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Plan To Predict: Learning an Uncertainty-Foreseeing Model For Model-Based Reinforcement Learning

Zifan Wu · Chao Yu · Chen Chen · Jianye Hao · Hankz Hankui Zhuo

Keywords: [ Model-based Reinforcement Learning ]


In Model-based Reinforcement Learning (MBRL), model learning is critical since an inaccurate model can bias policy learning via generating misleading samples. However, learning an accurate model can be difficult since the policy is continually updated and the induced distribution over visited states used for model learning shifts accordingly. Prior methods alleviate this issue by quantifying the uncertainty of model-generated samples. However, these methods only quantify the uncertainty passively after the samples were generated, rather than foreseeing the uncertainty before model trajectories fall into those highly uncertain regions. The resulting low-quality samples can induce unstable learning targets and hinder the optimization of the policy. Moreover, while being learned to minimize one-step prediction errors, the model is generally used to predict for multiple steps, leading to a mismatch between the objectives of model learning and model usage. To this end, we propose Plan To Predict (P2P), an MBRL framework that treats the model rollout process as a sequential decision making problem by reversely considering the model as a decision maker and the current policy as the dynamics. In this way, the model can quickly adapt to the current policy and foresee the multi-step future uncertainty when generating trajectories. Theoretically, we show that the performance of P2P can be guaranteed by approximately optimizing a lower bound of the true environment return. Empirical results demonstrate that P2P achieves state-of-the-art performance on several challenging benchmark tasks.

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