Understanding the Effects of Dataset Characteristics on Offline Reinforcement LearningDownload PDF

12 Oct 2021 (modified: 22 Oct 2023)Deep RL Workshop NeurIPS 2021Readers: Everyone
Keywords: Offline, Reinforcement, Learning
TL;DR: We present an empirical study on how the dataset characteristics influence various Offline RL algorithms.
Abstract: In real world, affecting the environment by a weak policy can be expensive or very risky, therefore hampers real world applications of reinforcement learning. Offline Reinforcement Learning (RL) can learn policies from a given dataset without interacting with the environment. However, the dataset is the only source of information for an Offline RL algorithm and determines the performance of the learned policy. We still lack studies on how dataset characteristics influence different Offline RL algorithms. Therefore, we conducted a comprehensive empirical analysis of how dataset characteristics effect the performance of Offline RL algorithms for discrete action environments. A dataset is characterized by two metrics: (1) the Trajectory Quality (TQ) measured by the average dataset return and (2) the State-Action Coverage (SACo) measured by the number of unique state-action pairs. We found that variants of the off-policy Deep Q-Network family require datasets with high SACo to perform well. Algorithms that constrain the learned policy towards the given dataset perform well for datasets with high TQ or SACo. For datasets with high TQ, Behavior Cloning outperforms or performs similarly to the best Offline RL algorithms.
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