AWAC: Accelerating Online Reinforcement Learning with Offline DatasetsDownload PDF

28 Sept 2020 (modified: 22 Oct 2023)ICLR 2021 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
Keywords: reinforcement learning
Abstract: Reinforcement learning provides an appealing formalism for learning control policies from experience. However, the classic active formulation of reinforcement learning necessitates a lengthy active exploration process for each behavior, making it difficult to apply in real-world settings. If we can instead allow reinforcement learning to effectively use previously collected data to aid the online learning process, where the data could be expert demonstrations or more generally any prior experience, we could make reinforcement learning a substantially more practical tool. While a number of recent methods have sought to learn offline from previously collected data, it remains exceptionally difficult to train a policy with offline data and improve it further with online reinforcement learning. In this paper we systematically analyze why this problem is so challenging, and propose an algorithm that combines sample-efficient dynamic programming with maximum likelihood policy updates, providing a simple and effective framework that is able to leverage large amounts of offline data and then quickly perform online fine-tuning of reinforcement learning policies. We show that our method enables rapid learning of skills with a combination of prior demonstration data and online experience across a suite of difficult dexterous manipulation and benchmark tasks.
One-sentence Summary: We study RL pretraining from offline datasets and fine-tuning with online interaction, identifying issues with existing methods and proposing a new RL algorithm, AWAC, that is effective in this setting..
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