A Workflow for Offline Model-Free Robotic Reinforcement LearningDownload PDF

Published: 13 Sept 2021, Last Modified: 05 May 2023CoRL2021 OralReaders: Everyone
Keywords: workflow, offline RL, no online tuning
Abstract: Offline reinforcement learning (RL) enables learning control policies by utilizing only prior experience, without any online interaction. This can allow robots to acquire generalizable skills from large and diverse datasets, without any costly or unsafe online data collection. Despite recent algorithmic advances in offline RL, applying these methods to real-world problems has proven challenging. Although offline RL methods can learn from prior data, there is no clear and well-understood process for making various design choices, from model ar- architecture to algorithm hyperparameters, without actually evaluating the learned policies online. In this paper, our aim is to develop a practical workflow for using offline RL analogous to the relatively well-understood workflows for supervised learning problems. To this end, we devise a set of metrics and conditions that can be tracked over the course of offline training and can inform the practitioner about how the algorithm and model architecture should be adjusted to improve final performance. Our workflow is derived from a conceptual understanding of the behavior of conservative offline RL algorithms and cross-validation in supervised learning. We demonstrate the efficacy of this workflow in producing effective policies without any online tuning, both in several simulated robotic learning scenarios and for three tasks on two distinct real robots, focusing on learning manipulation skills with raw image observations with sparse binary rewards. Explanatory video and additional content can be found at https://sites.google.com/view/offline-rl-workflow
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