Safe Reinforcement Learning in Constrained Markov Decision Processes

Jul 12, 2020

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Safe reinforcement learning (RL) has been a promising approach for optimizing the policy of an agent that operates in safety-critical applications. In this paper, we propose an algorithm, SNO-MDP, that explores and optimizes Markov decision processes (MDPs) under unknown safety constraints. Specifically, we take a step-wise approach for optimizing safety and cumulative reward. In our method, the agent first learns safety constraints by expanding the safe region, and then optimizes the cumulative reward in the certified safe region. We provide theoretical guarantees on both the satisfaction of the safety constraint and the near-optimality of the cumulative reward under proper regularity assumptions. In our experiments, we demonstrate the effectiveness of SNO-MDP through two experiments: one uses a synthetic data in a new, openly-available environment named GP-Safety-Gym, and the other simulates Mars surface exploration by using real observation data.

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The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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