate on raw image observations and goals for a real-world robotic system, and substantially outperforms prior techniques.
Autonomous urban driving navigation with complex multi-agent dynamics is under-explored due to the difficulty of learning an optimal driving policy. The traditional modular pipeline heavily relies on hand-designed rules and the pre-processing perception system while the supervised learning-based models are limited by the accessibility of extensive human experience. We present a general and principled Controllable Imitative Reinforcement Learning (CIRL) approach which successfully makes the driving agent achieve higher success rates based on only vision inputs in a high-fidelity car simulator. To alleviate the low exploration efficiency for large continuous action space that often prohibits the use of classical RL on challenging real tasks, our CIRL explores over a reasonably constrained action space guided by encoded experiences that imitate human demonstrations, building upon Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG). Moreover, we propose to specialize adaptive policies and steering-angle reward designs for different control signals (i.e. follow, straight, turn right, turn left) based on the shared representations to improve the model capability in tackling with diverse cases. Extensive experiments on CARLA driving benchmark demonstrate that CIRL substantially outperforms all previous methods in terms of the percentage of successfully completed episodes on a variety of goal-directed driving tasks. We also show its superior generalization capability in unseen environments. To our knowledge, this is the first successful case of the learned driving policy through reinforcement learning in the high-fidelity simulator, which performs better-than supervised imitation learning.
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.
We study active object tracking, where a tracker takes as input the visual observation (i.e., frame sequence) and produces the camera control signal (e.g., move forward, turn left, etc.). Conventional methods tackle the tracking and the camera control separately, which is challenging to tune jointly. It also incurs many human efforts for labeling and many expensive trial-and-errors in realworld. To address these issues, we propose, in this paper, an end-to-end solution via deep reinforcement learning, where a ConvNet-LSTM function approximator is adopted for the direct frame-toaction prediction. We further propose an environment augmentation technique and a customized reward function, which are crucial for a successful training. The tracker trained in simulators (ViZDoom, Unreal Engine) shows good generalization in the case of unseen object moving path, unseen object appearance, unseen background, and distracting object. It can restore tracking when occasionally losing the target. With the experiments over the VOT dataset, we also find that the tracking ability, obtained solely from simulators, can potentially transfer to real-world scenarios.
This paper introduces a novel neural network-based reinforcement learning approach for robot gaze control. Our approach enables a robot to learn and to adapt its gaze control strategy for human-robot interaction neither with the use of external sensors nor with human supervision. The robot learns to focus its attention onto groups of people from its own audio-visual experiences, independently of the number of people, of their positions and of their physical appearances. In particular, we use a recurrent neural network architecture in combination with Q-learning to find an optimal action-selection policy; we pre-train the network using a simulated environment that mimics realistic scenarios that involve speaking/silent participants, thus avoiding the need of tedious sessions of a robot interacting with people. Our experimental evaluation suggests that the proposed method is robust against parameter estimation, i.e. the parameter values yielded by the method do not have a decisive impact on the performance. The best results are obtained when both audio and visual information is jointly used. Experiments with the Nao robot indicate that our framework is a step forward towards the autonomous learning of socially acceptable gaze behavior.
Although reinforcement learning methods can achieve impressive results in simulation, the real world presents two major challenges: generating samples is exceedingly expensive, and unexpected perturbations can cause proficient but narrowly-learned policies to fail at test time. In this work, we propose to learn how to quickly and effectively adapt online to new situations as well as to perturbations. To enable sample-efficient meta-learning, we consider learning online adaptation in the context of model-based reinforcement learning. Our approach trains a global model such that, when combined with recent data, the model can be be rapidly adapted to the local context. Our experiments demonstrate that our approach can enable simulated agents to adapt their behavior online to novel terrains, to a crippled leg, and in highly-dynamic environments.
Modern communication networks have become very complicated and highly dynamic, which makes them hard to model, predict and control. In this paper, we develop a novel experience-driven approach that can learn to well control a communication network from its own experience rather than an accurate mathematical model, just as a human learns a new skill (such as driving, swimming, etc). Specifically, we, for the first time, propose to leverage emerging Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) for enabling model-free control in communication networks; and present a novel and highly effective DRL-based control framework, DRL-TE, for a fundamental networking problem: Traffic Engineering (TE). The proposed framework maximizes a widely-used utility function by jointly learning network environment and its dynamics, and making decisions under the guidance of powerful Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). We propose two new techniques, TE-aware exploration and actor-critic-based prioritized experience replay, to optimize the general DRL framework particularly for TE. To validate and evaluate the proposed framework, we implemented it in ns-3, and tested it comprehensively with both representative and randomly generated network topologies. Extensive packet-level simulation results show that 1) compared to several widely-used baseline methods, DRL-TE significantly reduces end-to-end delay and consistently improves the network utility, while offering better or comparable throughput; 2) DRL-TE is robust to network changes; and 3) DRL-TE consistently outperforms a state-ofthe-art DRL method (for continuous control), Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG), which, however, does not offer satisfying performance.