The Option Keyboard (OK) was recently proposed as a method for transferring behavioral knowledge across tasks. OK transfers knowledge by adaptively combining subsets of known behaviors using Successor Features (SFs) and Generalized Policy Improvement (GPI). However, it relies on hand-designed state-features and task encodings which are cumbersome to design for every new environment. In this work, we propose the "Successor Features Keyboard" (SFK), which enables transfer with discovered state-features and task encodings. To enable discovery, we propose the "Categorical Successor Feature Approximator" (CSFA), a novel learning algorithm for estimating SFs while jointly discovering state-features and task encodings. With SFK and CSFA, we achieve the first demonstration of transfer with SFs in a challenging 3D environment where all the necessary representations are discovered. We first compare CSFA against other methods for approximating SFs and show that only CSFA discovers representations compatible with SF&GPI at this scale. We then compare SFK against transfer learning baselines and show that it transfers most quickly to long-horizon tasks.
In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems have surpassed human intelligence in a variety of computational tasks. However, AI systems, like humans, make mistakes, have blind spots, hallucinate, and struggle to generalize to new situations. This work explores whether AI can benefit from creative decision-making mechanisms when pushed to the limits of its computational rationality. In particular, we investigate whether a team of diverse AI systems can outperform a single AI in challenging tasks by generating more ideas as a group and then selecting the best ones. We study this question in the game of chess, the so-called drosophila of AI. We build on AlphaZero (AZ) and extend it to represent a league of agents via a latent-conditioned architecture, which we call AZ_db. We train AZ_db to generate a wider range of ideas using behavioral diversity techniques and select the most promising ones with sub-additive planning. Our experiments suggest that AZ_db plays chess in diverse ways, solves more puzzles as a group and outperforms a more homogeneous team. Notably, AZ_db solves twice as many challenging puzzles as AZ, including the challenging Penrose positions. When playing chess from different openings, we notice that players in AZ_db specialize in different openings, and that selecting a player for each opening using sub-additive planning results in a 50 Elo improvement over AZ. Our findings suggest that diversity bonuses emerge in teams of AI agents, just as they do in teams of humans and that diversity is a valuable asset in solving computationally hard problems.
In this paper we develop a foundation for continual reinforcement learning.
When has an agent converged? Standard models of the reinforcement learning problem give rise to a straightforward definition of convergence: An agent converges when its behavior or performance in each environment state stops changing. However, as we shift the focus of our learning problem from the environment's state to the agent's state, the concept of an agent's convergence becomes significantly less clear. In this paper, we propose two complementary accounts of agent convergence in a framing of the reinforcement learning problem that centers around bounded agents. The first view says that a bounded agent has converged when the minimal number of states needed to describe the agent's future behavior cannot decrease. The second view says that a bounded agent has converged just when the agent's performance only changes if the agent's internal state changes. We establish basic properties of these two definitions, show that they accommodate typical views of convergence in standard settings, and prove several facts about their nature and relationship. We take these perspectives, definitions, and analysis to bring clarity to a central idea of the field.
Structured state space sequence (S4) models have recently achieved state-of-the-art performance on long-range sequence modeling tasks. These models also have fast inference speeds and parallelisable training, making them potentially useful in many reinforcement learning settings. We propose a modification to a variant of S4 that enables us to initialise and reset the hidden state in parallel, allowing us to tackle reinforcement learning tasks. We show that our modified architecture runs asymptotically faster than Transformers and performs better than LSTM models on a simple memory-based task. Then, by leveraging the model's ability to handle long-range sequences, we achieve strong performance on a challenging meta-learning task in which the agent is given a randomly-sampled continuous control environment, combined with a randomly-sampled linear projection of the environment's observations and actions. Furthermore, we show the resulting model can adapt to out-of-distribution held-out tasks. Overall, the results presented in this paper suggest that the S4 models are a strong contender for the default architecture used for in-context reinforcement learning
Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning (HRL) agents have the potential to demonstrate appealing capabilities such as planning and exploration with abstraction, transfer, and skill reuse. Recent successes with HRL across different domains provide evidence that practical, effective HRL agents are possible, even if existing agents do not yet fully realize the potential of HRL. Despite these successes, visually complex partially observable 3D environments remained a challenge for HRL agents. We address this issue with Hierarchical Hybrid Offline-Online (H2O2), a hierarchical deep reinforcement learning agent that discovers and learns to use options from scratch using its own experience. We show that H2O2 is competitive with a strong non-hierarchical Muesli baseline in the DeepMind Hard Eight tasks and we shed new light on the problem of learning hierarchical agents in complex environments. Our empirical study of H2O2 reveals previously unnoticed practical challenges and brings new perspective to the current understanding of hierarchical agents in complex domains.
In recent years, Reinforcement Learning (RL) has been applied to real-world problems with increasing success. Such applications often require to put constraints on the agent's behavior. Existing algorithms for constrained RL (CRL) rely on gradient descent-ascent, but this approach comes with a caveat. While these algorithms are guaranteed to converge on average, they do not guarantee last-iterate convergence, i.e., the current policy of the agent may never converge to the optimal solution. In practice, it is often observed that the policy alternates between satisfying the constraints and maximizing the reward, rarely accomplishing both objectives simultaneously. Here, we address this problem by introducing Reinforcement Learning with Optimistic Ascent-Descent (ReLOAD), a principled CRL method with guaranteed last-iterate convergence. We demonstrate its empirical effectiveness on a wide variety of CRL problems including discrete MDPs and continuous control. In the process we establish a benchmark of challenging CRL problems.
Recently, the Successor Features and Generalized Policy Improvement (SF&GPI) framework has been proposed as a method for learning, composing, and transferring predictive knowledge and behavior. SF&GPI works by having an agent learn predictive representations (SFs) that can be combined for transfer to new tasks with GPI. However, to be effective this approach requires state features that are useful to predict, and these state-features are typically hand-designed. In this work, we present a novel neural network architecture, "Modular Successor Feature Approximators" (MSFA), where modules both discover what is useful to predict, and learn their own predictive representations. We show that MSFA is able to better generalize compared to baseline architectures for learning SFs and modular architectures
We study the connection between gradient-based meta-learning and convex op-timisation. We observe that gradient descent with momentum is a special case of meta-gradients, and building on recent results in optimisation, we prove convergence rates for meta-learning in the single task setting. While a meta-learned update rule can yield faster convergence up to constant factor, it is not sufficient for acceleration. Instead, some form of optimism is required. We show that optimism in meta-learning can be captured through Bootstrapped Meta-Gradients (Flennerhag et al., 2022), providing deeper insight into its underlying mechanics.