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Oral 4C

Halle A 2

Moderator: A. Rupam Mahmood

Wed 8 May 6:45 a.m. PDT — 7:30 a.m. PDT
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Wed 8 May 6:45 - 7:00 PDT

Efficient Episodic Memory Utilization of Cooperative Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

Hyungho Na · Yunkyeong Seo · Il-chul Moon

In cooperative multi-agent reinforcement learning (MARL), agents aim to achieve a common goal, such as defeating enemies or scoring a goal. Existing MARL algorithms are effective but still require significant learning time and often get trapped in local optima by complex tasks, subsequently failing to discover a goal-reaching policy. To address this, we introduce Efficient episodic Memory Utilization (EMU) for MARL, with two primary objectives: (a) accelerating reinforcement learning by leveraging semantically coherent memory from an episodic buffer and (b) selectively promoting desirable transitions to prevent local convergence. To achieve (a), EMU incorporates a trainable encoder/decoder structure alongside MARL, creating coherent memory embeddings that facilitate exploratory memory recall. To achieve (b), EMU introduces a novel reward structure called episodic incentive based on the desirability of states. This reward improves the TD target in Q-learning and acts as an additional incentive for desirable transitions. We provide theoretical support for the proposed incentive and demonstrate the effectiveness of EMU compared to conventional episodic control. The proposed method is evaluated in StarCraft II and Google Research Football, and empirical results indicate further performance improvement over state-of-the-art methods.

Wed 8 May 7:00 - 7:15 PDT

METRA: Scalable Unsupervised RL with Metric-Aware Abstraction

Seohong Park · Oleh Rybkin · Sergey Levine

Unsupervised pre-training strategies have proven to be highly effective in natural language processing and computer vision. Likewise, unsupervised reinforcement learning (RL) holds the promise of discovering a variety of potentially useful behaviors that can accelerate the learning of a wide array of downstream tasks. Previous unsupervised RL approaches have mainly focused on pure exploration and mutual information skill learning. However, despite the previous attempts, making unsupervised RL truly scalable still remains a major open challenge: pure exploration approaches might struggle in complex environments with large state spaces, where covering every possible transition is infeasible, and mutual information skill learning approaches might completely fail to explore the environment due to the lack of incentives. To make unsupervised RL scalable to complex, high-dimensional environments, we propose a novel unsupervised RL objective, which we call Metric-Aware Abstraction (METRA). Our main idea is, instead of directly covering the entire state space, to only cover a compact latent space $\mathcal{Z}$ that is metrically connected to the state space $\mathcal{S}$ by temporal distances. By learning to move in every direction in the latent space, METRA obtains a tractable set of diverse behaviors that approximately cover the state space, being scalable to high-dimensional environments. Through our experiments in five locomotion and manipulation environments, we demonstrate that METRA can discover a variety of useful behaviors even in complex, pixel-based environments, being the first unsupervised RL method that discovers diverse locomotion behaviors in pixel-based Quadruped and Humanoid. Our code and videos are available at

Wed 8 May 7:15 - 7:30 PDT

Pre-Training Goal-based Models for Sample-Efficient Reinforcement Learning

Haoqi Yuan · Zhancun Mu · Feiyang Xie · Zongqing Lu

Pre-training on task-agnostic large datasets is a promising approach for enhancing the sample efficiency of reinforcement learning (RL) in solving complex tasks. We present PTGM, a novel method that pre-trains goal-based models to augment RL by providing temporal abstractions and behavior regularization. PTGM involves pre-training a low-level, goal-conditioned policy and training a high-level policy to generate goals for subsequent RL tasks. To address the challenges posed by the high-dimensional goal space, while simultaneously maintaining the agent's capability to accomplish various skills, we propose clustering goals in the dataset to form a discrete high-level action space. Additionally, we introduce a pre-trained goal prior model to regularize the behavior of the high-level policy in RL, enhancing sample efficiency and learning stability. Experimental results in a robotic simulation environment and the challenging open-world environment of Minecraft demonstrate PTGM’s superiority in sample efficiency and task performance compared to baselines. Moreover, PTGM exemplifies enhanced interpretability and generalization of the acquired low-level skills.