Improving On-policy Learning with Statistical Reward Accumulation

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Deep reinforcement learning has obtained significant breakthroughs in recent years. Most methods in deep-RL achieve good results via the maximization of the reward signal provided by the environment, typically in the form of discounted cumulative returns. Such reward signals represent the immediate feedback of a particular action performed by an agent. However, tasks with sparse reward signals are still challenging to on-policy methods. In this paper, we introduce an effective characterization of past reward statistics (which can be seen as long-term feedback signals) to supplement this immediate reward feedback. In particular, value functions are learned with multi-critics supervision, enabling complex value functions to be more easily approximated in on-policy learning, even when the reward signals are sparse. We also introduce a novel exploration mechanism called ``hot-wiring'' that can give a boost to seemingly trapped agents. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our advantage actor multi-critic (A2MC) method across the discrete domains in Atari games as well as continuous domains in the MuJoCo environments. A video demo is provided at https://youtu.be/zBmpf3Yz8tc and source codes will be made available upon paper acceptance.
  • TL;DR: Improving On-policy Learning with Statistical Reward Accumulation
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