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Workshop: Generalization in Planning (GenPlan '23)

Normalization Enhances Generalization in Visual Reinforcement Learning

Lu Li · Jiafei Lyu · Guozheng Ma · Zilin Wang · Zhenjie Yang · Xiu Li · Zhiheng Li

Keywords: [ visual reinforcement learning ] [ generalization ] [ normalization ]


Recent advances in visual reinforcement learning (RL) have led to impressive success in handling complex tasks. However, these methods have demonstrated limited generalization capability to visual disturbances, which poses a significant challenge for their real-world application and adaptability. Though normalization techniques have demonstrated huge success in supervised and unsupervised learning, their applications in visual RL are still scarce. In this paper, we explore the potential benefits of integrating normalization into visual RL methods with respect to generalization performance. We find that, perhaps surprisingly, incorporating suitable normalization techniques is sufficient to enhance the generalization capabilities, without any additional special design. We utilize the combination of two normalization techniques, CrossNorm and SelfNorm, for generalizable visual RL. Extensive experiments are conducted on DMControl Generalization Benchmark and CARLA to validate the effectiveness of our method. We show that our method significantly improves generalization capability while only marginally affecting sample efficiency. In particular, when integrated with DrQ-v2, our method enhances the test performance of DrQ-v2 on CARLA across various scenarios, from 14% of the training performance to 97%.

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