Reasoning With Hierarchical Symbols: Reclaiming Symbolic Policies For Visual Reinforcement LearningDownload PDF


Sep 29, 2021 (edited Oct 05, 2021)ICLR 2022 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: Symbolic Regression, Reinforcement Learning, Convolutional Neural Networks, Interpretability
  • Abstract: Deep vision models are nowadays widely integrated into visual reinforcement learning (RL) to parameterize the policy networks. However, the learned policies are overparameterized black boxes that lack interpretability, and are usually brittle under input distribution shifts. This work revisits this end-to-end learning pipeline, and proposes an alternative stage-wise approach that features hierarchical reasoning. Specifically, our approach progressively converts a policy network into the interpretable symbolic policy, composed from geometric and numerical symbols and operators. A policy regression algorithm called RoundTourMix is proposed to distill the symbolic rules as teacher-student. The symbolic policy can be treated as discrete and abstracted representations of the policy network, but are found to be more interpretable, robust and transferable. The proposed symbolic distillation approach is experimentally demonstrated to maintain the performance and ``de-noise" the CNN policy: on six specific environments, our distilled symbolic policy achieved compelling or even higher scores than the CNN based RL agents. Our codes will be fully released upon acceptance.
  • One-sentence Summary: Learning to distill CNN based policy networks into whitebox symbolic rules.
  • Supplementary Material: zip
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