Accelerating Inverse Reinforcement Learning with Expert BootstrappingDownload PDF

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22 Sept 2022, 12:32 (modified: 11 Nov 2022, 20:45)ICLR 2023 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
Keywords: inverse reinforcement learning, imitation learning, reinforcement learning
TL;DR: This paper presents two simple, general-purpose recipes for accelerating inverse reinforcement learning through better utilization of expert information.
Abstract: Existing inverse reinforcement learning methods (e.g. MaxEntIRL, $f$-IRL) search over candidate reward functions and solve a reinforcement learning problem in the inner loop. This creates a rather strange inversion where a harder problem, reinforcement learning, is in the inner loop of a presumably easier problem, imitation learning. In this work, we show that better utilization of expert demonstrations can reduce the need for hard exploration in the inner RL loop, hence accelerating learning. Specifically, we propose two simple recipes: (1) placing expert transitions into the replay buffer of the inner RL algorithm (e.g. Soft-Actor Critic) which directly informs the learner about high reward states instead of forcing the learner to discover them through extensive exploration, and (2) using expert actions in Q value bootstrapping in order to improve the target Q value estimates and more accurately describe high value expert states. Our methods show significant gains over a MaxEntIRL baseline on the benchmark MuJoCo suite of tasks, speeding up recovery to 70\% of deterministic expert performance by 2.13x on HalfCheetah-v2, 2.6x on Ant-v2, 18x on Hopper-v2, and 3.36x on Walker2d-v2.
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