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Contributed Talk #3 MEMENTO: Further Progress Through Forgetting
William Fedus

Fri Dec 13 04:15 PM -- 04:30 PM (PST) @ None

Modern Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithms, even those with intrinsic reward bonuses, suffer performance plateaus in hard-exploration domains suggesting these algorithms have reached their ceiling. However, in what we describe as the MEMENTO observation, we find that new agents launched from the position where the previous agent saturated, can reliably make further progress. We show that this is not an artifact of limited model capacity or training duration, but rather indicative of interference in learning dynamics between various stages of the domain [Schaul et al., 2019], signatures of multi-task and continual learning. To mitigate interference we design an end-to-end learning agent which partitions the environment into various segments, and models the value function separately in each score context per Jain et al. [2019]. We demonstrate increased learning performance by this ensemble of agents on Montezuma’s Revenge and further show how this ensemble can be distilled into a single agent with the same model capacity as the original learner. Since the solution is empirically expressible by the original network, this provides evidence of interference and our approach validates an avenue to circumvent it.

Author Information

William Fedus (Google Brain / Mila)

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