Safe Policy Learning for Continuous Control

Anonymous

Sep 25, 2019 ICLR 2020 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Keywords: reinforcement learning, policy gradient, safety
  • TL;DR: A general framework for incorporating long-term safety constraints in policy-based reinforcement learning
  • Abstract: We study continuous action reinforcement learning problems in which it is crucial that the agent interacts with the environment only through safe policies, i.e.,~policies that keep the agent in desirable situations, both during training and at convergence. We formulate these problems as {\em constrained} Markov decision processes (CMDPs) and present safe policy optimization algorithms that are based on a Lyapunov approach to solve them. Our algorithms can use any standard policy gradient (PG) method, such as deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) or proximal policy optimization (PPO), to train a neural network policy, while guaranteeing near-constraint satisfaction for every policy update by projecting either the policy parameter or the selected action onto the set of feasible solutions induced by the state-dependent linearized Lyapunov constraints. Compared to the existing constrained PG algorithms, ours are more data efficient as they are able to utilize both on-policy and off-policy data. Moreover, our action-projection algorithm often leads to less conservative policy updates and allows for natural integration into an end-to-end PG training pipeline. We evaluate our algorithms and compare them with the state-of-the-art baselines on several simulated (MuJoCo) tasks, as well as a real-world robot obstacle-avoidance problem, demonstrating their effectiveness in terms of balancing performance and constraint satisfaction.
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