Unsupervised State Representation Learning in Atari

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Ankesh Anand, Evan Racah, Sherjil Ozair, Yoshua Bengio, Marc-Alexandre Côté, R Devon Hjelm


State representation learning, or the ability to capture latent generative factors of an environment is crucial for building intelligent agents that can perform a wide variety of tasks. Learning such representations in an unsupervised manner without supervision from rewards is an open problem. We introduce a method that tries to learn better state representations by maximizing mutual information across spatially and temporally distinct features of a neural encoder of the observations. We also introduce a new benchmark based on Atari 2600 games where we evaluate representations based on how well they capture the ground truth state. We believe this new framework for evaluating representation learning models will be crucial for future representation learning research. Finally, we compare our technique with other state-of-the-art generative and contrastive representation learning methods.