Learning Robust State Abstractions for Hidden-Parameter Block MDPs

Amy Zhang · Shagun Sodhani · Khimya Khetarpal · Joelle Pineau

Keywords: [ bisimulation ] [ block mdp ] [ hidden-parameter mdp ] [ multi-task reinforcement learning ]


Many control tasks exhibit similar dynamics that can be modeled as having common latent structure. Hidden-Parameter Markov Decision Processes (HiP-MDPs) explicitly model this structure to improve sample efficiency in multi-task settings. However, this setting makes strong assumptions on the observability of the state that limit its application in real-world scenarios with rich observation spaces. In this work, we leverage ideas of common structure from the HiP-MDP setting, and extend it to enable robust state abstractions inspired by Block MDPs. We derive instantiations of this new framework for both multi-task reinforcement learning (MTRL) and meta-reinforcement learning (Meta-RL) settings. Further, we provide transfer and generalization bounds based on task and state similarity, along with sample complexity bounds that depend on the aggregate number of samples across tasks, rather than the number of tasks, a significant improvement over prior work. To further demonstrate efficacy of the proposed method, we empirically compare and show improvement over multi-task and meta-reinforcement learning baselines.

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