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Learning Robust Dynamics through Variational Sparse Gating
Arnav Kumar Jain · Shivakanth Sujit · Shruti Joshi · Vincent Michalski · Danijar Hafner · Samira Ebrahimi Kahou
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=460hxFeWzyr »

Latent dynamics models learn an abstract representation of an environment based on collected experience. Such models are the core of recent advances in model-based reinforcement learning. For example, world models can imagine unseen trajectories, potentially improving sample efficiency. Planning in the real-world requires agents to understand long-term dependencies between actions and events, and account for varying degree of changes, e.g. due to a change in background or viewpoint. Moreover, in a typical scene, only a subset of objects change their state. These changes are often quite sparse which suggests incorporating such an inductive bias in a dynamics model. In this work, we introduce the variational sparse gating mechanism, which enables an agent to sparsely update a latent dynamics model state. We also present a simplified version, which unlike prior models, has a single stochastic recurrent state. Finally, we introduce a new ShapeHerd environment, in which an agent needs to push shapes into a goal area. This environment is partially-observable and requires models to remember the previously observed objects and explore the environment to discover unseen objects. Our experiments show that the proposed methods significantly outperform leading model-based reinforcement learning methods on this environment, while also yielding competitive performance on tasks from the DeepMind Control Suite.

Author Information

Arnav Kumar Jain (Mila, ETS)
Shivakanth Sujit (École de technologie supérieure)
Shruti Joshi (Mila, ETS Montreal)
Vincent Michalski (Université de Montréal)
Danijar Hafner (Google)
Samira Ebrahimi Kahou (McGill University)

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