Model-Invariant State Abstractions for Model-Based Reinforcement LearningDownload PDF


Sep 29, 2021 (edited Oct 05, 2021)ICLR 2022 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: Reinforcement Learning, Model-based RL, State Abstractions, Generalization in RL
  • Abstract: Accuracy and generalization of dynamics models is key to the success of model-based reinforcement learning (MBRL). As the complexity of tasks increases, learning accurate dynamics models becomes increasingly sample inefficient. However, many complex tasks also exhibit sparsity in dynamics, i.e., actions have only a local effect on the system dynamics. In this paper, we exploit this property with a causal invariance perspective in the single-task setting, introducing a new type of state abstraction called \textit{model-invariance}. Unlike previous forms of state abstractions, a model-invariance state abstraction leverages causal sparsity over state variables. This allows for compositional generalization to unseen states, something that non-factored forms of state abstractions cannot do. We prove that an optimal policy can be learned over this model-invariance state abstraction and show improved generalization in a simple toy domain. Next, we propose a practical method to approximately learn a model-invariant representation for complex domains and validate our approach by showing improved modelling performance over standard maximum likelihood approaches on challenging tasks, such as the MuJoCo-based Humanoid. Finally, within the MBRL setting we show strong performance gains with respect to sample efficiency across a host of continuous control tasks.
  • One-sentence Summary: A practical method for avoiding spurious correlations pertaining to dynamics models in MBRL
  • Supplementary Material: zip
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