Model-Based Reinforcement Learning via Meta-Policy Optimization

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Ignasi Clavera, Jonas Rothfuss, John Schulman, Yasuhiro Fujita, Tamim Asfour, Pieter Abbeel ;
Proceedings of The 2nd Conference on Robot Learning, PMLR 87:617-629, 2018.

Abstract

Model-based reinforcement learning approaches carry the promise of being data efficient. However, due to challenges in learning dynamics models that sufficiently match the real-world dynamics, they struggle to achieve the same asymptotic performance as model-free methods. We propose Model-Based Meta-Policy-Optimization (MB-MPO), an approach that foregoes the strong reliance on accurate learned dynamics models. Using an ensemble of learned dynamic models, MB-MPO meta-learns a policy that can quickly adapt to any model in the ensemble with one policy gradient step. This steers the meta-policy towards internalizing consistent dynamics predictions among the ensemble while shifting the burden of behaving optimally w.r.t. the model discrepancies towards the adaptation step. Our experiments show that MB-MPO is more robust to model imperfections than previous model-based approaches. Finally, we demonstrate that our approach is able to match the asymptotic performance of model-free methods while requiring significantly less experience.

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