Continuous Control with Contexts, ProvablyDownload PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • Keywords: continuous control, learning, context
  • TL;DR: We give a provably efficient algorithm for linear quadratic regulator with contexts.
  • Abstract: A fundamental challenge in artificially intelligence is to build an agent that generalizes and adapts to unseen environments. A common strategy is to build a decoder that takes a context of the unseen new environment and generates a policy. The current paper studies how to build a decoder for the fundamental continuous control environment, linear quadratic regulator (LQR), which can model a wide range of real world physical environments. We present a simple algorithm for this problem, which uses upper confidence bound (UCB) to refine the estimate of the decoder and balance the exploration-exploitation trade-off. Theoretically, our algorithm enjoys a $\widetilde{O}\left(\sqrt{T}\right)$ regret bound in the online setting where $T$ is the number of environments the agent played. This also implies after playing $\widetilde{O}\left(1/\epsilon^2\right)$ environments, the agent is able to transfer the learned knowledge to obtain an $\epsilon$-suboptimal policy for an unseen environment. To our knowledge, this is first provably efficient algorithm to build a decoder in the continuous control setting. While our main focus is theoretical, we also present experiments that demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithm.
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