Policy composition in reinforcement learning via multi-objective policy optimization

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Policy composition in reinforcement learning via multi-objective policy optimization


Shruti Mishra, Ankit Anand, Jordan Hoffmann, Nicolas Heess, Martin Riedmiller, Abbas Abdolmaleki, Doina Precup


We enable reinforcement learning agents to learn successful behavior policies by utilizing relevant pre-existing teacher policies. The teacher policies are introduced as objectives, in addition to the task objective, in a multi-objective policy optimization setting. Using the Multi-Objective Maximum a Posteriori Policy Optimization algorithm \citep{abdolmaleki2020distributional}, we show that teacher policies can help speed up learning, particularly in the absence of shaping rewards. In two domains with continuous observation and action spaces, our agents successfully compose teacher policies in sequence and in parallel, and are also able to further extend the policies of the teachers in order to solve the task. Depending on the specified combination of task and teacher(s), teacher(s) may naturally act to limit the final performance of an agent. The extent to which agents are required to adhere to teacher policies are determined by hyperparameters which determine both the effect of teachers on learning speed and the eventual performance of the agent on the task. In the {\tt humanoid} domain \citep{deepmindcontrolsuite2018}, we also equip agents with the ability to control the selection of teachers. With this ability, agents are able to meaningfully compose from the teacher policies to achieve a superior task reward on the {\tt walk} task than in cases without access to the teacher policies. We show the resemblance of composed task policies with the corresponding teacher policies through videos.

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