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Hamiltonian Policy Optimization in Reinforcement Learning

EasyChair Preprint no. 5307

17 pagesDate: April 9, 2021


Approximating optimal policies in reinforcement learning (RL) is often necessary in many real-world scenarios, which is termed as policy optimization. By viewing the reinforcement learning from the perspective of variational inference (VI), the policy network is trained to obtain the approximate posterior of actions given the optimality criteria. However, in practice, the policy optimization may lead to suboptimal policy estimates due to the amortization gap and insufficient exploration. In this work, inspired by the previous use of Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) in VI, we propose to integrate policy optimization with HMC. As such we choose evolving actions from the base policy according to HMC. First, HMC can improve the policy distribution to better approximate the posterior and hence reduces the amortization gap. Second, HMC can also guide the exploration more to the regions with higher action values, enhancing the exploration efficiency. Instead of directly applying HMC into RL, we propose a new leapfrog operator to simulate the Hamiltonian dynamics. With comprehensive empirical experiments on continuous control baselines, including MuJoCo, PyBullet Roboschool and DeepMind Control Suite, we show that the proposed approach is a data-efficient, and an easy-toimplement improvement over previous policy optimization methods. Besides, the proposed approach can also outperform previous methods on DeepMind Control Suite, which has image-based high-dimensional observation space.

Keyphrases: Hamitonian Monte Carlo, policy optimization, Reinforcement Learning

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Derek Hsu},
  title = {Hamiltonian Policy Optimization in Reinforcement Learning},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 5307},

  year = {EasyChair, 2021}}
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