Imitating Past Successes can be Very Suboptimal

Benjamin Eysenbach, Soumith Udatha, Sergey Levine, Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior work has proposed a simple strategy for reinforcement learning (RL): label experience with the outcomes achieved in that experience, and then imitate the relabeled experience. These outcome-conditioned imitation learning methods are appealing because of their simplicity, strong performance, and close ties with supervised learning. However, it remains unclear how these methods relate to the standard RL objective, reward maximization. In this paper, we formally relate outcome-conditioned imitation learning to reward maximization, drawing a precise relationship between the learned policy and Q-values and explaining the close connections between these methods and prior EM-based policy search methods. This analysis shows that existing outcome-conditioned imitation learning methods do not necessarily improve the policy, but a simple modification results in a method that does guarantee policy improvement, under some assumptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 - 36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
EditorsS. Koyejo, S. Mohamed, A. Agarwal, D. Belgrave, K. Cho, A. Oh
PublisherNeural information processing systems foundation
ISBN (Electronic)9781713871088
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Nov 28 2022Dec 9 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
Volume35
ISSN (Print)1049-5258

Conference

Conference36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NeurIPS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Period11/28/2212/9/22

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing

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