In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper

Understanding and Adopting Rational Behavior by Bellman Score Estimation

Kuno Kim · Stefano Ermon

Auditorium

We are interested in solving a class of problems that seek to understand and adopt rational behavior from demonstrations. We may broadly classify these problems into four categories of reward identification, counterfactual analysis, behavior imitation, and behavior transfer. In this work, we make a key observation that knowing how changes in the underlying rewards affect the optimal behavior allows one to solve a variety of aforementioned problems. To a local approximation, this quantity is precisely captured by what we term the Bellman score, i.e gradient of log probabilities of the optimal policy with respect to the reward. We introduce the Bellman score operator which provably converges to the gradient of the infinite-horizon optimal Q-values with respect to the reward which can then be used to directly estimate the score. Guided by our theory, we derive a practical score-learning algorithm which can be used for score estimation in high-dimensional state-actions spaces. We show that score-learning can be used to reliably identify rewards, perform counterfactual predictions, achieve state-of-the-art behavior imitation, and transfer policies across environments.

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