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Zeyang Li

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Safe Reinforcement Learning with Dual Robustness

Sep 13, 2023
Zeyang Li, Chuxiong Hu, Yunan Wang, Yujie Yang, Shengbo Eben Li

Reinforcement learning (RL) agents are vulnerable to adversarial disturbances, which can deteriorate task performance or compromise safety specifications. Existing methods either address safety requirements under the assumption of no adversary (e.g., safe RL) or only focus on robustness against performance adversaries (e.g., robust RL). Learning one policy that is both safe and robust remains a challenging open problem. The difficulty is how to tackle two intertwined aspects in the worst cases: feasibility and optimality. Optimality is only valid inside a feasible region, while identification of maximal feasible region must rely on learning the optimal policy. To address this issue, we propose a systematic framework to unify safe RL and robust RL, including problem formulation, iteration scheme, convergence analysis and practical algorithm design. This unification is built upon constrained two-player zero-sum Markov games. A dual policy iteration scheme is proposed, which simultaneously optimizes a task policy and a safety policy. The convergence of this iteration scheme is proved. Furthermore, we design a deep RL algorithm for practical implementation, called dually robust actor-critic (DRAC). The evaluations with safety-critical benchmarks demonstrate that DRAC achieves high performance and persistent safety under all scenarios (no adversary, safety adversary, performance adversary), outperforming all baselines significantly.

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Smoothing Policy Iteration for Zero-sum Markov Games

Dec 03, 2022
Yangang Ren, Yao Lyu, Wenxuan Wang, Shengbo Eben Li, Zeyang Li, Jingliang Duan

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Zero-sum Markov Games (MGs) has been an efficient framework for multi-agent systems and robust control, wherein a minimax problem is constructed to solve the equilibrium policies. At present, this formulation is well studied under tabular settings wherein the maximum operator is primarily and exactly solved to calculate the worst-case value function. However, it is non-trivial to extend such methods to handle complex tasks, as finding the maximum over large-scale action spaces is usually cumbersome. In this paper, we propose the smoothing policy iteration (SPI) algorithm to solve the zero-sum MGs approximately, where the maximum operator is replaced by the weighted LogSumExp (WLSE) function to obtain the nearly optimal equilibrium policies. Specially, the adversarial policy is served as the weight function to enable an efficient sampling over action spaces.We also prove the convergence of SPI and analyze its approximation error in $\infty -$norm based on the contraction mapping theorem. Besides, we propose a model-based algorithm called Smooth adversarial Actor-critic (SaAC) by extending SPI with the function approximations. The target value related to WLSE function is evaluated by the sampled trajectories and then mean square error is constructed to optimize the value function, and the gradient-ascent-descent methods are adopted to optimize the protagonist and adversarial policies jointly. In addition, we incorporate the reparameterization technique in model-based gradient back-propagation to prevent the gradient vanishing due to sampling from the stochastic policies. We verify our algorithm in both tabular and function approximation settings. Results show that SPI can approximate the worst-case value function with a high accuracy and SaAC can stabilize the training process and improve the adversarial robustness in a large margin.

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