LASER: Learning a Latent Action Space for Efficient Reinforcement Learning

LASER: Learning a Latent Action Space for Efficient Reinforcement Learning

Apr 08, 2021
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The process of learning a manipulation task depends strongly on the action space used for exploration: posed in the incorrect action space, solving a task with reinforcement learning can be drastically inefficient. Additionally, similar tasks or instances of the same task family impose latent manifold constraints on the most effective action space: the task family can be best solved with actions in a manifold of the entire action space of the robot. Combining these insights we present LASER, a method to learn latent action spaces for efficient reinforcement learning. LASER factorizes the learning problem into two sub-problems, namely action space learning and policy learning in the new action space. It leverages data from similar manipulation task instances, either from an offline expert or online during policy learning, and learns from these trajectories a mapping from the original to a latent action space. LASER is trained as a variational encoder-decoder model to map raw actions into a disentangled latent action space while maintaining action reconstruction and latent space dynamic consistency. We evaluate LASER on two contact-rich robotic tasks in simulation, and analyze the benefit of policy learning in the generated latent action space. We show improved sample efficiency compared to the original action space from better alignment of the action space to the task space, as we observe with visualizations of the learned action space manifold. Additional details: https://www.pair.toronto.edu/laser

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