Keywords: Imitation Learning, Reinforcement Learning
TL;DR: Combining Imitation Learning and Reinforcement Learning to learn to outperform the expert
Abstract: In this paper, we propose to combine imitation and reinforcement learning via the idea of reward shaping using an oracle. We study the effectiveness of the near- optimal cost-to-go oracle on the planning horizon and demonstrate that the cost- to-go oracle shortens the learner’s planning horizon as function of its accuracy: a globally optimal oracle can shorten the planning horizon to one, leading to a one- step greedy Markov Decision Process which is much easier to optimize, while an oracle that is far away from the optimality requires planning over a longer horizon to achieve near-optimal performance. Hence our new insight bridges the gap and interpolates between imitation learning and reinforcement learning. Motivated by the above mentioned insights, we propose Truncated HORizon Policy Search (THOR), a method that focuses on searching for policies that maximize the total reshaped reward over a finite planning horizon when the oracle is sub-optimal. We experimentally demonstrate that a gradient-based implementation of THOR can achieve superior performance compared to RL baselines and IL baselines even when the oracle is sub-optimal.
Data: [OpenAI Gym](https://paperswithcode.com/dataset/openai-gym)