Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Chris Lu, Jakub Kuba, Alistair Letcher, Luke Metz, Christian Schroeder de Witt, Jakob Foerster
Tremendous progress has been made in reinforcement learning (RL) over the past decade. Most of these advancements came through the continual development of new algorithms, which were designed using a combination of mathematical derivations, intuitions, and experimentation. Such an approach of creating algorithms manually is limited by human understanding and ingenuity. In contrast, meta-learning provides a toolkit for automatic machine learning method optimisation, potentially addressing this flaw. However, black-box approaches which attempt to discover RL algorithms with minimal prior structure have thus far not outperformed existing hand-crafted algorithms. Mirror Learning, which includes RL algorithms, such as PPO, offers a potential middle-ground starting point: while every method in this framework comes with theoretical guarantees, components that differentiate them are subject to design. In this paper we explore the Mirror Learning space by meta-learning a “drift” function. We refer to the immediate result as Learnt Policy Optimisation (LPO). By analysing LPO we gain original insights into policy optimisation which we use to formulate a novel, closed-form RL algorithm, Discovered Policy Optimisation (DPO). Our experiments in Brax environments confirm state-of-the-art performance of LPO and DPO, as well as their transfer to unseen settings.