Simple Nearest Neighbor Policy Method for Continuous Control Tasks

Elman Mansimov, Kyunghyun Cho

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 15, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: We design a new policy, called a nearest neighbor policy, that does not require any optimization for simple, low-dimensional continuous control tasks. As this policy does not require any optimization, it allows us to investigate the underlying difficulty of a task without being distracted by optimization difficulty of a learning algorithm. We propose two variants, one that retrieves an entire trajectory based on a pair of initial and goal states, and the other retrieving a partial trajectory based on a pair of current and goal states. We test the proposed policies on five widely-used benchmark continuous control tasks with a sparse reward: Reacher, Half Cheetah, Double Pendulum, Cart Pole and Mountain Car. We observe that the majority (the first four) of these tasks, which have been considered difficult, are easily solved by the proposed policies with high success rates, indicating that reported difficulties of them may have likely been due to the optimization difficulty. Our work suggests that it is necessary to evaluate any sophisticated policy learning algorithm on more challenging problems in order to truly assess the advances from them.
  • Keywords: nearest neighbor, reinforcement learning, policy, continuous control