Keywords: reinforcement learning, curriculum learning
TL;DR: Unsupervised Curriculum Learning using Unsupervised Learned Latent Task Representations
Abstract: Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithms are often known for sample inefficiency and difficult generalization. Recently, Unsupervised Environment Design (UED) emerged as a new paradigm for zero-shot generalization by simultaneously learning a task distribution and agent policies on the sampled tasks. This is a non-stationary process where the task distribution evolves along with agent policies; creating an instability over time. While past works demonstrated the potential of such approaches, sampling effectively from the task space remains an open challenge, bottlenecking these approaches. To this end, we introduce CLUTR: a novel curriculum learning algorithm that decouples task representation and curriculum learning into a two-stage optimization. It first trains a recurrent variational autoencoder on randomly generated tasks to learn a latent task manifold. Next, a teacher agent creates a curriculum by optimizing a minimax REGRET-based objective on a set of latent tasks sampled from this manifold. By keeping the task manifold fixed, we show that CLUTR successfully overcomes the non-stationarity problem and improves stability. Our experimental results show CLUTR outperforms PAIRED, a principled and popular UED method, in terms of generalization and sample efficiency in the challenging CarRacing and navigation environments: showing an 18x improvement on the F1 CarRacing benchmark. CLUTR also performs comparably to the non-UED state-of-the-art for CarRacing, outperforming it in nine of the 20 tracks. CLUTR also achieves a 33% higher solved rate than PAIRED on a set of 18 out-of-distribution navigation tasks.
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