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DisCor: Corrective Feedback in Reinforcement Learning via Distribution Correction
Aviral Kumar · Abhishek Gupta · Sergey Levine

Mon Dec 07 09:00 PM -- 11:00 PM (PST) @ Poster Session 0 #88

Deep reinforcement learning can learn effective policies for a wide range of tasks, but is notoriously difficult to use due to instability and sensitivity to hyperparameters. The reasons for this remain unclear. In this paper, we study how RL methods based on bootstrapping-based Q-learning can suffer from a pathological interaction between function approximation and the data distribution used to train the Q-function: with standard supervised learning, online data collection should induce corrective feedback, where new data corrects mistakes in old predictions. With dynamic programming methods like Q-learning, such feedback may be absent. This can lead to potential instability, sub-optimal convergence, and poor results when learning from noisy, sparse or delayed rewards. Based on these observations, we propose a new algorithm, DisCor, which explicitly optimizes for data distributions that can correct for accumulated errors in the value function. DisCor computes a tractable approximation to the distribution that optimally induces corrective feedback, which we show results in reweighting samples based on the estimated accuracy of their target values. Using this distribution for training, DisCor results in substantial improvements in a range of challenging RL settings, such as multi-task learning and learning from noisy reward signals.

Author Information

Aviral Kumar (UC Berkeley)
Abhishek Gupta (University of California, Berkeley)
Sergey Levine (UC Berkeley)
Sergey Levine

Sergey Levine received a BS and MS in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2009, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2014. He joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley in fall 2016. His work focuses on machine learning for decision making and control, with an emphasis on deep learning and reinforcement learning algorithms. Applications of his work include autonomous robots and vehicles, as well as applications in other decision-making domains. His research includes developing algorithms for end-to-end training of deep neural network policies that combine perception and control, scalable algorithms for inverse reinforcement learning, deep reinforcement learning algorithms, and more

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