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SRL: Scaling Distributed Reinforcement Learning to Over Ten Thousand Cores

Zhiyu Mei · Wei Fu · Jiaxuan Gao · Guangju Wang · Huanchen Zhang · Yi Wu

Halle B #173
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Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


The ever-growing complexity of reinforcement learning (RL) tasks demands a distributed system to efficiently generate and process a massive amount of data. However, existing open-source libraries suffer from various limitations, which impede their practical use in challenging scenarios where large-scale training is necessary. In this paper, we present a novel abstraction on the dataflows of RLtraining, which unifies diverse RL training applications into a general framework. Following this abstraction, we develop a scalable, efficient, and extensible distributed RL system called ReaLly Scalable RL (SRL), which allows efficient and massively parallelized training and easy development of customized algorithms. Our evaluation shows that SRL outperforms existing academic libraries, reaching at most 21x higher training throughput in a distributed setting. On learning performance, beyond performing and scaling well on common RL benchmarks with different RL algorithms, SRL can reproduce the same solution in the challenging hide-and-seek environment as reported by OpenAI with up to 5x speedup in wallclock time. Notably, SRL is the first in the academic community to perform RL experiments at a large scale with over 15k CPU cores. SRL anonymous repository is available at:

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