HIQL: Offline Goal-Conditioned RL with Latent States as Actions

Seohong Park, Dibya Ghosh, Benjamin Eysenbach, Sergey Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Unsupervised pre-training has recently become the bedrock for computer vision and natural language processing. In reinforcement learning (RL), goal-conditioned RL can potentially provide an analogous self-supervised approach for making use of large quantities of unlabeled (reward-free) data. However, building effective algorithms for goal-conditioned RL that can learn directly from diverse offline data is challenging, because it is hard to accurately estimate the exact value function for faraway goals. Nonetheless, goal-reaching problems exhibit structure, such that reaching distant goals entails first passing through closer subgoals. This structure can be very useful, as assessing the quality of actions for nearby goals is typically easier than for more distant goals. Based on this idea, we propose a hierarchical algorithm for goal-conditioned RL from offline data. Using one action-free value function, we learn two policies that allow us to exploit this structure: a high-level policy that treats states as actions and predicts (a latent representation of) a subgoal and a low-level policy that predicts the action for reaching this subgoal. Through analysis and didactic examples, we show how this hierarchical decomposition makes our method robust to noise in the estimated value function. We then apply our method to offline goal-reaching benchmarks, showing that our method can solve long-horizon tasks that stymie prior methods, can scale to high-dimensional image observations, and can readily make use of action-free data. Our code is available at https://seohong.me/projects/hiql/.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2023
Event37th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2023 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Dec 10 2023Dec 16 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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