Learning to Reach Goals Without Reinforcement LearningDownload PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • TL;DR: Learning how to reach goals from scratch by using imitation learning with data relabeling
  • Abstract: Imitation learning algorithms provide a simple and straightforward approach for training control policies via standard supervised learning methods. By maximizing the likelihood of good actions provided by an expert demonstrator, supervised imitation learning can produce effective policies without the algorithmic complexities and optimization challenges of reinforcement learning, at the cost of requiring an expert demonstrator -- typically a person -- to provide the demonstrations. In this paper, we ask: can we use imitation learning to train effective policies without any expert demonstrations? The key observation that makes this possible is that, in the multi-task setting, trajectories that are generated by a suboptimal policy can still serve as optimal examples for other tasks. In particular, in the setting where the tasks correspond to different goals, every trajectory is a successful demonstration for the state that it actually reaches. Informed by this observation, we propose a very simple algorithm for learning behaviors without any demonstrations, user-provided reward functions, or complex reinforcement learning methods. Our method simply maximizes the likelihood of actions the agent actually took in its own previous rollouts, conditioned on the goal being the state that it actually reached. Although related variants of this approach have been proposed previously in imitation learning settings with example demonstrations, we present the first instance of this approach as a method for learning goal-reaching policies entirely from scratch. We present a theoretical result linking self-supervised imitation learning and reinforcement learning, and empirical results showing that it performs competitively with more complex reinforcement learning methods on a range of challenging goal reaching problems.
  • Keywords: Reinforcement Learning, Goal Reaching, Imitation Learning
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