Memory-Efficient Reinforcement Learning with Priority based on Surprise and On-policynessDownload PDF

Published: 01 Feb 2023, Last Modified: 13 Feb 2023Submitted to ICLR 2023Readers: Everyone
Keywords: replay buffer, reinforcement learning, memory efficiency
TL;DR: We propose a method to prune experiences in the replay buffer using a metric based on surprise and on-policyness of the experience and use it to save memory consumption in off-policy reinforcement learning.
Abstract: In off-policy reinforcement learning, an agent collects transition data (a.k.a. experience tuples) from the environment and stores them in a replay buffer for the incoming parameter updates. Storing those tuples consumes a large amount of memory when the environment observations are given as images. Large memory consumption is especially problematic when reinforcement learning methods are applied in scenarios where the computational resources are limited. In this paper, we introduce a method to prune relatively unimportant experience tuples by a simple metric that estimates the importance of experiences and saves the overall memory consumption by the buffer. To measure the importance of experiences, we use $\textit{surprise}$ and $\textit{on-policyness}$. Surprise is quantified by the information gain the model can obtain from the experiences and on-policyness ensures that they are relevant to the current policy. In our experiments, we empirically show that our method can significantly reduce the memory consumption by the replay buffer without decreasing the performance in vision-based environments.
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