Sub-Goal Trees a Framework for Goal-Based Reinforcement Learning

Tom Jurgenson, Or Avner, Edward Groshev, Aviv Tamar
Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 119:5020-5030, 2020.

Abstract

Many AI problems, in robotics and other domains, are goal-directed, essentially seeking a trajectory leading to some goal state. Reinforcement learning (RL), building on Bellman’s optimality equation, naturally optimizes for a single goal, yet can be made goal-directed by augmenting the state with the goal. Instead, we propose a new RL framework, derived from a dynamic programming equation for the all pairs shortest path (APSP) problem, which naturally solves goal-directed queries. We show that this approach has computational benefits for both standard and approximate dynamic programming. Interestingly, our formulation prescribes a novel protocol for computing a trajectory: instead of predicting the next state given its predecessor, as in standard RL, a goal-conditioned trajectory is constructed by first predicting an intermediate state between start and goal, partitioning the trajectory into two. Then, recursively, predicting intermediate points on each sub-segment, until a complete trajectory is obtained. We call this trajectory structure a sub-goal tree. Building on it, we additionally extend the policy gradient methodology to recursively predict sub-goals, resulting in novel goal-based algorithms. Finally, we apply our method to neural motion planning, where we demonstrate significant improvements compared to standard RL on navigating a 7-DoF robot arm between obstacles.

Cite this Paper


BibTeX
@InProceedings{pmlr-v119-jurgenson20a, title = {Sub-Goal Trees a Framework for Goal-Based Reinforcement Learning}, author = {Jurgenson, Tom and Avner, Or and Groshev, Edward and Tamar, Aviv}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning}, pages = {5020--5030}, year = {2020}, editor = {Hal Daumé III and Aarti Singh}, volume = {119}, series = {Proceedings of Machine Learning Research}, month = {13--18 Jul}, publisher = {PMLR}, pdf = {http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/jurgenson20a/jurgenson20a.pdf}, url = { http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/jurgenson20a.html }, abstract = {Many AI problems, in robotics and other domains, are goal-directed, essentially seeking a trajectory leading to some goal state. Reinforcement learning (RL), building on Bellman’s optimality equation, naturally optimizes for a single goal, yet can be made goal-directed by augmenting the state with the goal. Instead, we propose a new RL framework, derived from a dynamic programming equation for the all pairs shortest path (APSP) problem, which naturally solves goal-directed queries. We show that this approach has computational benefits for both standard and approximate dynamic programming. Interestingly, our formulation prescribes a novel protocol for computing a trajectory: instead of predicting the next state given its predecessor, as in standard RL, a goal-conditioned trajectory is constructed by first predicting an intermediate state between start and goal, partitioning the trajectory into two. Then, recursively, predicting intermediate points on each sub-segment, until a complete trajectory is obtained. We call this trajectory structure a sub-goal tree. Building on it, we additionally extend the policy gradient methodology to recursively predict sub-goals, resulting in novel goal-based algorithms. Finally, we apply our method to neural motion planning, where we demonstrate significant improvements compared to standard RL on navigating a 7-DoF robot arm between obstacles.} }
Endnote
%0 Conference Paper %T Sub-Goal Trees a Framework for Goal-Based Reinforcement Learning %A Tom Jurgenson %A Or Avner %A Edward Groshev %A Aviv Tamar %B Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning %C Proceedings of Machine Learning Research %D 2020 %E Hal Daumé III %E Aarti Singh %F pmlr-v119-jurgenson20a %I PMLR %P 5020--5030 %U http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/jurgenson20a.html %V 119 %X Many AI problems, in robotics and other domains, are goal-directed, essentially seeking a trajectory leading to some goal state. Reinforcement learning (RL), building on Bellman’s optimality equation, naturally optimizes for a single goal, yet can be made goal-directed by augmenting the state with the goal. Instead, we propose a new RL framework, derived from a dynamic programming equation for the all pairs shortest path (APSP) problem, which naturally solves goal-directed queries. We show that this approach has computational benefits for both standard and approximate dynamic programming. Interestingly, our formulation prescribes a novel protocol for computing a trajectory: instead of predicting the next state given its predecessor, as in standard RL, a goal-conditioned trajectory is constructed by first predicting an intermediate state between start and goal, partitioning the trajectory into two. Then, recursively, predicting intermediate points on each sub-segment, until a complete trajectory is obtained. We call this trajectory structure a sub-goal tree. Building on it, we additionally extend the policy gradient methodology to recursively predict sub-goals, resulting in novel goal-based algorithms. Finally, we apply our method to neural motion planning, where we demonstrate significant improvements compared to standard RL on navigating a 7-DoF robot arm between obstacles.
APA
Jurgenson, T., Avner, O., Groshev, E. & Tamar, A.. (2020). Sub-Goal Trees a Framework for Goal-Based Reinforcement Learning. Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Machine Learning, in Proceedings of Machine Learning Research 119:5020-5030 Available from http://proceedings.mlr.press/v119/jurgenson20a.html .

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