Environment Generation for Zero-Shot Compositional Reinforcement Learning

Abstract

Many real-world problems are compositional – solving them requires completing interdependent sub-tasks, either in series or in parallel, that can be represented as a dependency graph. Deep reinforcement learning (RL) agents often struggle to learn such complex tasks due to the long time horizons and sparse rewards. To address this problem, we present Compositional Design of Environments (CoDE), which trains a Generator agent to automatically build a series of compositional tasks tailored to the RL agent’s current skill level. This curriculum not only enables the agent to learn more complex tasks than it could have otherwise, but also selects tasks where the agent’s performance is weak, enhancing its robustness and ability to generalize zero-shot to unseen tasks at test-time. We analyze why current environment generation techniques are insufficient for the problem of generating compositional tasks, and propose a new algorithm that addresses these issues. Our results assess learning and generalization across multiple compositional tasks, including the real-world problem of learning to navigate and interact with web pages. We learn how to generate environments composed of multiple pages or rooms, and train RL agents to capable of completing wide-range of complex tasks involving both manipulation and navigation across the pages and rooms. We contribute two new benchmark frameworks for generating compositional tasks, compositional MiniGrid and gMiniWoB for web navigation. CoDE yields 4x higher success rate than the strongest baseline, and demonstrates strong performance of real websites.

Publication
In Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS)
Natasha Jaques
Natasha Jaques

My research is focused on Social Reinforcement Learning–developing algorithms that use insights from social learning to improve AI agents' learning, generalization, coordination, and human-AI interaction.

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