Separated Trust Regions Policy Optimization Method

author: Luobao Zou, Shanghai Jiaotong University
published: March 2, 2020,   recorded: August 2019,   views: 4

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In this work, we propose a moderate policy update method for reinforcement learning, which encourages the agent to explore more boldly in early episodes but updates the policy more cautious. Based on the maximum entropy framework, we propose a softer objective with more conservative constraints and build the separated trust regions for optimization. To reduce the variance of expected entropy return, a calculated state policy entropy of Gaussian distribution is preferred instead of collecting log probability by sampling. This new method, which we call separated trust region for policy mean and variance (STRMV), can be view as an extension to proximal policy optimization (PPO) but it is gentler for policy update and more lively for exploration. We test our approach on a wide variety of continuous control benchmark tasks in the MuJoCo environment. The experiments demonstrate that STRMV outperforms the previous state of art on-policy methods, not only achieving higher rewards but also improving the sample efficiency.

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