Unsupervised Meta-Learning for Reinforcement LearningDownload PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • TL;DR: Meta-learning on self-proposed task distributions to speed up reinforcement learning without human specified task distributions
  • Abstract: Meta-learning algorithms learn to acquire new tasks more quickly from past experience. In the context of reinforcement learning, meta-learning algorithms can acquire reinforcement learning procedures to solve new problems more efficiently by utilizing experience from prior tasks. The performance of meta-learning algorithms depends on the tasks available for meta-training: in the same way that supervised learning generalizes best to test points drawn from the same distribution as the training points, meta-learning methods generalize best to tasks from the same distribution as the meta-training tasks. In effect, meta-reinforcement learning offloads the design burden from algorithm design to task design. If we can automate the process of task design as well, we can devise a meta-learning algorithm that is truly automated. In this work, we take a step in this direction, proposing a family of unsupervised meta-learning algorithms for reinforcement learning. We motivate and describe a general recipe for unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning, and present an instantiation of this approach. Our conceptual and theoretical contributions consist of formulating the unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning problem and describing how task proposals based on mutual information can in principle be used to train optimal meta-learners. Our experimental results indicate that unsupervised meta-reinforcement learning effectively acquires accelerated reinforcement learning procedures without the need for manual task design and significantly exceeds the performance of learning from scratch.
  • Keywords: Meta-Learning, Reinforcement Learning
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