Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

*Gabriel Kalweit, Maria Huegle, Moritz Werling, Joschka Boedecker*

Popular Maximum Entropy Inverse Reinforcement Learning approaches require the computation of expected state visitation frequencies for the optimal policy under an estimate of the reward function. This usually requires intermediate value estimation in the inner loop of the algorithm, slowing down convergence considerably. In this work, we introduce a novel class of algorithms that only needs to solve the MDP underlying the demonstrated behavior once to recover the expert policy. This is possible through a formulation that exploits a probabilistic behavior assumption for the demonstrations within the structure of Q-learning. We propose Inverse Action-value Iteration which is able to fully recover an underlying reward of an external agent in closed-form analytically. We further provide an accompanying class of sampling-based variants which do not depend on a model of the environment. We show how to extend this class of algorithms to continuous state-spaces via function approximation and how to estimate a corresponding action-value function, leading to a policy as close as possible to the policy of the external agent, while optionally satisfying a list of predefined hard constraints. We evaluate the resulting algorithms called Inverse Action-value Iteration, Inverse Q-learning and Deep Inverse Q-learning on the Objectworld benchmark, showing a speedup of up to several orders of magnitude compared to (Deep) Max-Entropy algorithms. We further apply Deep Constrained Inverse Q-learning on the task of learning autonomous lane-changes in the open-source simulator SUMO achieving competent driving after training on data corresponding to 30 minutes of demonstrations.

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