Reinforcement Learning in Sparse-Reward Environments With Hindsight Policy Gradients

Paulo Rauber, Avinash Ummadisingu, Filipe Mutz, Jürgen Schmidhuber
2021 Neural Computation  
A reinforcement learning agent that needs to pursue different goals across episodes requires a goal-conditional policy. In addition to their potential to generalize desirable behavior to unseen goals, such policies may also enable higher-level planning based on subgoals. In sparse-reward environments, the capacity to exploit information about the degree to which an arbitrary goal has been achieved while another goal was intended appears crucial to enabling sample efficient learning. However,
more » ... nforcement learning agents have only recently been endowed with such capacity for hindsight. In this letter, we demonstrate how hindsight can be introduced to policy gradient methods, generalizing this idea to a broad class of successful algorithms. Our experiments on a diverse selection of sparse-reward environments show that hindsight leads to a remarkable increase in sample efficiency.
doi:10.1162/neco_a_01387 pmid:34496391 fatcat:xgf75zm5o5blloexd4zjtoaiua