Off-Policy Actor-Critic with Shared Experience Replay

Jul 12, 2020



We investigate the combination of actor-critic reinforcement learning algorithms with a uniform large-scale experience replay and propose solutions for two ensuing challenges: (a) efficient actor-critic learning with experience replay (b) the stability of off-policy learning where agents learn from other agents behaviour. To this end we analyze the bias-variance tradeoffs in V-trace, a form of importance sampling for actor-critic methods. Based on our analysis, we then argue for mixing experience sampled from replay with on-policy experience, and propose a new trust region scheme that scales effectively to data distributions where V-trace becomes unstable. We provide extensive empirical validation of the proposed solutions on DMLab-30. We further show the benefits of this setup in two training regimes for Atari: (1) a single agent is trained up until 200M environment frames per game (2) a population of agents is trained up until 200M environment frames each and may share experience. While (1) is a standard regime, (2) reflects the use case of concurrently executed hyper-parameter sweeps. We demonstrate state-of-the-art data efficiency among model-free agents in both regimes.



About ICML 2020

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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