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In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper

A CMDP-within-online framework for Meta-Safe Reinforcement Learning

Vanshaj Khattar · Yuhao Ding · Bilgehan Sel · Javad Lavaei · Ming Jin



Meta-reinforcement learning has widely been used as a learning-to-learn framework to solve unseen tasks with limited experience. However, the aspect of constraint violations has not been adequately addressed in the existing works, making their application restricted in real-world settings. In this paper, we study the problem of meta-safe reinforcement learning (meta-SRL) through the CMDP-within-online framework. We obtain task-averaged regret guarantees for the reward maximization (optimality gap) and constraint violations using gradient-based meta-learning and show that the task-averaged optimality gap and constraint satisfaction improve with task-similarity in the static environment, or task-relatedness in the changing environment. Several technical challenges arise when making this framework practical while still having strong theoretical guarantees. To address these challenges, we propose a meta-algorithm that performs inexact online learning on the upper bounds of intra-task optimality gap and constraint violations estimated by off-policy stationary distribution corrections. Furthermore, we enable the learning rates to be adapted for every task and extend our approach to settings with the dynamically changing task environments. Finally, experiments are conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach. The proposed theoretical framework is the first to handle the nonconvexity and stochastic nature of within-task CMDPs, while exploiting inter-task dependency for multi-task safe learning.

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