COPA: Certifying Robust Policies for Offline Reinforcement Learning against Poisoning Attacks

Fan Wu · Linyi Li · Huan Zhang · Bhavya Kailkhura · Krishnaram Kenthapadi · DING ZHAO · Bo Li

Keywords: [ reinforcement learning ] [ certified robustness ]

[ Abstract ]
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As reinforcement learning (RL) has achieved near human-level performance in a variety of tasks, its robustness has raised great attention. While a vast body of research has explored test-time (evasion) attacks in RL and corresponding defenses, its robustness against training-time (poisoning) attacks remains largely unanswered. In this work, we focus on certifying the robustness of offline RL in the presence of poisoning attacks, where a subset of training trajectories could be arbitrarily manipulated. We propose the first certification framework, COPA, to certify the number of poisoning trajectories that can be tolerated regarding different certification criteria. Given the complex structure of RL, we propose two certification criteria: per-state action stability and cumulative reward bound. To further improve the certification, we propose new partition and aggregation protocols to train robust policies. We further prove that some of the proposed certification methods are theoretically tight and some are NP-Complete problems. We leverage COPA to certify three RL environments trained with different algorithms and conclude: (1) The proposed robust aggregation protocols such as temporal aggregation can significantly improve the certifications; (2) Our certifications for both per-state action stability and cumulative reward bound are efficient and tight; (3) The certification for different training algorithms and environments are different, implying their intrinsic robustness properties. All experimental results are available at

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