No TD Studying, Benefit Reweighting, or Transformers – The Berkeley Synthetic Intelligence Analysis Weblog

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An illustration of the RvS coverage we be taught with simply supervised studying and a depth-two MLP. It makes use of no TD studying, benefit reweighting, or Transformers!

Offline reinforcement studying (RL) is conventionally approached utilizing value-based strategies based mostly on temporal distinction (TD) studying. Nevertheless, many latest algorithms reframe RL as a supervised studying downside. These algorithms be taught conditional insurance policies by conditioning on objective states (Lynch et al., 2019; Ghosh et al., 2021), reward-to-go (Kumar et al., 2019; Chen et al., 2021), or language descriptions of the duty (Lynch and Sermanet, 2021).

We discover the simplicity of those strategies fairly interesting. If supervised studying is sufficient to resolve RL issues, then offline RL might turn into broadly accessible and (comparatively) simple to implement. Whereas TD studying should delicately stability an actor coverage with an ensemble of critics, these supervised studying strategies practice only one (conditional) coverage, and nothing else!

So, how can we use these strategies to successfully resolve offline RL issues? Prior work places ahead a lot of intelligent ideas and tips, however these tips are typically contradictory, making it difficult for practitioners to determine the right way to efficiently apply these strategies. For instance, RCPs (Kumar et al., 2019) require fastidiously reweighting the coaching information, GCSL (Ghosh et al., 2021) requires iterative, on-line information assortment, and Choice Transformer (Chen et al., 2021) makes use of a Transformer sequence mannequin because the coverage community.

Which, if any, of those hypotheses are appropriate? Do we have to reweight our coaching information based mostly on estimated benefits? Are Transformers essential to get a high-performing coverage? Are there different vital design choices which have been unnoticed of prior work?

Our work goals to reply these questions by attempting to determine the important components of offline RL through supervised studying. We run experiments throughout 4 suites, 26 environments, and eight algorithms. When the mud settles, we get aggressive efficiency in each setting suite we think about using remarkably easy components. The video above exhibits the advanced conduct we be taught utilizing simply supervised studying with a depth-two MLP – no TD studying, information reweighting, or Transformers!

Let’s start with an summary of the algorithm we examine. Whereas a number of prior work (Kumar et al., 2019; Ghosh et al., 2021; and Chen et al., 2021) share the identical core algorithm, it lacks a typical identify. To fill this hole, we suggest the time period RL through Supervised Studying (RvS). We aren’t proposing any new algorithm however somewhat displaying how prior work could be seen from a unifying framework; see Determine 1.


Determine 1. (Left) A replay buffer of expertise (Proper) Hindsight relabelled coaching information

RL through Supervised Studying takes as enter a replay buffer of expertise together with states, actions, and outcomes. The outcomes could be an arbitrary operate of the trajectory, together with a objective state, reward-to-go, or language description. Then, RvS performs hindsight relabeling to generate a dataset of state, motion, and consequence triplets. The instinct is that the actions which are noticed present supervision for the outcomes which are reached. With this coaching dataset, RvS performs supervised studying by maximizing the probability of the actions given the states and outcomes. This yields a conditional coverage that may situation on arbitrary outcomes at take a look at time.

In our experiments, we concentrate on the next three key questions.

  1. Which design choices are vital for RL through supervised studying?
  2. How nicely does RL through supervised studying truly work? We are able to do RL through supervised studying, however would utilizing a unique offline RL algorithm carry out higher?
  3. What kind of consequence variable ought to we situation on? (And does it even matter?)


Determine 2. Our RvS structure. A depth-two MLP suffices in each setting suite we take into account.

We get good efficiency utilizing only a depth-two multi-layer perceptron. The truth is, that is aggressive with all beforehand printed architectures we’re conscious of, together with a Transformer sequence mannequin. We simply concatenate the state and consequence earlier than passing them via two fully-connected layers (see Determine 2). The keys that we determine are having a community with giant capability – we use width 1024 – in addition to dropout in some environments. We discover that this works nicely with out reweighting the coaching information or performing any further regularization.

After figuring out these key design choices, we examine the general efficiency of RvS compared to earlier strategies. This weblog put up will overview outcomes from two of the suites we take into account within the paper.


The primary suite is D4RL Health club, which incorporates the usual MuJoCo halfcheetah, hopper, and walker robots. The problem in D4RL Health club is to be taught locomotion insurance policies from offline datasets of various high quality. For instance, one offline dataset incorporates rollouts from a very random coverage. One other dataset incorporates rollouts from a “medium” coverage skilled partway to convergence, whereas one other dataset is a combination of rollouts from medium and skilled insurance policies.


Determine 3. Total efficiency in D4RL Health club.

Determine 3 exhibits our leads to D4RL Health club. RvS-R is our implementation of RvS conditioned on rewards (illustrated in Determine 2). On common throughout all 12 duties within the suite, we see that RvS-R, which makes use of only a depth-two MLP, is aggressive with Choice Transformer (DT; Chen et al., 2021). We additionally see that RvS-R is aggressive with the strategies that use temporal distinction (TD) studying, together with CQL-R (Kumar et al., 2020), TD3+BC (Fujimoto et al., 2021), and Onestep (Brandfonbrener et al., 2021). Nevertheless, the TD studying strategies have an edge as a result of they carry out particularly nicely on the random datasets. This means that one would possibly desire TD studying over RvS when coping with low-quality information.


The second suite is D4RL AntMaze. This suite requires a quadruped to navigate to a goal location in mazes of various dimension. The problem of AntMaze is that many trajectories include solely items of the total path from the begin to the objective location. Studying from these trajectories requires stitching collectively these items to get the total, profitable path.


Determine 4. Total efficiency in D4RL AntMaze.

Our AntMaze leads to Determine 4 spotlight the significance of the conditioning variable. Whereas conditioning RvS on rewards (RvS-R) was your best option of the conditioning variable in D4RL Health club, we discover that in D4RL AntMaze, it’s significantly better to situation RvS on $(x, y)$ objective coordinates (RvS-G). Once we do that, we see that RvS-G compares favorably to TD studying! This was stunning to us as a result of TD studying explicitly performs dynamic programming utilizing the Bellman equation.

Why does goal-conditioning carry out higher than reward conditioning on this setting? Recall that AntMaze is designed so that straightforward imitation will not be sufficient: optimum strategies should sew collectively elements of suboptimal trajectories to determine the right way to attain the objective. In precept, TD studying can resolve this with temporal compositionality. With the Bellman equation, TD studying can mix a path from A to B with a path from B to C, yielding a path from A to C. RvS-R, together with different conduct cloning strategies, doesn’t profit from this temporal compositionality. We hypothesize that RvS-G, however, advantages from spatial compositionality. It’s because, in AntMaze, the coverage wanted to achieve one objective is just like the coverage wanted to achieve a close-by objective. We see correspondingly that RvS-G beats RvS-R.

After all, conditioning RvS-G on $(x, y)$ coordinates represents a type of prior data in regards to the activity. However this additionally highlights an necessary consideration for RvS strategies: the selection of conditioning data is critically necessary, and it could rely considerably on the duty.

Total, we discover that in a various set of environments, RvS works nicely with no need any fancy algorithmic tips (equivalent to information reweighting) or fancy architectures (equivalent to Transformers). Certainly, our easy RvS setup can match, and even outperform, strategies that make the most of (conservative) TD studying. The keys for RvS that we determine are mannequin capability, regularization, and the conditioning variable.

In our work, we handcraft the conditioning variable, equivalent to $(x, y)$ coordinates in AntMaze. Past the usual offline RL setup, this introduces an extra assumption, particularly, that we have now some prior details about the construction of the duty. We expect an thrilling course for future work could be to take away this assumption by automating the training of the objective area.


We packaged our open-source code in order that it may mechanically deal with all of the dependencies for you. After downloading the code, you possibly can run these 5 instructions to breed our experiments:

docker construct -t rvs:newest .
docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/rvs rvs:newest bash
cd rvs
pip set up -e .
bash experiments/launch_gym_rvs_r.sh

This put up relies on the paper:

RvS: What’s Important for Offline RL through Supervised Studying?
Scott Emmons, Benjamin Eysenbach, Ilya Kostrikov, Sergey Levine
Worldwide Convention on Studying Representations (ICLR), 2022
[Paper] [Code]

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