Improving sample-efficiency of model-free reinforcement learning algorithms on image inputs with representation learning
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Desta, Betelhem Dejene
Reinforcement learning struggles to solve control tasks on directly on images. Performance on identical tasks with access to the underlying states is much better. One avenue to bridge the gap between the two is to leverage unsupervised learning as a means of learning state representations from images, thereby resulting in a better conditioned reinforcement learning problem. Through investigation of related work, characteristics of successful integration of unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning are identified. We hypothesize that joint training of state representations and policies result in higher sample-efficiency if adequate regularization is provided. We further hypothesize that representations which correlate more strongly with the underlying Markov decision process result in additional sample-efficiency. These hypotheses are tested through a simple deterministic generative representation learning model (autoencoder) trained with image reconstruction loss and additional forward and inverse auxiliary losses. While our algorithm does not reach state-of-the-art performance, its modular implementation integrated in the reinforcement learning library Tianshou enables easy use to reinforcement learning practitioners, and thus also accelerates further research. We also identify which aspects of our solution are most important and use them to formulate promising research directions. In our tests we limited ourselves to Atari environments and primarily used Rainbow as the underlying reinforcement learning algorithm.
sample-efficient reinforcement learning , state representation learning , unsupervised learning , autoencoder